Nashville, the capital city of the state of Tennessee in the United States of America, is well-known as a centre for music, publishing, healthcare, transportation to name a few. Of all these, music is what takes the centre stage, because you will find a lot of spots in Nashville that point to the art of music, be it museums, be it shows, they are all connected! So, here is a list of the best things to do when you are in Nashville, Tennessee.
1. The Johnny Cash Museum
Love Johnny Cash – his songs or his acting? Then you must visit the Johnny Cash Museum in Portland. The museum is open seven days of the week, entry fees USD 18 for adults, there are discounts for certain categories, take your ID card along! The man is brought to life in the form of his music, the things he used, artifacts that scream out Johnny Cash! The Museum is open every day from 9 am to 7 pm. So what is your favourite Johnny Cash song?
2. Grand Ole Opry
If you love music, especially country music, you must make a visit to the Grand Ole Opry and watch a show. You are lucky because there are country-music stage shows held on a weekly basis. The Ryman Auditorium housed the Grand Ole Opry until 1974, but due to various reasons including disrepair, the venue was shifted. This show is said to be what made country music more popular; now that is a genuinely perfect statement.
3. Belle Meade Plantation
A historic mansion that now functions as a museum, weddings take place on the grounds of this estate. This plantation is famous for its Greek-styled architecture, the entry fee of USD 40 you might think is quite steep for three historic spots but the experience is well-worth it. You get the chance to taste wine at the winery, and there is even a dairy, a stable and a carriage house apart from a few other interesting things. Immerse yourself in a bit of history at Belle Meade Plantation.
No, this one is not in Athens but our very own Nashville, Tennessee. If you happen to be at the Centennial Park in Nashville, you must not miss the full-scale replica of the Parthenon that you may have seen or heard of in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon is a Museum of American Art and the centre focal point at the Centennial Park. People who have been here already can vouch for it as a stunning building with great history.
5. Centennial Park
The Centennial Park is an urban park located in downtown, is among the “must-see” spots in Nashville. A typical recreation park with its share of exercise trails, dogs park, museum and garden. Kids will totally love this green space which is lacking in many other countries. The Parthenon (discussed above) is the highlight of the Centennial Park. This park is run by a non-profit organisation and needless to say it has been very well-maintained. There is a lake Wautaga that you must not miss. There is quite a lot to do and see here in the Centennial Park.
6. Cheekwood Botanical Garden
Beautifully manicured gardens is what will describe best the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. It is said to be the most beautiful place in the city of Nashville, and we are sure nature lovers will agree. There is a Fine Art Museum in this garden that has exhibits of 19th and 20-century artwork. The garden closes on Mondays but open rest of the week from 9 am to 5 pm. Quite an interesting place to visit is what we say!
7. Adventure Science Centre
Want to try your hands at science exhibits? You must head to Adventure Science Centre in Nashville, Tennessee. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the shows at the Planetarium as well as the amazing Laser shows at the Centre. You could choose to be a member here and get yourself free tickets to the Science Centre or if you are not keen on this you could purchase the tickets online or off the counter at USD 18 for the planetarium as well as entry. There are a few other combo packages that might interest you, do check their official website for more information. Loads of activities, lots of interesting stuff to take part in, do try it once!
8. The Hermitage
Wondering what this is? The Hermitage a historical museum as well as a plantation that was the home of the “People’s President” Andrew Jackson. The entry ticket costs USD 20 per adult and includes free access to the mansion, grounds as well as the museum. You could choose to take the guided tour of the mansion as well as a self-tour of the grounds, gardens and the buildings. You can also opt to visit the 1000s of acres of land on the plantation apart from the Andrew Jackson Visitor Centre that houses exhibits about the then President. This centre has been termed one of the finest of all Presidential sites and is a must visit when in Nashville.
9. Tennessee State Museum
Wish to learn more about the history of Tennessee? You must head to the Tennessee State Museum - open on all days of the week except Monday and a few public holidays. What else can make someone go there - it is free of charge! Like with other interesting spots, you can get involved with the Museum management and volunteer, be a member and also learn a lot about history and the many artifacts exhibited here! You can find everything related to Tennessee here - be it art - paintings, sculptures, military related stuff or even stranger displays such as a mummified thumb! Yes, once a year, this strange artifact is put out on display. Interesting! Want to know more? Plan your trip to the museum soon!!
10. Nashville Zoo
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere was originally a plantation house converted to a zoo. The plantation house is still being maintained though. The zoo is open all through the week, the year except for important public holidays. Some words of advice when planning a trip to the zoo - bear in mind the hot and humid weather of Tennessee and wear comfortable clothes like loose cottons. Also, pick up your sun hats, coolers or goggles. Since the visit involves a lot of walking, you could bring your strollers if you have kids in tow or you could rent strollers at the zoo USD 7 for a single stroller. Inside the zoo, you have activities such as animal feeding, carousel rides so be ready to have some fun!
11. Tennessee State Capitol
Home of the Tennessee legislature, the State Capitol is located in Nashville, the capital city of Tennessee. To tour the historic building, you can visit on weekdays from 8 am in the morning to 4 pm. The place is closed on weekends to general public, unfortunately. Entry to the building is free. Also, you could make use of the free guided tours available.
12. Lane Motor Museum
For all those who love automobiles especially ones of European origin. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, open rest of the week. Admission fee of USD 12 per adult applies. The museum collection includes memorabilia, art and automobiles as well. Get to know more about French automotive industry here; it is simply enthralling. You can find anything related to cars that are unique here in the Lane Motor Museum. So, if you think your kids have a spark for automobiles, bring them here. You will see the spark grow manifold!
13. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
This is an urban park located bang in the centre of the city - in downtown Nashville. This is one of the free things to do when you are in Nashville, Tennessee. This state park is very much similar to the Washington DC Capitol Mall, in the sense that there are several memorials, government buildings, fountains (yay, kids will love them), memorials to name a few things on display. There are walking paths all over the park, now here is the surprise - you can pretty easily also get to hike around during the time you are exploring the various walkways, World War memorials, maps, etc. If you are wondering about the events held here, don’t worry, there are quite a lot of free events held all through the year. One interesting place would be the Nashville Farmer’s Market which is right next door to the park.
14. Percy Priest Lake - Anderson Beach
The city of Nashville may be landlocked, far away from the ocean front, but this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a day at the beach! What? Beach? Yes, you read it right! You can now visit the Anderson Beach, which is located on Percy Priest Lake. This place is perfect for swimming, picnicking, sunbathing or just to build a sand castle. You could also do some cliff-jumping here at the lake! Just keep an eye out for bees who seem to be attracted to the picnic tables and, yes, the food!
15. Belcourt Theatre
A not-for-profit venue for music, film, and various performing arts. Every second Saturday of the month, you can treat yourself to a free outdoor movie screening in the parking lot of Belcourt Theatre. So choose what you like - open air movie for free or an indie movie inside a historical location? The list and type of films that are screened in the spacious Belcourt Theatre are simply amazing and well-received by the public.
16. Warner Parks
Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park - these two are together known as the Warner Parks. These are among the two largest public parks in Nashville. These are beautiful and clean places to be, with a lot of outdoor trails. You even have play areas for children and be surprised because you also got organic gardens here! Entry to the park as well as the nature center is free of charge. The Nature centre hosts a lot of classes and programmes all through the year - once again be surprised, these are free of charge as well! Things you can learn can vary from how to identify a butterfly to understanding an eclipse.
17. John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
One of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world - wouldn’t you want to set foot on it? It connects downtown Nashville to residential suburbs of the city. It is one of the best places to walk at night. The river shines while the city glimmers. Lights sparkle on the top, while boats pass below on the Cumberland River.
18. Attend a Concert at Ascend amphitheatre
Ah, yet another open-air venue - this time on the waterfront! Located on the Cumberland river in Nashville, it is set inside the Metro Riverfront Park. You can catch the performances of the likes of Bryan Adams, Alabama Shakes - yeah! This is simply the best venue for a concert - on the riverfront. The amphitheatre can seat more than 6000 people in all forms of seating. This is huge!
18. Stay at Hutton Hotel
A highly upscale eco-conscious hotel right in the heart of the city of Nashville is the place to stay for those who encourage green consciousness. How is this hotel “green”? Here you have it - their interiors - floorings and furnishings are made using bamboo, which is renewable. There are absolutely no incandescent lights in the hotel. They also provide electric-car charging stations. They encourage a linen reuse every day and also use bio-degradable cleaning products. The soaps, shampoos and conditioners are dispensed, so this is another way to reduce plastic waste. Way to go Hutton Hotel!
19. Downtown Presbyterian Church
Built in Egyptian revival theme architecture, this church is a national historic landmark. This church actually resembles an Egyptian temple, whoa! You will be amazed at the architecture and the motifs, simply stunning. The altar will leave you speechless, yeah, it is so majestic in appearance. A must-visit when you are in Nashville
20. Honky Tonk Highway
There is music at every corner of Nashville, need you say anything more about the Honky Tonk Highway. Music is played 365 days of the year! Unbelievable! There are pubs, eateries and music playing all day long! A philly sandwich with fries is a highly recommended eat when you are here, this is crazy! Everything that you hear over here is free, the artists, performers are only paid from the tips that you deposit when you leave, so be generous! Food for the ears and tummies - nowhere but here. This music pilgrimage is referred to as “Honky Tonking.” Have fun!
So, you see friends; we have put together some exciting activities for you to do when you are in Nashville, Tennessee. The activities are both free and paid for (entry charges apply) so choose what you like to do! Have a fun trip!
This article was originally published on Apr 21, 2016
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