If you're thinking of moving to the South, it makes sense to look for a spot that has a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene. Nashville fits the bill perfectly, thanks to its rich history and abundance of music venues.
But what is Nashville famous for? A few things, actually. It's known as Music City, due to the numerous honky-tonk bars and venues like the Grand Ole Opry. It's also the site of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the CMA awards are often hosted in the city. However, even if you're not into music, Nashville has plenty more to do (and eat). It’s clear as day why someone would want to call Nashville home.
If you’re moving to Nashville in the future or already moved, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 spots to explore to help you learn your new city inside and out.
Nashville's Rich Heritage
Nashville is a unique city, unlike any other in the South. A big reason for its special status is its history and culture, which have evolved over the decades and centuries. For example, in the 1800s, Nashville was known for its abundance of universities, giving it the unofficial nickname of "Athens of the South."
Throughout the 20th century, many musicians either got their start in Nashville or used the city as a platform to expand their audience. Some of the biggest country stars performed at the Grand Ole Opry, putting them in the national spotlight. Examples include Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, as well as numerous modern artists like Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson.
Outside of music, Nashville is known for its excellent food. Nashville hot chicken has become a staple of restaurants everywhere, and you can find some of the best southern barbecues right here. Nothing beats munching down on some delicious pulled pork or brisket while listening to a live band play.
Places You Should Visit After Moving to Nashville
Whether you want to immerse yourself in the music scene, the nightlife, or the local culinary tradition, there are plenty of attractions to explore in the Music City. Keep reading for our top 10 attractions to visit after moving to Nashville.
1. The Grand Ole Opry
Although there are dozens (possibly hundreds) of music venues and bars with live bands in Nashville, there's something special about going to the Opry. Originally, the Opry was a radio show that started in 1925 as a way to promote a life insurance company. The company built a small studio in their Nashville office, and history was made.
Over the years, the Opry's audience grew until they had to start performing in an actual theater. They chose the Ryman Auditorium, thanks to its spacious interior and ample seating. However, in 1974, the Grand Ole Opry building was completed, and the show moved into its new digs.
Today, the Opry is a cornerstone of live music in Nashville, drawing some of the biggest names. While the format of the show is mostly unchanged, the artists it features rotate regularly. You can see massive stars like Keith Urban, as well as new artists who may be the next big thing.
2. The Country Music Hall of Fame
If you're a big fan of country music, the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the best places to visit in Nashville. Also, with proof of residency, the museum offers a "pay what you want" policy, so you never have to pay full price (unless you want to).
The museum has a rotating roster of exhibitions that celebrate the history and legacy of country music and its biggest stars. Because these exhibitions change regularly, it's worth checking out the museum every so often to see what's new. Plus, the museum also features the CMA Theater, where some big names host live shows.
3. Music Row
For tourists and residents alike, Music Row is one of the must-visit places in Nashville, as it's the site of multiple recording studios and country music companies. It's also where you can find the Country Music Hall of Fame. After moving to Nashville, Music Row is a place to appreciate the musical history of Nashville and also where you can find some of the best food in the city.
At the north end is Hattie B's Hot Chicken (a Nashville staple), as well as numerous bars and grills that serve delicious eats and live entertainment nightly. On the southern end of the Row, you’ll find a few wine bars and taco spots.
4. The Gulch
When looking for the best places to live near Nashville, you'll likely come across some of the more funky and chic neighborhoods within the city. The Gulch is one of the swankiest, due to its position between Music Row and Downtown Nashville. While The Gulch is a bit pricey and crowded for buying a home, it's one of the more interesting places to visit in Nashville.
One notable aspect of this neighborhood is that it's smaller than other popular Nashville neighborhoods. It's about three blocks wide and seven blocks long, but it's packed full of gorgeous scenery, upscale shops and eateries, and the perfect blend of nature and modern construction. Most of the buildings in the Gulch are LEED Certified, so they're sustainable and incorporate many different natural elements.
Also, despite its size, The Gulch has some of the best restaurants in the city. As a resident, you should walk through the neighborhood and sample different places like Del Frisco's Grille, Milk and Honey, Biscuit Love, and Peg Leg Porker BBQ.
5. Tootsie's Orchid Lounge
Honky-tonk bars are a dime a dozen in Downtown Nashville, but none of them are quite as unique or special as Tootsie's. This purple building is impossible to miss, and it's one of the busiest attractions in the city.
Part of Tootsie's appeal is that it offers three floors of entertainment. So, you can move from one floor to the next and see which band you like the most. Tootsie’s food is also incredible, with decadent nachos, burgers, and fried chicken on the menu.
One thing you'll discover as a local is that the entertainment gets better as you go up a floor. This is illustrated by the VIP experiences, which are always pricier on the third floor. So, when a big act comes into Tootsie's, you may want to upgrade to VIP status and avoid the crowds. You even get your own personal bartender!
6. Bluebird Café
At first glance, the Bluebird Café may not seem like much, especially when compared with the grandeur of spots like Tootsie's or the Grand Ole Opry. However, the Bluebird has become one of the best places to visit in Nashville, thanks to its roster of live talent. This cafe specializes in letting singers/songwriters perform their best songs, making it a more intimate experience than what you'd find in a larger venue.
However, despite its diminutive size, the Bluebird has attracted the likes of Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, and many others. Also, with only a 90-person capacity, you can get up close and personal with these stars as they share their art with you.
7. Hattie B's
When it comes to culinary delights, Nashville has its own unique dish—hot chicken. Unlike regular fried chicken, hot chicken is all about blending spices to kick up the heat level while maintaining deliciousness. According to historians, hot chicken has been around Nashville since the 1930s, but it didn't become popular until 2007 during the first Hot Chicken Festival.
It was around that time when the founders of Hattie B's were starting to experiment with their hot chicken recipe. Although the first Hattie B's wouldn't open until 2012, it quickly became a hotspot for gourmands in and around the city. Now, you can find Hattie B's throughout Nashville, so you're never too far from a tear-jerking meal.
Locals love Hattie B's as much (if not more) than tourists, but make sure you can handle the heat. The recipes haven't been toned down for a broader audience, so have a glass of cold water handy.
8. Pinewood Social
As the name suggests, Pinewood Social is a place for people to hang out and have fun together. It's more than just a restaurant, it's also a bowling alley, coffee shop, and a spot to cool down during the hot summer (seriously, it features two dipping pools).
However, while Pinewood is trendy, it's usually not so crowded that you can’t find a seat or reserve a spot at the bowling alley. Of course, Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest, but when you move to Nashville, you can come by anytime you like.
The menu is just as eclectic as the atmosphere, with dishes like chicken and waffles, short rib mac n' cheese, and chimichurri burgers. If you like to step outside your culinary comfort zone, Pinewood is one of the must-visit places in Nashville.
9. Adventure Science Center
If you have a thirst for knowledge, the Adventure Science Center is an excellent place to visit in Nashville. Also, because this isn't a typical "tourist" destination, you don't have to worry about crowds or high prices.
Some of the highlights of this museum include the planetarium, the VR flight simulator, the Infinium Room, and the maker space, where you can indulge in building STEM projects. The Adventure Science Center is a hands-on museum, inviting you to explore the world around you and let your imagination run wild.
10. Frist Art Museum
While music and food are big components of Nashville's culture, the city also has a bustling art scene. One of the best places to see new and old art is the Frist Art Museum, located in the heart of downtown.
The Frist engages the mind and spirit with thought-provoking artwork centered around humanistic themes. This museum is much more intellectually engaging than just seeing classical paintings or avant-garde pieces. You may even want to sign up as a member to explore new exhibitions as they arrive.
There's Never a Dull Moment in Nashville
Once you've found the perfect home in the greater Nashville Metro area, you can start exploring the various corners of Music City. These 10 hotspots are perfect for tourists and residents alike, but there are so many other attractions and entertainment options available like Centennial Park, Germantown, and the National Museum of African American Music to name a few.
While central Nashville is fun to explore for a day, the crowds and high cost of living can make it less than desirable for buying a home. Fortunately, we offers a wide selection of new construction homes surrounding Nashville, so you can go into the city whenever you like but still enjoy a relaxed quality of life.
Want to experience the vibrant spirit of Nashville for yourself? Explore our new build homes and find your perfect place near the Music City.