This summer in Nashville, we want to make sure you get the most out of your vacation. With so much in this historic city to see and do, it can be difficult to narrow down the best Nashville activities for your group. We rose to that trip-planning challenge though and came up with 6 cool activities you should try out in Nashville this summer.
Oh, and don’t forget to book your stay at one of our luxurious Nashville vacation rentals. Alright, back to the list.
1. Water Activities Around Nashville
First up on our cool list is something that’ll actually keep you pretty cool during those warm Nashville summer days. At Nashville’s three local lakes (Percy Priest, Radnor, and Old Hickory), it’s always a fun time spending an hour or two on a rental stand-up paddleboard. Alternatively, on the famous Cumberland River, you can also rent a single or two-person kayak to take in the scenic downtown views from the water.
On the river, you can also rent pontoons from outfitters like Nashville Toons which come with a totally unique private group experience. Their double-decker pontoons can accommodate up to 14 guests and come with built-in coolers, waterslides, floatables, and much more!
Lastly, Nashville offers up a couple phenomenal water parks that are fun for the whole family. The popular Nashville Shores Waterpark features 8 large water slides along with a massive water tree house that kids will love exploring. There’s also the new SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland, which hosts both indoor and outdoor water attractions like slides and a lazy river. Additionally, SoundWaves features live entertainment, bars with refreshing cocktails, and private cabana rentals.
2. Explore Music City By Bike
Alongside the city’s many fascinating walking tours, Nashville is home to some great bike touring options. Green Fleet Bicycle Tours, for example, provides a delightful tour of downtown Nashville that includes interpretative information about several historic sites and neighborhoods as well as tasty pit stops at ice cream parlors and breweries.
If you prefer a guide-free biking experience, then take a ride along the greenway, one of Nashville’s top outdoor attractions. The greenway is a paved trail approximately 20-miles long that goes across bridges and through several scenic parks. Any stretch along the greenway will make your day, but you can ask the folks at Bike the Greenway for recommendations of where to go after you rent your bike.
3. Discover Historic Sites In Nashville
Nashville is a city with a rich, enthralling history that anyone can enjoy. From small park-side exhibits to preserved estates and downtown buildings, the streets of Nashville are pretty much overflowing with history to explore.
One of the more popular sites that’s fascinating to see is the Andrew Jackson Hermitage, a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with over 30 historic buildings. Here you can walk back in time through the 7th US President’s impressive mansion, which has been carefully restored with Jackson’s original possessions. After touring the mansion, take a stroll through the rest of the grounds and end the day with a refreshing wine tasting.
In addition to the Hermitage, another fun spot to check out is the Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery. Belle Meade offers an extensive and diverse selection of tours, tastings, and other things to do. The most popular tour is the 45-minute Mansion Tour, which covers the century-long history of the site as well as the specific stories from the Harding and Jackson families. Another gripping tour available is the hour-long Journey to Jubilee. This tour brings to light the stories of African-American men, women and children who endured enslavement at Belle Meade from 1807 through the years following Emancipation. Due to the sensitive nature of the tour, only teenagers and adults are allowed to join it.
Although each of those historic Nashville sites offer a ton of things to do and see, they just scratch the surface of Nashville’s historical offerings. Head to our Nashville Museums and Attractions pages to discover even more fascinating historic sites.
4. Explore Music City’s Museums of Music
Going hand in hand with the extensive historic site options are the many Nashville music museums. Each of these museum’s feature plenty of music history, exhibits and memorabilia to warrant their own articles. However, we want to focus on the top 2 must-visit spots for your trip to Nashville.
First up we have the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. In addition to being one of the coolest-looking buildings in Tennessee, the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum is one of the largest museums dedicated to country music in the world. The museum hosts a staggering collection of over 800 costumes, over 600 instruments, and hundreds of other objects tied to country music history. Basically, this is a must-stop spot for anyone with even the SLIGHTEST appreciation for country music.
The second mandatory musical destination is the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum. This museum honors musicians from all genres, and it houses several fascinating exhibits that focus on historic and influential music cities across the nation. From Nashville to L.A. to Detroit and back, nearly every iconic American music scene is perfectly preserved and presented here at the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum.
Just those two museums alone will instill you with enough information to teach a music history lesson, but Nashville hosts plenty more exceptional music museums that are well-worth checking out. Take a gander at Visit Music City’s list of Music Museums for more spots to check out.
5. Tune in to Live Shows Downtown
They don’t call it Music City for nothing! When the hot summer sun recedes past the horizon in Nashville, then it’s time to head downtown and catch a live show. Stumble into just about any bar or restaurant down Lower Broadway and you’re sure to find a quality live performance.
However, the one venue visitors are required to visit during their stay is the Grand Ole Opry (obviously not strictly “required,” but you should still go). This renowned music venue served as a home for the Grand Ole Opry radio show, a staple of country music, for over 95 years. Nowadays it hosts daily live concerts with multiple performers, providing its guests with one heck of show every night! Be sure to head to the Grand Ole Opry concert schedule to see who’s playing during your stay.
For more detailed information on where to catch live shows in Nashville this summer, head to our blog covering the Best Nashville Live Music Venues.
6. Check Out Exciting Nashville Summer Events
Last but not least, Nashville puts on some phenomenal events during the summer. Of course, the annual 4th of July fireworks display is always fun and beautiful to behold. Just take a quick look at the image above to see what we mean. However, there’s so many more exhilarating events on Nashville’s annual summer calendar that are sure to wow and delight.
One such event is the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival which takes place over four days in mid-June. Not only does Bonnaroo host over 150 musical performances each year, but it also puts on comedy shows, film screening, and an extensive selection of workshops to partake in.
Another fun event on the docket is Red, White and Zoo, an annual wine-tasting event hosted at the Nashville Zoo in July. Honestly, who wouldn’t be psyched to partake in elegant wine tastings whilst admiring the gentle nature of exotic animal species? In case the fine wines and animal exhibits aren’t enticing enough, this event also provides live music, food trucks, craft beer, and spirits.
Again, there’s too much to cover in just this article, so head over to our Nashville Events page to stay up to date on all upcoming events.
That concludes our list of 6 cool activities to try in Nashville this summer. Follow our blog for more Nashville insiders’ tips on what to do during your stay. And, of course, make the most of your Nashville summer stay by booking a GoodNight Premium Stay vacation rental!