Music City Guide for Nashville Newbies

I’ve been living in Nashville for several months now, and I’m constantly discovering new places that make Nashville a destination city. Whether you’re looking for concerts, restaurants, shopping centers or hiking trails, Nashville has it all. In the spirit of travel, I’ve decided to share my favorite places in this wonderful city I now call home.

  1. Broadway

In downtown Nashville, Broadway is one of the most visited places in the entire city. Though it has become a bit of a cliche spot for bachelorette parties, the strip has some of the best bars and live music joints. The Hard Rock Cafe, Tootsie’s and Honky Tonk Central are just a few of the popular places.

However, if you’re under 21 and it’s after 6 p.m. on the weekends, you may have better luck at Margaritaville or Rippy’s. Stop by Broadway on your next visit to Nashville and you just may see the next music superstar singing on the side of the street.

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  1. 12 South

One of the best places in Nashville is 12th Avenue South. Whether you want barbecue, coffee, ice cream, cupcakes, burgers or unique boutiques, 12 South has something for everyone. A few of my personal favorite 12 South spots are Frothy Monkey coffee shop, Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Las Paletas.

12 South is a very family-friendly atmosphere, with Sevier Park at the south end and a millennial scene for college students and twenty-somethings. Among the restaurants and shops are several wall murals that make great photo opportunities, especially the “I Believe in Nashville” mural.

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  1. Concert Venues

Nashville is not called “Music City” for nothing; in fact, it has some of the best music venues I’ve ever been to. It’s also a top city for most bands and artists while touring, so you’re almost guaranteed to see a favorite artist in concert while visiting. Bridgestone Arena, Ascend Amphitheater, Ryman Auditorium, Marathon Music Works, Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge and the famous Grand Ole Opry are just a few of many Music City venues known for putting on a good show.

Even Nashville’s Metropolitan Courthouse serves as a concert venue when the Live On The Green Music Festival takes place on Public Square Park. The free concert series happens every Thursday in August directly in front of the courthouse, ending the summer with three nights of back-to-back performances the first weekend of September.

Colony House concert at Marathon Music Works
Colony House concert at Marathon Music Works
Judah and the Lion at Live On The Green Music Festival
Judah and the Lion at the Live On The Green Music Festival
  1. Nashville Farmers’ Market & Bicentennial Mall

If you’re looking for an afternoon of multi-cultural food and shopping, the Nashville Farmers’ Market is the place to go. Located in downtown Nashville, this market is a massive mix of the different diversities in Nashville and has a variety of food ranging from fresh fruit to Crêpes to Gyros and so much more.

Directly next to the market is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, where you can enjoy a nice walk after eating all the market food. Locals and visitors can stroll through the monuments learning about Nashville’s rich history while under the towering Capitol building.

Bicentennial Mall and Capitol building
Bicentennial Mall and Capitol building
  1. Centennial Park

Another popular Nashville treasure is Centennial Park, located west of downtown and across from Vanderbilt University’s campus. This beautiful park is a great spot to take a walk, have a picnic or just sit and admire the distant city.

Centennial Park is also known for the full-size replica of the Parthenon, a famous Greek landmark, at the center of the park. Though it does cost money to go inside the Parthenon, for those who have never been, it’s definitely a must-see.

The Parthenon
The Parthenon

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  1. John Seigenthaler Bridge

John Seigenthaler Bridge holds by far the best view of the Nashville cityscape. Starting at the Nissan Stadium and ending a block away from Broadway, this bridge provides a picturesque view of Music City, especially at night.

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Where John Seigenthaler Bridge ends
Where John Seigenthaler Bridge ends
City view from John Seigenthaler Bridge
City view from John Seigenthaler Bridge
  1. Nature Adventures

Not all of Nashville is city; in fact, there are quite a few parks and hiking destinations. One of the largest nature parks is Percy Priest Lake in north central Nashville. Percy Priest Lake offers endless outdoor activities including hiking, camping, fishing and kayaking.

Another smaller, but equally beautiful, state park is Radnor Lake, located just outside of the city. The hiking trails range from difficult mountainous paths to nice strolls around the lake, but either way you’re in for a scenic day.  

Radnor Lake
Radnor Lake

Though there are so many more great destinations in Nashville, I hope at least a few of these wonderful places have been added to your travel bucket list. Nashville is truly an amazing city with lots of fun and adventure for everyone.

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