Music City’s lively downtown doesn’t disappoint. Nashville’s entertainment hub is home to a who’s who of restaurants, hotels, and cultural hot spots, including the Frist Art Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. After dark, live music takes over the bars of Honky Tonk Highway.
With so many attractions packed in, Downtown Nashville deserves a prominent spot on any itinerary in the city. While the neighborhood is easily explored on foot, you can also hop in a horse and carriage for a tour of attractions like the Johnny Cash Museum and Tennessee State Capitol. Night owls can experience the best of downtown aboard a BYOB open-air party bus as it cruises through Lower Broadway and Downtown Nashville.
Things to Know Before You Go
- 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.
How to Get There
While Downtown Nashville is best experienced with a car, those who’d rather skip the rental can take the bus to Music City Central station or the commuter train to Riverfront Station to find themselves in the heart of the downtown action.
When to Get There
To get a feel for Downtown Nashville, plan to visit during the day to take in the cultural attractions and again at night to experience the famous nightlife. There’s live music pretty much every night of the week, but it’s a good idea to take a look at who’s playing beforehand and get tickets, if necessary.
Printer’s Alley Historic District is located in Downtown Nashville, once the center of the city’s printing industry during the early 1900s; both The Tennessean and the Nashville Banner once had their offices here. By the 1940s, the alley was a hot spot for live music; clubs and saloons hosted acts such as Hank Williams, Jimi Hendrix, and The Supremes. It remains one of the best live music spots in a city known for its music.