The Perfect Walking Guide to Nashville

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge | © Daniel Lobo / Flickr
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge | © Daniel Lobo / Flickr
Nashville has been called a “small town trapped in a big city,” due to its combination of traditional Southern charm and pockets of metropolitan areas. With so much to offer tourists and residents, the city is one that even the most experienced Nashvillian is always exploring. And what’s more fun than exploring a city? Exploring it by foot, of course! Downtown Nashville has a great block of attractions worth checking out that you can do without having to navigate the downtown traffic. Here’s how to soak up Music City on your feet.

A. Riverfront Station

Just behind the Hard Rock Cafe is a lovely riverfront train station that is the perfect starting point for a walking tour. Located along the Cumberland River next to Riverfront Park, you’ll start your day with a scenic view of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and the many red brick buildings that line the streets downtown.

Nashville Riverfront / (c) Denise Rosser / Flickr

B. Goo Goo Shop

Stop by the Goo Goo Shop to learn about the famous Goo Goo Cluster, invented in 1912. It was the world’s first ever combination candy bar, which is made with caramel, marshmallows, roasted peanuts, and milk chocolate. Taste how good it is when visiting the shop, and while you’re there, watch the candy being made by hand in a glass-encased kitchen. You can also try other treats like milkshakes or retro candies.

Beautiful night to be in downtown Nashville! #neonofnashville

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C. Nashville Schermerhorn Symphony

After you’ve gotten your fix of sweetness, head over to the Nashville Schermerhorn Symphony, and admire the architectural details of the building. You can also enjoy a free, 60-minute tour of the center. Tours take place on Mondays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. But even if you don’t go inside, the building is worth admiring and exploring from the outside.

Nashville Symphony / (c) Prayitno Photography / Flickr

D. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

One of the most popular museums in Nashville is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The outside of the building is designed to look like giant piano keys, which light up at night. Inside, the museum features exhibits full of country music history and artifacts. From contemporary country artists to those who are legendary, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum gives you an in-depth look at the country music scene from its beginnings to the present day.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum / (c) thelittleone417 / Flickr

E. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

This Nashville honky-tonk is one of the most famous. Since Tootsie Bess purchased the venue in 1960, it’s been a place where many country artists big and small have played. If you want to get a genuine feel for the Nashville singer-songwriter scene, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge offers three stages that host live music every day. Grab a bite while you sit and listen to local talent arouse your senses with the sounds of country tunes.

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge © Daniel Lobo / Flickr

F. Ryman Auditorium

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” you can’t visit downtown Nashville without stopping by the Ryman Auditorium. Take a self-guided tour or one with a guide that leads you backstage to learn about how this home of the Grand Ole Opry got its start. If you don’t have time in your schedule for a tour, at least snap a photo of yourself in front of the well-known music venue.

The Ryman Auditorium / (c) Craig G / Flickr

G. Demos’

All that walking is sure to work up an appetite. Downtown restaurant Demos’ is a great place to stop and enjoy a meal. With affordable menu items that are well portioned and delicious, recharge at this Southern eatery. From soups and salads to burgers and seafood, Demos’ has something that you’re sure to love. Expect to wait for a table, however, because the restaurant does get busy around mealtimes.

steak and potatoes / (c) David Pursehouse / Flickr

H. Wildhorse Saloon

End your walking tour by getting back on your feet at the Wildhorse Saloon. With free line dancing lessons and live music, the venue is a fun place to go. Inside there are horse statues, a full bar and restaurant, and plenty of people to watch. Dance the night away to classic country songs and a few high-energy pop/rock favorites.

dance floor / (c) Pexels