Nashville Nightlife: 14 of the Top Things to Do

July 22, 2019

Wondering how to navigate Nashville at night?

Because Nashville has so many activities for everyone, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the top destinations. To help you make the perfect itinerary, we've listed the best of Nashville's nightlife activities.

1) Nerd Out at a Museum

The Tennessee State Museum’s mission is to preserve Tennessee culture and heritage through its permanent and rotating exhibitions. Free to the public, the museum’s collection includes artwork, furniture, photographs, textiles, and more memorabilia dating back to prehistoric times. For an evening visit, go on Thursdays, as it’s open until 8 pm. 

Another incredible destination, the Frist Art Museum rotates exhibits of works from visionaries like Frida Kahlo, Eric Carle, and Salvador Dalí. On Thursday evenings until 9 pm, you can participate in Art After Dark when the museum hosts live music, poignant discussions, a drop-in drawing workshop, and more. Also, kids 18 and under get in for free. 

Celebrating the famous vocalist’s life and legacy, the Patsy Cline Museum features exclusive personal possessions, artifacts, media footage, and more. Country music fans are welcome to tour the museum, which is located above the Johnny Cash Museum, every day from 9 am to 7 pm. 

Modeled after the original wax museum in London, Madame Tussauds in Nashville boasts impressive, life-like wax figures of major stars such as Faith Hill, Johnny Cash, Katy Perry, and many more. Open every evening until 9 pm except on Sundays (open until 7 pm), this family-friendly attraction is sure to dazzle guests.

Lastly, if you're a bonafide George Jones fan, you have to visit the George Jones Museum, which commemorates his life and significance in transforming Country music. In addition, guests can visit the rooftop bar and the smokehouse for a full evening experience.

a candid shot of a girl

photo credit: John Fryer via Facebook

2) Laugh at a Comedy Club

Laugh alone or with a group at the multiple comedy clubs Nashville has to offer. Featuring everyone from nationally touring top-performers to improv comedians and stand-up newcomers, you can bet you'll find a riveting show and a night to remember. Some top comedy venues in the area include:

3) Good Eats

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

You can’t pass up Hattie B’s Hot Chicken during a Nashville vacation. With traditional southern hot chicken and sides like cole slaw, your taste buds are bound to light up. Also, if you’re not a fan of super spicy food, you can opt for the “southern” style heat level. There are multiple locations and the restaurant remains open until late hours except on Sundays.

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant

Dating back to the ‘50s as a small grocery store in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant has expanded into a full restaurant, grocery store, and music venue with multiple locations. Aimed at providing a true Southern feel, Puckett’s offers delicious traditional menu items such as slow-smoked BBQ and the meat-and-three. Moreover, the restaurant closes at 10 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. 

a row of three Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwiches with drinks and fries in the background

photo credit: gettyimages

The Grilled Cheeserie

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich, especially prepared by gourmet chefs with responsibly-sourced ingredients and packaging? This well-renowned restaurant features contemporary takes on classics as well as other delicious menu items. You can even make your own grilled cheese by selecting ingredients. Open until 9 pm, you’ll definitely want to grab a sandwich at The Grilled Cheeserie for dinner before heading out to the next adventure.

Acme Feed and Seed

Acme’s mission is to preserve Nashville culture through its curated Southern eats, live music, and decor. Located in a building dating back to 1890, this local favorite’s history goes way back to 1965 century with the Acme Farm Supply. Now, the building is divided into three levels. The first floor houses a fast-casual honky tonk diner, the second floor is home to an upscale lounge and bar, and the third floor contains The Hatchery at Acme. A fan of Acme Radio Live? Check out The Hatchery’s live musical performances and event space for your next function. Furthermore, Acme’s rooftop bar gives guests magnificent views of the city skyline. 

The Loveless Cafe

Offering real Southern food since 1951, The Loveless Cafe serves daily specials like chicken n’ dumplings sure to keep you satisfied. The cafe even hosts on-site shop to grab apparel and packaged food on the way out, a barn that hosts top performers such as Faith Hill, and games. Open from 7 am to 9 pm every day, this family-friendly institution will keep you coming back.

4) Listen to Live Music

Nashville's bars boast a good time, especially if you're into the famous Nashville Country and rock music scene. Whether you're hitting the busy streets of the Broadway District in downtown or looking for something a little less crowded, the city promises a good night.

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge has been bringing down the house since 1960. Named after Hattie Louise "Tootsie" Bess, this orchid-purple honky tonk has seen the talent of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and more when they were burgeoning artists. The lounge was also featured in the film Coal Miner's Daughter.

The Second Fiddle believes in tradition. With a casual but fun honky tonk atmosphere, you can hear live music seven days a week and there's no cover charge.

The Bluebird Cafe doesn't look like a meeting ground for acclaimed artists and songwriters, but the 90-seat venue's history has gained a star-studded reputation. You never know who will show up at the cafe to perform, meet and greet, and work on up-and-coming hit songs.

What's more, there are countless bars and saloons in Nashville showcasing good music, so what are you waiting for?

angled photo of entrance of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge showing view of street in Nashville, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge via Facebook

5) Night Tour of the City

The Nashville Tractor's scenic party tour wagon enables guests to revel and sightsee from the comfort of an open-air bus. The Nashville Tractor is catered to serve alcohol and stops at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery to keep the night going. Guests can take a public tour or reserve the bus, which is perfect for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

For a good time on the Cumberland River, ride on The General Jackson Showboat to honor Southern showboat history. The world-renowned cruise offers fine dining, a Victorian-style theater with top-rated performances, and spectacular views of the city at night during Music City Nights.

Additionally, the Old Town Trolley Nashville Night Tour offers an alternate view of the city via an expert-guided two-hour tour. The trolley takes guests, who must be at least 18, to popular sites such as the Ryman Auditorium, The Gulch, Printer's Alley, and more. Gain insight into Music City's heritage and culture, hear songs and exclusive stories, and beyond. In addition, riders can enjoy a complimentary beverage.

glowing Printer's Alley welcome sign between two buildings in Printer's Alley, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

photo credit: Printer’s Alley Nashville via Facebook

6) Theater Performance

The Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a world-renowned non-profit performing arts center with roots dating back to 1946. The Symphony performs 150 concerts annually and has won 13 Grammy awards and 24 nominations for its recorded productions. It's safe to say you will be entertained at one of their performances. In addition, other top performers such as Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, and many more have utilized the concert space.

Voted Nashville's #1 dinner show, the Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre celebrates classic and contemporary Country with live shows and an optional all-you-can-eat dinner buffet.

Located downtown, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center hosts the Nashville Ballet, the Nashville Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Orchestra, Broadway productions, and more.

Moreover, the Belcourt Theatre is a non-profit theater that shows classic, indie, and blockbuster films in addition to hosting educational seminars and discussions.

7) Ghost Tour

Looking to get spooked? There are multiple haunted ghost tours you can take throughout the city, exploring allegedly haunted sites downtown such as the Capitol building, taverns, and cemeteries. Tour if you dare through AmeriGhost.

exterior of Country Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennesse, USA

photo credit: Downtown Nashville via Facebook

8) Night Hikes in the Park

There are various options for hikers to journey through the city’s parks at night. The Edwin Warner Park Nature Center offers night hikes, and the Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary offer night hikes during the summer. Further, rangers lead astronomy night hikes at Radnor Lake. Other parks such as Bells Bend Nature Park host night hikes as well.

9) Catch a Game

The South loves its sports teams, and Nashville is not excluded. The city holds professional, minor, and collegiate teams and visitors can even watch Predators and Titans' practice sessions for free.

10) Sip at a Brewery

Brews, live music, and patio seating are available at Tennessee Brew Works. Grab a flight with your friends as you relax or pre-game for the night ahead. For an assortment of different flavors, try a brew or few at Southern Grist Brewing for IPAs, sour ales, and more. Lastly, if you want a quirkier touch, head to the Jackalope Brewing Company for crisp craft beer selections.

11) Walk Across the Pedestrian Bridge

Giving gorgeous views of the city and the Cumberland River, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge has been closed to vehicles since 1998. Stroll across the bridge for the scenery and photo opportunities.

crowd sitting in Grand Ole Opry taking tour in Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Grand Ole Opry / Facebook

12) Challenge Friends at the Arcade

As The Rabbit Hole VR Gaming Arcade states, "go down the rabbit hole." For a unique virtual reality gaming experience, this arcade has you covered with over 30 games and a VR escape experience. Play solo or with a team of fellow gamers. You can even rent equipment to bring the party back to your house.

If you like barcades like I do, the Headquarters Beercade displays 30 vintage games, 10 pinball machines, and an extensive craft beer list.

13) First Saturday Art Crawl

On the first Saturday of every month, visitors can attend gallery receptions and openings downtown. Open to the public, admission is free to the FirstBank First Saturday Art Crawl. See local and international artists’ work and exhibitions displayed along with exclusive exhibitions. Located on Fifth Avenue, many galleries offer free refreshments along with other interactive activities. Check the calendar for specific dates and times. 

14) More Live Music 

Dubbed Music City, it's hard to find a venue that doesn't host live music. Check out some of these popular hot spots in Nashville:

Let the Good Times Roll

You can't go wrong in Music City, so what will you try first for an unforgettable evening?

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Written By Talena


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