Choose from 54 Fun Things to Do in Tennessee
The lush green landscape provides a needed escape from the towering skyscrapers and bustling city life. The most notable, and possibly most out-of-place feature of the park is the Parthenon replica, built to scale. Commissioned for Nashville’s celebration of the nation’s 100th birthday, it also commemorates Nashville’s reputation as the “Athens of the South” because of its many universities and arts scene.
Don’t just admire this architectural feat from the outside, the builders took this replica project to its fullest extent. According to Ancient Greek history, the Parthenon was built to house an ivory and gold statue built by Phidias to honor the goddess. Its size can’t be described as anything but breath-taking, and it’s mind-blowing to think about this being built during the B.C. era.
In Nashville, Centennial Park also serves as a prime outdoor venue for all kinds of community events. From outdoor movie screenings in the bandstand, concerts, bike festivals, swing dancing Saturday nights, Americana arts showcases, and Shakespeare performances, there’s always something exciting going on. Joggers, volleyball players, and more take advantage of the facilities as well. Take an afternoon to feed the ducks in the lake, grab a sno-cone, and people watch at this picturesque urban park.
- Dollywood is a must-visit for families, and theme park or Dolly Parton enthusiasts.
- Buy a mobile ticket ahead of time to skip the line (and hassle) at the ticket office.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk; flip-flops are not allowed on some rides.
- Bring along sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, and remember to stay hydrated.
- A majority of the park is wheelchair accessible, as are many rides and attractions.
- Performance tickets can be reserved about a week in advance.
- Most shows have no cover charge, but there is a $10 food and drink minimum per guest.
- Sunday and Monday night shows are first come, first served. As such, lines are famously long on these days.
- Though the Bluebird Cafe serves alcohol, guests of all ages are welcome.
- Downtown Nashville is a must-visit for music buffs, night owls, and first-time visitors.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a fair amount of walking.
- Bring some cash for buying drinks and tipping at the downtown bars; it’s faster than paying by card.
- Some downtown venues charge a cover in the evenings, though most of the honky-tonks are free.
- Dress for the weather to fully enjoy the outdoor grounds.
- A number of specialty tours on niche Civil War topics are available.
- Only the first floor of the Carnton house is wheelchair accessible.
- Beale Street is a must-see for music lovers and night owls.
- Don’t forget to bring a valid ID if you want to enter bars and clubs.
- Some bars on Beale Street with live music charge a small cover fee.
- Expect shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at night, especially on weekends.
- This site is a must-see for music lovers and Elvis fans.
- To see everything Graceland has to offer, set aside three to four hours.
- Bring a sharpie so you can sign the famous Graceland wall.
- Tripods and selfie sticks are not permitted on tours inside Graceland.
- Flash-free photography is allowed.
- Most visitor facilities at Graceland are fully wheelchair accessible.
- The Trails and Conservation Greenway are free and open to the public during the day, but their use requires check-in upon arrival.
- Kids under 6 years old, as well as active duty military personnel, can tour the mansion free of charge.
- Café Fontanella offers Southern and Italian food with live music daily.
- Visitors can stay on the property by booking the room at the Inn at Fontanel.
- The mansion at Fontanel is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- The General Jackson Showboat is a must for families and couples.
- Book your lunch or dinner cruise before you go to avoid disappointment.
- A round-trip cruise from Downtown Nashville and back is about 14 miles (23 kilometers).
- Most of the General Jackson Showboat is wheelchair accessible.
- Fort Nashborough is a must-see for history buffs.
- Those interested in Native American history shouldn’t miss the interpretive plaza on the south end of the property that includes an 8-foot-tall (2.4-meter-tall) feather sculpture and information about the tribes that lived here in frontier days.
- Allow at least 30 minutes for your visit (or a bit longer if traveling with kids who might want to play in the park).
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- The ticket line can grow long during peak visiting hours; save time by purchasing tickets in advance.
- The museum offers two dining options and multiple retail spots for souvenirs.
- The museum and RCA Studio B are accessible by wheelchair. Tours for those with audio and visual impairments are available with two weeks’ notice.
- Plan to spend two to three hours exploring the museum.
- The Gibson guitar factory is a must-visit for music lovers and musicians.
- Factory tours last 45 minutes to an hour.
- Wear close-toed shoes; ear plugs and dust masks are provided.
- The factory tour is wheelchair accessible.
- An on-site shop sells a full line of Gibson guitars and guitar accessories.
The Grand Ole Opry began as a radio broadcast in 1925 and is now a world-renowned stage show in Nashville, Tennessee, where hundreds of stars have begun their careers. It’s the longest-running radio show in the US, showcasing the genres of country, bluegrass, folk, comedy, and gospel both live and on the radio. Unlike a typical concert, the Grand Ole Opry presents six or more artists during each show, giving the audience a variety of great music to enjoy at one event. Superstars who have performed here include Patsy Cline, Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, and Carrie Underwood.
Taking in a show at the Opry house is a bucket-list item for not only fans of country music, but music lovers in general. A guided tour of the Opry may give you the opportunity to step on stage, into the famed wooden circle, as countless musicians have done for many years, while a backstage tour is a great way to hear stories about the music venue. You can take a peek inside the dressing rooms and get an exclusive look at other backstage areas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- FM Assistive Listening Devices are available to borrow during the shows.
- A combo tour of the Opry and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a popular way to visit two of Nashville's must-see attractions—the lifelike figures of greats such as Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, and Reba McEntire will leave you guessing at the wax museum.
- You can also listen to the Opry live on the radio by streaming 650 AM WSM The Legend.
How to Get There
The Grand Ole Opry House and Opry Entertainment Complex are located just off Briley Parkway at 2804 Opryland Drive in Nashville, Tennessee. Most tours include transportation from your downtown Nashville hotel.
When to Get There
The days and hours of the Opry House and its ticketed shows vary. The Opry show is presented at the nearby Ryman Auditorium during the months of November, December, and January.
- All visits are by tour only, led by a costumed tour guide.
- Mansion tours are offered every 30 minutes throughout the day, with the last tour beginning at 4pm.
- The grounds and the first floor of the mansion are wheelchair accessible.
- Hiking trails range from easy to difficult; plan accordingly.
- Multi-day hikes through the Great Smoky Mountains and backcountry camping are also popular.
- This is a kid-friendly location that’s ideal for families.
- Park entrance is free.