Nashville in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Nashville is a city full of stimuli, the first of them of course: music, present in its bars and museums. On the other hand, you can not miss its gastronomy and its neighborhoods full of personality.

Irene Quesada

Irene Quesada

10 min read

Nashville in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Skyscrapers in Nashville | ©paulbr75

In this article I am going to give you some tips to organize your 3-day visit so you can optimize your time and see the most interesting points of the city in a comfortable way. Among my proposals you will find a general visit to the emblematic points of Nashville, a gastronomic tour, museums, an excursion to the suburbs and some ideas to get to know the most beautiful neighborhoods.

Day 1: Guided bus tour and visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame

Hop on Hop Off tour| ©Ursula
Hop on Hop Off tour| ©Ursula

For your first day in Nashville, my first recommendation is to get up early (it won't be difficult with jet lag), have a good breakfast and take a guided bus tour. This way you will have a global idea and you will know the main important points. Within this excursion, I suggest you visit one of the most important museums in Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame, go through Centennial Park and close the day knowing the most iconic honky tonk bars. Here's how to do it.

Guided tour on the tour bus

To start getting to know Nashville on your first day there, I suggest you get on the tour bus in the morning. It is a very comfortable and easy way to see the most emblematic areas of the city. It is very easy to get around downtown Nashville on foot and there are several attractions close to each other, but there are other places of interest located further out, such as Belmont Mansion and Centennial Park so it is worth taking the tour bus. You will also get commentary on each interesting place from your guide. An essential way to start the trip and start from now to know the history and culture of the city.

If you like the option of having a guided bus tour of the city and surroundings, there are other options for everyone, by bike, on foot, on segway ... Choose your favorite and get out to start touring Nashville.

This particular bus tour that I propose lasts 90 minutes if you do it in a row, but you have the option to get on and off as many times as you want with the same ticket and stay longer in the areas you like. You can do it at any time between 9am and 6pm and there are 13 stops. You will visit the central streets of downtown, Capitol Hill, Lower Broadway, Music Row, Centennial Park, Belmont Mansion and other interesting points of the city.

See the best places by bus

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum

While you are on the tour bus, get off at the Country Music Hall of Fame stop for this visit before resuming the tour. This museum, active since 1961, is a great opportunity to learn about country music, which is what gives much of its personality to Nashville.

You will be able to see through objects, instruments, costumes, videos and photos the evolution of music from hillbilly, through other genres such as bluegrass and honky tonk to country. You will be amazed by the record collection. Sometimes there is live music, if you are lucky you will be able to see a performance. This museum contains the world's largest collection of objects of this genre. A visit that is worthwhile, super entertaining and in which you will learn and enjoy a lot. It will perfectly complement your visit to the honky tonks of the city.

From the Country Music Hall of Fame take the opportunity to visit the Nashville Walk of Fame. It is located in a park right across the street and take pictures of the plaques of your favorite artists. The National Museum of African American Music is also just a 5-minute walk away.

Book your visit to Country Music Hall of Fame

Visit Centennial Park

Centennial Park| ©Bill Badzo
Centennial Park| ©Bill Badzo

The tour bus makes a stop at Centennial Park a perfect opportunity to visit it at this time before resuming your tour and visit it, as it is a little more removed from the center of the city and may be more remote to go at another time.

It is the most popular park in Nashville, located west of downtown. On sunny days it is not difficult to see events or live music. In it there is a surprise, a life-size replica of the Parthenon of Greece that is well worth a photo to throw off your Instagram followers. Inside you can see the huge golden statue of Athena and there is also an art museum. If you are a history lover you will love it. Take the opportunity to stroll around and enjoy the views that this spectacular park has to offer.

Hang out in the bars of Printers Alley

If you still have energy left and want a plan at nightfall, you have to go into a real Honky Tonk. The best place to do this is Printers Alley. This is the area where Nashville's most legendary bars are located and of course, there is a very lively atmosphere. You will love these bars for their retro style and live music.

You will know the street, located in the historic center, for its popular arch of lights. The part bounded by Union Street and Commerce Street has housed the entertainment district since 1940. It is one of the most important points where the musical character of the city that defines it began to grow. Before this date, it was here, as its name indicates, where the most important printing presses of the city were located.

Apart from Printers Alley there are other areas less frequented by tourists and full of curiosities. So that you know where to go and have the best experience of a night out Nashville style, I recommend you sign up for this pub crawl. You'll enjoy a guided tour of 5 bars, live music, local cocktails and craft beers. It's not just about partying, the person in charge of guiding you will tell you history and anecdotes of the area. Only for people over 21 years old, as this is the legal drinking age in the United States.

Book your pub crawl

Day 2: Excursion to Belle Meade and visit the Ryman Auditorium

Belle Meade| ©Ron Cogswell
Belle Meade| ©Ron Cogswell

During your stay in Nashville, I recommend a trip to the suburbs that will add more context to your experience in the United States. The surroundings are very green and you will enjoy the view and the history of the place. Here are some suggestions to organize your second day including this exclusion in the morning and including other activities in the city in the afternoon.

Excursion to Belle Meade

To occupy the morning of your second day in Nashville I propose an excursion to a historic place that is also very practical because it will bring you a lot and will not take much time. Beyond the attractions of the city there are some very interesting spots in the outskirts like this one, take advantage of the opportunity!

You can get to Belle Meade by bus line 3, which departs from 6th Ave & Deaderick St Sb, the stop is next to the Tennessee State Capitol and it only takes 27 minutes to get there. Another option is to arrive by car or cab, if there is no traffic it takes about 13 minutes.

I'll tell you why I recommend this tour: Belle Meade is a very typical southern mansion-winery dating from 1807 located in a very green and quiet location that forms a historic complex with its surroundings. It is a large manor house, now a wine cellar-museum and its gardens in very good condition, which were formerly plantations.

To know all the details and make the most of the visit, I propose a guided tour where the person who guides you will tell you the most important events that happened there. Above all, the crude history of slavery in the plantations, the subsequent struggle for rights and finally the liberation stands out. It is an impressive experience! The guided tour lasts an hour and also, of course, includes a wine tasting of wine from its cellar.

Book a visit to Belle Meade

Visit the Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium| ©Reading Tom
Ryman Auditorium| ©Reading Tom

Once back from the tour, my suggestion is that you visit the Ryman Auditorium. It is one of the most recognized places in the city. Originally it was a church where Gospel masses were celebrated. This was only the beginning of its musical evolution. Later the building housed one of the best known country radio stations, the Grand Ole Opry.

Its interior and its history will surprise you. There are many anecdotes to know about singers and celebrities who have passed through there. The best thing to do is to visit it with a guided tour where you will learn all about one of the most important places in the Nashville music scene.

The Ryman Auditorium is located in the most central area of the city. From here you can also walk to other major attractions in the city such as Fort Nashboro and the historic Tennessee Capitol building, both just a 10 minute walk away.

Book your visit to the Ryman Auditorium

Watch a game at Bridgestone Arena

The Bridgestone Arena is next door to the Ryman Auditorium and this is where I suggest the following activity. Something I firmly believe you can't miss in the United States is watching a basketball or field hockey game. Whether you are a fan of the sport or not, the stadium experience is super fun, just like you have seen in movies countless times. Now that you have the chance, I encourage you to do it from the stands of Bridgestone Arena with a big foam finger and some hot dogs - you'll love the atmosphere!

Bridgestone Arena doesn't just host sporting events, they also host concerts. Check out their website ahead of time and you're sure to find both a sporting and musical event you like.

Day 3: Gastronomic tour and murals of the city

Nashville Hot Chicken| ©Kurman Comunications
Nashville Hot Chicken| ©Kurman Comunications

To make the most of the third day, I propose a full day dedicated exclusively to get into the most beautiful streets of Nashville and its neighborhoods to know and enjoy its southern food, lifestyle and take pictures of its streets decorated with murals.

Taste the southern food

You can't leave Nashville without trying the traditional dishes of the southern cuisine, it is another must. It is simple but super tasty food: Mac 'n Cheese, empanadas, barbecue, spicy fried chicken ... These are just some of the most typical dishes, but there is much more to discover. This food is available in many places. Some of the most famous are Edley's Bar-B-Que, Arnold's Country Kitchen, Hattie B's Hot Chicken... The list goes on and there is plenty to choose from. Don't be left wanting. To make sure you visit a selection of the best rated places I recommend a tour with an expert guide.

This tour I propose is very complete. It is done aboard a van, as it covers quite a lot of distance and also combines the gastronomic stops with some cultural ones like the walk through Centennial Park to East Nashville, where the funniest and funkiest area is. You can continue to get to know the city thanks to your guide and also taste both sweet and salty tasting the neighborhoods from the inside. This tour lasts 3 hours, so you'll have the middle part of the day taken care of.

Taste the best of southern food

Guided tour of the city's murals

After the food tour, I suggest you take out your camera and stroll through the streets to see the street art, another of Nashville's great icons. These murals are at various points such as 12th South, Charlotte Corridor, Downtown ... But there are other more hidden ones worth seeing or recent ones, which are still undocumented. They are constantly changing. And each one has a story to tell. These have been made by both local and international artists. To see the most spectacular and know all the details it is best to do it with a guide and cover the city without wasting time.

To complete your trip with some spectacular photos I recommend you take a guided tour of the murals. This way you will get to know better the neighborhoods and streets of Nashville with an expert guide who will show you the most photogenic points of the city. This tour lasts between an hour and a half and two hours and is done aboard a golf cart, it's fun and you won't get tired!

Get to know Nashville's murals

Night tour of the city

Nashville Night| ©Michael Gaylard
Nashville Night| ©Michael Gaylard

You are at the end of your last day. If you still don't want to say goodbye to the city you can still take the opportunity to have a night tour - gather all your strength and do it! The good thing is that Nashville has a lot to offer also when the sun goes down. That's why I suggest you end your trip in style: with a night tour focused on showing you the nighttime music scene, where the real heart of the city lies.

This tour starts at the city's most famous distilleries, Ole Smoky Distillery & Yee-Haw Brewery and passes through the Hall of Fame and Museum, passing through and explaining other legendary spots in the city, including Music Row, 16th/17th Ave. South - Division Street and Music Square. You will learn about the history and evolution of the musical genres that have been passing through the city for almost 100 years. You will also enjoy the illuminated city, a spectacle in itself.

Book a night streetcar tour

This is the guide I propose you to spend 3 very complete days in Nashville, seeing some of the most important attractions. If you want to know more about the city and change some of these activities for another or visit them with more time in the future, take a look at this article where you will find no less than 63 ideas and activities to do in Nashville. If you plan to visit several museums, take into account the option of buying the citypass of the city.