Top 10 places to experience in Nashville

Photo of Nashville Skyline

Nashville is known for its music and entertainment, but it’s also a hub for a variety of other industries, including health care management, technology, printing and publishing, and tourism. Given its rich history and hospitality, and its diverse culture and rapid growth, it’s no surprise that so many people from across the world choose to call Music City home.

There are numerous things to do around Nashville, so we have narrowed down our top 10 recommendations for you to check out.

  1. Nashville is home to numerous music venues, including several devoted to rock, jazz, pop, Americana and soul. In addition to the larger stages downtown, several legendary venues-including EXIT/IN and The End-are within easy walking distance of Vanderbilt’s campus.
  2. In addition to its 55-acre grounds, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens houses a comprehensive collection of American art, including 600 paintings and more than 5,000 prints, drawings and photographs.
  3. Featured in countless foodie articles, Biscuit Love is a local brunch mecca dishing out southern comfort meals and of course delicious biscuits. (Vanderbilt University)

    Nearby in The Gulch neighborhood, there are a number of trendy brunch restaurants and a growing range of vegetarian and health-forward food options. The city also offers casual favorites close to Vanderbilt’s campus, such as the Pancake Pantry, Biscuit Love, the Grilled Cheeserie, Banh Mi and Roll+ and San Antonio Taco Company, a cherished Commodore gathering spot started by a pair of university alumni.

  4. Closer to downtown, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is modeled after the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The park features several tributes to Tennessee history, including a 200-foot granite map of the state, the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains, and a carillon of 95 bells representing each of the 95 counties of Tennessee.
  5. Other popular parks within 10 miles of Vanderbilt’s campus include Shelby Park, the Percy and Edwin Warner Parks, Radnor Lake and Riverfront Park. The city also has developed an extensive network of greenways for cyclists and joggers. The greenways connect key parks and make up many of Davidson County’s nearly 200 miles of trails.
  6. Just a few blocks away from the beloved Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the doors recently opened to the National Museum of African American Music, the nation’s first institution dedicated to Black musicians’ innumerable contributions to our nation’s soundtrack. Vanderbilt is proud to serve as an official partner to the museum, which is committed to education and spurring meaningful discussions across and beyond the Nashville community.
  7. Nashville also has a vibrant scene for art galleries, including Tinney Contemporary, Zeitgeist, Rymer Gallery, Red Arrow and OZ Arts Nashville, among many others. During the monthly First Saturday Art Crawl, dozens of venues have free open houses.
  8. Photographs of Hillsboro Village, near Vanderbilt’s campus. The Belcourt theater is a popular place for independent films to be shown. (Jenny Mandeville/Vanderbilt University)

    A quick walk from campus is Hillsboro Village, a historic neighborhood and shopping and dining district that offers some of the city’s best options for gifts, home décor and other essentials. Given its placement between Vanderbilt and Belmont University, the four-block-long stretch has a laid-back college town feel and also is home to the Belcourt Theatre, which has brought cinema and film programming to Nashville since 1925.

  9. In addition to the destination shops across Hillsboro Village, 12 South, Germantown, The Gulch and East Nashville neighborhoods, the city also has several marketplaces. Highlights include the Nashville Flea Market, which draws antique dealers and history buffs alike, and the Nashville Farmers’ Market, which offers unique souvenirs, spices, gifts, home accessories and ready-to-eat meals in addition to fresh produce.
  10. Across the street from Vanderbilt’s campus, Centennial Park comprises 132 acres of green space and paved trails, as well as a bandshell, dog park and other attractions. Centennial Park also has a rich history as the host site for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition and for Nashville’s Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the classical Greek temple.