Pack your cowgirl hat, your walking shoes, your ear for toe-tapping music, and your appetite for mouthwatering food. From country music to hot chicken to world-class arts, Nashville has it all. Discover must-see landmarks, learn how to get around, and find the perfect place to stay in Music City.

Your Nashville Itinerary

From early morning to late night, Nashville has so much to offer. Here’s how to make the most of Music City’s myriad attractions and where to find Nashville’s coolest landmarks.

Western covered wagon state museum
A Western Covered Wagon in the Tennessee State Museum.

Morning: Fuel Up for an Action-Packed Day

If you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee, you’re in luck. Nashville has tons of cute coffee shops specializing in espresso drinks, pour overs, and caffeinated beverages just the way you like them.

In the center of town, kick off your day at Pinewood Social, a cavernous coffee shop that doubles as a co-working space during the day and effortlessly turns into a bar and bowling alley in the evening. Keep it light with a seasonal espresso and some avocado toast or do it up with a hot chai and a sunny side egg with smoked short ribs and hash browns. Don’t hesitate to pull out your laptop or tablet to map out your day, either.

For a high-end cup of coffee, swing over to Barista Parlor. This East Nashville hotspot is on the radar of most serious coffee fans, and it’s the perfect place to nurse a pour over and enjoy a pastry while keeping things as local as possible.

Noon: Delve Into Nashville’s Musical History

Nashville is known as Music City for good reason. Once you’ve had your fill of caffeine, you’ll want to take a tour of the city’s most prominent musical landmarks.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the perfect place to start, as it’s packed with multimedia exhibits that are sure to get your toes tapping. Tour the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash exhibit to learn how the legend of Music City started and pay homage to some of the greats in the Loretta Lynn and Shania Twain exhibits. Pick out your favorites among the many stage costumes on display, and sing along to the countless country music recordings.

Next, visit the Johnny Cash Museum to learn more about the Man in Black or tour RCA Studio B to set foot in the studio where country music and rock and roll greats recorded over 1,000 hit songs. If you’re a true country music fan, you’ll also want to visit the Ryman Auditorium, better known as the Mother Church of Country Music, and host to countless Grand Ole Opry shows over the decades.

Don’t forget to schedule a brief stop at Hatch Show Print, either. This spot has cranked out show posters for over 125 years, and it’s the ideal spot to pick up a unique Nashville souvenir featuring some of your country music faves.

The hermitage
The Hermitage in Nashville.

Afternoon: Explore Music City’s Southern Past

Music may be the main attraction in Nashville, but you’ll also want to dig into the city’s compelling Southern past. The best place to explore your inner Southern belle is at Belle Meade Plantation, which is perched on the southwestern edge of the city. This gorgeous spot dates back to 1807 and features a beautiful Victorian mansion, centuries of conflicted history to discover, and 34 acres of gardens to explore.

To soak up even more Tennessee history, make your way to The Hermitage, once the home of President Andrew Jackson. Although you can tour the massive mansion and learn about Jackson’s past all year round, be sure to visit in the spring to see the gardens at their prettiest. In the spring, don’t miss your chance to witness The Duel, a Southern experience that’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

For even more beautiful gardens, be sure to swing by Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in southwestern Nashville. Here, you can catch seasonal flower displays, tour historic gardens, and take your selfie game to the next level.

Evening: Get a Table at One of Nashville’s Hottest Restaurants

Nashville’s culinary scene is booming, and this is the perfect place to try bold new interpretations of Southern cuisine. Reserve a table at The Treehouse in hip East Nashville and nosh on the build-your-own duck buns and a house-made ice cream sandwich for dessert.

In Germantown, try out hotspot Henrietta Red, where you’ll want to get the rabbit cassoulet with white runner beans and chicken sausage, along with the banana fluffernutter for dessert. In SoBro, get your barbecue on at Martin’s Bar-B-Que, where you can’t go wrong with a whole hog barbecue tray or a pimento cheese sandwich.

State Capitol
The Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.

Late Night: See a Show and Dance the Night Away

It’s easy to dance off your dinner in Nashville, since there’s no shortage of live music. Head to the city’s legendary Honky-Tonk Highway, where you can slip into dozens of cozy bars, many of which have multiple floors of live music. Be sure to check out famous spots like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the Latin-infused Robert’s Western World.

For even more great music, set your sights on the intimate Bluebird Cafe, where you can snag one of only 90 seats and catch an acoustic country music show every night of the week. If you want to go all out, catch some of the biggest names in country music at the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, or the Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville International Airport Guide

No matter where your journey begins, Nashville International Airport (BNA) offers easy access to the city. With a single terminal and four concourses, this airport is super easy to navigate, especially since all of the concourses are connected and easy to access by foot.

This busy airport welcomes nearly 13 million visitors to Nashville every year, and it’s a popular gateway for airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, and WestJet. With direct connections to cities like Cancun, Charlotte, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Austin, Kansas City, San Francisco, Toronto, and many more, BNA can get you to just about anywhere in North America. You can even fly British Airways from BNA to London starting in May 2018, so it’ll be even easier to hop across the pond to Nashville.

How to Get to and From Nashville International Airport

You’ll have tons of options for getting to and from the airport, whether you’d rather drive yourself or rely on public transit. If you’re planning to rent a car, head to the rental car facility, which is a short walk from the main terminal. Pick up a car from Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, or your preferred rental car company, and downtown Nashville is a 10-minute drive away.

If you’d rather let someone else do the driving, grab a taxi right outside the arrivals area. Average fares to downtown Nashville are $30 plus tip. You can also take the Nashville Metro Transit Authority (MTA) bus 18 to and from the airport for only $1.70. This airport express bus makes the trip from downtown Nashville to the airport in just 20 minutes.

John seigenthaler pedestrian bridge
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.

What to Do at Nashville International Airport

Anticipating having a little extra time on your hands at BNA? There’s plenty to do here, whether you feel like taking a long walk, grabbing a bite to eat, or seeing some art. Take a stroll through the concourses, and you’ll spot over 200 original works of art, ranging from paintings to sculptures. Keep an eye out for temporary exhibitions with themes based on local events like the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, too.

Can’t get enough of Nashville’s music scene? Catch a live performance at one of the six performance spaces located throughout the airport. You can check the schedule ahead of time to make sure you time your visit right, or try your luck and stumble upon a performance by your favorite new band.

Whether you’re coming or going, you’ll also find tons of places to grab a bite to eat at the airport. Get a burrito topped with plenty of fresh salsa at Blue Coast Burrito, nosh on barbecue nachos at Neely’s Bar-B-Que, or dig into a meat-and-three at Swett’s. Quench your thirst with a local brew from Tennessee Brew Works or sing along to your favorite country tunes at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. BNA makes it easy to keep the party going, as you can sip drinks throughout the airport.

Alternatives to Nashville International Airport

While BNA is definitely your most convenient gateway to the city, you could also fly into McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS), which is east of the city. This eastern Tennessee airport hosts airlines like Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, and it serves destinations like Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, and Washington, D.C.

While TYS a 2.5-hour drive away from Nashville, it’s located just minutes from Knoxville, Tennessee. That makes it an ideal starting point for a road trip through Tennessee, as you’d easily be able to check out destinations like the Great Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga, and Knoxville before arriving in Nashville.

Where to Stay in Nashville

Whether you want to stay in the heart of the action or you’d rather have a little peace and quiet, it’s easy to find the ideal place to stay in Music City. Check out the best hotels, hostels, and private rentals in Nashville.

Top Hotels in Nashville

From well-appointed chain hotels to cozy boutiques, Nashville’s best hotels are sure to exceed your expectations. Want to treat your crew to an upscale stay at one of the city’s most luxurious chain hotels? Book your getaway at the Westin Nashville, which has an amazing spa and is within a 10-minute walk of all the major attractions, or at the Omni Nashville, which has a great outdoor pool and is basically located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

If you’d rather relax at a smaller spot, check out the Union Station Hotel, which is situated inside the city’s former train station, a Gothic masterpiece with tons of character. For a great contemporary stay, try the Hutton Hotel, a splashy spot that’s minutes from Music Row and Vanderbilt University. For a serious splurge, you can’t go wrong at the Hermitage Hotel, a swanky spot that offers super comfy beds, an excellent spa, and plenty of gold decor throughout.

Percy priest
The Percy Priest Lake in Nashville.

Best Hostels in Nashville

Whether you want to save a few bucks or you want to stay in the middle of a buzzing social scene, Nashville’s hostels deliver. True to its name, the Nashville Downtown Hostel is nestled in the heart of downtown, just a block from Broadway. In addition to its stellar location, this large hostel is big enough to sleep your whole crew in private or dorm-style rooms, some of which have en suite bathrooms. You can even sip the hostel’s free coffee or tea while using the complimentary Wi-Fi to plan your day or while chatting with fellow visitors.

In Midtown Nashville, the Music City Hostel is within walking distance of both downtown and Vanderbilt University. You’ll feel right at home in this cozy spot, which has two-bedroom rentals with kitchens that are perfect for groups. Here, you can chill out in the community garden, use the barbecue grills to prepare a feast for your crew, and mingle with other guests.

Coolest Private Rentals in Nashville

Sometimes the best part about visiting a city is pretending you’re a local. When you book a private rental for your crew, it’s easy to feel like a local in Nashville.

If you want to hear country music wafting in your windows from the nearby honky-tonks, book a condo in downtown Nashville near Lower Broadway. Book a cute spot in East Nashville to base yourself in one of the hippest up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city, or stay in 12 South, where you can relax in a chilled-out community that’s filled with parks and coffee shops.

Whether you’re in town for the amazing food, the legendary music, or the awesome cultural attractions, Nashville doesn’t disappoint. Plan the ultimate Nashville getaway on GoDoTrip and experience the best of Music City.