Our local experts surveyed guests, canvassed review sites, and researched hundreds of different Nashville tours to select our annual best of the best list.
Best Night Tour – Soul of Music City
Some cities are just transcendent when the sun recedes into the horizon and Nashville is one of those cities. Truth be told, you can take a peek into just about any of the Lower Broadway live music venues and watering holes at high noon and see some aspiring musicians trying out their songs on an audience for the first time.
This place is known as ‘Music City,’ after all. But, when the stars come out to play, be they in the sky or on the stage, Nashville becomes electric! You’ll see the Ryman Auditorium, a converted church that used to be the home of the legendary Grand Ole’ Opry that still stands today as one of the most important and sonically perfect music halls in America.
You’ll learn how Nashville is far from just a hub for country music when you cruise down Jefferson Street and you’ll get to wet your whistle with a complimentary adult beverage at one of the boisterous honky-tonks in the heart of town. As a nightcap, swoon over the illuminated skyline with a walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
Best Sightseeing Tour – Old Town Trolley Tours
Our top-ranked, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winning, hop on/off sightseeing tour delivers the very best of Nashville. As one of the most important enclaves of music recording and composing in the world, you’ll get to see the places where the giants of music have weaved their magic – places like the Country Music Hall of Fame, a fixture of the Nashville skyline, where revolving exhibits tell the story of country music from its infancy to the current day.
‘The Man In Black,’ Johnny Cash, has his own museum on 3rd Ave. South where you can view his many one-of-a-kind guitars, memorabilia from his childhood and much more. You’ll also get to see manicured public spaces and parks and hear the history behind them. The hop-on hop-off option allows you to disembark and re-board at any time during their hours of operation so you can enjoy the city at your own pace.
Best Water Tour – Pontoon Saloon
Nashville, Tennessee is located on the Cumberland River, 695 miles of winding waterway that emanates from Kentucky. Its riverfront is indicative of a great river city with courtesy docks for those visiting the city by boat. There are plenty of restaurants near the landing as well located right in the middle of downtown. This narrow river is a great vantage point from which to view Nashville and the Pontoon Saloon lets you have a lot of fun along the way.
This 50-foot long vessel made buoyant by two large flotation structures has been described as a floating saloon. This party boat, available for wedding parties, company events, and company/client outings, is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) and BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) two-hour cruise that supplies a staff of servers and a sound system for a rockin’ day on the river!
Best Cultural Tour – Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Known by most as the face on the 20 dollar bill, Andrew Jackson came to prominence as a budding, Tennessee lawyer who shifted his ambitions to the political realm after the War of 1812. He later became the 7th President of the United States after a contentious election. He was a strong and polarizing figure credited with the formation of the Democratic Party who lived out the rest of his days here at the Hermitage.
Rated the third-best Presidential site in the nation by USA TODAY, this 1,000 plus acre plantation features a main building done in the Greek Revival style where cotton was once the cash crop.
In what is regarded as one of the most impeccably preserved Presidential homes, you’ll be able to explore the landscaped grounds with its beautiful gardens, the many museum exhibits, and even Jackson’s tomb.
Best Entertainment Tour – NV Recording Studio Tour
Ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the top things to do in Nashville, this a rare opportunity to get behind the curtain and into the nuts and bolts of the recording industry. You and a group will be welcomed into Bold Recording Studio by an actual songwriter/producer who will show you the ropes on how hit records are made. As you walk through the acoustically designed, wooden-walled rooms of this beautifully designed studio, you’ll hear the stories of the legendary Nashville music scene and the stories behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded there.
This interactive tour even lets you strap on a pair of headphones and take your place in front of a mic where you’ll contribute your pipes to a group vocal that will get recorded and given to you on an mp3 to take home. If you would like an even more exclusive experience, you can choose to go on a private tour where #1 Billboard recording artist Meghan Linsey will be your personal guide. You’ll enjoy intimate acoustic performances, an artist Q&A, plus you’ll get to lay down some tracks with Meghan herself!
BEST SEGWAY TOUR – iRIDE NV
As a Top Ten ranked, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recipient, this tour of Nashville is one of the most unique ways to explore the city – by Segway. This two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter is one of the flat-out coolest ways to get from Point A to Point B. It’s got the mobility of a car and the practicality of a bike all rolled up into a high-tech, fun to use package. This tour offers various different packages to choose from which include a tour of downtown, the entertainment district, an excursion that travels beyond the well-worn to the edge of Germantown (dates are limited) and one that concentrates on the venues and musicians that are part of the soul of Music City.
Best Walking Tour – Historic Music Row Walking Tour
Widely considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry, Music Row is a historical district located to the southwest of downtown Nashville, Tennessee that is home to numerous businesses related to music, predominantly recording, publishing and production of all the genres that call this city home such as country, gospel, rock, pop, bluegrass and even classical.
The area was immortalized in a Dolly Parton song from 1973 called ‘Down on Music Row.’ The famous RCA studios where Elvis Presley recorded his largest and most successful body of work is located here. You’ll visit Owen Bradley Park, a green space named after the man who opened the very first recording studio in Nashville back in 1955. For music lovers and music history buffs, this tour is a bonafide hit!
Best Museum Tour – Country Music Hall of Fame
It is here, in a sprawling building that looks like an enormous treble clef when viewed from the air, that the most important and revered practitioners and music-makers of country music are forever enshrined. TripAdvisor ranks the Country Music Hall of Fame as the #3 best thing to do in Nashville and for good reason. Here you’ll see Hank Williams’ bedazzled stage outfits, Elvis Presley’s piano and Cadillac and even Carl Perkins’ blue suede shoes!
This museum is fresh off a massive expansion that has extended the property by 350,000 square feet and it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. Tons of exhibits, an education center, an 800-seat movie theater and the new home of Hatch Show Prints, one of the most iconic of Nashville exports to the world that revolutionized letterpress printing for the music industry, can all be found at this amazing and absorbing museum.
Best Food Tour – Taste of NV Tour
This highly rated TripAdvisor tour is designed to tantalize the pallet and get you familiarized with the diverse and burgeoning culinary scene in Music City. And, of course, you’ll get your share of Nashville history peppered throughout. Besides visiting some of the city’s most important landmarks, you’ll indulge in five different eateries, some of which reflect the local specialties such as BBQ and pralines, and you’ll visit some restaurants that are strictly for those in the know.