Exploring Music City: Your 3-Day Nashville Itinerary

downtown nashville's broadway at night time with bright neon signs lining the building

Welcome to Music City, where the soulful twang of country tunes and the vibrant energy of urban life come together for one heck of an experience! Now, you might know Nashville for its famous honky tonks and bustling downtown, but there’s a whole other side to this city just waiting to be uncovered. Venture beyond the neon lights and discover the diverse charms that make this Southern gem truly special in our 3-day itinerary. We’ll take you from hidden gems in quirky neighborhoods to cultural hotspots and outdoor getaways, we’re here to help you put together the perfect Nashville trip. Get ready for some good times, y’all!

Day 1 in Nashville:

Music, History, and Southern Flavors

Explore the heartbeat of country music in Nashville’s downtown with a day filled with iconic sights, live performances, and delicious local cuisine.

Morning: Broadway Vibes

Begin your day on Broadway, the musical center of Nashville. Lined with honky-tonks, soak in the lively atmosphere as you stroll through the heart of the city. Don’t miss the Country Music Hall of Fame for a deep dive into the genre’s history and legendary figures.

aerial view of nashville's country music hall of fame

Country Music Hall of Fame via Country Music Hall of Fame

Afternoon: Culinary Delights and Scenic Strolls

Indulge in authentic Nashville flavors with lunch at a local barbecue joint Martin’s BBQ. Savor some good Southern comfort food before taking a scenic riverfront stroll along the Cumberland River, offering a serene break from the hustle and bustle.

Evening: Ryman Auditorium and Southern Fare

After some exploring, experience the magic of the historic Ryman Auditorium. This iconic venue has hosted country music legends and continues to enchant visitors with its unmatched acoustics. You can either take a guided tour, or see who’s playing that night and see if you can score some tickets. End your day with a Nashville-inspired dinner at Hattie B’s to try Nashville’s staple of hot chicken.

exterior of nashville's ryman auditorium

Day 2 Nashville Delights:

A Day of Art, History, and Local Vibes

Embrace the cultural treasures of Nashville as we embark on a day filled with art, history, and local flair. From diverse exhibitions to trendy cafes and intimate music venues, this neighborhood promises a delightful array of experiences.

Morning: Frist Art Museum and Trendy Brunch

Begin your second day at the Frist Art Museum, where diverse exhibitions await your exploration. Immerse yourself in the world of art, from contemporary pieces to classical wonders. Following this, enjoy brunch at one of East Nashville’s eclectic cafes, setting the stage for a day of discoveries. We recommend you treat yourself to a brunch at Hearts or Cafe Roze.

Afternoon: Historic Neighborhoods and Johnny Cash’s Legacy

Venture into the historic charm of the 12 South neighborhood during the afternoon. Wander through streets lined with boutiques and charming houses, soaking in the unique ambiance of each neighborhood. Stop at Five Daughter’s Bakery for a donut or Jeni’s ice cream.  Then, make a stop at the Johnny Cash Museum for an intimate look into the life of the legendary musician.

Evening: Farm-to-Table Dining and Intimate Performances

As evening descends, try a farm-to-table dining experience at 1 Kitchen, savoring the richness of locally sourced ingredients. Conclude your day with a live performance at the Listening Room, to hear an intimate performance from some talented Nashville songwriters.

Image of 1 Kitchen via 1 Hotels Nashville

Day Three in Nashville:

Centennial Park and The Gulch

Today, we’re diving into the tranquility of Centennial Park and the vibrant energy of The Gulch. Join us for a day of relaxation, exploration, and culinary delights in two of Nashville’s iconic locations.

Morning: Centennial Park Bliss

Start your day surrounded by nature’s beauty at Centennial Park. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, visit the Parthenon replica, and soak in the serenity by the lake. Transition to The Gulch, a dynamic neighborhood filled with trendy shops and captivating art installations.

view of the parthenon replica across lake watauga in nashville's centennial park

Afternoon: Culinary Delights and Photowalk Fun

Lunch at Adele’s farm-to-fork restaurant in The Gulch, savoring locally sourced ingredients. Immerse yourself in the neighborhood’s charm with a fun Photowalk tour, these professional photographers will capture your photos at iconic murals and give you some local recommendations. This is a great experience for couples, groups, birthdays, bachelorette parties, etc to see Nashville and have photo memories from your trip.

group of 6 young women posing in front of one of nashville's colorful murals

Evening: Nightlife Revelry and Rooftop Views

As the sun sets, embrace The Gulch’s nightlife with drinks at L.A. Jackson. As the night continues, explore the vibrant atmosphere of the neighboring bars and music venues. Conclude your day with dinner at Carne Mare, enjoying panoramic views of Nashville’s skyline and reflecting on a day well-spent.

How to Get Around:

Nashville, Tennessee offers various transportation options to explore the city. The choice of transportation depends on your preferences, budget, and the nature of your activities. Here are some options:

  • Public Transportation:
    • Bus: Nashville MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) operates bus services throughout the city. The bus system can be a cost-effective way to get around, but it may not be as convenient for reaching some of the more touristy areas.
  • Ride-Sharing Services:
    • Uber and Lyft: Uber and Lyft are widely available in Nashville. They are convenient and can be cost-effective, especially if you don’t plan to travel long distances or need a car for an extended period.
  • Car Rental:
    • Renting a Car: If you prefer more flexibility and plan to explore areas outside the city, renting a car might be a good option. Parking is generally available in Nashville, but it might be limited and more expensive in the downtown area.
  • Biking:
    • Bike Rentals: Nashville has a bike-sharing program called “B-Cycle” where you can rent bikes for short trips around the city. This is a great way to explore neighborhoods at your own pace and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Walking:
    • Downtown Nashville: The downtown area is pedestrian-friendly, and many attractions, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance. If you’re staying in or around downtown, walking can be a pleasant and practical way to get around.
  • Scooters:
    • Electric Scooters: Nashville also has electric scooters available for rent. Companies like Bird and Lime operate in the city, allowing you to zip around to various destinations easily.

In terms of whether to use Uber or rent a car, it depends on your specific needs. If you plan to stay within the city and mainly explore downtown and nearby areas, ride-sharing services may be sufficient. However, if you want to venture to the outskirts of Nashville or explore nearby attractions, renting a car could provide more convenience.

Always consider factors like your itinerary, budget, and the convenience of different transportation options when making your decision. Additionally, the time of day and local events may impact traffic and transportation availability.

Best Areas to Stay in Nashville:

  • Downtown:
    • Central location near iconic attractions.
    • Range of hotels from luxury to mid-range.
  • The Gulch:
    • Trendy neighborhood with upscale options.
    • Boutique hotels and modern accommodations.
  • East Nashville:
    • Hip and eclectic with local charm.
    • Unique Airbnbs, guesthouses, and boutique hotels.
  • 12 South:
    • Quaint neighborhood with diverse shops and eateries.
    • Cozy bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and Airbnbs.
  • Midtown/Vanderbilt Area:
    • Mix of residential and commercial spaces.
    • Chain hotels, boutique options, and Airbnb listings.
  • Music Row:
    • Historic area with recording studios.
    • Accommodations include hotels and guesthouses.
  • Airport Area:
    • Convenient for flights with various hotels.

Types of Lodging:

Planning Tips for Nashville Trip:

  • Book Tickets in Advance:
    • Ensure entry to popular attractions by booking tickets online. Popular venues like the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame may have limited availability.
  • Check Local Events:
    • Nashville Guru is a great online resource for checking out current events, restaurants, and attractions in and around the city.
    • Nashville has a vibrant music and cultural scene, so check for concerts, festivals, and special events.
  • Consider the Season:
    • Nashville has distinct seasons, each offering unique experiences. Check the weather and plan accordingly.
    • Spring and fall are particularly pleasant for outdoor activities.
  • Live Music Venues:
    • Explore the diverse live music scene. Broadway and the Gulch are known for their bars and clubs with live performances.
    • Research schedules and artists playing during your visit.
  • Connect with Locals:
    • Engage with locals for recommendations and insights.
    • Social media platforms or local forums can be great resources.
  • Need help planning?
    • Nashville local and owner of Photowalk Nashville, Christy Hunter, has you covered! Book her ‘Plan your trip to Nashville’ experience for a virtual planning experience catered to your interests and needs.

Remember to strike a balance between planned activities and leaving room for spontaneity. Nashville has a lot to offer, so make the most of your trip by being well-prepared and open to new experiences.

Exploring Nashville: Your FAQs Answered!

1. Is there a dress code in downtown Nashville?

Downtown Nashville is generally casual, but it’s versatile enough to accommodate various styles. While most places are laid-back, some upscale venues may have dress codes, so it’s a good idea to check ahead if you plan to visit high-end restaurants or clubs.

2. How many days is enough for Nashville?

Ideally, plan for at least 3-4 days to fully immerse yourself in Nashville’s vibrant culture. This allows time for exploring iconic landmarks, enjoying live music, and experiencing the diverse neighborhoods. However, even a shorter stay can offer a taste of the city’s unique charm.

3. Is it worth going to Nashville during the week?

Absolutely! Nashville’s entertainment scene thrives throughout the week. While weekends may see larger crowds, weekdays offer a more laid-back experience with the chance to discover hidden gems. Many live music venues and restaurants feature performances every night.

4. What time of year is best to visit Nashville?

Spring and fall are considered the best times to visit Nashville. The weather is mild, and outdoor events and festivals are plentiful. Summer can be hot, but it’s also festival season. Winter is quieter, but you can still enjoy the city’s indoor attractions.

5. What is the weather like in Nashville?

Nashville experiences all four seasons. Summers are warm and can be humid, while winters are cool but mild. Spring and fall offer pleasant temperatures. Check the weather forecast before your trip to pack accordingly, especially if you plan to explore outdoor attractions.

6. What are some insider tips for exploring Nashville neighborhoods and experiencing the local culture?

  • Venture Beyond Broadway: While Broadway is iconic, explore neighborhoods like East Nashville, 12 South, and The Gulch for a more local and diverse experience.
  • Local Eateries: Try hot chicken, a Nashville specialty, and explore food markets like the Nashville Farmers’ Market for a taste of local flavors.
  • Live Music Gems: Don’t limit yourself to downtown venues. Explore smaller, intimate spots for authentic live performances.
  • Meet Locals: Strike up conversations with locals. They often have the best recommendations for hidden gems and lesser-known attractions.
  • Explore Murals: Nashville is known for its vibrant street art. Take a mural tour with Photowalk Nashville to discover unique pieces throughout the city.

We hope that this Nashville itinerary has made your trip planning to Music City a breeze! It is never too early to start planning your vacation to Nashville! Start making your reservations now. Be sure to take advantage of Christy Hunter and her Nashville planning services at Photowalk Nashville by reaching out to info@photowalknashville.com

Embark on a one-of-a-kind Photowalk adventure with Photowalk Nashville! Immerse yourself in the vibrant streets, capture iconic murals, and uncover the hidden gems of Music City. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a couple seeking unique memories, or a group of friends on a getaway, our professional photographers will guide you through Nashville’s most picturesque spots, providing insider insights and local recommendations along the way. Book your Photowalk tour now for an unforgettable visual journey through the heart and soul of Nashville. Let’s capture the magic together!

December 27, 2023

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