Famously known as ‘Music City’, it is no surprise that Nashville is dripping with enough entertainment and history to fascinate most visitors. Whether planning a dedicated trip to this legendary place or passing through on a multi-city road trip, this guide will help you plan an exciting 2 days in Nashville.
As one the largest cities in the Southern US and the capital of Tennessee, Nashville makes for an excellent jump-off point for the region. Not only are there so many things to do in Nashville and the surrounding area, but with places like Memphis and Dollywood only a few hours away, you should have no problem filling your time! More than likely, you’ll find yourself returning for more.
What You Will Find in This Guide
This guide of the best things to do in Nashville is meant to help you plan your 2 Days in Nashville itinerary
Therefore, I’ve focused on the key stuff and included:
Additionally, I’ve added a few bonus ideas should you find yourself with more than 2 days in Nashville!
As always, if you have a question or would like some further insight on something I’ve listed (or haven’t!) in this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here – I’ll do my best to get back quick!
Top Things To Do In Nashville
There is a pretty long list of ways to stay entertained while in Nashville. Below is a curated selection of the top things to do in Nashville to help you make the most of your limited time.
Taste Local Eats on a Food and History Tour
Perhaps the best way to kick off your visit to Nashville is with a food tour. While I wouldn’t suggest the same for most other cities, Nashville is a bit different and here’s why.
Music and entertainment are at the core of its culture and naturally, food and drink is built into that. Not only will a food tour take you to some of the best joints in town, but you will learn about Southern cuisine and the culture of the city. I find food tours not only teach you about food, but also touch on the history of the city around you. Your guide will no doubt be an expert on the coolest places for live music in Nashville, but they’ll also have loads of tips to make the best of your time in Music City.
With all that said, is yummy food not reason enough?
Experience Country Music at the Grand Ole Opry & Ryman Auditorium
The biggest stage in country music, performing at the Grand Ole Opry is a musician’s dream. There is an array of shows you can attend where you’ll witness both famous stars and up-and-coming artists alike.
Seeing a Grand Ole Opry show is a quintessential part of the Nashville experience and a great way to spend one of your evenings on your 2 days in Nashville. While the majority of shows are held at the newer and much larger Grand Ole Opry House, some shows are held at the Ryman Auditorium, the original and much more intimate home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show.
Getting to the Grand Ole Opry House can be a bit of a pain as it is outside of the city centre. If you don’t have a car or don’t want the hassle (don’t drink and drive folks!), there are packages that include a show ticket and a shuttle to and from the venue.
Finally, if there are no shows during your 2 days in Nashville or you’re not keen to see a show, there are still ways to visit the venues. You can book backstage tours of both the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry House.
Discover Nashville’s Black History with United Street Tours
Much of Nashville’s history, food and art is rooted in black culture, which unfortunately is often overlooked. I came across United Street Tours, who offer a variety of experiences covering civil rights, food, street art and music. Their mission is to educate, build bridges and leave you feeling inspired and empowered. Best of all: they are black and woman owned, as well as sustainable!
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame
If you’re a country music fan, the Country Music Hall of Fame is likely already on your list. That said, If you’re not a country music fan – it should still be on your list. Spanning multiple decades, this museum tells the story of country music, right back to its roots. They have some pretty magnificent exhibits on display and 2.5 million artifacts, but be warned: this place is mammoth! There’s a lot to see and do in Nashville, so be careful you don’t spend your whole day here.
If you’re keen to visit RCA Studio B, you can purchase a combo ticket, which is explained in the next blurb.
See Where Legendary Tracks were Recorded at RCA Studio B
If Nashville is Music City, RCA Studio B is the epicentre. Over 35,000 songs, performed by legends such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, have been recorded in this studio. Best of all, you can go right into the room where it all happened!
As mentioned above, you can buy a combined ticket that includes a tour of RCA Studio B and entry to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Additionally, you can add on the Hatch Show Shop for the complete experience.
Take a Break at The Bluebird Cafe
A Nashville institution, The Bluebird Cafe is popular for a few reasons. First, the open mic nights it has hosted throughout the years have seen the discovery of some of the biggest names in music, including Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift. As well, the cafe was featured in the hit show ‘Nashville’, making it a must stop for fans of the show when visiting Music City.
You can sit and enjoy live music with drinks and food at the cafe, but due to its reputation, getting inside for a show can be a bit tricky. They offer tickets via reservation, as well as on a first-come-first-served basis the day of the show. Your best bet is to hop over to The Bluebird Cafe website for the latest info on gaining entry.
Wander the Vibrant Streets of Nashville
While there are many ways to fill your time indoors, Nashville also has a plethora of things to explore outdoors.
The Parthenon is a sight to behold and is a full scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece. Likewise, the State Capitol is also quite stunning.
Around many a corner you’ll find breathtaking Nashville street art. Some of the most loved pieces being the ‘What Lifts You’ & ‘I Believe in Nashville’ murals. United Street Tours, mentioned further above, offer an Urban Street Art tour that is worth checking out. With them, you will see some more unique pieces that grace the city’s walls.
Listen and Dance to Live Music on the Iconic Music Row
If there is something you can’t go home without enjoying in Nashville, it’s live music. While there are an endless number of spots around town where you can listen and dance to bands and solo artists alike, Music Row is the most notable.
The beauty of these places is you can hop from joint to joint, or stick around if you find something you really like. While you’re spoiled for choice, don’t be afraid to ask any of the locals you meet what their favourite spot is. You never know who you might happen upon, maybe even the next big star!
If You Have 3 or 4 Days in Nashville
Now, clearly you can fit A LOT into 2 days in Nashville and leave feeling pretty pleased. That said, should you find you have 3 days in Nashville or better yet, 4 days in Nashville, here are some bonus ideas of how you can squeeze more out of your trip.
Learn Plantation History on one of many Day Trips from Nashville
Along with its beautiful history, Tennessee and the South have some pretty dark history as well. Outside the city you will find a number of plantations including Belle Meade and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. You can also learn about the Civil War on a day trip to Lotz House & Carter House.
See Locations of the ‘Nashville‘ TV Show
Personally, I’ve never seen the show ‘Nashville’, but if you’re a fan of the TV show, there is a pretty popular Nashville TV show filming locations tour that takes you around the city and gives you the inside scoop. Similarly, there’s also a Nashville celebrity homes tour, if that’s your thing.
Take a Memphis Day Trip or Make It Your Next Stop
Last but not least: Memphis! Home to Graceland, Sun Studios, Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum, this city does not get the notoriety it deserves. Not only that, it holds the honour of being the birthplace of genres like rock-n-roll and the blues.
Personally, I would suggest making this a separate stop on your road trip as it is a more than 3 hour drive between the two cities, and there is a lot to do once there. Perhaps, you could fly into Nashville and out of Memphis or vice versa. Still, if you only have one day, go for it! And if you don’t want to do the driving, there are multiple Memphis day trips you can book, that give you time for a number of the key stops!
Where To Eat In Nashville
Nashville isn’t just famous for its music scene, it also has mouth watering cuisine to chew into! Delcious eats are around every corner but if you’re stuck for inspiration, here are a few of the best places to eat in Nashville, Tennessee
H&T’s Home Cooking:
If you’re looking for that legendary Southern food and hospitality, H&T’s Home Cooking serves it up on a plate! Mac & Cheese, Turnip Greens, Fried Chicken – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Known for blending classic country and southern rock and roll, Nashville crossroads is right on Honky Tonk Row. Everyone is welcome here and there’s plenty of live music to go around.
Helen’s Hot Chicken:
Getting its start in a roadside trailer, Helen’s Hot Chicken is a must when visiting Nashville. Their tagline, “It’s Hella Hot and Hella Good”, says it all!
Arnold’s Country Kitchen:
A Nashville institution for over 30 years, Arnold’s Country Kitchen is a must stop. Personally, I’m craving the Pulled Pork Tacos, the Fried Catfish Sandwich and some Brisket Nachos. That’s not too much for one, right?!
Fat Bottom Brewing:
This stylish, gutsy brewery has been serving up an array of delicious beers in Nashville since 2012!
Putting a spin on the iconic chicken and waffles, Coneheads makes dinner feel like dessert! They can be convientiently found in East Nashville.
Where To Stay In Nashville
If there is one thing Nashville is not short of, it’s hotels! While there are plenty of the big property chains in the city, I’ve aimed to highlight a few more of the independent hotels. Below is a slimmed down list of my favourite places to stay in Nashville, but you can see the rest of my wishlist of the best hotels in Nashville, here.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center:
If you’re looking for a legendary place to stay, it’s the Gaylord Opryland Resort. You’ll find clean and beautiful rooms, restaurants and bars with live entertainment, a spa and even a waterpark! My only tip is that you don’t spend all your time at the resort – Nashville has so much to offer. They also have a shuttle for getting to the city centre and certain attractions.
This hotel has a Dolly Parton room – need I say more? I adore the fun, vibrant aesthetic of the Graduate Nashville. In addition to being well located and having great rooms, it has a fabulous pool for cooling off on those hot Nashville evenings!
Sonder — State House:
What drew me to Sonder – State House is the chic motel vibe it has going on, perhaps due to Schitt’s Creek fame. The rooms seem a bit more affordable compared to many other places in Nashville and like most places on this list, it is very well located for exploring the city.
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville:
While the rooms are slightly more ‘simple’ then others on this list, sometimes simple is exactly what you need. Magaritaville Hotel Nashville seems very light and bright and there’s a massive pool to lounge by.
Honestly, I think I could live at 506 Lofts in Nashville. Right off a page of Architectural Digest, the spaces are gorgeously designed. You’ll be just a few minutes away from places like the Johnny Cash Museum and if you are a group of people, these lofts have the space in them for more than two people!
The Westin Nashville:
As one of the most luxury, high-end hotel brands out there, The Westin Nashville hardly needs an introduction. This hotel matches its reputation, is right in the centre of it all, and will no doubt serve up an extraordinary stay.
12 South Holiday Home:
A bit of a wildcard on this list is 12 South. While it is located just outside the city, it is an entire house! If you’re travelling as a group and need a bit more room, this could be exactly what you need. Also, if you’re spending more than 2 days in Nashville, this would be a great way to spread out with a bit more space.
Well, that’s a rap on my guide to spending 2 days in Nashville! As you can see, there are an unbelievable amount of things to do, places to visit and food to eat in Nashville and honestly, we’ve barely scratched the surface. While you can comfortably make this a Nashville weekend getaway, there’s plenty to fill 3 days in Nashville or even 5 days in Nashville. Plan your time wisely, arrive with an appetite and make sure you take in as much live music as possible. After-all, they call it Music City for a reason!