You don't have to love country music to fall in love with Nashville. This is the ultimate guide to the top neighborhoods, best things to do, and where to stay in Nashville for any budget!
I'll admit it, I don't know much about country music. If you ask people from my hometown of Brooklyn, New York, what kind of music they listen to, I'll bet many will say "anything but country".
But, that didn't stop me from falling in love with Nashville the first time I visited. It's a city full of passion, and whether you like country music or not, you can't deny that Nashville has one of the best live music scenes in the country.
A visit to Nashville comes along with a wide range of accommodation options too. Choosing where to stay in Nashville comes down to the type of neighborhood you'd like to experience and the type of budget you're working with.
Let's check out some of the best neighborhoods in Nashville based on budget and personality.
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Where to Stay in Nashville, Tennessee: The Best Neighborhoods
Come ready to hear some of the best music in the USA, no matter what neighborhood you decide to stay in. Nashville's music scene is energetic and exciting regardless of the time of year, but the best time to visit Nashville is in the warmer months of April to October.
Many of the popular Nashville neighborhoods have one thing in common: live music venues.
This city is home to honky tonks and anyone who is anyone in the country music industry has come through Nashville at one point or another. There is definitely no shortage of vibrant nightlife in Music City, and there is also no shortage of great Nashville hotels to base yourself in while taking in the music scene.
Choosing where to stay in Nashville is dependent on whether you want to be in the center of all the music action, or would rather stay in a quieter part of town. Luckily, there are hotels and accommodations available for any budget.
Nashville neighborhoods are distinct in their own way and it is exciting to explore them all. No matter where you choose to stay, one thing is for sure, live music is never too far away.
Visit Downtown Nashville for exactly what Nashville is known for, its music.
Downtown Nashville is one of the most popular neighborhoods and rightfully so. It is home to many of Nashville's Honky Tonks. You can find live music every day of the year at the wide range of music venues in this area.
Broadway is the main thoroughfare in Downtown Nashville where Music City really comes to life. Visit this area both day or night to see some of Nashville's up and coming country music singers.
If you are looking for the quintessential Nashville nightlife scene, look no further than downtown. This neighborhood of Nashville should not be missed by anyone, especially visitors who love live music and country songs.
It is also one of the best places to stay in Nashville, especially if it's your first time in the city.
While walking through Downtown Nashville, stop by Merchants for modern Southern cuisine. If you're looking for more of an upscale dining experience in the heart of Music City, have dinner at The Palm Nashville.
Robert's Western World is one of many top honky tonks to enjoy a beer and live music in this famous neighborhood.
Recommended Experience: Downtown Nashville Food Tour
Where to Stay in Downtown Nashville
Nashville Downtown Hostel - A great budget accommodation for those who don't mind a little sharing. The hostel has a social atmosphere and the option for guest rooms with bunkbeds as well as family guest rooms. There is a shared lounge and kitchen for those who want to cook meals rather than dine out.
There is a billiards table available and luggage storage for those who don't want to carry their bags around town. Just noted the the secure luggage area costs $5/day to use. This accommodation is on the cheaper end but provides all the standard amenities of a hostel.
Studio 154 Luxury Hotel - A boutique hotel just steps away from the lively Broadway area. Studio 154 Luxury Hotel is a mid-range hotel but it doesn't hold back on modern and contemporary finishes, giving each guest room more of a luxury feel.
Guest rooms at this hotel are more like full apartments with separate living spaces and a kitchenette. It is a great bang for your buck because you can feel like you've spent top dollar on an accommodation when you haven't.
Studio 154 Luxury Hotel is in an ideal location for those who want to explore Nashville's famous sights. It is walking distance to The Johnny Cash Museum and Ryman Auditorium, among other top attractions.
The Studio 154 Luxury Hotel is also one of the hotels near Bridgestone Arena.
The Hermitage Hotel - Get blown away with the interior design at The Hermitage Hotel. This accommodation is the type of hotel that will take your breath away with its exterior architecture and interior finishes.
Everything about this hotel exudes luxury. It is one of the best hotels in Nashville and a great choice if you want to spend a little extra money on a comfortable and stylish accommodation.
The Hermitage Hotel is a pet-friendly accommodation located in the center of Downtown Nashville. The hotel has a restaurant and bar on the property, as well as a fitness center.
This hotels is one of many luxury Downtown Nashville hotels but it stands out with its beautiful design. It is by far one of the best hotels in Nashville and a great starting point to explore nearby attractions.
Come to Midtown for its vibrant nightlife scene.
This area of Nashville is popular for its gay bars and college bars. It is located close to Vanderbilt University and it is a popular neighborhood for college shenanigans. Like many other neighborhoods throughout Nashville, Midtown has a wide variety of live music venues as well.
The popularity of this neighborhood is not just based on its proximity to Vanderbilt University, but also because it is close to Downtown Nashville. People from the country music industry frequent this area because it is full of well known restaurants and bars.
Midtown is a walkable neighborhood and there are plenty of Nashville hotels to choose from. Centennial Park is in Midtown and its famous Parthenon shouldn't be missed.
Go to The Row Kitchen & Pub for a beer, a signature burger, and live music. Southern fried chicken is king in Tennessee, so make sure you try Hattie B's for their well known Nashville hot chicken and sides of comfort food.
If you're visiting with a larger group of people, visit the three floor Hopsmith Tavern for a few beers on tap.
Recommended Experience: Nashville Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
Where to Stay in Midtown
Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Vanderbilt - A money saving option in an area with a wide variety of hotels and well known chain accommodations.
This Hilton Garden Inn provides guests with modern rooms. A restaurant, bar, and swimming pool are all available in this hotel as well. It is also a pet friendly hotel.
This budget accommodation is as standard as it gets since it's a chain hotel, but it has a great price point and location close to Vanderbilt University and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Hayes Street Hotel Nashville - A mid-tier hotel option. This boutique hotel has a colorful interior decor in the lobby but a simplistic feel in the guest rooms. Like much of Nashville, live music is everywhere, including in the hotel's bar.
The Hayes Street Hotel Nashville also has a fitness center and pets are welcome.
This hotel is the type of place for anyone who is in town to visit Vanderbilt University, as it is less than one mile away. It's also a great mid-range option for those who want to be near some of Nashville's famous attractions, including The Country Music Hall of Fame.
Hutton Hotel - A luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Midtown. The decor of the lobby is stylish and unique with the overall aesthetic spilling into the guest rooms.
Each guest room is sophisticated and furnished with sleek furniture. The hotel has a bar and restaurant on property. There is also a business center, a 24 hour fitness center, and a spa.
The Hutton is a pet-friendly and eco-friendly accommodation. This hotel is the place to stay if you want a sense of quality, upscale design. In an area with many popular chain hotels, the Hutton Hotel stands out for being one of the more unique options.
Music Valley isn't quite in the center of Nashville, it's actually located 10 miles away. Although this neighborhood isn't exactly in the heart of the city, it is famous for a couple of important attractions in the country music world.
Its top attraction is the Grand Ole Opry, widely understood to be one of the most historic and famous venue in country music. If you want to stay close to the Grand Ole Opry, Music Valley is the best area to stay in Nashville.
When deciding where to stay in Nashville with a family, Music Valley is one of the top picks since there are plenty of family friendly things to do in this part of Nashville.
Opry Mills is located here, which is the largest outlet mall in Tennessee. There's also a large waterpark, SoundWaves. Take a ride on the General Jackson Showboat or take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry.
Music Valley doesn't disappoint when it comes to dining. For live country music while dining on Southern cuisine, visit the Opry Backstage Grill.
Caney Fork River Valley Grille provides a camping like atmosphere, complete with an indoor fire pit and Nashville style Southern food. It's always Oktoberfest at the Bavarian Bierhaus. Enjoy live music and German food at this Music Valley beer hall.
Where to Stay in Music Valley
Fiddlers Inn - A budget hotel in Music Valley. Standard decor and basic amenities are available at this accommodation. People who choose to stay at this Nashville hotel save money on higher end hotel amenities while still enjoying a great location.
The Fiddlers Inn is close to many top attractions, including the Grand Ole Opry and General Jackson Showboat.
The Inn at Opryland, a Gaylord Hotel - A mid-range hotel for those who want the experience of the Gaylord Opryland without shelling out the money for it.
This smaller scaled hotel (at least compared to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center) has contemporary guest rooms. There is a restaurant and cafe on the property. Visitors can take advantage of the hotel's shuttle service to the airport as well.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center - By far one of the most famous hotels in Nashville. This sprawling hotel is a sight to check out on its own, even if you don't choose to stay at the property. The Gaylord Opryland Resort has an over-the-top atrium full of gardens and waterfalls. There are 15 restaurants and four bars in the hotel.
This type of resort accommodation is perfect for anyone who has some extra money to splurge on a nice stay. Everyone from couples to families can enjoy The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
All guest rooms have modern furnishings and there are two pools in the hotel for guests to enjoy. Anyone who is traveling to and from the airport can take the hotel's shuttle service. This hotel is truly one of a kind and one of the best Nashville hotels.
The Gulch is all about the finer things in life.
This Nashville neighborhood is where you can find some of the most expensive restaurants, hotels, and designer stores. This part of Nashville was once abandoned and has now been revitalized into one of the most trendsetting neighborhoods of the city.
The Gulch is an easily walkable neighborhood and one that can be explored by popping into different venues, bars, and shops. Take a Gulch mural walk to see all the public art in this urban neighborhood.
In a city where music is a main attraction, the Gulch also offers its own music venues for visitors of enjoy. Stop by the Station Inn for traditional bluegrass music or Rudy’s Jazz Room for some smooth jazz.
For some delicious southern breakfast, grab a meal at Biscuit Love Gulch. Peg Leg Porker BBQ is a solid choice for some BBQ. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food in a trendy atmosphere, head over to Saint Añejo.
Where to Stay in The Gulch
The Guild Nashville The Gulch - Velocity - If you're looking for an affordable apartment style accommodation in Nashville, The Guild is a great choice. Apartments come fully furnished with contemporary furniture and interior decor. Each unit also comes with a terrace.
The apartment building itself has a courtyard with tables and chairs. Take in the views and lounge on the rooftop deck as well. Staying at this type of accommodation is a great bang for your buck in one of the most expensive areas of Nashville.
Thompson Nashville - A mid-range accommodation that presents itself as much more upscale. This being The Gulch and all, even a mid-range hotel will have a lot of higher end amenities.
Guest rooms are contemporary in design and feature unique finishes like a rainfall shower in the bathroom. The Thompson is a family-friendly hotel with family guest rooms available and pets are welcome to stay too.
The Thompson Nashville has a rooftop bar with beautiful views of Nashville. The hotel's restaurant has an award winning chef and is open throughout the whole day. This hotel is perfect for those who want to stay in style without splurging too much.
Stay Alfred at the James - A luxury apartment style accommodation. Stay Alfred is ideal for those who are traveling with a group or for families.
The apartments come fully furnished and have a full kitchen and a fitness center is available in the building. There is also a rooftop terrace with lounge chairs and facilities for grilling. Get a feel of what it would be like to live in Nashville while staying at Stay Alfred at the James.
The SoBro neighborhood of Nashville stands for South of Broadway, and many of the vibrant music venues have spilled into this part of the city.
A visit to SoBro is a must for those who love country music, because it is home to popular attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame. SoBro is a top neighborhood choice when deciding where to stay in Nashville.
SoBro is one of the revitalized neighborhoods in Nashville and many of its attractions are newer. The Nashville convention center is located in SoBro, along with Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Visit the Music City Walk of Fame Park for a homage to musicians and genres from all around the world.
If you are craving a hearty meal of steak, dine at The Southern Steak & Oyster. This is trendy restaurant in SoBro for steak cooked on a wood fire.
For a modern twist on classic American diner food, stop by The Diner Nashville. If you're craving a late night burger, this diner is perfect because it is open 24 hours a day. For a few drinks and some live music on the weekends, have a casual day at The Stillery.
Where to Stay in SoBro
Stay Alfred SoBro - A relatively small boutique hotel in SoBro, there is a small selection of rooms at this property, all of which are suites.
On the outside the Stay Alfred SoBro building looks unassuming. However, the interior decor is trendy and vibrant. Each room comes with a separate living area and a full kitchen.
A stay at this hotel is a great money saving deal for the amount of space and amenities you get in each room.
Bode Nashville - A contemporary hotel with unique amenities. Guests can choose from a standard private room, or two or four bedroom unit. The two and four bedroom options all come apartment style, with full kitchens and living rooms.
Those staying in a standard private room can use the shared common spaces of the hotel.
Bode Nashville encourages a social atmosphere. There is an outdoor porch space with a fire pit and board games available to play. The hotel also has a cafe and a pub for drinks.
There are smaller gathering locations throughout the property and even places for photo ops. This hotel is geared towards a younger, social crowd who want a unique stay in Nashville.
JW Marriott Nashville - A top luxury pick when it comes to hotels in the SoBro neighborhood. This upscale chain is widely known for its elegance and contemporary interior design. Its SoBro location is no different.
Each guest room is modern and decorated with artwork that is inspired by Nashville. Many guest rooms have a wonderful view of the city.
The JW Marriott Nashville has three onsite dining options to choose from. Guests can dine at a buffet breakfast or pick up a quick cup of coffee at the hotel's cafe.
There is also a steakhouse located in the hotel, as well as a fitness center and business center on the property. Pets are welcome too.
How to Get Around Nashville
There's a bunch of fun and unique ways to get around Nashville, aside from the standard cab or driving yourself in a car.
For starters, Nashville actually has a free bus to get around town. Yes, I said free. Hop on the Music City Circuit and get from one attraction to another without paying a penny.
There are two lines on the Music City Circuit, the Green Circuit and Blue Circuit. Although these lines aren't all encompassing, they do run through some of Nashville's major attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The Nashville MTA runs the bus system throughout the city.
It is a reliable form of public transportation that will easily get your from one Nashville neighborhood to another. A fare on the bus is $2.00. There are options to buy unlimited passes for a single day, as well as 7, 20, and 31 days if you are staying longer.
If you are bar hopping on Broadway and just want to go a short distance, get yourself on a golf cart.
This is a fun way to leave a bar and wind up at your next destination. There are golf cart companies driving up and down the area. A popular option is Joyride. Oh yea, did I mention that these golf cart rides are free too? Drivers love tips though, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Another option is to rent a bicycle and cruise around town.
Nashville is a relatively easy city to maneuver on a bike. B-Cycle allows people to rent bikes from designated stations around the city and then drop them off when they are done. You can rent bikes for one hour, or get a 24 hour pass. There is also the option for a seven day pass or an annual membership.
Top 10 Sights to See in Nashville
Nashville is known for country music and there are plenty of top attractions that are geared towards music lovers, but there are also many other sights to see in Nashville.
Come to Nashville to experience the center of the country music industry, but also to feel the passion of local artists and musicians. Taste the regional flavors of Nashville and Southern cuisine, and discover the attractions that make Music City a one of a kind destination.
Step away from the Broadway hub of honky tonks and into a quieter part of town in Centennial Park.
This area is home to the famous Parthenon. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors to get away from the excitement of the city and unwind in a natural setting. There are walking and jogging paths throughout the park, picnic areas, and a lake as well.
If you are a fan of country music, you just simply have to visit the Ryman Auditorium. This auditorium was once the home of the Grand Ole Opry and is one of the most important landmarks when it comes to country music.
The Ryman Auditorium was declared a National Historic landmark in 2001. Check the auditorium's listings for upcoming performances and try to catch a concert in this famed landmark while you're in town.
Recommended Experience: Ryman Auditorium Self-Guided Tour
Belle Meade Plantation
The Belle Meade Plantation is only about 15 minutes away from downtown Nashville, but stepping onto the property makes you feel like you've entered into another era.
The Greek Revival mansion is just part of an expansive property. You can take a tour of the mansion, sip bourbon in a renovated ice house, or check out the plantation's vineyard. A visit to the Belle Meade Plantation is educational for the whole family.
Recommended Experience: Belle Meade Plantation Guided Tour
Country Music Hall of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame is simply the best place to go in the whole country to learn about the history of country music. It is by far one of the most popular attractions in Nashville and draws in country music fans from around the nation.
When it comes to Nashville sightseeing, the Country Music Hall of Fame can't be missed.
It is an honor for country music singers to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and you can learn who has that privilege with a visit to the museum. There are temporary exhibits on new country music stars as well.
Anyone who is anyone in the country music world has come through this hall of fame and it is one of the most important museums in the country music industry.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a country music concert that occurs weekly. It is widely believed that the Grand Ole Opry gave country music its start and helped it rise to popularity. It started off in 1925 and it is still going strong.
The Grand Ole Opry holds the title of longest running radio broadcast. It was once held in the Ryman Auditorium but can now be found in Music Valley. Check listings for tickets to a show while you visit Nashville and get a true taste of the heart of country music.
Radnor Lake State Park
Less than 20 minutes outside of Nashville is Radnor Lake State Park. Over 1,300 acres make up this outdoor space and it is a great way to see another side of the greater Nashville area.
Enjoy a hike through the park or head out on a canoe in the lake. Radnor Lake State Park is a wonderful attraction just minutes from the nonstop action of downtown Nashville.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery
It's all about Tennessee Whiskey at Nelson's Green Brier Distillery. If you are over 21, stop by this distillery and take a tour of how real Tennessee Whiskey is made.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery has been in the Nelson family for generations and the craft of producing whiskey has been passed down. See the history of whiskey production and taste samples in the distillery's tasting room.
Just minutes outside of downtown Nashville is The Hermitage. It is a historic plantation that was once owned by President Andrew Jackson.
This attraction is rich in southern history. Tours are available of President Jackson's old home. There are exhibits throughout the museum and you can also walk the grounds of The Hermitage.
Nashville Zoo at Grasmere
The Nashville Zoo at Grasmere is a unique zoo in the sense that it is located alongside a historical plantation. There are over 6,000 animals at the zoo and it continues to be the top tourist attraction in the whole state of Tennessee.
The Nashville Zoo at Grasmere offers guests a fun educational experience to learn about the different species of animals there. It is 188 acres of wildlife exhibits and provides an exciting time for the whole family.
Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe
Nashville is named Music City for a reason, and a music great like Johnny Cash has his own museum in the heart of Nashville.
The Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe houses the largest amount of Johnny Cash memorabilia on public display. There are artifacts and videos throughout the museum. This attraction is a must stop on the list for any visitors who love Johnny Cash.
Other Recommended Experiences to Have in Nashville
Top 3 Day Trips from Nashville
Nashville is a dream come true for any country music lover. Although I'm sure you'd love to spend as much time as possible listening to live music throughout the city, there's also much more to see just outside of Nashville.
Rock City Gardens
Two hours outside of Nashville is Rock City Gardens. It is located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The location of Rock City Gardens is on the border of Georgia and Tennessee. The walking trail is 4,100 feet long and includes gardens, caves, and stunning rock formations.
From the top of the mountain, you can see seven states at one time. If you're not sure which way is what, there is a large compass at the top that points you in the right direction and the top of the mountain opens up to beautiful, unobstructed views.
It is a fun day trip from the cityscape of Nashville to a nature lover's playground of Rock City Gardens.
Jack Daniel's Distillery
About an hour and a half south of Nashville is Jack Daniel's Distillery. It is located in Lynchburg, Tennessee. One of the most famous producers of whiskey, Jack Daniel's is a place to visit for your taste of Tennessee Whiskey (just make sure you're 21, of course).
There are tours available at the distillery that show visitors the step by step production of their whiskey. You can also sample the different varieties of whiskey and take home some bottles for yourself.
Recommended Experience: Nashville to Jack Daniel's Distillery Bus Tour
Mammoth Cave National Park
About an hour and a half north of Nashville is Mammoth Cave National Park. This park is located in Kentucky. It is famously known for its caves and as a visitor, you can take tours of these stunning caves.
There are plenty of activities to do at Mammoth Cave National Park aside from wandering through the caves, for instance, walking and hiking along designated trails is a favorite activity.
Bring a picnic and relax surrounded by nature. Visitors can also canoe on the Green River. Bicycling and horseback riding are also popular activities.
What to Pack for Nashville
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