Ultimate Nashville Itinerary: Ideas for 3 to 5 Days Trip

Visiting Nashville, Tennessee and looking for the best Nashville itinerary to explore the highlights of music City such as the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music hall of Fame, and the Honky Tonk Highway?

Plan your trip using our ultimate Weekend in Nashville itinerary and find recommendations on things to do and see, what to eat, plus Instagram spots in the city.

Nashville, Tennessee is one of the best cities to visit in America.

It blends the culture and history of San Antonio with the southern hospitality of Charleston or New Orleans!

Also Read: Romantic Things to do in Nashville for couples

Nashville’s trendy neighborhoods and beautiful street art remind visitors of the hipster vibe of the Pacific Northwest.

Nashville is also home to the Tennessee State Capitol and has a rich and interesting history.

But the city’s best claim to fame is its acclaimed music scene.

Nashville is known as the birthplace of country music and hence, called the Music City.

It has several attractions for music lovers from the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium to the Johnny Cash Museum and honky tonk bars with their legendary country music scene.

Even apart from country music, Nashville has a lot to offer tourists.

Visit Nashville to explore the city’s rich traditions and striking architecture and enjoy its vibrant food scene.

Take a stroll at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and explore the street art in Downtown Nashville.

Our ultimate Weekend in Nashville itinerary will take you around the highlights of Music City and ensure that you have the best vacation ever.

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How much time to spend in Nashville?

Anywhere from a Weekend in Nashville to 3 Days in Nashville is a great time to explore the Music City and its many famous attractions.

If you have more time to spend in the region, then consider adding nearby attractions such as Franklin and Lynchburg to your Nashville Itinerary.

The Music City also makes a great base to plan a Smoky Mountain road trip to America’s favorite national park.

In this Nashville itinerary, you will find several recommendations and ideas to customize your itinerary as your interests and vacation time.

Ultimate 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary

Our Nashville Itinerary promises a fun and exciting time for visitors.

You can make your way through the Music City and the state’s history at the Capitol or the free museum.

Those who love exploring urban attractions will enjoy Nashville’s neighborhoods like Germantown, 12th South, and Printers Alley.

In the mood to explore the city’s revered live country music scene?

Take a tour of the famous Grand Ole Opry House, see a show at Ryman Auditorium, and paint the town red at Nashville’s many honky-tonks on Lower Broadway.

Day 1 in Nashville Itinerary

This day of your trip to Nashville is for arts, history, and culture.

Start your Downtown Nashville Itinerary by exploring the State Capitol Complex and the Bicentennial Mall.

Tour the free Tennessee State Museum and have lunch at the adjoining Farmers Market.

Visit the trendy 12th South Arts district and end the day with some of the famous Nashville hot chicken for dinner.

Tennessee State Capitol

Most visitors to the Music City do not put the majestic Tennessee State Capitol on their bucket list.

However, we definitely recommend keeping some time to see the Capitol and the Bicentennial Mall on your Nashville itinerary.

The Tennessee State Capitol, completed in 1859, is the most beautiful building in the city.

Famous architect William Strickland designed the building to resemble a Greek Ionic temple.

The limestone wrought iron building does not have a dome and is pretty unusual compared to other State Capitols.

The building is on the National register of Historic Places and definitely worth including on your Nashville itinerary.

On a self-guided tour of the Capitol, visitors can admire its Greek Revival architecture and see both the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers.

45 minute long free guided tours of the State Capitol are also available at select times, read more here.

Capitol Grounds

After seeing the capitol building, spend some time exploring its grounds.

The Capitol Grounds have several monuments including a majestic statue of Andrew Jackson and the tomb of President James Polk and his wife.

Music lovers will love the Bell Tower on the Capitol grounds. A large bell hangs from the top while the octagonal tower base displays an angel with the 8 forms of music.

The forms of music depicted on the 8 sides of the base are Rock N Roll, Country, Blues, Gospel, Bluegrass, Jazz, Folk, and Classical.

The Bell Tower is one of the hidden gems in Nashville and great for those who like to explore off the beaten path attractions.

Optional: War Memorial Auditorium

If you have extra time, head across the street from the Tennessee State Capitol to see the War Memorial Auditorium.

This Nashville gem is also rarely visited by tourists but is definitely worth checking out for architecture lovers on your trip to Nashville.

The War Memorial Auditorium has stunning Greek architecture and features tall Doric columns framing an open atrium.

At the center of the atrium, you can see a magnificent statue called Youth.

The architecture of the atrium as well as the large statue makes the auditorium one of the top Instagram spots in Nashville.

The auditorium is home of many events such as awards shows and concerts.

The Legislative Plaza surrounding the War Auditorium has memorials, monuments, statues, and fountains.

Optional: Military Museum

The Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum is located in the War Memorial Building and is worth a visit for military enthusiasts while visiting Nashville, Tennessee.

The museum has a variety of artifacts and exhibits related to the Spanish-American wars, WWI, WWII, as well as Korea and Vietnam wars.

The best part is that entry is free – making it perfect for large families.

On a visit, teens and young adults can see war weapons, maps, and have a fun educational experience.

Bicentennial Mall

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park offers the most beautiful views of the Tennessee State Capitol and downtown Nashville.

On a stroll around the park, you can see several attractions including a large 200 feet long map on the state engraved on granite, World War II memorial, the Pathways of History exhibit, the Rivers of Tennessee Fountain, and a large amphitheater.

The urban park is 11 acres large, has picnic tables, and offers a spectacular view of the city.

The park is perfect to spend some time in peace after visiting the somber monuments such as the Capitol and the War Memorial.

Bell Carillon

One of our favorite things to see at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park is the large Taft Bell Carillon with bells atop pillars.

The attraction has 85 bells and you can hear them ring throughout the day as well as play Tennessee songs every hour.

Standing amidst the large bell towers and listening to the music in downtown Nashville is an amazing experience.

Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum is one of the best museums in Nashville and attracts many visitors.

The museum is located adjacent to the Bicentennial Mall Park and is free to visit.

The museum has many galleries and a variety of informative exhibits and displays for adults and children.

Visitors can see weapons from the Civil War, memorabilia and cool artifacts about Tennessee’s history, as well as an extensive collection of Native American art.

The museum also has a large Children’s Gallery where kids can explore, play, and learn at the same time.

Nashville Farmers Market

Just outside the Tennessee State Museum, you will find the Nashville Farmers Market.

This is a great place to have lunch after seeing the State Capitol and the museum.

Visitors can enjoy fresh produce, local wines, and live music at the Nashville Farmers Market.

You will find local vendors serving a variety of foods and desserts, making this a popular place.

The Farmers Market also has murals, souvenirs stores, and is fun to explore on your weekend in Nashville.

Optional: Germantown

If you prefer delicious food over museums, then visit Germantown after seeing the State Capitol building.

Germantown is one of Nashville’s renown neighborhoods.

It is known for its charming Victorian architecture, eclectic boutiques, coffee shops, and amazing restaurants.

Visitors can enjoy the German heritage of this historic neighborhood on a stroll and eat at iconic eateries like Butchertown Hall and Henrietta Red.

Optional: The Hermitage Hotel

Take a walk south of the Tennessee State Capitol to the famous Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The historic hotel is named after Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage.

The hotel has impressive architecture and serves as a popular meeting spot for locals.

One thing you may not know: the hotel is very famous for its Art Deco style Men’s Restroom!

In fact, the restroom is known as the prettiest restroom in America! (Yes, that’s a thing!)

The restroom with its lime green fixtures and unique finishing is a popular Instagram spot in the city.

The restroom is so famous that even women are allowed to visit it for a look/photos.

To check out the restroom, step inside the hotel and take the stairs on the right to the lower level restaurant.

The restroom is just before the restaurant entrance.

12th South Arts District

The 12th South Nashville Arts district is one of our favorite places to visit in Nashville weekend getaway.

This trendy neighborhood has hip restaurants, quirky boutiques, coffee shops, art galleries, and live music.

On the main strip of 12th South, you will find some great bookstores like Frugal Muse Bookstore and The Booksellers at Laurelwood.

The shops in this district sell everything from vintage furniture and clothing to eclectic art and home décor.

The famous ‘I Believe in Nashville’ mural is located in the 12th South and should be on your 3 Day itinerary Nashville.

Nashville Hot Chicken

Finish your first day in Nashville, Tennessee with some quintessential southern fare: the Nashville hot chicken!

The Nashville hot chicken is a famous dish in the Nashville region.

It was first served by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and has been copied by other restaurants throughout Tennessee and Kentucky.

Visit the famous Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for mouth-watering spicy fried chicken accompanied by cold beer.  

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a Nashville, Tennessee tradition that has been around for nearly 60 years.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is located in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville.

Another option is the famous Prince’s. 

The legendary hot chicken shack has a line of people waiting to eat their delicious fried chicken.

Even if you’re not into spicy food, you should still give this Southern classic a try on your weekend getaway!

Also Read: Babymoon in Nashville Guide

Day 2 in Nashville Itinerary

If you have 2 Days in Nashville, you can devote an entire day to exploring the Music Pathways in Downtown Nashville.

For a quirky and fun start to the day, visit the Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Then have brunch at the famous Bluebird Cafe in East Nashville and listen to budding country music stars.

Return to Downtown and visit the iconic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Stop by at the Johnny Cash Museum and learn about the famous singer and songwriter.

Enjoy charming sunset views over the Cumberland River while taking a stroll on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.

End the night with dinner and dancing at the honky tonk bars on Music Row, which is home to some of the best country music venues in America.

Parthenon, Nashville

The Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park is a full-scale replica of the ancient monument in Greece.

This white marble structure was built to immortalize Nashville’s age-old nickname, ‘Athens of the West’.

The Parthenon attracts many visitors to its grandeur and majesty.

It serves as an art museum and has excellent exhibits.

Inside you will find an over 40 feet tall statue of the Greek Goddess, Athena.

We definitely recommend visiting the Parthenon while spending the weekend in Nashville.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park also has several other attractions besides the Parthenon.

The sprawling park has a beautiful lake with walking trails, play areas, picnic tables, as well as public art spread around the area.

The park looks beautiful in the fall when the leaves turn color.

We recommend spending some time taking a stroll around the park while you are visiting the Parthenon.

Bluebird Cafe

After visiting the Parthenon, you can grab some food at the famous Bluebird Cafe in East Nashville.  

Here, you will find an eclectic mix of patrons like musicians, locals, and tourists.

The café features several talented country music singers and songwriters and the food is also delicious!

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit for country music fans and a must on Nashville weekend itinerary.

The museum is located in the heart of the city close to Broadway District.

The museum offers an interactive experience with exhibits, like a hands-on guitar wall and memorabilia including costumes and awards.

Visitors can watch documentary films about the history of country music and discover upcoming artists in their gallery.

Johnny Cash Museum

Besides the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville has many other museums that make a great attraction for country music fans.

Probably the most popular one of them is the Johnny Cash Museum near Lower Broadway.

The museum dedicated to the famous American singer and songwriter Johnny Cash is located in a red brick building.

The Johnny Cash museum is small but has plenty of memorabilia including items of clothing, awards, and musical instruments belonging to the icon.

On a visit, you can learn about several facets of the life of Johnny Cash including his career and family.

You can also see a variety of personal items belonging to Johnny Cash.

Along with Johnny Cash, the museum also has exhibits on other famous country music legends.

The Johnny Cash Museum is definitely a must visit for all fans.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge offers a beautiful sunset view of the Nashville skyline.

There are several benches on the bridge from where you can watch the sun go down.

From this unique vantage point, you can admire the hustle and bustle of the city and even hear the country music streaming from nearby music venues.

The charming bridge is quite romantic and a popular destination for photoshoots, date nights, and even proposals in Nashville.

Honky Tonk Highway on Music Row

What better way to end a weekend in Nashville than at one of the honky tonks on Music Row listening to country music?

Nashville’s Music Row is home to famous Honky Tonks such as the Stage Door, Robert’s Western World, and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

Almost all of them plus several other bars are located along Lower Broadway and 2nd Avenue.

Visiting the bars is a must while spending a couple of days in Nashville.

You can listen to the talented artists at the music venues while enjoying the famous Nashville bbq – a recipe for the perfect date night in Nashville!

Grab some drinks and dance on the streets as you flit from bar to bar enjoying the nightlife in Nashville!

Printer’s Alley

Looking for an alternative to the loud music on Music Row? Visit Printer’s Alley!

Printer’s Alley has many bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that are open late into the night.

There are always people hanging out here and it is a fun place to enjoy a beer while watching live music with other patrons.

Music lovers definitely need to add Printers Alley to their 3 Day Nashville Itinerary.

Optional: River Cruise

If you are not interested in honky tonk bars or live country music performances or Nashville nightlife, there are many other exciting things to do in Nashville at night!

You can take a moonlight cruise on the Cumberland River or enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the renowned restaurants in the city.

Or go for a walk along the Riverfront Park to enjoy panoramic views of the Nashville skyline and the gently flowing river.

Several attractions are located near the Riverfront Park including live music performances, art galleries, restaurants, and shopping.

Day 3 in Nashville Itinerary

Day 3 of the trip to Nashville is for watching the shows and going on behind the scenes tours in Music City.

Depending on your interest, tour the Grand Ole Opry or attend a show at the Ryman Auditorium.

Looking for something beyond music?

Spend a day in nature at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and tour the Belle Meade plantation.

Here are the options to plan this day in Nashville.

Grand Ole Opry House

The Grand Ole Opry is the world’s longest running live radio show dedicated to country music.

The Grand Ole Opry House is a must visit attraction for country fans.

While in Nashville, visitors can take a tour of the Grand Ole Opry House.

You can learn about the historic venue, see memorabilia like costumes and music instruments, visit the dressing rooms of famous singers, get a behind the scenes look into the show, and even get to step foot onto the famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

Visiting this iconic destination is definitely a must for music lovers if you have 2 or 3 days in Nashville.

The Ryman Auditorium

If you are a huge country music fan, you must visit The Ryman Auditorium to see it in person!

This is one of the most important buildings in Nashville’s history and located in the heart of the city.

The Ryman Auditorium building was built in the late 1880s and was originally a Baptist church.

It has been transformed into a live music venue over the years and it is known as one of the most famous concert halls in Nashville.

Today, the Ryman Auditorium is home to concerts, events, shows, and more!

We would recommend visiting this destination and watching a show or just taking a tour during your Nashville weekend.

RCA Studio B

Definitely visit the iconic RCA Studio B on your weekend in Nashville.

This music studio was established in the 1950s and is steeped in country music history.

The RCA Studio has been home to legends such as Dolly Parton, Elvis, and Keith Urban.

It is as famous as the Grand Ole Opry or Sun Studios in Memphis and a must on any music lover’s 3 days in Nashville itinerary.

Taking an hour-long tour of the recording studio is almost a spiritual experience for all music fans on a trip to Nashville.

The RCA Studio B tour can be purchased as an add on to the Country Music Hall of Fame and begins in Downtown Nashville.

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Looking for something other than the music attractions of Grand Ole Opry and studio tours?

Visit the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens on your trip to Nashville.

This beautiful Botanical Gardens is simply breathtaking and incredibly romantic year round.

The 65 acres of land is home to giant oak trees, beautiful gardens, peaceful trails, as well as fun and festive events.

Visitors can walk on the garden pathways and take in the beautiful surroundings on a self-guided tour.

The garden also has art galleries and is a perfect spot for picnics with the family.

The botanical garden is a great way to spend your day in nature while visiting Nashville.

Belle Meade Plantation and Winery

Another off the beaten path attraction to enjoy on a trip to Nashville is the Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery.

Belle Meade was originally  a plantation built in the 1840s.

It has a beautiful Greek Revival style of architecture and has several excellently preserved outbuildings.

Today, the Belle Meade Plantation is home to a winery and conserved as a historic site.

Visitors can tour the grand mansion, the historic buildings, and plantation grounds as well as sip a glass of wine and have meals at the on-site restaurant.

You will be able to see buildings such as a smokehouse, carriage and stable house, and the dairy.

If you have 3 days in Nashville, then definitely take the time to visit Belle Meade and Cheekwood together in a couple of hours.

4 Day Nashville Itinerary

If you have 4 to 5 days for your stay in Nashville, then you can explore much more beyond the highlights of Grand Ole Opry, State Capitol, and the music scene.

You can enjoy many interesting day trips from the Nashville area.

Visit the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg or see charming Franklin during your Nashville weekend trip.

See Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Or enjoy a road trip along the historic Natchez Trace.

Jack Daniels Distillery, Lynchburg

Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg produces the world famous Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey.

The famous distillery is located an hour and a half away from Nashville and is a must for fans of Tennessee whiskey!

Visitors can see the distillery on an hour-long tour.

On the tour, you can learn about the process of making whiskey, the history of the distillery, see the barrel room, and take photos at the Visitor Center.

The tour guides are friendly and provide an amazing experience for all whiskey lovers.

After the tour, you can enjoy samples of whiskey in their fabulous tasting room, buy souvenirs, as well as purchase bottles to take home.

The distillery is pretty crowded on the weekend, so plan a trip during the week to skip crowds.

We definitely recommend one of the best day trips from Nashville to your itinerary.


Franklin is one of the best day trips from Nashville.

The history of Franklin, Tennessee is rich with stories and legends that exemplify the Southern charm.

Founded in 1799, it was originally known as Big Creek Settlement and later renamed for US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

It’s known for its historic downtown square and the beautiful rolling hills surrounding it.

The town’s most popular attractions are related to the famous Battle of Franklin fought during the Civil War.

The Civil War Museum at Coolidge Park; The Battle of Franklin Interpretive Center; Carnton Plantation which was home to Confederate General John Bell Hood during the Civil War and now operates as a museum are some of the most popular attractions.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile scenic drive through the Tennessee and Mississippi countryside that stretches from Nashville to Natchez, MS.

The parkway winds through forests, fields, and pastures where you can take in wildlife such as white tailed deer, wild turkey, red foxes, rabbits and armadillos.

The stretch that begins in Nashville has many places of interest such as historic Civil War battlefields and natural wonders like waterfalls.

You can easily combine a visit to the historic town of Franklin with a scenic road trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway to make the most of your 4 day itinerary Nashville.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

The Andrew Jackson Hermitage is a historic house museum located in Nashville, TN.

The home was built by General and President Andrew Jackson as his private residence.

Today the site offers self-guided tours of the mansion, which includes exhibits on Mr. Jackson’s life and presidency, an art gallery with rotating exhibitions, and gardens that include both native plants and flowers from around the world.

On the tour, visitors are able to see various portraits and artifacts of Andrew Jackson’s life and learn about the president.

1 Day in Nashville Itinerary

If you have only 1 Day in Nashville, then start the visit at the State Capitol.

See the beautiful building, walk along its grounds then visit the Bicentennial Mall Park in the center of the city.

Do not spend more than an hour or two to see the attractions.

Next, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum followed by a trip to the Grand Ole Opry, the city’s iconic country music venue.

If you have time, squeeze in a visit to the Parthenon on your 1 Day Nashville Itinerary.

End the night at the honky tonk bars and enjoy the famous country music scene during your stay in Nashville.

Seeing the Music City in anything less than a weekend is hard, but possible!

7 Day Itinerary Nashville

If you can plan a 6 day itinerary or a week long itinerary for Nashville, then definitely try visiting the famous Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Gatlinburg.

The attractions are located in Eastern Tennessee, about 5 hours drive away from Gatlinburg.

You can easily see both on a weekend. Here is information about these attractions.


The town of Gatlinburg is in the heart of Tennessee, and it’s a famous mountain retreat for tourists from all over the world.

There are many attractions to see while visiting this beautiful area, such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dollywood Theme Park, and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The city also offers visitors some great restaurants where they can enjoy southern cuisine or seafood dishes with their family and friends.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The park contains over 800 miles of hiking trails and offers a range of experiences for visitors throughout the year.

It’s home to many species of wildlife including black bears, raccoons, and elk.

The most visited place in the park is Cades Cove which has over 1 million visitors annually.

Other popular places include Abrams Creek, Big Creek Trail, Chimney Tops trail, Clingmans Dome observation tower, Deep Creek area, Elkmont Campground area; each one with its own unique features to offer tourists from all over the world!

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is one of the most popular spots in the Smokies National Park and is a must see for visitors to Sevier County.

It’s home to a variety of animals, including deer, bobcats, raccoons and more.

The cove offers some beautiful hiking trails that are perfect for families with children or anyone looking for an easy stroll through nature.

The cove is also home to many historic buildings like log cabins, barns, grist mills, and churches.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, located in Tennessee on the border of North Carolina, is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and visitors to see.

The view from here stretches from Georgia to Kentucky and offers a 360 degree perspective of the Smokies. 

This location is also known as being the highest point in Tennessee at 6643 feet high.

Tourists can go hiking or take scenic photos with views that are some of the best in America. 

The trailhead for this must-see attraction starts at Newfound Gap which is just off Highway 441 near Gatlinburg, TN where travelers will find restrooms and water available.

Definitely take the time to visit the beautiful Smoky mountains if you have more than 4 to 5 days in Nashville.

Where to stay in Nashville

Wondering where to stay during your Nashville weekend trip?

Most tourists prefer staying in Downtown Nashville closer to major attractions in the city.

Book a hotel near Lower Broadway or the Capitol and you can easily walk to most attractions.

If you have less time to spend in Nashville, then consider staying near the Nashville International Airport.

We recommend booking accommodations for your trip to Nashville well in advance, especially if visiting during peak times such as summer or during the holiday season.

Best Time to Visit Nashville

Nashville has four distinct seasons and each season offers something special for visitors.

If you’re looking for the perfect time to visit Nashville, there are a few months that will stand out from the rest.

Spring can offer blooming tulips and beautiful weather with temperatures that range in the 60s.

Summer brings out all sorts of festivals but also more crowds and higher prices for everything from airfare to hotels.

September through November are also good months to visit.

You will generally be treated to mild weather but the temperatures can be quite cool at night.

Fall in Nashville is known for its changing colors of leaves. This season makes for beautiful photos during your Nashville weekend trip.

Winter provides a perfect opportunity to escape from cold weather elsewhere while exploring the many indoor attractions and nightlife.

Nashville, Tennessee is a city of many personalities.

Our 3 Days in Nashville Itinerary will allow you to explore the city’s most famous attractions such as Grand Ole Opry House and Ryman Auditorium as well as off the beaten path destinations such as the Frist Art Museum and the Hermitage.

Nashville is the perfect weekend getaway to relax and soak in the charm of the American south.

We hope you liked our Weekend in Nashville Itinerary.

Did we miss any amazing attractions in Nashville? What is your favorite thing to do in Music City?

Let us know in the comments.

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Smoky Mountains Fall Travel Guide