Tennessee is such a large state that it offers so much for travelers to see and do. But a visit to Nashville, one of the state’s top destinations, is a must for Tennessee travelers. But there are also many short drives around Music City that make for great day trips.

But, with so much to explore, how can one decide where to spend their time? Don’t fret. We’ve put together a list of great places to visit in and around Nashville that you’ll love!

Grand Ole Opry

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like the Grand Ole Opry

[Above image “Day 9: Nashville, TN (Grand Ole Opry” by Todd Van Hoosear on Flickr – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]

The shining jewel of Nashville’s crown is the Grand Ole Opry. The iconic site was built in 1925 and has launched the careers of countless country superstars. Plus, returning legends often request the stage, so you may just get to see someone famous if you book cheap flights to Tennessee for a live concert. You’ll see why people call it “country music’s most famous stage.”

However, there’s more to the Opry than just country music. While you’ll see plenty of spurs and cowboy hats among the audience, the musical performances can be a mix of folk, bluegrass, gospel, Americana, and more. There are string bands, honky-tonk bands, and beautiful choirs. The only requirement for music at the Grand Ole Opry is that it speaks to the soul.

Attractions at the Opry include weekend shows, house tours, and backstage events. You can also grab a bite to eat or browse the memorabilia at the gift shop. Even just standing in the lobby can be an amazing vacation experience.

Lookout Mountain

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain isn’t just one of the best overlooks in Tennessee. It’s one of the best in the Southeastern United States. You’ll want to leave for Chattanooga first thing in the morning, not because of the distance–it’s only a two hour drive–but because of how busy the mountain can get in the afternoon. Thankfully, the drive from Nashville and Chattanooga is beautiful. You’ll have many great photo opportunities, but none like the ones you’ll get atop Lookout Mountain. The overlook provides a panoramic view of Chattanooga and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Land Between the Lakes

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like Land Between the Lakes

Land Between the Lakes is one of the most interesting national landmarks in the U.S., as it’s literally a sliver of land between two lakes north of Nashville, in Kentucky. Land Between the Lakes is a national recreation area with Lake Barkley on one side and Kentucky Lake on the other. This is a great day trip from Nashville, just shy of two hours each way. Activities here include hiking and bicycling trails, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, and ATV trails.

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Mammoth Cave

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like Mammoth Cave

One of the most impressive natural attractions in the United States, Mammoth Cave should definitely get a spot on your list. Mammoth is considered the longest cave in the world. So far, about 420 miles of it have been explored, twice as much as any other currently known cave.  And experts estimate that there’s another 600 miles waiting to be discovered!  Guided tours are available for visitors to venture down into certain parts of Mammoth Cave.

Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like the Jack Daniels Distillery

[Above image “076B4534” by Bruce Tuten on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

Lynchburg, Tennessee is best known for one thing: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Tours of the distillery mainly involve walking around the outdoor grounds of the property and learning about its fascinating history. Tours are free and take place daily during normal business hours. However, if you want to buy Jack Daniel’s products from the shop, make sure you don’t come on Sundays when the shop is closed.

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-see for those interested in the genre, as it’s home to more than 2.5 million objects related to country music! This isn’t a small and quirky gallery. It’s a massive, multi-story complex with a circular rotunda that gleams from the light of thousands of gold records on the walls. It’s actually one of the largest music museums in the world.

From vintage guitars to rare performance videos, there’s a lot in the museum to admire. You can also check out iconic pieces of country music history, like RCA Studio B, the birthplace of “Nashville Sound.” The Country Music Hall of Fame can help you deepen your understanding of the music that you love as you learn about its legacy. It can also be a fun day trip filled with dining, shopping, and sightseeing. It’s a win-win all around!

Belle Meade

Great Places to Visit in and Around Nashville Like Belle Meade

[Above image “Belle Meade Home” by arianravan on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

Belle Meade is a historic plantation that dates back to 1807. Its grand architecture has been a landmark for centuries. But, its commitment to education and history is why it’s still a popular tourist destination today. You can either take a tour of the mansion itself, or opt for the “Journey to Jubilee” tour, which takes a forthright look at the full history of Belle Meade and the African Americans who were enslaved on the planation.

Belle Meade is also an active winery, so you can sip some bubbly at a wine-tasting event. Getting hungry? Sample some southern cuisine at the wonderful on-site restaurant. If you’re an equestrian, you should know that Belle Meade is considered the birthplace of horse breeding. It’s where famous horses like Seabiscuit and Secretariat were born! A trip to Belle Meade can be one of the most fun things to do in Nashville. You don’t even need to be a history buff to enjoy it. If you’re a fan of wine, horses, or just cool houses, you’ll enjoy your time at Belle Meade.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is a carefully preserved piece of history located just a few miles from downtown Nashville. It was Jackson’s home from 1804 to 1845, and Jackson and his wife, Rachel, are both entombed on the property. The mansion is a beautiful, antebellum-style residence surrounded by grounds and gardens. You can explore everything from gallery rooms to carriage drives that were used daily back in the former president’s time.

Educational sites include a museum, a memorial for the enslaved, and a graveyard for fallen soldiers. Tours of the Hermitage are available daily. So, if you’re interested in the history of the American south, the home of one of its most famous presidents is a good place to start. Head there for your next trip and take a walk among the voices of the past.

Do you know of any other great places to visit in and around Nashville? Tell us in the comments!

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