In this blog we are recommending seven of the most popular places to stay in Nashville, along with their accompanying attractions ranging from music must-sees to world-famous shopping districts and eateries.
Lovers of all music genres, especially country, have flocked to Nashville for over a century in search of either a big break or breakout act, and the city’s combined heritage roots and up-and-coming hipness make for a one-of-a-kind travel experience.
The capital of Tennessee, Nashville is home to several of the nation’s most renowned universities, including Vanderbilt and Belmont, as well as some of the music industry’s greatest legends.
Here you’ll find the Grande Ole Opry, founded in 1925 and featuring the longest-running radio broadcast in America, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and countless live venues and even livelier honky-tonks.
Nashville isn’t all music all the time however; the city’s shopping, dining, and entertainment selections could easily rival those of the most sophisticated metropolis. Whether you’re taking a romantic retreat, solo adventure, or family vacation, Nashville is truly a place that gives new meaning to “something for everyone.”
Where to Stay in Nashville: 7 Best Areas
1. Downtown, the best area to stay in Nashville
Rightfully referred to as the hub of Nashville’s music scene, the downtown area is where multiple cultural crossroads meet and intersect, with something to suit every visitor’s taste.
A stroll down Broadway is the perfect introduction to the city’s rich and eclectic nightlife, with honky-tonk bars and live music venues as well as The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and First Art Museum, the latter residing in a converted post office from the 1930s and featuring an ongoing rotation of modern and historic exhibitions.
Music isn’t the only downtown to-do; Nashville is nothing if not an oasis of mouthwatering eats. The open-air Farmer’s Market, located on Rosa L Parks Boulevard, features over 150 stands of local fresh produce, breads, cheeses, crafts, and much more.
The Farmer’s Market additionally boasts a restaurant section called The Market House, where guests will find a mouthwatering array of traditional and international pop-ups, demonstrations from up-and-coming chefs, workshops, and classes.
BBQ buffs would be remiss not to check out Martin’s Bar-B-Que-Joint, routinely voted the best in Nashville.
Also keep an eye out for the Night Market, which occurs the third Friday of every month and showcases a range of DJ sets and live bands.
The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located on nineteen acres of green parkland and contains a 2,000-seat amphitheater with year-round events, festivals, and performances.
For history lovers, the timber replica fort located in Riverfront Park is not to be missed, and offers a fascinating glimpse into Tennessee’s early settler life.
There is no shortage of downtown hotels for your stay in Nashville, from five-star luxury suites to more budget-friendly options. As is often the case with popular tourist destinations, prices vary according to the time of year and headline events.
2. SoBro, hip district
Just south of downtown’s Broadway, SoBro is Nashville’s “hip district,” with plenty of bars, eateries, and live music spaces to satiate every palate. Here you’ll not only find the aforementioned Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but The Johnny Cash Museum, dedicated to the late music icon.
Performance venues such as the Ascend and Bridgestone Arena continue to showcase the nation’s rising stars, while the Schermerhorn Symphony Center features state-of-the-art acoustics and music from multiple eras.
Families with small children will definitely want to treat their youngsters to a visit to The Soda Parlor, which serves up some Nashville’s best ice cream, frozen yogurt, waffles, and free arcade games, with the nearby Adventure Park At Nashville more than delivering on its promise.
SoBro may be where Nashville’s legendary Music Mile ends, but the conclusion is anything but dismal. With its impressive convention center, endless music, dining and shopping options, as well as assortment of chic boutique hotels, SoBro is a designated “it” spot and one of the most exciting places to stay in Nashville.
3. East Nashville, where to stay in Nashville for foodies
Often referred to as SoBro’s quirkier twin, East Nashville is where artists and art lovers alike convene, and creative minds of all mediums set up shop to showcase their wares.
Famed for its street art and trendy restaurants, Five Points is the perfect spot to shop for hard-to-find treasures, sample a signature craft cocktail, and stroll along the bustling but laid back boulevards.
Architecture fans will appreciate the neighborhood’s historic homes dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while sports enthusiasts will no doubt be drawn to the nearby Nissan Stadium, home to the Tennessee Titans.
For those looking to enjoy the outdoors during their stay in Nashville, Shelby Bottoms Park is an idyllic refuge with over five miles of secure inland trails, as well as a nature center and explorable defunct airpark.
Today the arts-inclined East Nashville is equally renowned for its culinary output, from traditional southern dishes to global fusions. There is truly no better stomping ground for foodies, artists, and lovers of the unique.
4. The Gulch, affluent neighborhood with high-end boutiques
Despite its somewhat unflattering name, the Gulch is an affluent neighborhood known for its high-end shopping boutiques, stylish eateries, and trendy music spots. Once a derelict district of empty warehouses and neglected lots, the Gulch is now among the most in-demand areas to stay in Nashville.
Visitors with discerning tastes will love the Gulch’s museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants, to say nothing of the famous Station Inn, where bluegrass legends have taken to the stage since the 1970s and the indie-oriented Mercy Lounge a mere stone’s throw away.
The Gulch is also home to Nashville’s most prestigious spas and salons, making it the perfect destination for a day of pampering.
For those looking for a less intimidating way to take it easy there’s Hops & Crafts, which offers 36 beers on tap and some grin-inducing nods to country music’s greats in its menu listings.
Hotels in and around the Gulch neighborhood lean towards the pricier side thanks to their boutique appeal and luxury amenities, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for special promotions and online discounts.
5. West End/Midtown, good for nightlife
Nashville’s buzzing Midtown and West End districts are where the city’s true spirit emerges, where old meets new and individuals from all walks of life merge, exchange, and celebrate.
Rock, country, and pop are all given their due spotlight at venues such as The End and Exit/In, while smaller bars and cafes closer to Vanderbilt University feature their own distinctive line-ups and student dynamic.
Visitors to the West End can additionally partake in the Old Town Trolley hop-on hop-off city tour, which makes fourteen stops around Nashville.
Midtown is famous for its meeting of music novices and industry professionals, and it’s no stretch to surmise that today’s nobody may very well be tomorrow’s next big star.
Music isn’t the area’s only offering, however; the Midtown and West End areas each respectively boast some of the city’s top restaurants and bars. Midtown has a great nightlife.
Coupled with its ease of walkability and hotel options, this dual area is ideal for first-time visitors looking to get a taste–and the best–of both worlds.
6. Music Valley/Opryland, where to stay in Nashville for families
Nashville’s history, and thus identity, is rooted in all things music, with country continuing to rule the city’s world-famous scene. Located just ten miles east of downtown and a mere seven miles north of Nashville’s International Airport, Music Valley is where country’s chart-topping tunes mingle with the city’s more nuanced diversities.
Home of the Grand Ole Opry House and Opryland Resort, Music Valley offers an immersive family-friendly experience by way of music, dining, shopping, and cultural attractions.
Couples, friends, and families can all enjoy Music Valley’s activities, from music tours to riverboat cruises, along with an endless lineup of live acts.
Across the board recommendations include learning how to line dance at the Wildhorse Saloon, visiting the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum, and catching a live broadcast of the second-longest running radio show, the Midnite Jamboree.
Visitors can stay at the lavish Opryland Hotel or one of the area’s many lodgings and themed bed & breakfasts, all within walking distance of popular tourist destinations.
7. Music Row, great for music lovers
The heart of Nashville’s music industry, Music Row is where you’ll find executive offices, licensing firms, video production studios, radio and recording stations, and a neverending homage to rock & country’s all-time legends.
Guests can tour the historic RCA Studio A and Studio B, where the likes of Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley recorded some of their most enduring hits, hunt for prized vintage musical instruments, and take in any number of live music acts throughout the day.
A small but significant point of interest, the Owen Bradley park is dedicated to the titular singer, songwriter, and publisher and features a life-size bronze statue of the man in question at his piano.
On the opposite end of Music Row sits the Belmont and Vanderbilt University campuses, the former being the notable home of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business (CEMB).
While Music Row is inarguably dedicated to Nashville’s ever-evolving presence in the music industry, there are plenty of alternative recreations on offer.
Brew and touring enthusiasts will definitely want to check out the Nashville Pedal Tavern and Party Barge, while auto aficionados will find no shortage of dream-worthy wheels at the Car Collector’s Hall of Fame.
Traveler’s Tip: Know Before You Go
While visitors would be hard-pressed to run out of things to do during their stay in Nashville, there are a number of day trips that can easily be made to and from the city, and are well worth the itinerary allotment.
For example, the Jack Daniels Distillery, located in the quaint nearby town of Lynchburg, offers daily tours and sightseeing, with roundtrip transportation and amenities included in ticket purchase.