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My oldest is almost three years old and my husband and I have never taken a trip with just the two of us since he was born. In May we had the opportunity for a 3-day getaway to Nashville, TN for my husband’s work trip. To say that I was excited was an under statement. A trip away from the kids was long overdue. If you are trying to plan your next trip to Nashville then check out this list of my top 9 things to do in Nashville.

1. Omni Hotel

First, off if you are trying to decide where to stay then consider the Omni hotel. This 23-story building not only offers great views of the city, but also sits in the heart of downtown Nashville. Honky Tonk Row on Broadway is within walking distance and the Omni hotel is connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

We made use of the in house dining at Kitchen Notes and their fitness center. There is also a roof top pool when you want to cool off.

Across the street and adjacent from the Omni hotel is Martin’s BBQ which offers great tasting BBQ. I’m a big fan of BBQ pork and it did not disappoint.

outside martin's BBQ in Nashville

Outside Martin’s BBQ Joint in Downtown Nashville. If you go upstairs they have outdoor bar seating.

2. Country Music Hall of Fame

Like I said the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum is connected to the Omni hotel, which was super convenient. The tour starts off exploring the history of country music and then brings you forward to what country music is today.

Country Music Hall of Fame Museum - 9 Things to Do in Nashville

There is the Taylor Swift Education Center, which offers different creative classes for youth and adults. Within the museum there is a little dedicated space to Taylor Swift.

Whether you love Taylor Swift or hate her you can’t deny that she has made an impact on the music community.

taylor swift education center in downtown nashville
The Country Music Hall of Fame features Taylor Swift within their exhibits

After exploring the museum consider eating at Bajo Sexto Taco, which is within the same building as the museum. Be sure to try their pork nachos. The nachos were a little different than expected coming from Arizona, but they were still good. Be prepared there is a lot of BBQ in Nashville – a meat lover’s paradise.

3. Honky Tonk Row

Nashville after all is the Music City so if you do not visit this stretch of Broadway then you will be missing out on the Nashville experience.

The foot traffic is busy so they have special Diagonal crossing where the lights are red in both directions and everyone can walk across at the same time in whatever direction they want to go.

honky tonk row on broadway in downtown nashville with diagonal crossing - 9 things to do in Nashville

With all the hustle and bustle this strip of road reminds me a little bit of Las Vegas without all the gambling and nudity. There is definitely a certain energy as you walk down Broadway and pass by the different bars and food venues which are filled with the sound of live music day and night. 

Another thing Nashville has in common with Vegas is there are a lot of Bachelorette parties going on. As you stroll around Nashville you will see pedal taverns. Listen to music, drink, pedal away and have a good time.

While you are visiting Honky Tonk Row don’t forget to take a detour on 3rd Ave and grab yourself a Goo Goo Cluster.

downtown nashville goo goo cluster - 9 things to do in Nashville

This delicious treat is filled with milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat. The first Goo Goo Cluster was originally crafted in 1912 and was made famous by combining more than one ingredient together.  

They offer a few flavor options, but I would definitely stick with the original.

Across the street from Goo Goo Cluster is the Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline museum for Country Music enthusiasts.

4. Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, The Grand Ole Opry was a show known as WSM that was broadcasted by radio. This show featured various music acts over the years. It’s present home is in the Grand Ole Opry House.

Confession I don’t listen to a lot of country music. My husband and I decided to not take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium for this trip, but I wanted to mention it here because it is an important part of Nashville’s history.

ryman auditorium downtown nashville - 9 things to do in nashville
Standing in front of the Ryman Auditorium which was home to the Grand Ole Opry

5. John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

The John Seigenthaler walking bridge is not too far from Broadway and Honky Tonk Row and it offers great views of Nashville’s skyline. This bridge crosses over the Cumberland River and connects East Nashville to downtown.

pedestrian walking bridge in nashville - 9 things to do in nashville
View from the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian bridge overlooking the Cumberland River

Check out City Walking Guides self guided walking tour to help you learn the history and explore Nashville better.

view from nashville's walking bridge over cumberland river - 9 things to do in nashville
There is a great view of Downtown Nashville from the bridge

6. The Gulch

We weren’t aware of this part of town in Nashville until we took a Lyft to get to one of our destinations.

One thing about visiting a city is you do the tourist thing but you don’t really interact with people. When you take a Lyft it forces you in a situation to make small talk and you might actually meet some cool people and learn something about the city from a local.

One of our drivers asked what our plans were for the rest of the trip and seemed a little disappointed in our answer so she took it upon herself to take a slight detour and showed us “The Gulch”. The Gulch is a district in Nashville that is up and coming with shops and great places to eat.

the gulch in downtown nashville - 9 things to do in nashville

My husband wanted to eat at Biscuit Love, which has great reviews but there was a long line. In honestly I was hungry and tired and there was no way I was going to stand in a 45 minute line so we walked across the street to Burger Republic and got right in.

donut holes at Burger Republic - 9 things to do in Nashville

I had some delicious sliders and finished the meal with some yummy donut holes. 

While at the Gulch make sure you take a picture at the Instagram photo worthy wings.

the gulch in downtown Nashville - 9 things to do in Nashville

7. Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Cafe is a listening room where artists come and perform. Because it is considered a listening room you are not suppose to talk during the performance.

I think the Bluebird Cafe gained a new popularity since it was featured on the Nashville tv show (let’s be honest that’s how I heard about it). If you want to get tickets you definitely need to plan ahead.

bluebird cafe in Nashville, TN - 9 things to do in Nashville
In Front of the Bluebird Cafe waiting for the doors to open

How to get tickets to the Bluebird Cafe

All reservations must be done online and in advanced. They do have some first come first seating for those who want to chance waiting in line, but it is limited. Some shows have a fee otherwise there is a $10 minimum order per person since after all it is a food establishment.

Check out their website in advanced to determine the show you want to go to.

Each day of the week is different and will dictate when you need to make a reservation.

  • Monday: you can reserve tickets starting at 12pm for the 6PM open mic show and it is first come first serve for the 9:30 Mike Henderson Band show.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday you can reserve your tickets starting a week in advance 8 AM CST
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can reserve your tickets starting the Monday before at 8 AM CST

Here are their directions for how to make a reservation for the Bluebird Cafe.

Make sure you are on their website before 8 AM CST. At that time you will be randomly put in line and wait your turn for a chance to get tickets. The venue is small and tickets go fast. What I recommend is having more than one person online for more chances. My husband did it and I tried and he got connected right away and I was in line for 30 minutes to then find that the show was already sold out.

The performance we went to was In The Row with Stevie C., Jeff Anderson, Karleen Watt and Aubryn. It was a cool experience to see them play live in the intimate setting.

In the Row performance at Bluebird Cafe Nashville
Stevie C. (left) was a master guitarist and Aubryn (2nd from the left) had powerful vocals.

8. Madame Tussauds Wax Figure Museum

If you want to get out of downtown Nashville then Madame Tussauds Wax Figure Museum is a great option. The exhibit first takes you through the history of music features many iconic country stars. It progresses to some of your favorite modern-day stars.

Madame Tussaud's was museum Nashville
Little Jimmy Dickens – portrayed from the 1950s
Madame Tussaud's Wax Figure Museum in Nashville - 9 things to do in Nashville
Iconic picture of the Beatles walking
Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Nashville with Taylor Swift wax figure
My personal favorite Taylor Swift

Random anecdote: For Christmas last year I got Taylor Swift tickets to go see her Reputation tour. I have always wanted to see her in concert so I was excited.  Her concert in Glendale, AZ broke the stadium record for attendance. I think it is funny because a couple years before that stadium held the Super Bowl. A Taylor Swift concert had more attendance than the Super Bowl!

Madame Tussaud's wax figures museum in Nashville - Deacon Clayborne
Madame Tussaud's Wax figure of Deacon Clayborne from Nashville TV show

I already mentioned that the Bluebird cafe in recent years has been made popular by the Nashville TV show so we can’t forget Deacon Clayborne a character from the show. I’m sure as an actor it is a great honor to have your work be important enough that a wax figure is created of you to be featured among many of the greats in country music.

9. Parthenon at Centennial park

Last on my list is the Parthenon at Centennial Park. This structure was built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial exposition and stands as a replica of the Parthenon from Athens, Greece. 

nashville's Parthenon at Centennial park - 9 things to do in Nashville
Parthenon at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN

It was definitely an impressive structure and you can take a tour inside to see the replica of the statue of Athena and Nashville’s art museum.

While we were there it seemed like there was a lot of people on their phone. We asked someone and apparently it was a community day for Pokemon Go which means it is easier to catch some of the rarer Pokemon. There was a lot of Pokemon enthusiast there at the park that day. 

Nashville is a great place to visit

Now it is your turn to start planning your trip to Nashville!

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9 things to do in Nashville TN for your next Getaway