About This Place
Visitors stream into Nashville year round to hit the honkey tonks, shop streets animated with live music and explore the generous number of well-groomed outdoor spaces in the city. Historical attractions in Nashville, many of them focused around the American Civil War, contribute to the healthy balance of leisure and culture found in the capital of Tennessee.
Among the attractions in Nashville, visitors can enjoy starry views of the sky at the Sudekum Planetarium at Adventure Science Museum, or browse habitats where leopard cubs and giraffes roam at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. The zoo’s expansive 200-acre campus includes a 19th-century plantation home and grounds that are open for tours.
History aficionados can learn about details of Nashville life by touring Belle Meade Plantation. The sprawling estate, founded in 1807, is located in the polished Belle Meade residential district and includes a pillar-fronted Greek Revival mansion, a carriage house and a log cabin. Downtown, the Tennessee State Capitol, still true to its 1859 origins, is open to the public, with artwork and exhibits detailing Tennessee history from the time of its earliest inhabitants to the American Civil War and beyond.
Dedicated entertainment neighborhoods offer music-lovers plenty of things to do in Nashville. One of the most popular attractions is the Grand Ole Opry House, located in the family-friendly Music Valley, east of Downtown. Here, visitors can watch a multi-generational mix of famous country, bluegrass and gospel music performers or tour the theater. Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry, remains a notable venue in the downtown area known as “The District.” A popular destination for visitors, the industrial origins of the neighborhood remain visible in the form of the renovated warehouses that house live-music clubs, shops and eateries. Visitors looking for a bit of edge can head to Elliston Place, a hip neighborhood flush with bars, rock clubs and independent shops selling used books and vintage clothes.
Shopping enthusiasts will find many things to do in Nashville, from the eclectic mix of shops in Hillsboro Village and the Eighth Avenue Antique District to the familiar brands at the Mall at Green Hills or Opry Mills, a collection of outlet stores. Hunt through the city for more boutiques, including plenty of Western wear shops in the District and Music Valley Village, where visitors can hunt for cowboy boots and hats.
The city boasts a network of parks that includes the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Ponder views of the Capitol, tour historic exhibits at the Visitor Center or picnic along one of the 31 fountains in the neatly landscaped park. Centennial Park is another downtown park where leisure blends with culture. Known for its full-scale re-creation of the Parthenon and statue of the goddess Athena, the 132-acre park is located along Watauga Lake. The grounds and structure are ideal places to meander along gardens and trails or view a collection of 19th- and 20th-century American artwork.