As cool winter weather gives way to pleasant temperatures, spring is a wonderful time to experience Nashville, the dynamic capital of Tennessee. The warm weather kick-starts the city’s festival season and provides the ideal conditions for picnicking, hiking in the surrounding countryside and enjoying alfresco dining. While summers can be steamy and humid, springs in Nashville feature daytime highs in the low 70s. When planning your visit, consider this list of popular springtime activities in Nashville
Festivals and Live Music
Nashville hosts a series of major events in the month of April ranging from fashion week to film and beer festivals. These events make up the April is Awesome celebration, but the city holds a variety of events all throughout the spring.
Tin Pan South is held in late March or early April. The world’s largest gathering of singers and songwriters, the event features more than 350 artists and groups performing over 90 shows in 10 venues around the city. The five-day festival includes live music and interesting story telling about the events that inspired the songs.
Taking place in April, the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Japanese culture and the nation’s friendship with America. The annual celebration includes the Cherry Blossom Walk and a variety of activities at the Public Square Park. You can see demonstrations and exhibits that highlight Japanese culture, sample delicacies from local restaurants and browse the products being offered at the Ginza Marketplace. And in true Nashville style, there is also live music entertainment.
Nashville is known as the Athens of the South because of the large number of colleges and universities in the city. Sponsored by Vanderbilt University, the Rites of Spring is a public celebration that features live music and other activities. The event takes place the third weekend in April on the Alumni Lawn.
The Tennessee Craft Fair is held in Centennial Park over the course of three days in May. Attracting more than 4,500 visitors, the fair features the handicrafts of over 200 artists and includes hands-on demonstrations. You may find a unique keepsake among the furniture, jewelry, paintings and other crafts produced by regional artists.
The Iroquois Steeplechase is named in honor of the first American thoroughbred to win the English Derby. The thoroughbred was a leading sire during his life at Belle Meade Plantation. Several notable racehorses like War Admiral, Seabiscuit and Secretariat trace their lineage to this famous steed. A premiere spring event, the steeplechase attracts over 25,000 spectators wearing their finest spring attire, including some of the biggest and most stylish hats in the South.
The Nashville Flea Market is always open for shopping on the FOURTH weekend of every month. Every December, the Nashville Flea Market falls on the THIRD weekend of the month due to the Christmas Holiday.
Find more monthly events this spring by visiting our Nashville events calendar.
When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate
Intermittent spring showers provide a great opportunity to visit the indoor attractions on your itinerary. You can explore Nashville’s museums and other popular family-friendly venues until the precipitation passes.
Don’t let the rain ruin your plans of sightseeing the Music City. The Old Town Trolley is a great way to explore many of the unique sights and attractions that Music City has to offer. The trolley is also a convenient way to travel between locations on your travel itinerary. Traveling a loop around the city, a trolley arrives at each stop every few minutes. Stay on board for a fascinating and entertaining narrative about the city, or you can hop off and experience Nashville at your own pace while avoiding the hassles of driving and finding a place to park.
The Musicians Hall of Fame honors the careers of the talented professional entertainers and songwriters who created hit records while working tirelessly behind the scenes in backup bands or as studio musicians. The museum’s exhibits chronicle the history of these extraordinary performers who produced the unique styles associated with places like Detroit, Memphis and Muscle Shoals.
Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II influenced the architectural style of the Arcade. A fashionable shopping destination that was created in 1902 with the enclosure of Overton Alley, the Arcade is home to a variety of retail shops, eateries and art galleries. The two-story landmark shopping mall hosts an art exhibit the first Saturday of each month.
While the Johnny Cash Museum celebrates the life and career of the “Man in Black,” the Goo Goo Shop across the street offers signature confections and retro candy brands. Spend some time exploring the exhibits that display artifacts and memorabilia related to various periods in the lives of Johnny and June Carter Cash. When you are finished, sample the chocolate, peanut, caramel and marshmallow clusters for an afternoon pick-me-up.
The Adventure Science Center features a range of interactive exhibits that encourage children of all ages to explore science and decipher the mysteries of the world around them. The science museum is designed to spark imaginations as visitors build prototypes during a hands-on demonstration, pilot full-motion flight simulators and travel to the outer reaches of space in the planetarium.
And When It Does
When the weather cooperates with a fine spring day and evening, enjoy one or more of Nashville’s outdoor attractions.
Spring means baseball in Nashville. The Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, play their home games in the downtown First Tennessee Park. Come out to the ballgame and enjoy peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks as you watch these future stars hone their skills.
Spring weather is perfect for strolling amid the monuments, memorials and attractions found in the Bicentennial Mall State Park. The Pathway of History is a 1,400-foot-long wall that is engraved with important events, which occurred in Tennessee. An inlaid map highlights key geographical features in the “Volunteer State.” If the weather is warm, cool off in the water fountains that represent the state’s main rivers, lakes and waterways. And for a peaceful moment, listen as the 95-bell carillon plays the Tennessee Waltz.
Tracing its roots back more than a century, the farmers market stretches along Rosa Parks Boulevard adjacent to the Mall. In addition to fresh produce vendors, the market hosts artisan shops and eateries. It is also the site for special events and a weekend flea market. The busy season begins in May.
Adventureworks is a thrilling way to experience an exhilarating bird’s-eye view of the surrounding countryside. A series of nets, ropes and bridges, as well as exciting zip lines traverse 40 acres of old-growth forest. It is an exciting adventure for individuals, families and groups.
Colorful Natural Beauty
Springtime is the perfect season to discover the beauty of Nashville’s gardens and parks. The flowers are in bloom, animals come out of hibernation and the weather is just right for a casual stroll outside.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden is blanketed with a wide range of colors as flowers bloom against the lush, green background of trees, shrubs and other plantings. The 55-acre garden hosts the springtime Cheekwood in Bloom festival, which celebrates the mosaic of color that occurs when more than 100,000 tulips bloom. The museum features a collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts.
Take a walk on the wild side as the residents of the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere come out of hibernation at this sprawling state-of-the-art animal park. View rhinos, tigers and giraffes as well as birds, amphibians and reptiles. The park also features a historic Greek Revival-style mansion.
In addition to the iconic Parthenon and the 42-foot-tall statue of Athena, the 132-acre Centennial Park features a duck pond and a one-mile walking trail. You can play games or spread a blanket on the lawn and enjoy musical and dramatic performances in the band shell. There are also several historic monuments and memorials.
Riverfront Park offers an expanse of lawn for a picnic, free concerts at the Ascend Amphitheater and a playground. The park also includes statues of the early Canadian fur trapper Timothy Demonbreun and Nashville founders John Donelson and James Robertson.
A trip to Nashville would not be complete without enjoying some good food and music. Time-honored eateries around town are known for their menus featuring meat and three sides. Sample authentic Southern barbecue, fried green tomatoes and the city’s signature Hot Chicken in a casual setting like Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. You can also enjoy an evening of live music in well-known honky-tonks, such as Tootsies Orchid Lounge and the Bluebird Cafe. You never know if a legendary performer will sit in as you listen to aspiring artists.