Nashville is easily one of the best places to spend a weekend away with friends or a partner, or even as a solo traveler. Also known as Music City, the capital of Tennessee has plenty of attractions to suit all interests, from lively honky-tonks and iconic music venues to historic homes and museums. The only downside of spending 72 hours in Nashville is that you can’t fit all the fantastic attractions into one itinerary!
That’s where we at Road Affair come in. We’ve carefully crafted the perfect three-day itinerary that covers all the best places to visit in Nashville. So, pull on your cowboy or cowgirl boots and get ready for an unforgettable trip!
Best Time to Visit Nashville
There’s really no bad time to visit Music City, but the best time to visit Nashville does depend on what you want to experience during your vacation.
The honky-tonks are bumping all year round, but if you want to plan a budget getaway or avoid loads of tourists, consider visiting during the off-peak season between November and March. If you thrive in crowds and want to visit the city when it’s in full swing, consider visiting between June and August. During the summer, many of the hiking trails will be in full bloom, and you can even venture out of the city to some nearby rivers and swim holes to escape the heat!
How to Get Around Nashville
Nashville is fairly accessible on foot and by public transit, tourist trolleys, bus, and electric scooter. Renting a car is also an option, of course, but whether that’s worth it depends on what you want to do during your weekend. All the attractions on this Nashville travel itinerary are convenient to reach on foot, by rideshare, or on public transit. Unless you stay in a hotel outside of the city, we don’t think driving is necessary for doing Nashville in three days. However, if you want to rent a car, check out Rentalcars.com for the best price.
Where to Stay in Nashville
If you only have three days in Nashville, you’ll want to focus on seeing the best of the city, so we recommend staying in the downtown area. This is where you’ll find most of the top attractions and nightlife, and it’s a short distance from other attractions on this Nashville itinerary. It’s also home to some of the best places to stay in Nashville!
For a five-star hotel with fantastic views, a swimming pool, and a fitness center, you can’t go wrong with Hyatt Centric Downtown Nashville. This fantastic hotel also features an on-site restaurant and private parking.
Another great option is Placemakr Premier SoBro. This five-star hotel offers some rooms with a kitchenette, along with an outdoor pool, a fitness center, on-site parking, and a sun terrace.
Now, if you want to go all out with a unique hotel in Nashville, Gaylord Opryland Resort is the place to stay. While it isn’t located downtown, it’s close enough for you to take a bus or rideshare downtown within 15-30 minutes. This incredible luxury hotel features a glass atrium, 9 acres of indoor gardens, one indoor and two outdoor swimming pools, and a spa.
If a homey accommodation is more your style, you can choose from some fantastic Airbnbs in Nashville. If you’re traveling with a large group (up to eight people), consider staying at this trendy two-bedroom loft south of Broadway downtown. Couples or solo travelers should consider this stylish one-bedroom apartment or this two-bedroom vintage loft, which are both only two blocks from the honky-tonks on Broadway.
The Perfect 3-Day Weekend in Nashville Itinerary
The ideal weekend Nashville itinerary includes a mix of museums, honky-tonks, and popular parks to give you a feel for all the city has to offer. Of course, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, so you can bet that’s on the agenda too!
Day 1 in Nashville
Morning: Country Music Hall of Fame
First, make your way to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (this is Music City, after all!). The exhibits will take you through the roots and history of country music, including the artists who helped make it what it is today. It’s also home to one of the largest music collections in the world and showcases relics, outfits, and personal belongings of some of country music’s biggest stars. It even has Taylor Swift’s songwriting notes and Elvis Presley’s guitars, making this museum a must-see for any musician or music enthusiast.
You can purchase a ticket to the museum with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance here. This ticket also gives you the option to upgrade with an audio guide or a tour of RCA Studio B with the Hatch Show Print experience.
Afternoon: Guided Tour of Distilleries, Celebrity Homes, or Historic Attractions
We understand that the perfect weekend in Nashville will look a bit different for everyone. So, depending on your interests, we recommend taking an afternoon tour to explore Nashville’s best distilleries, see celebrity homes, or gain more insight into the city’s history.
This two-hour guided distillery and brewery tour by cart will take you to four of the best distilleries and breweries in the city, letting you sample drinks from Nashville’s top alcohol-makers. Each stop will last roughly 30 minutes, and you won’t have to worry about drinking and driving between them, as you’ll have a unique buggy cart driving you around the city!
If you’re a fan of Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, or other A-list celebrities and country stars, we recommend this two-hour tour of the stars’ homes. Not only will you see the houses of various celebrities who call Nashville home, but your knowledgeable guide will also share insights about the city and recommend restaurants, bars, and other spots that are popular with locals.
If you’re interested in learning more about the city’s history and quirks while seeing the best of Nashville, consider this 1.5-hour Nashville sightseeing cruise by buggy cart. You’ll explore the city and 35 of its most popular attractions on a speedy golf cart and hear historical facts, local recommendations, and sightseeing tips from your live tour guide.
Evening: Wildhorse Saloon or Bluebird Cafe and Honky Tonk Highway
The Wildhorse Saloon is a historic three-story venue that offers free line-dancing lessons for those who want to boogie down like a true Southerner. You can find a schedule of its lessons online and have your new dance skills ready to use for the rest of your time visiting Nashville!
If dancing is not your forte, consider visiting the legendary songwriter haven of the Bluebird Cafe. This funky cafe is a hotspot for songwriters and cover artists and has only 90 seats inside. It’s a great place to settle in for an hour or two, listen to some fantastic live music, and enjoy a coffee or cocktail.
After learning to line dance or taking in the local music scene, hit up the famous Honky Tonk Highway for a night of boot-scootin’ fun. In fact, if you chose the Wildhorse Saloon, you’re already there. You’ll find plenty of other famous bars, including Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Coyote Ugly, here on Broadway and Second Avenue N. There are even some newer additions to the bar strip, such as Blake Shelton’s Ole Red, Luke Bryan’s Luke’s 32 Bridge, and Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ’N’ Roll Steakhouse.
Day 2 in Nashville
Morning: Centennial Park
Some say the cure to a hangover is a walk in nature. Why not test this theory by taking a morning stroll through Centennial Park?
This massive urban green space features not only lush vegetation and ponds, but also a full-scale replica of Greece’s Parthenon, built in 1897. You can walk around the outside of the Parthenon for free or explore inside for $10. This is by far the quirkiest attraction to visit on a weekend trip to Nashville.
Lunch: Nashville Farmers’ Market
After a stroll through the park, make your way to the Nashville Farmers’ Market to browse souvenirs, crafts, and fresh produce. This is also a great place to grab lunch, with plenty of stalls and restaurants serving up burgers, burritos, Jamaican jerk chicken, and just about anything else you could want.
Afternoon: Mansion Tour of Cheekwood or Belle Meade
Once you’ve had your fill at the market, it’s time to learn about Southern history with a tour of a classic Tennessee mansion. Choose between two fantastic estates near downtown Nashville – Cheekwood and Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery.
Cheekwood is the more popular of the two and only a 20-minute drive from downtown. This massive 1930s estate offers 55 acres of gorgeous gardens, sculpture paths, and sprawling green spaces to explore, along with the museum mansion that showcases classic Country Place Era furnishings.
Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery is a 15-minute drive from downtown and also an incredible option. Formerly a plantation, this 30-acre estate offers family-friendly guided tours of the property. What makes Belle Meade so amazing is that it’s also home to a winery and restaurant, so you can spend the afternoon learning and then tasting delectable local wines and food.
Evening: Grand Ole Opry House
Seeing a Grand Ole Opry show is famously one of the best things to do in Nashville. Every country singer who wanted to be somebody back in the day had the goal of performing on the weekly Grand Ole Opry radio show, which was broadcast from the Ryman Auditorium for over 30 years. You can still visit that historic venue, but the Grand Ole Opry House has been the show’s official home since 1974.
You can purchase tickets to the Grand Ole Opry for the Saturday night show. If you want to go behind the scenes, add this backstage tour ticket to your visit. You’ll get to see 18 dressing rooms and, if you’re lucky, pop into Studio A – a working television studio that hosted Hee Haw and many other local shows.
Day 3 in Nashville
Morning: WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural and Robert’s Western World
After a riveting night at the Grand Ole Opry, it’s time to head to one of Nashville’s newer attractions, the WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural. You’ll get the iconic wings photo, of course, but this isn’t the only mural to see in The Gulch! This neighborhood features other incredibly beautiful and colorful street art that also make for the perfect Instagram post from your weekend in Music City.
After a wander through the area to enjoy the artwork, make your way to Milk & Honey for a delicious brunch and maybe a mimosa (you’re on vacation, after all). Then, head to Robert’s Western World or one of the other Western-themed stores on Broadway. You can shop for souvenirs such as cowboy boots, buckles, and hats – or simply enjoy being part of the Sunday crowd hitting the strip.
Afternoon: Local Museum
If you’re wondering what to do in Nashville for your last afternoon other than hit the bars, we promise there’s a museum here for you. This is the perfect way to wind down from the weekend after your midday shopping stroll.
Choose the Johnny Cash Museum if you’re a fan of this legendary country singer. You’ll find a vast trove of Cash memorabilia, including personal handwritten notes, and extensive information on his career and life. Meanwhile, the Frist Art Museum is arguably the best gallery in the city, featuring brilliant interactive and contemporary works in an art deco building.
Cooter’s Place is for you TV buffs out there, especially fans of The Dukes of Hazzard. Actually, you pretty much have to be a fan of that show, because this whole museum is dedicated to the series. Along with props and other artifacts from the show, it features a large-scale replica of the General Lee. Yee-haw!
Well, there you have it – the perfect weekend in Nashville itinerary! Now that you know what to do in Nashville in three days, all you have to do is pack those plaid shirts, put on your boots, and scoot over to the airport!
Roger Lunsford says
How about, “Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, home of the 7th president, is the third most visited presidential home in the nation and one of Nashville’s top-rated attractions. Located only minutes from downtown and Gaylord Opryland resort, this is a must-do when visiting Music City.”