There are many types of people that come to Nashville. There are those that are attracted to the city’s rich history, old buildings, and informative museums. There are people who come here for unique experiences and opportunities for adventure. Then, of course, there are the music lovers, from which this city got its moniker — The Music City.
It’s known that Nashville has a seemingly endless amount of exciting activities and attractions for all types of people, but what happens when you find yourself in Nashville for only 24 hours?
It can be overwhelming attempting to sift through all of the hundreds of suggestions online, but luckily we made it easy for you — below are seven possible itineraries categorized by activity type.
Table Of Contents
- First-Time/Must-See Itinerary
- Indoors-Only Itinerary
- Music & Shows Itinerary
- Active & Adventurous Itinerary
- Unique & Weird Itinerary
- Foodie Itinerary
- History Lovers Itinerary
Everyone’s got an opinion of what the true Nashville experience looks like, but if you were to go with every single suggestion offered to you by locals, you would never be able to get to every single one before the day ended.
Luckily for you, we picked the best ones for you to see and experience for yourself.
Tour The Parthenon and Centennial Park
This is often one of the first spots locals will take their out-of-town friends to. Nashville’s Parthenon is a true-to-life replica of The Parthenon in Greece.
Unlike The Parthenon in Greece, you’re allowed to go inside the building, where you’ll find a breathtaking collection of paintings and artwork, and an enormous statue of Athena.
Outside The Parthenon is Centennial Park, a beautifully landscaped park where you can stretch your legs and view the amazing structure from the outside.
Get lunch at Prince’s Chicken
If it’s your first time in Nashville and you have to choose one restaurant to represent Nashville’s food scene, Prince’s Chicken is the place to go. Nashville hot chicken is possibly the city's most recognizable dish. It’s a fried piece of chicken, coated in hot sauce, and usually served with two sides and a piece of bread or a bun.
Prince’s chicken holds the claim to the very first recipe for Nashville hot chicken and they have been serving it for almost 100 years. If you can’t handle the heat, don’t sweat! Prince’s has a heat index ranging from plain to XXXHOT.
Check out RCA Studios
RCA Studios is practically the birthplace of Nashville’s music scene and is a must-see if you’re truly trying to get the full Nashville experience. This is where Elvis Pressley, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and many more musicians recorded their very first albums.
Sign up for a tour through The Country Music Hall of Fame; you will meet them at the Hall of Fame location, and be taken to the studio via shuttle, and be given an informative presentation of the magical history of Nashville’s music history.
Get a beer at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a dive bar located next to The Ryman Auditorium. It’s a great place to end the evening, with a beer, and likely, a live show from one of Nashville’s most talented local artists.
But the hidden gem of this establishment is the Wall of Fame. You’ll see signed headshots from Tootsie’s most well-known patrons, such as Willie Nelson and Taylor Swift.
If you still feel like you need to experience a little more of what Nashville has to offer in the short amount of time that you have with us, simply walk a block from Tootsie’s to Music Row where you’re sure to find a quintessential Nashville evening.
You only had one day to experience Nashville and of course — it’s raining. The good news is that Nashville has more than enough exciting indoor experiences that can keep you occupied until you leave town. Here’s what your day will look like:
Get a cappuccino at Ugly Mugs
Nothing like a hot cup of coffee or tea on a rainy morning. Start your day off right at one of Nashville’s most popular cafes.
Ugly Mugs has a fantastic selection of drip coffee, espresso, and teas to help take the edge off of an early morning after a late flight. They also have a delicious selection of food and snacks available, and a store with take-home beans, t-shirts, mugs, and more!
See a movie at The Belcourt Theatre
The Belcourt Theatre is an independent movie theatre, art gallery, and event space. They typically show films not often played at more mainstream theatres, but they also show beloved classics.
See a matinee, or catch a late show. When the movie’s over, tour the gallery to get a feel of the area's local art scene.
Tour The Country Music Hall of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame is one of Nashville’s biggest attractions — luckily, a little bad weather won’t prevent you from seeing it in person.
The building itself is part of the fun, with its wackily shaped architecture, and piano key siding. Inside, you’ll find exhibits and artifacts from country music’s most historic artists like Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings, to more current artists like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.
Enjoy the stories of those who built country music through Nashville’s recording infrastructure.
Get a nightcap at The Wildhorse Saloon
If you’re in need of a little merriment before heading back to the hotel room for some shut-eye, look no further than The Wildhorse Saloon, one of Nashville’s most legendary bars.
Not only does The Wildhorse Saloon offer amazing drinks, they also offer free line dancing lessons on certain nights, so you can burn off the rest of your energy before heading to bed. They also offer live music and a full food menu that should not be overlooked.
Music & Shows Itinerary
If there’s a single reason someone is traveling to Nashville, chances are that reason is music.
As a music lover, there are simply too many live show opportunities to list, but if you plan your time right, you’ll be able to fit in four amazing shows in the limited time that you have in Nashville.
Grab a cup of coffee or brunch at The Listening Room Cafe
f you’re looking to start your day off right with a good cup of coffee, a delicious brunch, and some light music, The Listening Room Cafe is a solid choice.
Their coffee has raving reviews on Google, and food options are next level. Try the biscuits and gravy or hashbrowns casserole — they’re amazing. If you get there around 12:00 pm, admission to the show is usually free.
See a show at The Station Inn
When you’re finished at brunch, make your way to The Station Inn (only about a 20-minute walk away) where you’ll likely find another early show (or two) to fill up the afternoon. The Station Inn is a legendary bluegrass venue, where you’ll find popular pickers, as well as amateurs looking to break into the bluegrass scene.
If you enjoy your time there, be sure to check out the gift shop before heading out, and take home a t-shirt or coffee mug as a souvenir.
Get dinner at Puckett’s
In addition to being one of the most popular barbeque spots in the region, Puckett’s also has a reputation for being a fantastic place to catch a show.
Get some pulled pork, smoked bologna, or catfish, and then tune in to a live show from one or several of Nashville’s talented musical artists. Music starts at 7:00 pm and is booked every day of the week except Sunday.
See a show at The Bridgestone Arena
To finish off a full day of music, what better way than to do it with a bang! The Bridgestone Arena is Nashville’s biggest music venue, you don’t want to pass up the opportunity to see huge names like Billy Strings, Carrie Underwood, and John Mayer.
Active & Adventurous Itinerary
For those of us that are the active, adventurous type, it can be hard to stop moving and exploring new experiences — even in a short 24-hour period. If you’re looking for fun, exciting, activities that will also keep your heart rate up, see the list below.
Try and escape the room
Nashville’s escape room scene is unparalleled and absolutely falls under the more adventurous activities.
For those unfamiliar with escape rooms, the concept is pretty simple: it’s basically a live-action strategy video game. You will be locked in an exciting, fun-themed room (or several rooms) with your teammates where you will use clues around the room to try and find the pathway to the exit.
Nashville has over ten rooms to choose from and they’re all amazing.
Break a sweat at Centennial Sportsplex
Centennial Sportsplex is a great way to burn off some energy and try your skill level in several different sports and activities all under one roof. They offer ice skating, weight lifting, aerobics, swimming, track, and many more! If you have a little extra time, maybe check out one of the many classes that they offer such as yoga, or Zumba!
Blow off some steam at Bad Axe Throwing
There are plenty of bars for the average person to get a drink in Nashville, but you’re not the average person! For those looking to grab a drink but also blow off some steam, try Bad Axe Throwing, Nashville’s premier axe-throwing bar!
There are no reservations required, and they offer an expansive drink menu and occasional live music events. After breaking a sweat, cool off on their on-site patio.
Get a bite and tee off at Top Golf
If you enjoy the game of golf, then you should try it in this popular new format! Top Golf is a fun combination of interactive technology and the classic sport of golf. Each game is equipped with sensors that track your score, but unlike the classic version of golf, Top Golf is mostly stationary, so there’s no need for a caddy!
By now your busy, activity-filled day has likely caught up with you, and you’ll need to replenish your calories. Luckily for you, that can easily be accomplished at Top Golf with their in-house restaurant and bar!
Unique & Weird Itinerary
We all have a friend that’s a little bit of an oddball. If you don’t have a friend like that, chances are you might be the oddball friend. That’s okay though because we have the perfect day planned for you for your short time in Nashville!
Hit Pfunky Griddle for breakfast
Nashville has many unique diners and eating experiences, but it’s hard to beat Pfunky Griddle for an outside-the-box breakfast. Pfunky Griddle is a diner, but here’s the twist — you have the option of making the food! Your table will be a hibachi-style flat top, and you’ll be given a menu of things that you can either cook yourself or have cooked in front of you by a cook.
Customer-cooked options include eggs any style, grilled cheese, and pancakes (these are Pfunky Griddle’s specialty).
Tour Woodlawn Cemetary
Some people might look at you a little strange if you decided to walk around a cemetery while on vacation — but we get it!
However, it’s important to note that Woodlawn Cemetary isn’t your average cemetery — it’s the resting place of some incredibly famous celebrities, civil rights leaders, writers, artists, and musicians.
Stroll the beautifully landscaped grounds, and pay your respects to people such as Miles Davis, George Jones, and Robert Moses.
See a show at The Caverns
The Caverns may be the strangest venue in the Nashville area, so if you’re looking for a unique music experience, this is the place to go.
The Caverns is literally a music venue in an underground cave. They have a full bar, and an amazing stage booked with fantastic bands from the Nashville music scene. They also offer tours of the caves and camping experiences.
Sign up for The Murder in Music City Tour
If you’re into true crime, the paranormal, and eclectic guided tours, The Murder in Music City Tour, curated by the Nashville Ghost Tours group, is the perfect way to spend an evening in Nashville.
You’ll be taken through the downtown area on a guided walking tour explaining the tragic murders, strange local occurrences, stories about organized crime, corruption, mayhem, and more!
There’s nothing wrong with making your Nashville experience all about the local food scene, especially with the limited time that you have here! Nashville is often described as a “foodie town,” and there’s a good reason for that — there are great places to eat everywhere!
Breakfast: Biscuit Love
Where you decide to eat the most important meal of the day can be a tough decision, but in Nashville, the decision is pretty easy.
This breakfast spot has all of the amazing Southern breakfast classics you would expect, but with a unique twist, and served lovingly with a homemade biscuit. If you’re looking for hot chicken, this a good place to snag it, or try another Southern staple, shrimp and grits!
It can be hard to find fancy, creatively designed, unique food at lunchtime, but you can assuredly find it at Etch. The Executive Chef and award-winner, Deb Paquette, is a world-renowned food artist who lovingly designs incredible plates for the Nashville public.
Menu items rotate, but you can expect to find delicious meals such as unique craft salads, Argentinian beef tenderloin, and Italian sausage capellini pasta. Reservations are required.
Dinner: Catbird Seat
The Catbird Seat is best described as “artistic dining,” meaning you will likely have a hard time eating your food because it’s designed to be incredibly visually appealing.
If you’re able to secure a reservation, you will be seated in a uniquely designed open-kitchen dining area where you will be able to watch your chefs painstakingly craft ten to eighteen different courses.
Every reservation time slot is unique and is carefully prepared ahead of time, so you won’t be able to pick from a menu as you typically would in a restaurant. For this reason, it’s a good idea to view the frequently asked questions so that you know what to expect.
If you’d like to indulge your sweet tooth after a delicious dinner, head to Mattheesson’s, a legendary establishment in downtown Nashville for a wide variety of quality dessert items such as homemade cookies, fudge, and ice cream.
They are particularly well-known for their key lime pie, which comes in traditional, or on a stick and chocolate-dipped!
History Lovers Itinerary
Lastly, there are those of us who are obsessed with the tides of history, and you couldn’t really get a better location than Nashville for a view of the past. Here you can find Civil War sites, award-winning museums, and historical monuments that will make any history-lover swoon with delight!
Get Breakfast or Lunch at Vallero’s
History lovers have got to eat at some point. So what better place to get a bite and fuel up before a big day of site-seeing than Tennesee’s oldest restaurant, Vallero’s?
Vallero’s is most well-known for its chili, which they have been serving for over a century, but you can find an amazing breakfast spread as well, including biscuits and gravy, eggs any style, and breakfast bowls.
Tour Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Start your day of history sightseeing strong by visiting Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home outside of The White House, as well as his final resting place.
You will be taken on an in-depth tour of the grounds and buildings, as well as the cemetery, and be given a comprehensive guide through the story of the United State’s seventh president.
Browse The Tennesee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum is a must-see museum for those looking for a full understanding of Tennessee’s full history as a state and territory.
You will be given a full view of every major moment, including settlement, Civil War, and reconstruction, as well as insight into how Tennessee functions as a government entity. Sign up for a tour, or go at your own pace!
See The Ryman Auditorium
To top off your day of sightseeing, stop by The Ryman Auditorium, the historical home of one of Nashville’s most well-known establishments, The Grand Ole Opry.
You’ll learn the history of Nashville’s establishment as The Music City, and if you come at the right time, you might also get lucky enough to catch a show!