Frequently Asked Questions About Nashville
After comparing notes with tourism professionals, friends, TripAdvisor, Reddit, Facebook, downtown police officers and other knowledgeable folks, I offer these answers to a dozen FAQ.
What’s there to do downtown?
Within a half-mile’s walk: Country Music Hall of Fame, National Museum of African American Music, various celebrity museums, Frist Art Museum. Venues include Bridgestone Arena, Ryman Auditorium, Ascend Amphitheater, and Schermerhorn Symphony Hall.
Where should i park downtown?
Parking Made Easier in Nashville should answer your questions.
Is there a cover charge for honky tonks?
Only on rare occasions like New Years Eve; otherwise tip the band generously.
Where can I find traditional country music?
Lower Broadway is dominated by bro country, current hits and rock oldies. Your most likely options are Robert’s Western World, Twin Fiddles, Layla’s and AJ’s Good Time Bar. Also recommended: my Hidden Treasures post..
What’s the legal drinking age?
21 and a photo ID is required. You will be carded.
Is there a curfew for minors?
Generally speaking, minors of any age can be out at any time if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Curfew for unaccompanied minors 16yo and under is 10pm M-Th and 11pm Fri-Sun. For teenagers between 17 and 18yo, it’s 11pm M-Th and midnight Fri-Sun.
What time do bars close?
Typically 2am or 3am.
I don’t drink. Where can I hear live music?
Restaurants are your best. Although most serve alcohol, they aren’t primarily bars. Among them: Acme Feed & Seed, Puckett’s Grocery, Mellow Mushroom, the downtown location of Martin’s BBQ and Commodore Grille. Even the Taco Bell downtown. Assembly Food Hall in the 5th and Broadway complex often hosts musicians; also check out their SkyDeck for special evening events. You’ll find stages in the airport, Freebird Boots on 2nd Avenue, N., and Gibson Garage.
Venues that charge admission or a cover but aren’t especially alcohol-driven include 3rd & Lindsley, The Listening Room, Bluebird Cafe, and City Winery. Often overlooked are the performances on the two stages within the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Warm weather draws us to outdoor stages. Among our special music series are Musicians Corner, Bluebird on the Mountain, Centennial Park Big Band Dances, Warner Park Pickin’ Parties and Cornelia Fort Pickin’ Parties. Alcohol is available at most but the atmosphere is very family-friendly.
Is marijuana legal in Tennessee?
No, not even medical marijuana. Please ignore the jackals selling it or other illegal drugs on Lower Broadway.
Where should I eat?
Depends on your preferences. The city is known for southern cooking and hot chicken. Barbecue is popular. A number of foodie-friendly restaurants helmed by outstanding local chefs and revered restaurateurs from other cities have a lot of buzz. Our upscale steakhouses are a mix of national chains and Nashville favorites.
Where should I stay?
Depends on what you want to do, your budget and amenities that suit your needs. Read more under Lodging.
What if I don’t like country music?
Music City is also home to blues, bluegrass, jazz, classical music and more. The National Museum of African American Music covers everything from gospel to hip-hop. The Musicians Hall of Fame leans toward rock and pop. Here’s your help for non-country music.
We have an amazing symphony housed in a world-class hall, a number of galleries (plus monthly art crawls), stunning art museums, theatre companies including the superb Nashville Children’s Theatre, ballet and opera companies, plus performances at area universities.
What’s on the Must-Do List?
Depends on your interests but here are some popular options:
- For an overview of the city, take the hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
- Visit a honky tonk just to say you did. To avoid raucous crowds, go on a weeknight or before 7pm on the weekend.
- Attend a songwriter’s showcase or music performance where the audience actually listens.
- For local cuisine, try hot chicken or a meat-and-three for southern food. We’ve got good barbecue but we’re not Memphis or St. Louis.
- For trendier dining, explore SoBro, the Gulch, Germantown, East Nashville, 12South or Downtown.
- If the weather’s cooperative, choose from a variety of Outdoor Activities. Enjoy the view from the State Capitol or the Pedestrian Bridge over the Cumberland River. Take in a round of golf. If you have a car, walk a trail at Radnor Lake. You can even kayak or paddleboard on the river.
- Hit a grand slam: walk around Bicentennial Mall State Park with its historical markers, tour the FREE Tennessee State Museum, dine in the food court at Farmer’s Market and catch a Nashville Sounds baseball game—all on adjoining properties.
- Got kids? Visit the Nashville Zoo, a splash park, Nashville Shores water park or Adventure Science Center. For lots more, consult the Kids/Family blogpost.
- Love history? Three main areas to pursue: Civil War, Civil Rights and music with attractions that specialize in each.
- If you’re into shopping, the trendy hotspots are The Gulch and 12South. For funky (and more spread out), try East Nashville. For upscale retailers, visit The Mall at Green Hills.
For more details, check out the list under Things To Do.