Nashville Travel Guide
Nashville, Tennessee's capital city, is located in the north central part of the state on the Cumberland River. Founded in 1779 and named for Francis Nash, a Continental Army General during the American Revolutionary War, Nashville is the most populous city in Tennessee and one of the nation's fastest growing economies.
Called "Music City," Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry, known for country music performances and legends like Johnny Cash, Reba McIntire, Loretta Lynn, Minnie Pearl, Vince Gill and others who have graced the stage there. The Ryman Auditorium has also seen stars like Dolly Parton and Hank Williams, and now hosts shows of all genres. Bars, restaurants, and performance venues offer live music every day of the week, and it's not just country music. Bluegrass, rock, pop, and a wide range of styles can be heard throughout the city.
Another nickname for Nashville is "Athens of the South" for its many institutions of higher learning, including Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, and Belmont. The Parthenon in Centennial Park, a full-scale replica of the original in Athens, is a reminder of the city's reputation. It was built in 1897 for the state's Centennial Exposition.
Nashville is in the Central Time Zone, though the state of Tennessee is divided into Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone. (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally.)
Best Time to Go
Spring (April, May) and Autumn (September, October) are good times to visit Nashville because the weather is generally comfortable. The summer months of July and August are quite warm and humid, and winter is often cold and rainy. If weather is not an issue, it may be more economical to visit during winter months when there are fewer tourists.
Things to Know
The elegant Schermerhorn Symphony Center, located downtown across from the Country Music Hall of Fame is the place to hear classical, jazz, world music, and Broadway.
Nashville is the home of Hot Chicken, and Prince's Hot Chicken is considered the original. Choose your heat level from Plain to XXX Hot, but be aware that they really mean XXX HOT!
The AT&T Building is nicknamed the Batman Building because its two towers make it resemble Batman's pointed ears.
Nashville was the first Southern city to desegregate public establishments after a series of downtown sit-ins by African-American college students in 1960.
Elvis Presley recorded more than 200 of his songs on Music Row at RCA's Studio B. (The year-round Christmas lights there commemorate his recording of his Christmas album when they were put up in July, along with a Christmas tree, to inspire the holiday mood.)
Tennessee is called "The Volunteer State." Volunteer soldiers from Tennessee played a large role in the War of 1812, especially during the Battle of New Orleans. Later in the Mexican-American War of 1846, Tennessee sent 30,000 soldiers for the effort.
Nashville is home to the National Football League Titans, the National Hockey League Predators, and Major League Soccer team the Nashville Soccer Club. The city also has a minor league baseball team, the Sounds.
A Nashville hotel led to the name of Maxwell House coffee. Their popular brew was given the hotel's name, and, during a 1907 stay, President Theodore Roosevelt supposedly said, "Good to the last drop," creating the brand's familiar slogan.
How to Get Around
Nashville's main public transit system, WeGo Public Transit, has purple buses covering more than 50 routes throughout the city. Plan ahead of time using the service's convenient trip planner as a guide. WeGo offers an bus service to and from the Nashville Airport (BNA). It also offers a park and ride service with free parking at designated locations
Taxis, Uber, and Lyft all operate in Nashville.
Other Nashville Locations
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Downtown: This is the business center of Nashville as well as the location of Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. Printers Alley, once the center of newspaper publishing, is now full of lively nightlife. Hotels, restaurants, and museums, including the Country Music Hall of Fame, reside in downtown Nashville.
Midtown: Adjacent to Vanderbilt University, with its 18th century architecture and sculpture gardens, Midtown is a neighborhood between downtown, Music Row, and West End. Restaurants, bars, hotels, and Centennial Park are conveniently located in this walkable neighborhood.
Music Row/Demonbreun/Edgehill: Just southwest of downtown, this area is Nashville's entertainment industry. This neighborhood is home to a variety of recording studios including the historic RCA Studio B. At its entry, a 40 foot bronze sculpture named "Musica" features nine figures celebrating the energy and diversity of the music industry.
Germantown: This urban residential community is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A few blocks northwest of downtown, the neighborhood is home to the Tennessee State Museum. Boutiques and restaurants abound in this area named for European immigrants who settled there in the mid-19th century.
The Gulch: This walkable community is located just south of downtown in a revitalized industrial area. Street art, live music venues, breweries, hotels, and restaurants make it a popular destination.
East Nashville: Dive bars, craft breweries, coffee shops, historic homes, art galleries, and vintage stores make up the culturally-diverse, artsy neighborhood. East Nashville is located across the Cumberland River from downtown.
Opryland: This neighborhood, located ten miles east of downtown, is home to Music Valley, Grand Ole Opry, and the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. The Opry Mills shopping center, Willie Nelson Museum, SoundWaves water park, and a variety of family-friendly restaurants can be found in this area.
West End/Elliston Place: Centennial Park, with its replica of the Greek Parthenon, is located in this neighborhood adjacent to Vanderbilt University.
Nashville has a subtropical type of climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Annual precipitation is about 47 inches, with the majority occurring in spring, particularly during the month of May. Spring is tornado season in Middle Tennessee.
Temperatures begin to cool in September, and autumn typically receives the least rainfall. Winter is colder, with little snow, usually about seven inches total, mostly during January.
The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month.
January 28 - 47
February 32 - 52
March 39 - 61
April 47 - 71
May 57 - 78
June 65 - 86
July 69 - 89
August 68 - 89
September 61 - 82
October 49 - 72
November 39 - 60
December 31 - 49