Do’s and Don’ts of Nashville, Tennessee (from a Local!)

Looking for Nashville tourist attractions? Here are the dos and don’ts for visiting Nashville to make the best use of your time – all from a local!

Nashville is known primarily as Music City, U.S.A., but it has so much more to offer, with plenty of Nashville tourist attractions to check out, and everyone is going to have a Nashville bucket list.

With a growing food scene and obvious music scene, which includes much more than just country, Nashville is gaining more and more spotlight. Here are the dos and don’ts of Nashville from a local.

Nashville Tourist Attractions – What to Do and What Not to Do

1. Don’t…visit the famous Loveless Café.  Yes, I said it.  Skip The Loveless Café, with its long wait times and semi-good food.  I’m sure I’m receiving shocked looks and exasperated gasps right now.

Do…go to Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. For y’all who don’t want to venture outside of Nashville, a new location opened in Nashville.  I encourage you to expand your visit and head to Leiper’s Fork or Franklin to one of the original locations. 

You won’t regret going to either of these towns south of Nashville.

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Nashville Tourist Attractions

2. Don’t…go to Opry Mills Mall. I’m pretty bitter that they got rid of Opryland (as many Nashvillians are) and put a huge mall in its place.  Besides, why travel somewhere new just to shop at stores, you can go to anywhere?? With fast fashion being a huge problem, there is no need to contribute to capitalism.

Do…visit the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Flea Market. It’s considered one of the country’s top ten flea markets. It’ll take you hours, and I suggest arriving early in the morning, or it will take you even longer. 

Well worth it, though. In addition, there’s tons of great local shopping all over Nashville – 12South, Nashville Farmer’s Market, and East Nashville all have great local shops.

Nashville Tourist Attractions

3. Don’t…go to Opryland Hotel for the drinks.  At $12 a drink, you’ll be broke before you even feel a buzz.

Do…go just to walk around and experience one of the best hotels in the country, or possibly the world. Don’t pay $20+ for parking. 

Park in the (aforementioned forbidden) Opry Mills’ parking lot and walk over.  Don’t worry, it’s not that far and don’t we all need the exercise anyway?

4. Don’t…visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  Everyone does.  I just don’t see the excitement in it.  I don’t even have a really good reason not to.  I can just think of a ton of other things you could spend your time doing.

Do…visit the Ryman Auditorium instead.  A gorgeous building with a rich history.  Go to the place where Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and many more actually played; instead of just the museum about them.  It’s cheaper too.  You can use the money you save for your expensive drinks at Opryland Hotel that you’ll buy anyways even though I advised against it.

Nashville Tourist Attractions

5. Don’t…go to the Wildhorse Saloon or Coyote Ugly. These corporations serve expensive drinks and attract all the tourists (ignore the fact that you are a tourist).

Do…visit the smaller, more authentic honky-tonks on Lower Broad. Or do both, but please don’t just go to the aforementioned places. You’ll thank me.

Nashville Tourist Attractions

6. Don’t…make the assumption that everything has to do with music or fried food here. There’s a whole lot more to Nashville, including tons of history, art, fashion, and so on.

Do…visit The Parthenon. Located within Centennial Park, this is the only full-scale reproduction of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

Inside you’ll find an art gallery, museum, and the Greek goddess Athena.  Nashville is known as the “Athens of the South.” Shocking trivia, I know.

Nashville Tourist Attractions

7. Don’t…visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I’m in no way discouraging the consumption of some Jack Daniels. 

This can get touristy, and it’s a bit more of a drive outside Nashville than some may like.

Do…visit Arrington Vineyards. Founded by Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, this vineyard is well-known among locals. 

Located 30 miles south of Nashville, it offers gorgeous views, great music, and even better wine.

Nashville Tourist Attractions

Nashville Tourist Attractions Overview

I’ve gotten a lot of slack from locals over this article when it first came out because it seems like I’m being harsh to some pretty well-known Nashville tourist attractions.

I’m not at all. However, not everyone lives here, and not everyone has a ton of time to visit Nashville. You may only have 2 days in Nashville, and you have no choice but to pare down your Nashville bucket list.

Have you ever been to Nashville? What were your favorite spots?

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Ashley Hubbard

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Kara

    Thanks for the great ideas Ashley! Humorous and entertaining as well! 🙂

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thank you very much for your comment! I hope you continue to enjoy reading!

  2. Pingback: Prepping for Long Term Travel: Month One | A Southern Gypsy's Adventures

  3. Stacy

    Thank you for the info! Fun read too.

  4. Love this post! I’m heading to Nashville in June for CMA Fest. I’m hoping to be able to explore the city and do some of your recommendations as well.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      That’s awesome. Have you been to CMA Fest before? It’s amazing – let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  5. Charles McCool

    Arrington is awesome. Great choice. No mention of Jacks? I would sat DON’T go to downtown Jack’s BBQ. DO go to Trinity Lane location.

  6. Tanj from A Travelogue

    me and the husband would loveeee to live in nashville one day. your tips abt do’s and dont’s gave me more reason to want to live in this area.

  7. Shannon Walker

    August 2017.Had a great visit however way to short as there was so much we could have done. The weather was great. Was excited to see the home of the Predators. I think we stayed to far out (by the mall you dont like). Found food and drinks expensive, should have researched this area of the trip more. Was very disapointed in the gray line trolley hop on hop off.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Did you come for the eclipse or just a regular visit? There is definitely a lot to do in a short amount of time! Send me a message if you come again and maybe I can help narrow down a better place to stay for you! And, yes, our public transport is something that needs much improving. Otherwise, Nashville is fantastic and I hope you had a lovely time!

  8. Mary

    Arriving in January for 3 days. Need suggestions of where to stay. Would like to book as close to the heart of bars restaurants as possible. Lower broad maybe? Saved your suggestions of where to go and what to avoid. Thanks

  9. Patti C.

    Favorite Restauranta – hidden gems? Best , non-touristy venue for live music? Thanks for these tips 🙂

  10. Sheila

    Hello, we are planning a trip to Nashville in April 2019 and we are looking for suggestions on the best areas of town to stay at. We won’t have a car and I’m currently looking at Airbnb options to stay at. There are so many in different locations it’s hard to narrow down an area. We are music fans, want to do the honky think experience one night but aren’t every night partners. Hoping you can help me out with some suggestions

  11. Julia

    Hey! Found your article while researching a trip to Nashville in October for the Exit 111 festival. Myself and my boyfriend will be staying in Nashville for a week including camping at the festival grounds over the weekend and will be renting a car for at least a portion of our stay. Any suggestions on what part of the city to stay in or places to avoid? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated as none of our friends or family have ever been to Nashville either!
    Thanks in advance, Loved the article it was a great starting point!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Hi, Julia! Would it be okay if I e-mailed you to give you a more in-depth answer? Thanks!

  12. J Lanae

    Thank you for this! Genuinely helpful and inpsiring ideas!

  13. Laura

    As a fellow Nashvillian, I would question the Parthenon as a do. It’s okay. Small so it’s a fast stop but I was underwhelmed when I visited. I would say the Frist instead. Another free ( except for parking) and worth it do would be a wander through the gorgeous Vanderbilt campus off Edgehill Avenue. The architecture is beautiful, the foliage and trees are really well maintained. You can meter park on 18th and swing through one of the campus stores for a drink or snack while enjoying the area. I would recommend The Pub in Rand

  14. Nina

    Nice list from a local. While I don’t live in Nashville, I am there a decent amount for work and for hockey and do have to agree with you on your don’t list for sure. Thank you for sharing so newcomers don’t get trapped.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks so much, Nina! Hope your next visit to Nashville is great! 🙂

  15. Gerry

    I agree with you about Opry Mills Mall. When I lived in Nashville I had a season pass for Opryland. I was so upset when it closed. I used to go to Fan Fair and I went to Opryland when it first opened. I guess they thought they could make more money with a mall even though Opryland was making money. Shame on them.

  16. Kathy

    I visited Nashville in August 2022 and enjoyed going to the Parthenon (good for those of us into Greek Mythology). My husband and son are history buffs and liked President Jackson’s Hermitage. My son’s girlfriend made some interesting purchases at a vintage shop. Being from the North, we thought the Southern Cooking was great at Monell’s Family Style Restaurant. We also loved the Johnny Cash Museum (we’re fans of JC). We went to the rooftop of Jason Aldean’s place. Great view of Broadway at night! All the bar food we had was surprisingly good! Oh, go to Hattie B’s if you like super hot chicken!

  17. Kathy

    After going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, I was disappointed with the Country Hall of Fame.

  18. audrey

    Arrington Vineyards looks beautiful!

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