United Street Tours

Nashville Tourism Guide

Use this travel guide to wrap up all of your final plans

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Overview

As a local, I know all too well how challenging figuring out which neighborhood to stay and hang out in can be time-consuming and overwhelming. 

I’m happy to help alleviate some of the overwhelm with this new to Nashville tourism guide. When it comes to choosing where to stay and hang out, it all comes down to the kind of experience you’re looking to have. 

While each Nashville area has its own unique vibe and character, you’ll never be too far from trendy restaurants, live music, the best tours, cool bars, and the many things to do in Nashville.

Regardless of what you are looking to stay for a whole or a short visit, this blog will help you find the best areas and places for your stay and hang-out.

Downtown

👉 Best Area for Sightseeing & Nightlife | ✨ Pros: Walkable • Nightlife • Sightseeing • Music • Bars on 24/7| 🛎️ Cons: Crowded • Touristy • Pricey

Can I get a yee haw? In downtown Nashville expect to see an occasional cowboy hat and cowboy boots as the theme and character of downtown Nashville is country music. 

Downtown Nashville is the heart of the city. If you’re considering exploring downtown, I recommend starting at the Nashville Visitors Center on Broadway. This is the starting point for the Nashville’s #1 History and Culture Walking Tour, Downtown. This walking tour gives you an understanding of the history and layout of not only downtown but the city. 

Downtown Nashville  is always bustling with energy, 24/7 for the most part. Each bar has live music, drinks, and non-stop dancing. A helpful tip is to make sure you bring a little extra to spend as this area of town tends to have the highest drink prices. 

With that being said, you won’t find too many bars without live music because every bar here competes to have the best live music and vibes! Keep in mind that the bars cater to a white audience and Black, Indigenous, and people of color have reported experiencing discrimination in this area. 

Downtown Nashville is jam-packed with awesome things to do and see. You absolutely have to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum. And if you’re into a variety of music genres and shows, the Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, and the National Museum for African American Music are all within walking distance of each other.

In downtown Nashville, you’ve got the riverwalk, music venues, bars, museums, and iconic landmarks like Fort Nashborough and the batman building. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best sights, I recommend booking the Best of Nashville City Sightseeing Tour on Double Decker Bus

This Nashville tour is an overview sightseeing tour. For an opportunity to checkout Nashville’s most popular attractions in-depth, book the Nashville Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour.

Oh, and Broadway! It’s a big deal here. So much so that it’s nicknamed “Nashvegas.” Lower Broadway is where the real action happens. There are more than 30 bars, and the best part? Most of them don’t even charge a cover fee, and they have live music playing all night long. It’s an absolute blast!

So, if you’re planning a party or just want to have a great time, staying near Broadway is the way to go. You can hop from one bar to another all night long. It’s like paradise for party animals! 

And for the ultimate lower Broadway nightlife experience, I recommend booking the Downtown Nashville Pub Crawl Walking Tour to go to several bars in this historic downtown district on a walking tour that offers drink specials, stories about Nashville’s colorful history, trivia, games, and live music at some venues.

But hey, downtown Nashville isn’t only for the party crowd. If you’re a first-time visitor, staying in Downtown is a fantastic choice. It’s super convenient, and you’ll have easy access to all the top attractions in the city. And if you’re more interested in the history and culture of downtown Nashville, book the Nashville’s #1 History and Culture Walking Tour.

✨ Downtown Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for Nightlife and Sightseeing

🏠 Best Hotels – Omni Nashville Hotel • The Westin Nashville •  The Capitol Hotel

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Downtown Nashville Pub Crawl Walking Tour 

🍽️ Where to Eat – The Standard  Husk  Assembly Food Hall

🍸 Where to Drink – Twenty Thirty Club  Wildhorse Saloon •  Coyote Ugly

🎟️ Top Attractions – Ryman Auditorium  Country Music Hall of Fame  National Museum of African American Music

Midtown

👉 Best Area for Nightlife | ✨ Pros: Walkable • Nightlife • Music • Close to Downtown| 🛎️ Cons: Sightseeing • Bars Closing Times

Midtown is home to Vanderbilt University, Music Row, and rooftop pools. While downtown caters to tourist, midtown is where the locals hang out. By locals, I mean mostly young adults and college students.

If you’re considering exploring midtown, I recommend starting at Winners and Losers, a popular bar located on an active, walkable streets. I recommend checking out the Nashville Combo Tour: Sightseeing, Murals, and Brewery which takes you on a journey through the sights, vibrant murals, and even includes midtown on their route.

With its inviting ambiance, great music, and friendly crowd, it’s a place where you can let loose and have a good time.

Midtown is dotted with high-end, high-rise buildings, many of which serve as residential halls rented out to college students and apartments rented out to young adults.

Broadway and 21st are the heart and soul of Midtown. Both streets are lined with a variety of bars, restaurants, and boutiques.And if you want to experience midtown through its spirits, I recommend the Nashville Pub Crawl Golf Game by Golf Cart. On this Nashville tour, you will visit five local bars including some of Nashville’s hottest midtown bars.

As you explore further, you’ll notice the energetic buzz of Midtown, fueled in part by the nearby Vanderbilt University. The presence of students adds a youthful and dynamic vibe to the area, ensuring there’s never a shortage of exciting things happening.

The streets are alive with a mix of locals and tourists, all seeking to experience the nightlife and daytime activities. You can catch concerts, live music, and good eats in Midtown.

So, grab a drink at Winners and Losers and get ready to dive into the lively streets of Midtown Nashville. It’s a place where music, entertainment, and good times await you at every corner.

✨ Midtown Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for Nightlife

🏠 Best Hotels Hotel Fraye Nashville • Graduate Nashville • Kimpton Aertson Hotel

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Nashville Combo Tour: Sightseeing, Murals, and Brewery 

🍽️ Where to Eat –  Midtown Cafe •  The Ainsworth Nashville The Chef and I  The Catbird Seat • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

🍸 Where to Drink –  The Patterson House • Winners Bar & Grill • Kung Fu Saloon

🎟️ Top Attractions – Music Row • Vanderbilt University – beautiful walking paths

West End

👉 Best Area for the Budget Conscious | ✨ Pros: Close to Parks and Greenways • Family-friendly • Budget-friendly | 🛎️ Cons: Further from the Action • Transportation Needed

The heart of West End is Centennial Park, an amazing urban park that’s a must-visit in Nashville. It has a museum that’s a replica of the Greek Parthenon in Centennial Park. It’s like a piece of ancient Greece right in the middle of Nashville!

Centennial Park is a great starting point if you’re looking to explore West End. You might want to consider the Discover Nashville City Tour with Entry to Ryman & Country Music Hall of Fame.

It’s an excellent Nashville tour that includes a ride past Centennial Park and other cool spots in the city. It also gets you entry into the Ryman & Country Music Hall of Fame. That’s one cool package right there!

West End differs from Midtown in that it has a more relaxed and laid-back vibe and a quieter nightlife scene. It’s a great place to escape the crowds of the party scene and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. It’s more family-oriented and less party vibes.

For a unique experience, check out the Nashville VIP Style Private Tour with a Local Singer/Songwriter. It’s a highly rated Nashville tour given by a local musician. It covers West End along with top landmarks, providing great scenery, group photo opportunities, and a private performance from your guide.

Venture a bit further down West End, and you’ll find Belle Meade, a wealthy residential community with grand homes. You can even tour two historic properties there – Belle Meade Plantation and Cheekwood Estate & Gardens.

West End offers more budget-friendly accommodations compared to other areas in Nashville. Plus, the convenience of being able to walk to other popular neighborhoods nearby is a major perk.

So, if you’re looking for a less crowded area close to one of the best parks in Nashville, West End is the place to be. You’ll have a fantastic time exploring the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of this awesome part of the city! Happy travels!

✨ West End Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for the Budget Conscious

🏠 Best Hotels – Hyatt House • Holiday Inn • Aloft Nashville West End

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Nashville VIP Style Private Tour with a Local Singer/Songwriter

🍽️ Where to Eat  J. Alexander’s – Redlands Grill • Amerigo • Hugh-Baby’s

🍸 Where to Drink – Analog • Fable Lounge • Springwater

🎟️ Top Attractions – Centennial Park • The Parthenon

Hillsboro Village

👉 Best Area for Hipster, Quirky Vibes | ✨ Pros: Walkable • Independent, Locally-Owned Businesses | 🛎️ Cons: Limited Parking • Limited Accommodations

Hillsboro Village is a neighborhood located between Vanderbilt University and Belmont University.

For a top attraction in the area, check out the Belmont Mansion All Day Admission Ticket in Nashville. Belmont Mansion was once the summer home to Adelicia Acklen, one of the wealthiest women in the antebellum South.

If you’re interested in self-exploration in this part of town, a great place to start is the Belcourt theater. This spot has been around since 1925, showing over 300 independent films. It’s a real gem.

There is an awesome walkable half-mile stretch along 12th Avenue South called the 12South neighborhood that you should check out if you’re planning to visit Hillsboro.

And here’s a hot tip: to make the most of your visit, book the Nashville Private Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours to get your bearings of 12South and try great food at the same time.

Because Hillsboro sits right in the middle of two colleges, it naturally attracts young adults. The shops here are unique and cater to individual tastes. It’s a whole different vibe from downtown Nashville.

Now, let’s talk logistics. Hillsboro Village is a pedestrian-friendly part of Nashville, but during rush hours, traffic can get a little tight since it’s only two lanes on a major street.

So, whether you’re a student, a trendsetter, or just looking for a unique experience, Hillsboro Village is the place to be. From its lively atmosphere to the charming shops, coffee shops, food joints, and cute boutiques, this place has got a little something for everyone

✨ Hillsboro Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for Hipster, Quirky Vibes

🏠 Best Hotels – Moxy Nashville Vanderbilt • Mint House Nashville – Hillsboro Village 

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Nashville Private Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

🍽️ Where to Eat – Pancake Pantry • Josephine • Urban Grub

🍸 Where to Drink – Anzie Blue  12 South Taproom and Grill • Bottle Cap

🎟️ Top Attractions – Belmont Mansion

The Gulch

👉 Best Area for a Luxurious and High-End Experiences | ✨ Pros: Walkable • Close to Downtown • Murals | 🛎️ Cons: Expensive • Crowds

The Gulch is one of the rare spots in Nashville that attracts both the locals and the visitors equally. And let me tell you, it draws in a grown and sexy crowd. From luxurious spas and dining at upscale, high-end restaurants, it’s all about that classy vibe.

If you’re interested in exploring The Gulch a great starting point is PROOF Rooftop Bar located inside the W Nashville Hotel.

During the day, I recommend joining the Electric Fat Tire Bike Ride Music City Nashville TN to explore this neighborhood. This Nashville tour does electric bicycle tours of historic sites including Fort Negley and Downtown Nashville on 5 inch wide tire fat bikes. 

The Gulch has boutiques and designer stores that’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest trends. Plus, you’ll stumble upon unique treasures you won’t find anywhere else. The most popular murals in Nashville are located here. Book the Nashville Private Mural Bus Tour with Pickup to uncover the locations of the hottest murals in The Gulch. 

When the sun goes down, the neighborhood comes alive with music, laughter, and non-stop good times. Whether you’re into live music, dancing like there’s no tomorrow, or sipping on craft cocktails, this place has the IT factor.

So, if you’re on the hunt for a trendy, lively neighborhood that offers upscale food, shopping, and nightlife, look no further than The Gulch. I recommend trying the  2-Hour Nashville Brewery & Distillery Tour by Golf Cart to visit some of Nashville’s favorite breweries and/or distilleries in the Gulch District!

Oh, and don’t forget to visit The Frist Art Museum, because it’s one of the top spots in town, showcasing stunning exhibits and that eye-catching Art Deco architecture. It’s a total win-win!

✨ The Gulch Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for Luxurious and High-End Experiences

🏠 Best Hotels – W Nashville • Thompson Nashville • Fairfield Inn and Suites

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Nashville Brewery & Distillery Tour by Golf Cart

🍽️ Where to Eat – Sambuca • Saint Anejo • Milk & Honey Nashville

🍸 Where to Drink – Bar Louie • L.A. Jackson • Rudy’s Jazz Room

🎟️ Top Attractions – Station Inn • What Lifts You Wings by Kelsey Montague • Frist Art Museum • Mercy Lounge

East Nashville

👉 Best Area for a Local Experience | ✨ Pros: Less Crowded • Budget-friendly • Local Experience | 🛎️ Cons: Parking Limited • Sightseeing Limited

East Nashville is a chill and mostly residential neighborhood situated on the eastern side of Downtown Nashville, just across the Cumberland River.

Five Points is the heart of the East Nashville community. It’s a popular hangout area that exudes a cool small-town vibe. It’s hip, it’s happening, and it’s a place where good times are had.

For a real taste of Nashville, you have to check out the Private Half-Day History and Food Tour of Nashville. It takes you through Five Points and lets you savor some classic Nashville eats – think hot chicken, slow-cooked barbecue, and craft beer. Yum!

A starting point for exploring East Nashville is a coffee shop called Bongo East Cafe, the café boasts a breakfast, lunch and snacking menu along with a coffee bar that features our 100% organic coffee and local craft brews.

East Nashville is more toned down compared to the bustling city center, but still conveniently located.

Keep in mind, though, that East Nashville is not as walkable as other neighborhoods mentioned so having a car can come in handy if you plan on staying in this area. Another option is to join the Taste of Nashville Food & Sightseeing Tour which explores  history, culture, and sights in Nashville neighborhoods including East Nashville. 

Now, what sets East Nashville apart is its mix of residential and fun things-to-do. East Nashville is an ideal choice for those seeking to truly experience Nashville like a local, soaking in the genuine vibes of the city.

✨ East Nashville Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for a Local Experience

🏠 Best Hotels – The Russell • The Gallatin • Urban Cowboy

Music Valley

👉 Best Area for Families | ✨ Pros: Affordable • Shopping • Accommodating to Big Groups | 🛎️ Cons: Tourist Trap • Distance from Other Attractions

Music Valley is the perfect neighborhood for families. As the name suggests, Music Valley is all about music. You’ll find various music-themed attractions, live music venues, and entertainment venues that cater to different genres.

A starting point if you’re interested in exploring this area is the Opry Mills shopping mall. Opry Mills is the largest mall in Tennessee with over 200 stores and 20+ restaurants.

Adjacent to Opry Mills you’ll find the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry is the live performance showcase that features today’s country music stars, superstars, and rising stars all on one stage every week. The best way to explore the Opry is by booking the Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour

Music Valley is also home to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. This massive complex boasts luxurious accommodations, stunning indoor gardens, and a wide array of dining options.

SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is a unique indoor waterpark for hotel guests that has water slides, splashing around in pools, and floating lazy rivers, all in an incredible indoor setting.

Whether you’re a country music enthusiast or simply looking for a lively and entertaining neighborhood, Music Valley is a self-contained neighborhood where you can live, work, and play as a family.

✨ Music Valley Quick Guide ✨

Best Area to Stay for Families

🏠 Best Hotels – Gaylord Opryland Resort • Residence Inn • Holiday Inn 

🚶‍♀️Best Nashville Tour – Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour

🍽️ Where to Eat – Music City Bar & Grill • Aquarium Restaurant (inside the Opry Mills Mall) • Caney Fork River Valley Grille

🍸 Where to Drink – Nashville Palace • The Falls Bar & Lounge (inside the Opryland Resort) •
Dave & Buster’s Nashville
 (inside the Opry Mills Mall)

🎟️ Top Attractions – Grand Ole Opry • Gaylord Opryland Resort Gardens • Soundwaves • Opry Mills Malls

 

So, locals and visitors, as you explore Nashville, make sure to delve into the stories of African American pioneers and their contributions. Visit Black Bob’s historic marker, learn about Free Joe’s community, and don’t forget to explore Fort Negley and the remarkable educational institutions in the city.