Best Museums in Nashville

Beyond its quintessential music, Nashville has a wealth of museums that affirm the culture of this city.

Andressa García

Andressa García

11 min read

Best Museums in Nashville

View of Nashville | ©Tanner Boriack

Among the best things to see and do in Nashville is definitely a good tour of some of the best museums in the city. From contemporary art museums, to others dedicated to more specific topics such as an incredible botanical garden, or the inevitable museums dedicated to country music.

As it is a southern city, you will also have the opportunity to see some of the relics that are kept in the great mansions dating from the nineteenth century, such is the case of the Belmont Mansion or The Hermitage. There is also the opportunity to visit a museum dedicated to children and another to the development of the railroad industry.

1. Country Museum and Hall of Fame

Country Museum and Hall of Fame| ©Jonathan Cutrer
Country Museum and Hall of Fame| ©Jonathan Cutrer

Inside the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame you will find different types of permanent exhibits that recall the life and work of America's most popular country music stars. You can make online and in-person tours at the museum, because they have guided tours both in the museum facilities and on their website.

Among the exhibits that you can find inside the museum, you will find objects of great value, such as musical instruments, stage clothes, as well as other artifacts and elements used by the greats of country music during their concerts and presentations throughout their career.

Details of interest

  • Tickets: Children under 5 years of age are free. Between 6 and 12 years old, admission can cost around 18 euros, if it's just museum admission, but the price can go up to 53 euros if you want a full experience, which includes admission to the Hall of Fame, the tour of the venue and a visit to Studio B. For people over 13 years old, the entrance fee ranges from 28 to 68 euros per person.
  • Hours: Closed on Thursdays. Open from Monday to Wednesday between 9:00 and 17:00, as well as from Friday to Sunday.
  • Address: Located at 222 Representative John Lewis Way S in Nashville.
  • Parking: There are several parking lots that are associated with the museum, so they have a discount of approximately 5 euros, but these parking spaces cannot be reserved, but are on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also several pay lots around the museum where you can get a parking spot.

Book tickets for the Country Hall of Fame

2. National Museum of African American Music

National Museum of African American Music| ©Brian Copeland
National Museum of African American Music| ©Brian Copeland

Because Nashville is such a musical city, one of the most prevalent museums is the music museum type. In that sense, the National Museum of African American Music is a bastion of American culture, as it is considered to be the only one dedicated exclusively to music of African descent.

One of the best things this museum has to show is that thanks to technology and the genius of the experts, you can enjoy the performances of the all-time greats of African-American music, such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Billie Holiday and many others.

Details of interest

  • Admission: Children under 7 years old are free. Admission for adults between 18 and 64 years old can cost up to 25 euros. Young people between 8 and 17 years old must pay around 14 euros. Admission for seniors over 65 years old is approximately 20 euros.
  • Hours: The museum is closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Saturday it is open between 10:00 and 17:00. On Sundays it opens between 12:00 and 17:00.
  • Address: It is located at 510 Broadway Ave in Nashville.
  • Parking: Parking is available a few blocks from the museum in downtown Nashville. It is free for two hours while visiting the museum.

Buy your ticket to the Museum of African American History

3. Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage| ©Bill Badzo
Andrew Jackson's Hermitage| ©Bill Badzo

The Hermitage is one of the most special places in Nashville to learn about the history of this city and above all, how life was lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. To visit it you can make use of the Nashville City Pass, which is the tourist card of the city and includes a visit to the Hermitage. Inside the property you will find a large mansion that belonged to President Andrew Jackson and also large areas of gardens and plantations.

Inside the mansion you will find many objects dating from these centuries, as well as many artifacts that will give you a deeper look into the life, work and professional development of this former president of the United States. You will also find an exhibit about the remarkable character in the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center area.

Details of Interest

  • Tickets: Prices are divided by space: the Hermitage grounds and the mansion. For the Hermitage, tickets range from 12 to 19 euros for youth and adults. To see the mansion, prices range from 17 to 26 euros, while the family pass can cost up to 80 euros. Children under 4 years in all cases enter for free.
  • Hours: Closed on Wednesdays. From Thursday to Tuesday it opens between 9:00 and 17:00, while the last entrance is at 16:00.
  • Address: Located at 4580 Rachels Ln, Hermitage in Nashville.
  • Parking: The Hermitage offers parking at no additional charge on the property. There is also a lot designated for parking large vehicles, such as buses, RVs, trailers, among others.

4. Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion| ©Mandie Guy
Belmont Mansion| ©Mandie Guy

This is one of the most famous and definitely the largest mansions built in Nashville before the Civil War era. Inside Belmont Mansion you will be able to see different artifacts and objects dating back to the mid 19th century. Outside the mansion you will be able to see the beautiful gardens that decorate the property.

Inside this place you will also see the different stories that are kept in the mansion, about the enslaved and non-enslaved people. The tour guides are willing to offer information about the history of the people who lived in the place, as well as the objects inside the mansion. I recommend including this place in your Nashville itinerary in 3 days, so that you spend enough time getting to know it.

Details of interest

  • Tickets: Tickets can cost between 18 and 30 euros for adults. Tickets for youth up to 18 years old can cost up to 12 euros, depending on the type of tour. Children under 5 years old enter free of charge. Admission is divided into three types, all-day admission, guided tour and curator's tour.
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday the museum is open from 10:00 to 16:30. Sundays open from 11:00 until 16:30.
  • Address: Located about 15 minutes from downtown Nashville.
  • Parking: On-campus parking is free for visitors. There are also some off-campus lots, which may incur additional costs.

Reserve your Belmont Mansion pass

5. Tennessee Agricultural Museum

Tennessee Agricultural Museum| ©2 Guys in Poznan
Tennessee Agricultural Museum| ©2 Guys in Poznan

With more than 12 thousand visitors every year, Tennessee Agricultural Museum is one of the most important and most visited museums in Nashville, and that's because it exhibits about three thousand artifacts that used to be used in the city before the arrival of electricity.

There are also temporary exhibits so you can see different things every time you visit this place. The museum has two levels where these objects are displayed. One level is dedicated to the garden with the relics of agriculture and the next level is an old cabin with all the historical treasures of artifacts used by then.

Details of interest

  • Admission: Admission is free to the public.
  • Hours: The museum is open Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. It is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. It is also closed on special state days.
  • Address: Located at 404 Hogan Road in Nashville.
  • Parking: Handicapped parking is located across the street from the museum.

6. Lane Motor Museum

Lane Motor Museum| ©Jon Rapp
Lane Motor Museum| ©Jon Rapp

From motorcycles to amphibious vehicles, this is one of the museums that you will like the most if you love cars and their history. Inside the museum you will be able to appreciate a collection of approximately 150 European cars, making it the largest collection of European cars in the United States.

Among the large number of cars you will find different models, sizes and characteristics that identify each of the cars. Most of the cars on display at Lane Motor Museum date from the early 20th century, and as well as European vehicles, there are also models from America and Asia.

Details of interest

  • Admission: Children five and under are free. Young people between the ages of 6 and 17 can pay an entrance fee of around 3 euros. Adults over 18 pay approximately 12 euros, while adults over 65 can pay around 8 euros.
  • Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays the museum is closed, while Mondays and Thursdays through Sundays are between 10:00 and 17:00. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Days the museum remains closed.
  • Address: It is located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville.
  • Parking: Parking is free at the museum.

7. Frist Arts Museum

Frist Arts Museum| ©Sean Davis
Frist Arts Museum| ©Sean Davis

The Frist Arts Museum is one of the most impressive museums in the city because you can find different exhibitions of all kinds of art, sculptures, paintings and photographs that tell incredible stories. If there is something you will like about this place is its diversity in terms of the presentation of the exhibits.

Whenever you visit the museum you will have a different perspective because they offer temporary exhibits, so I recommend that before you visit this place, enter their website to find out what are the different exhibitions that are available for the time of your visit.

Interesting details

  • Tickets: For general admission, young people and children under 18 can enter for free, while adults pay around 15 euros per person. People over 65 years of age can pay approximately 10 euros per ticket. The military, students and people who go in groups of more than ten people, can pay reduced price tickets.
  • Hours: The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 17:30. Thursdays from 10:00 to 20:00 and Sundays from 13:00 to 17:30.
  • Address: Located in the Frist Art Museum building at 919 Broadway, Nashville.
  • Parking: Along with your ticket reservation you can also opt for a parking stall. In case it is full, you can park near the museum location in some parking lots that are public and charge an additional fee.

8. Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Garden

Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Garden| ©Robert Cross
Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Garden| ©Robert Cross

The Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Garden is amazing and is one of the best you can visit in Nashville because not only is it a large garden with different types of plants, but also inside it is a large museum where you can discover American art, thanks to the different displays of portraits, impressionist paintings and different works of art of contemporary painting.

Obviously, as the space functions as a botanical garden, you will be able to appreciate different outdoor spaces, where you can walk and tour the grounds full of flowers, plants and trees that color the area and bring life to the spaces. This is an excellent activity to do with children in Nashville because the garden includes spaces for children's fun.

Details of interest

  • Tickets: It takes 13 to 20 euros to buy a ticket to see the gardens only. To see the mansion and gardens you will need between 18 and 25 euros. The variation depends on the condition and/or age of the visitor. Children under 2 years old are free.
  • Hours: Closed on Mondays. Open from Tuesday to Sunday between 9:00 and 16:00. Holidays may be open from 17:00 to 22:00. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, the museum is also closed.
  • Address: Located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive in Nashville.
  • Parking: The parking lot is very close to the museum, but can be crowded at times, so the administration asks that you carpool to the museum.

9. Adventure Science Center

Nashville Science Museum| ©Tom
Nashville Science Museum| ©Tom

Inside this science museum especially for children, you will be able to see one of the most impressive attractions in Nashville, which is none other than its impressive planetarium, which is there to show all visitors the importance of knowing the planets and of course, the large number of celestial bodies in space.

In addition, you can get to know together with the children, a wide range of exhibits inside the Adventure Science Center museum, which can change constantly. Some of the exhibits that most attract children are beekeeping, dedicated to the breeding of bees; the exhibition of the human body, to travel inside and see the processes that happen inside, among other very interesting.

Interesting details

  • Tickets: Children under 2 years old are free. Between 2 and 12 years old usually pay an approximate entrance fee of 14 euros per ticket. Young people and adults over 13 years old can pay around 18 euros per ticket.
  • Hours: From Thursday to Monday it is open from 9:00 to 15:00. On Saturdays it opens from 9:00 and 18:00.
  • Address: Located at 800 Fort Negley Blvd. in Nashville.
  • Parking: Parking is free for all museum visitors.

10. Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Tennessee Central Railway Museum| ©Allen Forrest
Tennessee Central Railway Museum| ©Allen Forrest

The Tennessee Central Railway Museum is one of my favorite museums in Tennessee because it is a rolling museum. You get on a train set in the nineteenth century in which you will travel throughout the state of Tennessee, and even have the opportunity to walk through the most impressive plantations in the region. All this while enjoying exquisite tastings of typical southern dishes.

One of the things you have to keep in mind if you want to live an experience like this, is that you must make your reservation well in advance, in order to enjoy one of these train rides, which is definitely one of the best tours in Nashville.

Generally the rides are themed, according to the season of the year. For example: on Valentine's Day you can take a romantic tour, on Halloween a mystery discovery ride is offered, so this is one of the best activities to do in Nashville in October. I could also tell you that it is one of the best things to do in Nashville in December because you can go aboard the Polar Express.

Details of interest

  • Tickets: Tickets to any of these tours can cost anywhere from €60 to €150 per person. Children under 2 years old do not pay a ticket because they do not need an additional seat. Prices may vary according to the type and theme of the tour. Reservations must be made up to months in advance to ensure a seat on the train.
  • Schedule: Departure time depends on the tour you are going on.
  • Address: Train departs from 220 Willow Street, Nashville.
  • Parking: Free visitor parking is available at the front entrance to the museum.