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Heading to Nashville for the first time? I have created this 2 day Nashville itinerary to ensure an efficient trip. Whether you are spending a weekend in Nashville or visiting as part of a larger Deep South road trip this Nashville itinerary covers all the highlights of Music City.
If I had to choose one word to describe Nashville it would be welcoming. As soon as you arrive in Nashville you instantly feel like you have returned to somewhere familiar even if it is your first visit. Like New York City, Nashville is a city which never sleeps, yet unlike NYC, the endless country music and the warmth of the people creates an inviting atmosphere no matter what bar you walk in to.
For me, Nashville had unexpected electricity different from what I have experienced in any other US city.
A 2 Day Nashville Itinerary – What you need to know
When is the best time to visit Nashville?
When planning your trip to Nashville you will want to make sure you visit during the best time.
Peak season is considered to be between April and October, during these months you will experience the warmest and driest weather – perfect for spending time in one of Nashville’s rooftop bars.
During the winter months, Nashville experiences a cold blip with plenty of rain, however, with this, you will find cheaper accommodation and quieter attractions. If you are a fan of Christmas, December is a great time to visit Nashville as the holiday decorations begin to cover the city.
I visited Nashville towards the end of April as part of a road trip from Atlanta to New Orleans, during this time we experienced warm, dry weather without the humidity which can overtake the city during July and August.
Where to stay in Nashville
If you are travelling in a group I really recommend Air B’n’B for your 2 days in Nashville. It will cut your cost considerably and you will get much more centrally located accommodation for a fairer price.
We stayed in this apartment located on Music Row (a short uber ride away from Broadway). The hosts were fantastic and offered brilliant restaurant recommendations and the apartment was well located to all of the main attractions.
If you want to be within walking distance to most of the best things to do during the weekend in Nashville, a hotel in Downtown Nashville may be your best bet. Staying in Downtown will allow you to be within walking distance of the top bars.
In Downtown Nashville, The Omni comes highly recommended. The Omni is located adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame and boasts a rooftop swimming pool – perfect if your weekend in Nashville falls across the summer months.
Accommodation in Nashville does book up quickly, therefore be sure to book in advance to secure the best price.
Top things to do in Nashville
Dance the night (and the day away) on Broadway
Broadway is the most famous area of Nashville. Broadway is the ‘main strip’ in central Nashville and is lined with various bars and restaurants, the place where you can watch live music no matter the time of day.
I suggest heading here in the late afternoon to spend the rest of the day bar-hopping, my personal favourites on Broadway were Acme and Tootsies, both of which have rooftop bars perfect for the warm summer in Nashville.
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame
Whether you enjoy country music or not The Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-visit in Nashville. Located just off Broadway, you will experience the riveting story of country music through interactive exhibits. View one-of-a-kind recordings, films, and instruments that tell the story of those who have helped shape country music and the city of Nashville.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is the top attraction of the city, therefore I strongly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance to make the most of the ‘skip-the-line’ feature and save time.
See a future star at The Blue Bird Cafe
The Bluebird Cafe is an intimate music club in Nashville that opened in 1982, today over 70 000 people visit annually in hopes of seeing the next big star in Country music.
Generally, The Bluebird Cafe hosts up and coming artists, however, on occasion bigger stars do make surprise appearances. When I visited in 2017, I missed seeing Taylor Swift there by one night.
The Bluebird Cafe is located in a small strip mall just outside of Downtown Nashville and full upcoming shows can be found here.
Take in the colourful street art
I love street art and huge coloured murals, I always seek them out on my travels. Luckily for me, Nashville is full of them with the most famous being the ‘What lifts you’ wings located on The Gulch, this wall is so popular people queue to have a photo in front of it.
However, my absolute favourite street art in Nashville is the ‘I believe in Nashville‘ mural located at 2608 12th Ave S, by the Draper James store.
If you are a fan of street art, I have a full post on Nashville’s best murals and street art as well as where to find them.
See the Grand Ole Opry
Along with the Country Music Hall of Fame visiting the Grand Ole Opry is a must during your 2 days in Nashville.
The Opry – an American icon and Nashville’s number-one attraction – is world-famous for creating one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for audiences of all ages. It’s been called the ‘home of American music’ and ‘country’s most famous stage.’ Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages across town or around the world to the Grand Ole Opry to see the show live.
Guests can either book themselves onto a backstage tour to learn the history of the show or book tickets to see the show live – live tickets do sell out extremely quickly, therefore book as soon as you know the dates you will be in Nashville.
Take a day trip to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery
Without a doubt, one of the best things I did during my Nashville itinerary was to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. The distillery is actually located around one hour away from Nashville in a small town called Lynchburg. We had a rental car and therefore opted to drive there, however, many people opt to book a combined coach tour and entry package.
When you arrive, you will enjoy a guided tour to learn the science and the history of Jack Daniel’s craft including a tour of the Brickyard, the stills, charcoal mellowing and a barrelhouse as well as have a tasting session. Despite being one of the world’s most famous drink companies, I found the tour extremely humbling without the need for gimmicks which I have seen on other distillery tours around the world.
Fun fact, every bottle of Jack Daniels in the world is made from the distillery in Lynchburg.
Go Bowling at the Pinewood Social
If you want to spend an afternoon or evening away from Nashville’s tourist attractions then head to Pinewood Social. The Pinewood Social is a super cool restaurant and bowling alley with sleek interiors. You pay for the lane by the hour as opposed to per game making it very affordable for large groups.
It is also a great place away from the main Broadway to head for cocktails during your 2 day Nashville itinerary.
Shop and brunch at The Gulch
I previously mentioned The Gulch for its brilliant street art murals but it is also a great place to head for some independent shopping in Nashville. Far away from the mainstream stores, in The Gulch area of Nashville, you will find a ton of independent fashion boutiques and quirky homeware stores.
The Gulch is also a fantastic place to go for Brunch in Nashville, with popular destinations being Biscuit Love, Adele’s and City Fire ($8 bottomless mimosas, anyone?)
Explore the Johnny Cash Museum
When visiting the home of country music it is only right to visit the Johnny Cash Museum and attached cafe. The Johnny Cash Museum features the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia in the world and will guide you through the life of the Man in Black through a series of interactive exhibits.
A must for any country music fan visiting Nashville, by booking your entrance tickets in advance you will guarantee entry as well as skip-the-line access.
Eat the best burger of your life at Pharmacy Burger
Please do not think I am joking here, Pharmacy Burger will be one of the best burgers you will ever have and is a must-visit restaurant for your two day Nashville itinerary.
The restaurant is located a fair distance outside of central Nashville and will, therefore, require you to either drive or take an Uber, but it is 100% worth the journey.
The burger restaurant and bar is always packed full of locals and serves a fantastic menu alongside a cool setting, including outdoor eating area lit with fairy lights.
Find my other top Nashville restaurant recommendations here.
See Music City by bus (and see Taylor Swift’s home!)
Like most major American cities, many top celebrities own property in Nashville including Taylor Swift.
This tour will take you through some of the most beautiful areas of Tennessee to view the majestic homes of such legends as Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
You will pass the homes of Dierks Bentley, Caleb and Jared Followill of Kings of Leon, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Julianne Hough of Dancing with the Stars, Lori Ann Crook of Crook and Chase, Janis Ian, Martina McBride, Jack White, Ronnie Milsap and many more.
Aside from seeing the celebrity home, the guided tour is a fantastic way to see different and more local areas of Nashville, giving you a better insight into the city.
Nashville is a city which never stops and you can easily spend weeks exploring it. However, 2 days in Nashville is great for a first-time visit, during which you can start to get a real feel for Music City which will keep you wanting to come back for more.