Spend the Weekend Exploring the Best of Nashville

Nashville city lights during dawn

Grab some friends or the entire family and make plans to spend the weekend exploring Nashville. This iconic city is the capital of Tennessee and is a vibrant, fast-paced city filled with honky-tonks, theaters, restaurants, and other amazing attractions. 

Live music is a staple at most of the bars and honky-tonks where you can hear up-and-coming artists while relaxing over dinner and drinks. Drop by the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium or visit historic plantations and museums.

Nashville has so much to see and do, you will want to come back time and again to see more and more of the city. While out exploring, leave your heavy bags and shopping purchases with a luggage storage service. Wander the streets and visit attractions without large bags in tow. 

Grand Ole Opry

Any exploration of Nashville must include the Grand Ole Opry, where legends were born and stars shone brightly. The tradition of the Grand Ole Opry began as a one-hour radio show in 1925 hosted by George D. Hay. 

The Opry is the longest-running radio show or broadcast in the history of radio and has had legends such as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash grace the stage. More current country stars to perform here are Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. 

When you are in Nashville for the weekend, catch a live show at the Opry or drop by during the day for a behind-the-scenes look at the dressing rooms. Meander through the small museum showcasing many artifacts from the artists that have visited. 

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The museum opened in 1964 and since then has grown into one of the most extensive musical collections in the world. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has unique exhibits, including an interesting look at the “rodeo tailors” of Western wear.

This hall of fame is also a research center that has been dedicated to the interpretation and preservation of country music. Get your tickets early so you can miss the long lines. You’ll have more time to explore the attractions and then move on to the next place on your list. 

Centennial Park

Just west of downtown Nashville you will find Centennial Park, a large city park across from Vanderbilt University. The area where this lovely green space is was once farmland that was used during the Civil War. 

The area was then used for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition that was hosted in Nashville in 1897. When the expo was finished, the only exhibit that remained was a replica of the real Parthenon. The area was then turned into a park.

Centennial Park officially opened in 1903 and the Parthenon was its most popular landmark. It was rebuilt in the 1920s using concrete and steel so it would be a long-lasting structure. 

ancient Roman temple during night time

The Parthenon

Located in Centennial Park, the Parthenon was created for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897. It is a full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon that was created by William Crawford. It is one of the most popular attractions in Nashville. 

The Parthenon is home to an art museum and is a backdrop to the replica Athena Parthenos statue that Alan LeQuire completed in 1990. Inside the museum, you will find exact replicas of the sculptures found in the real Parthenon. 

Ryman Auditorium

Check the calendar at the Ryman Auditorium, a 2,363-seat auditorium where country legends have been born. The Grand Ole Opry actually called the Ryman Auditorium home from 1943 to 1974. 

The Ryman was placed in 1971 on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2001 was officially named a National Historic Landmark.  Ryman has been a part of Nashville’s history for over 125 years and is a must-see during your weekend trip.

If you cannot get into a show during your weekend visit, plan instead to take a day tour where you can go behind the scenes and see the inner workings of the Ryman Auditorium. 

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is more than just your typical zoo. The zoo is housed on a historic 188-acre plantation and the original farmhouse is still standing. You can tour the restored farmhouse while you visit with the animals. 

Located only about six miles to the southeast of downtown, the zoo is home to over 339 different species and over 6,200 animals. Try your balance on the rope bridge and be prepared to do a ton of walking while you explore the zoo. 

Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery

Located only minutes from Nashville in Belle Meade, the Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery is the perfect place to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. The mansion has been fully restored and is now a museum dedicated to the historic South. 

Take a tour of the winery and then sit down for a delicious meal at the restaurant that is onsite. The original plantation was about 5,400 acres, today the historic site and winery cover only 30 acres. 

Stop by the Visitors’ Center to learn more about the property and you will also want to visit several of the original outbuildings including the slave quarters, Harding Cabin, Stable House, and Mausoleum, one of the biggest smokehouses in Tennessee

General Jackson Showboat

Take a cruise on the General Jackson Showboat, a riverboat that makes its trek up and down the Cumberland River. The first General Jackson was built in 1817 and named for Andrew Jackson. The original riverboat was used to move goods along the river.

The more modern General Jackson was built as a replica of the original and was used in the Opryland USA theme park. When the theme park closed in 1997, the boat remained active. 

It is now one of the top attractions in Nashville and docks at Pennington Bend near Opry Mills, a big shopping mall. The dock is within walking distance of the Grand Ole Opry and several fantastic restaurants. 

Spend the weekend exploring Nashville and find many interesting attractions, restaurants, bars, and honky-tonks to keep you busy from Friday through Sunday. Since you only have a few days in Nashville, plan your time carefully so you can see the best of the city! 


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