I’m really excited to interview Kate Dore of Cashville Skyline about my new hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Kate’s tips for the best things to do in Nashville are awesome because they are so diverse and come from someone who really knows and understands both the local music scene and all of the best foodie options.
When Anna and I first visited Nashville in January 2018, we absolutely fell in love with the city and its people. We just knew that, when the right opportunity presented itself, this is where we wanted to live. Who knew that we would actually move to Nashville in July 2018!
Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the United States. Local people mention that the population is growing by 100 people per day! And, once you visit, you’ll quickly understand why people who love music (whether to play or just listen) are so in love with Nashville.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Music City, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests. When we visited for the first time, we saved over 50% with the Nashville Total Access Pass on some of the most popular attractions.
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Best things to do in Nashville
Here are some of the best things to do in Nashville according to our local expert, Kate Dore. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and places I’ve visited.
- Centennial Park (reviews) – a large urban park about 2 miles west of downtown. It’s filled with plenty of activities all year and some great attractions like the Parthenon are located inside the park.
- Country Music Hall of Fame (reviews) – located in the heart of downtown. One of the most interesting things I learned was why Nashville is the heart of country music. Hint: it’s the geography.
- Cummins Falls State Park (reviews) – located about 90 minutes from Nashville. You’ll want to bring your comfy shoes and a bathing suit to fully enjoy Cummins Falls, which is about a one mile hike from where you park.
- Exit / In (reviews) – Live music, including Kate’s favorite moment (see below).
- Grand Ole Opry (reviews) – a weekly country music stage concert. It was founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio “barn dance” on WSM. I’m not a big fan of country music, but this is still something to experience.
- Grimey’s New & Pre-Loved Music – live music and vinyl records.
- Live on the Green (reviews) – a live music series on Thursday nights.
- Musician’s Corner (reviews) – in Centennial Park.
- Nashville Predators NHL hockey – Nashville may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think about hockey, but this city absolutely loves their Predators.
- Schermerhorn Symphony Center (reviews) – the building hosts a wide range of musical events, including classical, pops, jazz, and world music. It is highly recommend by Kate to catch a live performance here.
- The 5 Spot (reviews) – Kate highly recommends you check this place out for live music.
- The Basement (reviews) – another great place for local music.
- The Groove – another great place for music in East Nashville.
- The Hermitage (reviews) – a historic plantation and museum that was owned by President Andrew Jackson. It is 10 miles east of downtown.
- The Johnny Cash Museum (reviews) – when you visit Music City, you need to pay respects to the “man in black.”
- The Parthenon (reviews) – it is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
- Third Man Records (reviews) – Jack White’s record label.
- Wedgewood Houston Art Crawl – a free monthly art walk that is named the “best renegade art crawl” by the Nashville Scene. Happens the first Saturday of every month starting at 6 pm.
If you can schedule your visit to Nashville for April, you’ll want to be here for Record Store Day. You can see live shows and many local record stores have special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products that are made exclusively for the day.
Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Nashville that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Nashville.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Nashville
When you’re in Nashville, there are so many excellent places to eat. When you’re in the South, BBQ is always on the list, but Nashville is also the home of “Nashville Hot Chicken” so you absolutely must try it during your visit. But, Nashville is also quite a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and there is plenty of ethnic cuisines that should be on your list of the best places to eat in Nashville.
- Amy’s Ethiopian (reviews)- delicious coffees and decadent desserts pay homage to Ethiopia and Italy. There’s a weekly vegan buffet every Friday night from 5 pm to 9 pm.
- Bangkokville (reviews) – Thai cuisine in Antioch.
- Donato’s Pizza (reviews) – excellent pizza in the heart of Downtown.
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- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken (reviews) – one of the most popular places in downtown Nashville for tourists to try. Kate says she prefers the original, Prince’s Hot Chicken.
- Little Kurdistan – Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population (over 15,000) in North America. Check out the baklava at Newroz Market. Also great places for fresh breads and shwarma.
- Prince’s Hot Chicken (reviews) – what started out as a way to punish her boyfriend (Thorton Prince) for his infidelity, turned into the signature dish of Nashville. Thorton’s great-niece, Ms. Andre Prince Jeffries, is now the owner.
- TailGate Brewery (reviews) – they have 3 of my favorite things – pizza, beer, and live music. And they do them all well. Make sure you order the Garlic Knockers… simply amazing! They have 3 locations to choose from, with each brewing different craft brews on site.
- The Family Wash – a laundromat that turned into a restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, it has closed.
The InterNASHional Food Crawl is an annual event that is held in August. It allows you to “explore international restaurants and markets throughout Nashville’s most diverse neighborhoods.” Each ticket provides access to at least 8 restaurants and markets in a self-guided tour. You’ll be able to sample food and drinks from a variety of countries that you choose from.
If you have the intestinal fortitude, you need to attend the Hot Chicken Festival. It is a free event held on the 4th of July each year. It begins at 10:30 am with a fire truck parade and gates open at 11 am. The event ends at 3 pm so you can head downtown for the annual fireworks show.
Best places to stay in Nashville
When you come to visit Music City, here are the best places to stay in Nashville.
- Best Western Plus Music Row (reviews) – Music Row is the home to many recording studios and music-related businesses. This Best Western category 5 hotel is 24,000 points per night.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Nashville Airport (reviews) – This Radisson hotel is 38,000 points per night as is just minutes away from downtown and the Grand Ole Opry.
- Gaylord Opryland Resort (reviews) – This hotel offers 9 acres of lush, indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls plus shopping and dining right under one roof. This Marriott Rewards category 5 property is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
- Hilton Nashville Downtown (reviews) – stay in the heart of the city at this Hilton Honors category 8 property. It will range between 40,000 and 70,000 points per night.
- Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown (reviews) – this World of Hyatt category 4 property is 15,000 points per night. If you have the Hyatt credit card, you can use the annual free night certificate here.
- Kimpton Hotel Aertson (reviews) – I’m a huge fan of Kimpton Hotels and the Aertson lives up to the quality and unique personality that Kimpton is known for. This is an IHG Rewards hotel which is 60,000 points per night. A cash + points rate of 45,000 points + $104 is available as well.
- Wingate by Wyndham Nashville Airport (reviews) – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Nashville
The local airport is Nashville International Airport, which is very close to downtown.
Download the ParkIt app (iTunes, Google Play) if you’re going to rent a car. This way you don’t have to dig around for change or cash to pay for parking. Kate’s favorite cheap places to park are at the Court House or Library.
If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Nashville – Kate says you have to try the original, Prince’s Hot Chicken (reviews). A close second would be Monell’s Dining and Catering (reviews) for their Southern-style dining.
2) Favorite memory of Nashville – Kate loves attending “secret” shows where top-name acts perform in front of intimate crowds of 100 or less. Her favorite experience was during a night of The Protomen performing Queen cover songs at the Exit / In (reviews) when Jack Black came out and sang backup on Bohemian Rhapsody.
3) Happiest Happy Hour – For delicious drinks and diverse food, you can’t beat Lockeland Table (reviews). It has a “reconstructed storefront to resemble the original 1930s H.G Hills dry goods store.” Their Community Hour (aka Happy Hour) is from 4 pm to 6 pm and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Lockeland Design Center PTO.
Kate recommends Nashville Guru to find other local happy hour spots near you.
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza – the original location of Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria (reviews) is where to go. They have gourmet pizzas with local ingredients. It’s no wonder Kate says they were voted the “best new place to wait in line for food.”
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Kate Dore about Nashville, Tennessee. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Nashville
- Green dots = best things to do in Nashville
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Nashville
Who is Kate Dore?
Kate Dore is a former concert promoter who now writes about personal finance at Cashville Skyline. Her focus is on helping entrepreneurs and creatives understand the complexities of personal finance in a language that they know best. Kate is studying for her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. In the future, she would like to own her own financial planning firm.
Here are a couple of articles that she’s written:
- The Procrastinator’s Guide to Filing Quarterly Taxes
- How to Score Affordable Health Insurance
- How To Navigate Self-Employed Disability Insurance
As you can tell, her writing is a valuable resource for anyone that is self-employed or working in the creative arts.
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – Credit Land
This episode is brought to you, in part, by Credit-Land.com. Credit Land analyzes all of the credit card offers available to search for the best deals so they can bring you the cards with the biggest bonuses, lowest interest rates, and best benefits.
I use travel credit cards extensively to lower our family’s travel expenses and trust Credit Land to help me know whether I should jump on an offer or let it go. Visit WeTravelThere.com/creditland for more details.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Noah Kagan of Sumo.com shares where to get the best breakfast tacos in Austin, Texas. We hope to see you when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Nashville? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
To learn more about cities near Nashville, listen to these podcast episodes:
- Best Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee with Nick True
- Broadway Honky Tonks, Local History & State Parks in Nashville, Tennessee
- Space Camp, Campus 805 & Craft Brew Trail in Huntsville, Alabama
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Corvette Museum & Chaney’s Dairy Barn in Bowling Green, Kentucky