5 must-do things on your next visit to Nashville

A general street scene on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee. (Bruce Bennett, 2017 Getty Images)

Nashville, Tennessee has become a hotspot for tourism in recent years, and if you ever decide to visit, you’ll understand why that is, immediately.

There are really only a few hours when the streets of Broadway aren’t bustling with people, which can make it feel like the town is alive.

There’s live music nearly around the clock, countless bars and restaurants, and just so much great energy.

I personally love Nashville so much that I was prepared to move there many years ago. I ventured onto another path, and while the town has changed a bit since then (in a good way!), my love for it has not.

If Nashville has been on your list of places to visit, do it. Plan it now. You won’t be sorry.

In preparation for when you do go, I’ve got some recommendations.

1. Do the Ryman Auditorium experience.

Since 1925, Ryman Auditorium has been the home of the Grand Ole Opry and the national headquarters of foot-stomping, tear-jerking country music. (Getty Images)

You don’t have to be a history buff to find this one interesting, but if you even remotely like and appreciate country music, you’ve got to cut out some time for a Ryman tour. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. And it’s just a block off of Broadway, so it’s quite close to a lot of the action.

If you don’t want to spend a ton of time here, I would suggest at least going in, taking a look around and soaking in the building.

If you feel like a tour would interest you, it’s really very cool.

You will get a seat in the theater and watch the “show” -- one that has holograms, special effects, multidimensional film messages and archived footage, with “guests” who include Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill and others.

There’s also a tour you can take at your own pace, if that suits your trip better.

There are still shows held at the Ryman, so check out the schedule to find out if there’s anyone you might be interested in seeing.

2. Visit all the bars on Broadway.

I can’t even begin to explain to you how much fun you are going to have. And when I say to visit ALL the bars, I mean all of them -- or as many as you can.

There are plenty, but they are all so fun. They pretty much all offer up cocktails and live music during the course of the day and night, but they’re all different in their own way, and worth checking out.

There are some bars that have quite a history on Broadway, like Tootsies Orchid Lounge, the Stage and Legends Corner, to name a few.

There are also some newer bars, like Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa, Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, or the FGL House -- all of which are different and fun.

These are just a handful. There are more, and you can expect to hear live music in all of them -- not necessarily just country, either.

3. Also make a trip off Broadway.

Losers Bar & Grill on May 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (2020 Getty Images)

My favorite place to visit that’s not on Broadway is Loser’s Bar and Grill, near Music Row (not off of Broadway) and it is a local favorite, too. It’s got a dive bar feel, it’s fun, and there’s a good chance you could run into someone famous, because country singers are known to pop in there from time to time.

Some other places that locals know and love: The Local, 6th and Peabody or Red Door Saloon in mid-town.

4. See a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

Dolly Parton Performs during the Grand Ole Opry 85th birthday bash at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee. (2010 Tony R. Phipps)

The Grand Ole Opry technically takes place at two locations: The Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry House, which is going to be a drive, if you’re mostly hanging out near Broadway. Where the big show is depends on when you visit, so check ahead of time.

There are concerts happening all the time, and you never know who you might see on stage, from up-and-coming artists to the classic country singers our parents loved and the most popular in the industry.

You might not know the Opry began in 1925 in its first radio broadcast, and to this day, each show is still broadcast.

5. Stay near Broadway.

Broadway really is where a lot of the action is, so you’ll want to be close enough to walk or take a quick Uber.

You’ll find the go-to hotels people love, like Hyatt, Westin, JW Marriott and Omni, and if you’re a creature of habit who knows you love these hotels, by all means, go with what feels right.

However, if you’re looking for an authentic experience, you’ll want to check out a local and unique hotel, like the Hermitage Hotel, the Moxy or the Cambria. For the record, the Hermitage has a five-star rating, so you can expect a nice stay.

Honorable mentions

There really is so much to do in Nashville, and much of what you do might depend on how long your stay is, what you’re interested in or who you’re with.

Here are a few more recommendations that are worth your time:

  • Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. Admittedly, this is not a quick stop. You can probably expect to spend a few hours here, but it’s well worth the time. You get to kind of walk through the history of music, and it’s so interesting.
  • Go see the the Time Jumpers. This is a super personal recommendation. If you’re a fan of classic country music, this will be a worthy venture for you. The local band plays every Monday night at 3rd and Lindsley. No two shows are the same, it’s an insanely talented group of musicians, and I guarantee it’s something like you can’t find anywhere else in town.
  • Do the Old Town Trolley Tours. It gives you a great view of the city, and you’ll get some insights into the interesting history of Nashville and middle Tennessee.

About the Author:

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.