This 2 days in Nashville itinerary and guide includes ideas and tips for things to do, where to stay, when to visit and what to eat in Music City.
Honky-tonks, country legends, history and culture, mural art — it’s all a part of this 2 day Nashville itinerary.
Music City is well known for its toe-tapping performances, so we’ve included plenty of time for line dancing and live shows on Lower Broadway in this Nashville guide. But, there are also options for museum hopping, shopping and sampling all the Southern comfort foods.
Scroll down for our favorite Nashville 2 day itinerary and tips for where to stay, what to pack and how to find the best Nashville hot chicken in the city. For more activities, check out this Nashville bucket list.
Day 1 — Downtown Nashville Music and Museums
This 2 days in Nashville itinerary starts in the heart of the city, with Broadway Historic District, live shows and the best Nashville music attractions.
Old Town Trolley Tour
One of the best ways to start a 2 day Nashville itinerary is with a tour of the historic downtown. Country music aficionados, especially, will love all the behind-the-scenes info about the legendary venues and performers of Music City. Guides will take you around to RCA Studio B, the Ryman Auditorium, Music Row, and other famed haunts.
Many tours are offered by bus, or trolley but you can also get around by segway, golf cart, helicopter and more!
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Tour the Ryman
Visiting the Ryman Auditorium is a must on your first trip to Nashville, especially for country music fans. Called the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the venue hosted the Grand Ole Opry for about 30 years starting in the 1940s. You can book behind the scenes tickets to see the famous stage and picture what it would be like to stand in the spotlight.
Nashville has a ton of incredible museums downtown, and an afternoon indoors is a great way to escape the summer heat. Music fans can pick from options like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, the National Museum of African American Music, or niche spots dedicated to performers, like the Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum.
History buffs might prefer to walk around the Tennessee State Museum to learn about the first peoples and early settlers. The 1859 Tennessee State Capitol and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park are nearby.
For art and culture, head to the Frist Art Museum, which has touring exhibits and an interactive gallery in an old post office on the National Register of Historic Places. The Nashville Parthenon Museum has 19th- and 20th-century paintings from American artists. The city is also known for its murals, so hunting for street art is another fun way to soak up the culture on a Nashville 2 day itinerary.
Honky Tonk Highway
The most popular downtown zone is the section of Lower Broadway known as Honky Tonk Highway, and if you’ve come to Nashville for live music or nightlife, this is where you’ll want to hang out in the evening. The stages, bars and dance floors actually come to life by late morning, so you can visit early in the day or join the honky-tonk reveling until the wee hours at famous joints like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Day 2 — Nashville Neighborhoods, Parks and the Grand Ole Opry
Whether you’ve stayed up late partying or are ready for an early start, the second day of your Nashville itinerary is a bit more laid back. But, you can always squeeze in another museum from yesterday if that’s more your speed.
The 12 South neighborhood near Belmont University is a great spot to start day two with a coffee from Frothy Monkey and 100-layer donuts from Five Daughters Bakery. Most of the chic boutiques and shops along the walkable zone don’t open until 10 or 11 a.m., but if you’re early you can hunt for a handful of colorful murals that adorn exterior walls. Head to the alley outside the Draper James store for a blue and white striped wall and the “I believe in Nashville” sign, behind Frothy Monkey for a “Nashville looks good on you” mural, and just past the intersection with Paris Avenue for a wall full of flowers.
Nashville Parthenon and Centennial Park
Head over to the Nashville Parthenon to see a same-sized replica of the historic Athens temple, originally built in the 1890s as a part of the Tennessee Centennial Celebration. A museum inside has a 42-foot gilded replica of the statue of Athena as well as a collection of American art. The surrounding urban park is a great spot for some outdoor time with a lake and walking paths.
Music Valley and the Grand Ole Opry House
You’ll want to carve out at least a couple of hours for the Music Valley, an area 10 miles from downtown where you’ll find the Grand Ole Opry House, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Opry Mills Mall.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is a destination hotel with a huge covered atrium indoors full of jungles, rivers, fountains and waterfalls. You can poke around inside to gawk at the design or grab lunch from one of the restaurants.
Next door, the Grand Ole Opry House hosts the famous country music broadcast and offers backstage tours. If you’re spending the weekend in Nashville, you might be able to score tickets to a performance for the evening.
For your final night in Nashville, you can either head back to the Honky Tonk Highway for live music or grab tickets to a performance at the Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman. If it’s NFL or NHL season, you could even try to catch the Tennessee Titans or Nashville Predators for a home game.
Tips for 2 Days in Nashville
If you’re wondering when to visit Nashville, what the local transit is like, or what to pack for Nashville, these tips will help you prepare.
Getting to Nashville
Nashville International Airport (BNA) is 10 miles east of downtown and connects non-stop to about 75 destinations. From there, you can use the WeGo Public Transit bus service to get down, grab a taxi or Uber, or rent a car from several on-site brands.
If you’re arriving on a road trip, three major interstates pass through the city — the north-south I-65, east-west I-40, and northwest-southeast I-24.
Getting Around Nashville
Do you need a car in Nashville? A car is handy if you’re planning to roam beyond the downtown Broadway zone or take any day trips, but for just two days in Nashville, you can get by walking and using rideshare. Many downtown hotels charge for parking or valet, so keep that in mind if you’re bringing or renting a car. There is also a public bus and sightseeing tours.
Best Time to Visit Nashville
Nashville has mild seasons, with highs averaging around 90 in summer and lows dipping just below freezing in winter. Spring gets the most precipitation, but it rains in every season.
Fall is our favorite season for the lowest rain chances, comfortable temps for walking around, and changing leaves in the parks.
Nashville is a great year-round destination though, with fun concerts, sporting events, festivals and more every month.
How Long to Spend in Nashville
You can see quite a bit with a Nashville weekend itinerary if you stick mainly to the downtown area. For longer vacations to Nashville, you’ll be able to check out more museums and take day trips to the outskirts of town to visit places like historic Franklin, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage estate, or some of the parks along the Cumberland River.
Packing for Nashville
Nashville is a casual town and you’ll see lots of dressy jeans and boots out in the evening. Wear comfortable shoes if you’re going to be walking around a lot, dress for the seasons, and throw in an umbrella or rain jacket just in case.
Where to Eat in Nashville
Nashville has a top-notch dining scene, with tons of yummy spots for barbecue and hot chicken or coffee and brunch. Below are a few places I’ve tried and loved.
For a sampling of classic Southern comfort food, Puckett’s serves up delicious staples like biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, barbecue meat plates, fried chicken, fried catfish, fried pickles, deep fried brownies — what were we talking about? The small Tennessee chain has locations in about half a dozen tourist hot spots and features a cozy vibe with stages for live performances. The Nashville locale is on Church Street downtown, a couple blocks off Broadway.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Nashville is famous for its hot fried chicken and Hattie B’s is one of the most popular places to try it in the city. The spicy battered meat is the star of the menu, but you can pick your heat level and order it on a sandwich or with Southern sides like mac and cheese, potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw. The small chain has four Nashville locations.
Five Daughters Bakery
A small, family-run chain, Five Daughters Bakery serves 100-layer donuts with toppings like chocolate sea salt, maple and bacon, and vanilla with a buttercream filling. There are three Nashville locations (plus one in Franklin), but the bakery in the 12 South neighborhood is a must-see for its donut murals.
Lou/Na makes the list primarily for its locale, at the top of the new Grand Hyatt Nashville with 25th-floor views overlooking Broadway. The rooftop bar and lounge serves cocktails and small plates and has an open deck with glass barriers for optimal skyline vistas.