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

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Looking for the Nashville tourist attractions? Here are the do’s 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 do’s 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 their 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, there is a new location that opened in Nashville.  I encourage you to expand your visit though 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.

nashville tourist attractions - nashville flea market

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 to be one of the top ten flea markets in the country.  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 Farmers’ Market, and East Nashville all have great local shops.

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nashville tourist attractions opryland hotel

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 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?

nashville tourist attractions

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.

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

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

Do…visit Arrington Vineyards.  Founded by Kix Brooks, of Brooks and Dunn, this vineyard is well-known amongst the locals.  Located 30 miles south of Nashville, it offers gorgeous views, great music, and even better wine.

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 from 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 tourist attractions wish list.

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


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    Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website,


    1. Kara

      September 5, 2013 at 12:41 AM

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

      • Ashley Hubbard

        September 9, 2013 at 4:09 PM

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

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    3. Stacy

      January 8, 2014 at 3:26 AM

      Thank you for the info! Fun read too.

    4. Mrs. Chasing the Donkey

      February 6, 2014 at 2:09 AM

      Right… I am set to visit OR NOT these places. Thanks!

    5. Anna @ The Blonde Banana

      March 30, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      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.

      • Ashley Hubbard

        March 31, 2014 at 9:42 AM

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

    6. Charles McCool

      October 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      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.

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    8. Tanj from A Travelogue

      March 15, 2015 at 7:19 AM

      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.

    9. Shannon Walker

      August 22, 2017 at 2:39 PM

      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.

      • Ashley Hubbard

        August 22, 2017 at 3:21 PM

        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!

    10. Mary

      December 9, 2017 at 4:28 PM

      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

    11. Patti C.

      January 13, 2018 at 10:54 AM

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

    12. Sheila

      December 30, 2018 at 10:07 AM

      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

    13. Julia

      June 22, 2019 at 8:47 PM

      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!

      • Ashley Hubbard

        June 23, 2019 at 8:26 PM

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

    14. J Lanae

      November 26, 2019 at 10:39 AM

      Thank you for this! Genuinely helpful and inpsiring ideas!

    15. Laura

      January 10, 2020 at 9:54 AM

      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

    16. Nina

      February 20, 2020 at 11:24 AM

      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.

      • Ashley Hubbard

        March 2, 2020 at 10:27 PM

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

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