23 Essential Nashville Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Nashville, TN made Simple!

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Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 06:40 pm

There are places I can return to over and over again, and Nashville is high on the top of my list! From live music to Cumberland River views, I just can’t get over how great this place is! But planning a trip to Nashville can be a bit overwhelming since there is just so much to see and do here. 

Here are my best Nashville travel tips to help you plan your own perfect Nashville getaway!

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23 Essential Nashville Travel Tips Planning a Trip to Nashville, TN made Simple!

My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2023

These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.

Protect Your Trip via Safety Wing

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.

For English-speaking private airport transfers, book through Welcome Pickups.

For road trips and independent travel, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two from Rick Steves and Lonely Planet.

Nashville Travel Tips: Things to Know Before Visiting Nashville, Tennessee

Here are my best tips for planning a trip to Nashville!

Decide How Long to Spend in Nashville, Tennessee

Music lovers all over choose to come to spend a weekend in Nashville. This might be a long weekend or a holiday weekend, but it’s still just three or four days. Know that there’s enough to do here that three days in Nashville will give you a great introduction, but it won’t be enough!

If you have a week to spend in Tennessee, you could easily stay in Nashville and do a few day trips to nearby cities. Alternately, you can split your time between Nashville and another city like Memphis, Knoxville, or Gatlinburg (and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!).

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If you only have one day to spend in Nashville, make it a good one! I would definitely sign up for a city tour in this case, which will pack in a lot in a shorter amount of time. 

I have lots of recommendations below, but this is the double-decker bus city tour we went on that will give you a good overview of the highlights and would be a perfect part of a one-day itinerary.

These kinds of choices are tough, but you can’t plan your Nashville itinerary until you know how long you’ll be here!

Where to Stay in Nashville

Tennessee - Nashville - The Fairlane Hotel in Downtown Nashville
The gorgeous lobby at the Fairlane Hotel

On our last trip to Nashville, we really wanted to stay downtown so that we would have easy access to Nashville nightlife. There are so many great live performances in Music City, and being able to easily walk around and enjoy the center of the city is really wonderful.

We were hosted by the boutique Fairlane Hotel, which is a fabulous retro-modern hotel with serious Mad Men vibes. My favorite Nashville breakfast spot, the Bagel Cafe (not hosted and I ate there three days in a row), is located in the building, and Ellington’s Restaurant & Bar is on the fourth floor.

Tennessee - Nashville - The Fairlane Hotel in Downtown Nashville

We utilized the valet parking daily, so we had the best of both worlds on our Nashville road trip – the ability to walk to Broadway, Victory Park, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and other nearby attractions and quick access and easy parking to be able to get out to sites further away from the city center.

Check reviews and pricing for the Fairlane Hotel.

How to Get Around Nashville

We utilized a mix of walking, driving, and Uber to get around during our time in Nashville. Taxis and Lyft are also available if you prefer those to Uber. Keep in mind that some important Nashville sites, like the Grand Ole Opry, are located outside of the city center.

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Public transportation is available. You can use the free MTA bus service called Music City Circuit to get around if you don’t need to go far. It has two routes. The Green Circuit runs between the Gulch and Bicentennial Mall, while the Blue Circuit runs between Riverfront Station and the Tennessee State University campus.

Tennessee - Nashville - The Fairlane Hotel in Downtown Nashville
We arrived in town on a rainy Nashville afternoon.

There are some fun alternative transportation options in Nashville, like pay-and-track electric scooters, bike rentals, pedicabs, and golf carts.

The most popular way to get from the airport to your hotel is a taxi. The trip costs about $25, which is a flat rate with a $1 additional per extra passenger.

Keep in mind that if you’re traveling to Nashville with a toddler like we were, that Uber and taxis don’t have child car seats, so this is not something you will want to rely on. 

We took our own car on this Southern USA road trip, but if you are flying into Nashville and want to have wheels when you get there, I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels. 

Get a quote for a rental car here. 

Tips for Driving and Parking in Nashville

I’ve driven over eleven thousand miles so far this year, but the only place I’ve been pulled over was in Nashville! I found driving in Nashville a bit more intimidating than I expected, even though I have no problems driving in big cities like NYC and Philadelphia (where I drove every day for almost ten years).

Nashville might not be the best place to start if you aren’t comfortable driving in big cities. That being said, a lot of my favorite places were not in the city center or downtown Nashville, so I’m very happy we had a car to get around. I mentioned it above, but if you need to rent a car for your trip, I use Discover Cars to rent cars when I travel.

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If you do drive, note that a lot of places have paid parking or valet parking. Some restaurants have free valet parking, while others will expect you to pay in cash at drop-off. Don’t forget to tip your valet. The typical tip for a valet is $1 when you get your car back.

Check availability for rental cars in Nashville here.

Be Street Smart and Safety Conscious

Nashville is one of the most visited cities in the US (by some measures it is the MOST touristed city in America), so you might think you’re going on a sweet country music-themed vacation, but don’t forget to pack your street smarts.

This means using the same common-sense safety tips you would use at home, as well as keeping your eye out for pickpockets. When I travel to big cities, I use my Pacsafe Citysafe backpack, which is especially great for tourist destinations. It has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets and RFID technology to keep your credit card digits safe.

Because Nashville has a well-earned reputation as a party city, you want to pay extra attention to safety when out whenever drinks are involved. Whether in a small tucked away honky-tonk or out in one of the popular Broadway bars, know that there’s always a chance of something going wrong. 

And remember, if you don’t look like a tourist, it will be harder for the people who target tourists to pick you out. 

I have a section below on travel insurance, but if you’re traveling further than one hundred miles from home, I highly recommend getting a Travel Insurance Quote. 

What to Eat in Nashville

Famous for Nashville Hot Chicken and one of the quintessential biscuit cities in the South, expect your time in Nashville to be a parade of delicious dishes, one after the other.

I always recommend going on a city food tour to learn about what makes the local cuisine really special, even if you’re not a foodie. In Nashville, you can go on a Nashville: 3-Hour Secret Food Tour

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One restaurant that belongs on your Nashville Bucket List is the Loveless Cafe. You’ll need your own wheels to get here, but the experience is one of a kind and it offers truly great food. Located in a former motel, they are a destination unto themselves. Known for hot biscuits and country ham, come with an empty stomach.

Of course, the city is also famous for its bbq, and you’ll find the Nashville-style barbeque at Edley’s Bar-B-Que in East Nashville is second to none. If you want to go on a tour where you can learn about Nashville BBQ (while you eat it) check out the Nashville BBQ, Beer, and Bourbon Experience

If you’re not from Tennessee and want to explore the Tennessee whiskey scene, you can take a day trip out to Lynchburg on a Jack Daniel’s distillery tour.

See all Nashville Food Tours here.

How to Get Oriented in Nashville

When I get to a new city, I love to go on either a bus tour or a walking tour to get my feet wet and figure out where I am. It’s also a great way to get insider recommendations from a local for any last-minute questions you may have. 

The bus tour we went on in Nashville is the Nashville: Double-Decker City Tour, which we loved and took us by places we wouldn’t have had time to see otherwise like the Parthenon at Centennial Park (which I have been to before, but my husband hadn’t seen it yet) and Ryman Auditorium.

If you want to go on a more private experience than a double-decker bus, check out the Nashville: Sightseeing Cart Tour.

Enjoy these 10 Can’t-Miss Nashville Sites

You can’t see everything there is to see in Nashville in just a weekend (or even a week). These are the top sites in Nashville that you shouldn’t miss.

Most of these are included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

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The Country Music Hall of Fame

If you love country music, make this your first stop! You’ll learn the story of country music through exhibits, films, and recordings. Get tickets.

Included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

Grand Ole Opry

If you want to experience the modern Nashville music scene, this is the best place to do it! This is the last thing I want to do on my Nashville bucket list (we skipped because we were traveling with a toddler this time but I hope to do it on my next trip!). Get show tickets.

If you don’t have time to go to a show, you can go on a backstage tour and learn about the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Get backstage tour tickets. 

Ryman Auditorium

The first home of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium is a live music venue that is one of the most famous places in Nashville. You can go on a self-guided tour of this American gem. Get tickets.

Included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

The Parthenon & Centennial Park

The Nashville Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Complete with a full-size statue of Athena, the Parthenon was built to honor Nashville’s self-proclaimed status as the “Athens of the South.”

We saw this on our double-decker bus city tour, but I’ve gone in and toured the inside on trips past. And as I’ve toured the real Parthenon in Athens twice, I have to say that the Nashville Experience is fun and a great way to learn about Greek history.

Frist Art Museum

One of the best art museums in the US, the Frist is Nashville’s premier art museum and was the first museum dedicated to the visual arts in Tennessee. With over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s one of Nashville’s largest cultural attractions.

Some of the permanent collections at the Frist include American art from 18th-century painting to modern installation art; African sculpture from ancient times to contemporary; Asian art ranging from Buddhist sculpture and paintings by Japan’s 18th-century masters like Hokusai (the only original work outside Japan) to renowned contemporary Chinese sculptor Zhang Huan; European sculpture from antiquity through 19th-century masterpieces.

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They also give guided tours. Check their website for tour information.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

To be honest, I skipped this. I’m not an Andrew Jackson fan, so I wasn’t interested in spending some of my precious time in Nashville venerating the legacy of a president who caused so much pain for so many. 

However, it’s one of the most popular sites in Nashville, and if you feel you’ll have real FOMO if you skip it, you can come and visit for yourself. Get a grounds pass.

Included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

Nashville Zoo

If you’re traveling to Nashville with kids, a trip to the zoo is always a great way to connect as a family. It’s so popular that it’s actually Middle Tennessee’s #1 family attraction. 

Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery

the Belle Meade Historic Site is a mansion that was originally built in 1853 by James H. Taylor. In 1893, it was bought by Thomas M. Logan and became his historic family home.

This house was one of the few remaining antebellum plantations that were still intact during the early 1900s and is now a National Historic Landmark. The Belle Meade Mansion stands today as a symbol of centuries-old southern history and continues to be a tourist attraction for those interested in Nashville’s past.

This is another site that I personally skipped since I am not interested in going to former plantations unless I know how the history of the enslaved people will be handled. I had a bad experience at Monticello in Virginia that changed how I view these places. 

However, this is one of the most popular sites in Nashville, and you can definitely go and see it for yourself. 

Included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

Tennessee State Museum

One of the best free things to do in Nashville, the Tennessee State Museum covers the history of Tennessee from prehistory through today. 

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The museum features permanent exhibits such as “Tennessee’s Wildlife Experience” which showcases animals found in Tennessee; “Tennessee Technological Treasures” which highlights artifacts from people who lived during different eras; “Called to Serve: The Story of Our Military Veterans” which explores military veterans from all wars and conflicts.

It was here that I learned the most about what it was like to be in Nashville and Tennessee during the American Civil War. 

The best part? Entry is free!

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is an extension of the Tennessee State Capitol Building that commemorates Tennessee as one of the original states to join the United States. The park includes a performance pavilion, a memorial garden, and statues.

In addition to being one of Nashville’s most historic landmarks, this site also provides visitors with some beautiful views of downtown Nashville.

This is one of the most Instagrammable places in Nashville, so don’t miss it if you are looking for places to take pictures in Nashville!

Still Looking for Things to Do in Nashville?

You can check out the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, explore areas like Germantown and the Gulch, shop at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, or catch a show at the Bluebird Cafe.

Decide How Much Country Music Can You Handle

If you want to spend your entire time just exploring the history of bluegrass and country music in Nashville, you won’t run out of things to do, whether you’re a first-timer or you love returning again and again. 

However, if this is your first time in Nashville, you might be shocked at how expensive some of the attractions and museums are. This means that even the biggest country music fan might need to make some choices about what to do on your Nashville trip.

The most popular country music attractions are:

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Grand Ole Opry

The highlight of many country music fan’s time in Nashville is a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry House or seeing a live performance there.

Get tickets for the backstage tour or live performance.

Included on the Nashville: Sightseeing Flex Pass.

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Fans who want to stay at Opryland and see multiple shows during their time in Nashville should make sure to look into booking a resort room early. 

See availability and prices for the Gaylord Opryland Resort.

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame is a museum that was opened in 1961. It has artifacts, rare recordings, and other things related to the history of country music.

Get tickets to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ryman Auditorium

This is the original Grand Ole Opry House, you can learn the history of this celebrated music hall on a Ryman Auditorium Self-Guided Tour or see an Opry Country Classics Show.

Get tickets to the Ryman Auditorium Self-Guided Tour.

RCA Studio B

If you’re an Elvis or Dolly Parton fan, a visit to the RCA Studio B is for you! Opening its doors nearly seventy years ago, the studio is famous as the birthplace of the “Nashville Sound.”

Get tickets for the Nashville: RCA Studio B & Country Music Hall of Fame Combo

Johnny Cash Museum

If I’m being perfectly honest, I spent most of my last trip to Nashville with a Johnny Cash Spotify playlist blasting in the car whenever we drove somewhere. If you love the man in black too, then head to the Johnny Cash Museum to learn about the man and the legend.

Music Row

If you do decide to visit Studio B, make sure to give yourself time to explore Music Row. 

Music Row is the historic district in Nashville that has been the center of the music industry in America for many years. It encompasses a collection of studios, record labels, publishing companies, and other businesses that are essential to the production of recorded country music.

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Honky Tonk Highway

If you want to experience Nashville at night, spend some time on Lower Broadway on the Honky Tonk Highway, a stretch of music venues that pump out music all night long. Okay, well until closing time at 3 am.

Hatch Show Print

If music memorabilia and posters get you going, come tour Hatch Show Print Shop and print your own show poster.

Get tickets for the Hatch Show Print Shop Guided Tour

Plan Your Activities Ahead of Time

It’s really easy to get to Nashville and get overwhelmed by all the choices you have of things to do, not to mention all the delicious restaurants and charming coffee shops that you’ll want to stop in. 

It’s best to come to Nashville with a plan. You can create (or follow) an itinerary, or you can book a couple of important tours and then spend your free time ticking off some other items on your Nashville bucket list.

Even when I go someplace without a long list of things to do, I try to decide what are three or four can’t-miss activities that I want to do. This gives me flexibility, but it also helps me keep my eye on the prize of at least seeing a few places that piqued my interest.

I know that when I go back, there are places that I missed on all of my previous trips (like Radnor Lake) that I can go to on my next trip. I mean, I’m always up for a trip to Nashville.

Consider Going on a Guided Tour (or a Self-Guided Tour)

If you have never been to Nashville before (or even if you have), a guided tour is a great way to hit the ground running. This is something I started doing more of after becoming a travel writer, and I find them the perfect way to dip my toes into a new place.

There are lots of different kinds of tours that you can go on. In general, many cities in the USA will have themed tours that cover different topics, like history or street art. 

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Some tours are for specific activities like pub crawls, food tours, and segway tours. This means that in big cities like Nashville, there should be a tour that sparks joy for travelers of all ages, abilities, and interests.

See all Nashville sightseeing tours.

If you don’t want to join in with a group, you can opt to hire a private guide. This is something I really love doing when I travel to more off-beat places, but now even in big cities, we like to hire private guides where we can afford to. 

It makes it so much easier to go on a tour with small kids or a toddler if you know that you can accommodate extra stops your child may need.

See all private Nashville tours here.

Another option for tours is to go on self-guided walking tours or driving tours. Many cities create self-guided tours that focus on history or street art, and these can be like your very own city-wide scavenger hunt! 

Many of these kinds of tours are free, though some companies do create private ones through apps that cost to join.

See all Nashville tours here.

Decide if You Want to Take a Day Trip

We didn’t do any day trips from Nashville this time because we spent time in five other cities in Tennessee on this trip that could all be their own day trip. However, if you’ll only be based in Nashville and want to see a bit more of the state, then I suggest seeing at least one of them for the day.


Tennessee - Lynchburg - Jack Daniels Distillery Tour

Home of Jack Daniels, this small (dry) town in Tennessee is just ninety minutes from Nashville, but you will feel a world away. We stopped here on our way from Memphis to Nashville so my husband could do the distillery tour while I watched our son. I got to enjoy the town, which for a non-whiskey person like me was more fun on the tour. 

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You can easily drive there and back. Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time and plan accordingly since entry times are strictly enforced and sell out early. Get tickets here.

Tennessee - Lynchburg - Jack Daniels Tomb

If you don’t want to drive because you want to be able to fully enjoy the tasting at the end of the tour, this bus tour includes transportation to and from Lynchburg plus your lunch and your ticket for the Jack Daniels tour and tasting. 

Perfect for solo travelers, groups where no one wants to be the DD, and anyone who’s flying into Nashville and not renting a car.

Reserve Your Spot on the From Nashville: Jack Daniel’s Hometown Experience with Lunch


Tennessee - Memphis - Graceland

We spent three days in Memphis, and the city has so much to offer that I really don’t think it should be ignored. However, if this is your one chance to see the city of Beale Street and Elvis Presley, then don’t skip it!

The drive each way is three hours, so it’s best to do it with another driver to avoid driving back three hours on your own after a busy day of sightseeing. 

Another option is to go on this guided day trip to Memphis, which includes round-trip transportation from Nashville to Memphis (ie you can sleep or zone out on the way back). It also includes a ticket to Graceland to see the home of Elvis Presley along with a large Elvis memorabilia collection, the Duck Walk at the Peabody, a tour of Sun Studio, and a stop at Beale Street. 

Reserve Your Spot on the Nashville to Graceland Memphis VIP Tour


Tennessee - Shiloh - Shiloh National Military Park - Stephanie Craig

Famous as the location of one of the most pivotal battles of the western theater of the Civil War, Shiloh National Military Park is a hallowed space and one of the National Parks in Tennessee. 

Entrance to the park and the attached Shiloh National Cemetery are free. You can go on a self-guided driving tour of the park utilizing the map available on their website. You should also download the Shiloh Battle App to help guide you during your visit.

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Tennessee - Shiloh - Shiloh National Cemetery

For a great overview of what happened at the Battle of Shiloh, I suggest listening to the episodes about the battle on the Key Battles of the Civil War which helped me tremendously during my road trip around the South this year.

Set a Budget Ahead of Time

Prices in Nashville can add up very quickly, so decide what you want to spend ahead of time. This way you can enjoy the activities and not focus on the budget as you’re spending the money. 

Some things are just more expensive in Nashville than in other Southern cities, so it’s more important to set boundaries for yourself and your travel companions if you know what the budget for the trip is going to be.

How Much Does it Cost to Travel Nashville?

Of course, just knowing you need to set a budget isn’t enough, since you need to know how much it costs to travel in Nashville.

For my most recent trip to Nashville, setting a trip budget was very important since we were on the road for five weeks. Before we left, I set a budget for these categories and estimated our non-negotiable costs, and then I added in spending money and a cushion in case of emergencies.

A good rule of thumb for travel in the USA is to budget $150 per person per day for moderate travel that includes a combination of high and low-end activities and meals with budget hotels. However, your costs can easily go much higher in a city with as much to do as Nashville. 

And true penny-pinchers will be able to keep their budget under this with discipline. 

My Actual Nashville Travel Budget

This budget is for two adults and a toddler on a road trip. Note that we were hosted by the Fairlane Hotel, so I have added in what the rooms and valet parking would have cost at the time. Note that some prices change with seasonality and global events, so use this as a jumping-off point for your own budget.

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Transportation (We drove, but this would include flights, car rental, Uber, etc): $65

Parking: $150

Accommodations: $750

Food and Drinks: $350

Attractions and Tours: $65

Souvenirs: $40

Miscellaneous: $25

Total: $1445

Per Person (excluding the toddler who was free for most things): $723

If this seems like a lot of money, remember we stayed at a really lovely hotel with a great location. We also ate out almost every meal. However, we didn’t go out very much at night (again, toddler) or spend much on drinks or spirits. I also didn’t shop much since we were on a very long trip, and we had limited space in the car.

Think about your own travel habits when you make your budget. The best thing is to know yourself and your own habits so you can fully enjoy yourself when you’re there. 

Tips for Saving Money in Nashville

There are a few easy ways to save money while you’re here.

Enjoy the Free Activities

Nashville has a lot of great, 100% free activities to enjoy. The Tennessee State Museum is a great history museum that has no ticket cost. 

Many outdoor spaces in Nashville are free like Cumberland Park, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, and Centennial Park. 

Even fun streets like Lower Broadway and Printers Alley don’t cost money if you are just walking around window shopping and enjoying the vibe. My favorite free activity in any city is to go on a photo walk (or even a photo drive). This doesn’t cost money if you utilize the camera equipment (or cell phone cameras) that you already own.

Walk and Take Free Public Transportation

Walking around Nashville is one of my favorite ways to see the city, and if you give yourself time to enjoy it then you can get as much out of a walk across town as you do a tour or museum. Stop to take photographs, read historic markers, and enjoy the city’s street art and architecture.

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If you want to save money on transportation but a place is too far away to walk, see if it is included on the route of the free MTA bus service called the Music City Circuit. It operates Monday through Saturday. You can also utilize the general Nashville MTA bus service. See fares here.  

Be Budget-Conscious at Mealtime

Nashville food runs from cheap-yet-amazing street eats to high-high-high end dining. If you know what you want your food budget to be, it will help you decide which restaurants to go to. Know that with a bit of planning, you can keep your food budget down in Nashville without sacrificing quality. You just have to pick your restaurants carefully.

How Money and Tipping Work in Nashville

If you are coming from outside of the US, you might not know how money and tipping work in Nashville. Credit cards will work in most places; however, some restaurants and bars are cash only. And while you can usually tip on your card at restaurants, you will want to have cash on you for situations like tipping valets, musicians, and tour guides.

If you do use your credit card here and your bank is not an American bank, there may be a foreign transaction fee on your purchases. Check ahead of time. 

Whether you live in the US or abroad, you should also let your bank know that you will be traveling. This can help prevent any fraud-blocking that might get you blocked for making purchases that your bank deems unusual. It’s always a pain to deal with getting these removed if they do happen. 

This is another reason it’s good to keep some cash on you (though not too much!).

What to Tip in Nashville

This is what’s customary to tip in different circumstances. Keep in mind that you will need cash for many of these.

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Restaurant Server: 20% when you have a server at your table. Discretionary in other circumstances. If you’re traveling in a large group, this may be added to your bill ahead of time. Always look.

Bartender: $1 per drink

Delivery: $2-4 or 15%, whichever is greater

Valet Attendant: $2-5 when you pick up your car

Hotel Bellhop: $1-2 per bag if brought to or from the room

Room Service: 15% unless it’s already included in your bill

Housekeeping: $2-5 per day, left daily in an envelope marked “Housekeeping”

Tour Guide: 10-20% of the tour cost

Taxis: 15-20% of the fare

What to Wear in Nashville

While you can buy as much Country Music gear as you want once you get here, you might want to know how to dress before you arrive.

You can go country-chic, keep it casual, or stay fashion-forward. There’s no wrong way to dress in Nashville. Just avoid offending locals and you’re all set.

If you’re planning on having a girls’ trip, wear cute brunch clothes with a casual flair. Similarly, if you’re away for a couple’s trip, wear clothes that are comfortable yet stylish enough that you will enjoy looking at the photos for years to come. 

The city itself is pretty casual, and you won’t feel underdressed if you show up to most places in jeans. It’s a friendly town that’s pretty welcoming and non-judgmental. However, if you do want to dress up to go out on the town, don’t worry about feeling out of place either.

Make sure to dress for the weather. 

Pro Tip: No matter what, wear comfortable shoes! You will spend a lot of time on your feet!

What to Bring with You to Nashville

Here’s what to bring with you on your Tennessee adventure.

The Moon Nashville (Travel Guide) guidebook. It can be kind of a pain to find the major guidebooks once you land, or you’ll find them overpriced. I always like to pick mine up ahead of time.

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Backup Charging Bank for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie.

A Camera since Nashville is beautiful! I use a mix of my Sony ZV-1 and my Samsung8 smartphone these days.

Waterproof Passport Holder so that if something happens when you are near the water, your passport and important IDs don’t get wet. I’ve seen people denied boarding on flights due to wet passports, and you can technically not be allowed to go over the border. 

A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc). My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for Nashville because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets. It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day. 

What to Buy in Nashville

Whether you’re into Dolly Parton souvenirs, memorabilia from the Opry House, or a Nashville Sounds t-shirt, shopping in Nashville is really fun! I have a full guide on what to buy in Nashville, but here’s a hint: you can’t go wrong with Cowboy boots or something with rhinestones!

Invest in a Travel Guide or Two (or Three)

I listed the Moon Nashville (Travel Guide) above since it’s a compact guide to the city, but if you want more context or have a bigger trip planned, these are the travel guidebooks that I used to plan my entire 5-week Southern USA road trip. I highly recommend each of them!

This is My South – written by my friend Caroline Eubanks of the eponymous blog, this book is a must-read if you plan on visiting a few places on your trip.

Lonely Planet Florida & the South’s Best Trips – this book was essential for me when I was trying to plan our road trip and understanding what was near each other and what absolutely not to miss.

See also
The Best National Parks in Utah

Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement – we did a lot of Civil Rights and Civil War historic sites on our trip, and if you’ll be doing any of this kind of travel, make sure to get this. It was invaluable for finding off-the-beaten-path sites and can’t miss Black-owned historic businesses.

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance

Before you leave for Nashville make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I paid for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

More Tennessee Travel Resources

Need more travel planning help? Here are all of my Tennessee travel resources!


The best national parks in Tennessee (and National Park Service Sites)


How to Plan a Trip to Nashville + Travel Tips

What to buy in Nashville for souvenirs and gifts. 

Looking for Instagram captions or Nashville inspiration? Here are the best quotes about Nashville.

An overview of the history of Nashville.

The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Nashville + Hotel Guide for Where to Stay in Nashville, TN

Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tips for planning a trip to Gatlinburg.

How to spend one day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Where to Stay in Gatlinburg: The Best Hotels & Accommodations in Gatlinburg, Tennessee


The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Memphis + Hotel Guide for Where to Stay in Memphis, TN


The 3 Best Neighborhoods in Knoxville + Best Hotels for Where to Stay in Knoxville, TN

Included in these Round-Ups

The best scenic drives in America

The most charming historic towns in the USA

The prettiest waterfalls in the US

Pin this Guide to Planning a Trip to Nashville for Your Own Nashville Adventures!

23 Essential Nashville Travel Tips Planning a Trip to Nashville, TN made Simple!

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See also
National Parks in North Dakota

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