11 Unmissable Things To Do In Nashville At Night
Why anyone would go to Music City and then hope to avoid what the city is all about, which is country music on a grand scale, makes anyone's visit there questionable. But to be fair, everyone's eardrums need a break sometimes and too many sad lyrics about broken hearts and lost loves can eventually affect your happy vacation mood when you're out on the town in Nashville at night.
Is there anything else to do in Nashville at night other than listen to country music? That's a good question and the answer is yes, there's lots of things to do in Nashville that don't involve Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole Opry twanging the g-string of her Baby Taylor guitar.
Whether you choose to go on a ghost tour in Nashville at night, take a trolley ride around the Old Town or take a paddleboat cruise down the Cumberland River, you can't do it while carrying your suitcase. Solve your baggage problem by leaving your belongings at a Bounce luggage locker in Nashville where they'll be totally secure until you're ready to collect them. Doing that will leave your hands free to ward off any curious phantoms or throw a life belt to anyone who falls overboard.
Best Things To Do At Night In Nashville
Ride The Nashville Trolley
Save your legs by going sightseeing around the Old Town area of Downtown Nashville on a vintage trolley. You can board the bright orange and green trolley tour service at any of fourteen different stops as it operates like a hop-on-hop-off bus.
If you have plans to do something else in Nashville at night, making the full trip without getting off to see any of the attractions you pass takes an hour and a half. If you get off to take a look at something that interests you, you can just get on the next trolley that comes along to continue the tour.
The best night trolley tour is the Soul of Music City Tour which takes you past all the nightlife hotspots while you're listening to a narration about Nashville's history. There won't be any escape from live country music though as the guides also perform some of their own songs. Who knows, you might even be listening to the next Trace Adkins or Willie Nelson, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.
General Jackson Showboat Cruise
More like a floating hotel than a river cruiser, the General Jackson Showboat is the largest of its kind to sail the inland waterways of America. Taking a dinner cruise on the General Jackson is a best bib and tucker affair, but you don't need a tuxedo, it's not quite that posh.
During any of the evening cruises, and there are a few, the food served is a big buffet of traditional Southern-style dishes so you won't be going hungry. You eat as you sail down the Cumberland River floating under the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge then, once the meal is finished, the shows with live music begin. Choose between the Music City Night which highlights several different music genres and lots of famous songs popular in Nashville or one that's dedicated wholly to Elvis. Now that's a truly fun night if ever there was one.
Sailings depart at seven in the evening from Opryland Drive, but you're required to board forty-five minutes beforehand. All of the dinner cruises on the Cumberland River last for three hours so you're back by ten which gives you more than enough time for a stroll down Honky Tonk Highway before going to bed.
Third Coast Comedy Club
Swap singing along to country songs in Nashville at night for some outright belly laughs by taking in a show at the Third Coast Comedy Club.
The Third Coast Comedy Club is a small, intimate venue on Nashville's Clinton Avenue that hosts live stand-up and improvisation five nights of the week. Doors open at various times depending on the day of the week so check the times on the official website before going.
If you think you're funny and don't have stage fright, you can sign up for the Late Night Jam which is held every Friday from nine o'clock onwards.
The Rabbit Hole VR
One of the more fun and unusual things to do in Nashville at night is to spend a couple of hours in the Rabbit Hole VR. Believe it, having read Alice in Wonderland is not going to be of any help.
The experience of playing the games at The Rabbit Hole is similar to that of an escape room only slightly different as there are no real rooms, it's all digital.
If you're an Assassins Creed fan this will be a must-do as they have two escape games set in the Assassin's Creed world. To play those you need to be a team of four, so join up with friends before you go and if the teamwork doesn't work out, you could well be there all night. If you enjoy this and want to do another similar activity, try Escape Game Nashville in the Opry Mills.
If doing a ghost tour of Downtown Nashville would put you off thinking it might be one of the best places to stay in Nashville, you can still do something that will totally creep you out by going to the Nashville Nightmare.
The Nashville Nightmare is a haunted house full of live horrors that will leave you screaming. In some ways, it's like an escape room as you have to make your way through several different sections. There are no clues to solve though; just zombies, angry phantom gamblers from sunken riverboats, and escapees from the prison of hell.
If all that sounds right up your street, but you think you'll finish the night shaken if not stirred, you can get a stiff cocktail at the end from Bar Nightmare to help you recover.
Honky Tonk Highway
It would be impossible to be in Nashville and not spend at least one night having a pub crawl up and down Honky Tonk Highway. It is one of Music City's big attractions and with good reason. It sums up everything about Nashville at night.
The honky tonk bars on Honky Tonk Highway are open from ten in the morning right through until three the next morning. You don't have to make your visit here a nighttime one, but it is much better in the dark as there are almost as many neon lights on this strip as there are in Las Vegas.
It doesn't matter which bar you drop into as they all have live music playing at all hours of the day and night. When you want a non-stop party in Nashville this is where you go.
NB: If you don't think you can stand the pace of Nashville at night without eating in between bars, don't worry. Honky Tonk Highway is part of the city's Lower Broadway which is where you can get some of the best street food in Nashville.
Go Rooftop Bar Hopping
While the honky tonks of Lower Broadway may get all the social media attention, there are some other bars that deserve a look-in too. They're Nashville's rooftop bars and you might be surprised to find out the city has more than a few.
The rooftop bars are one of the best places to see the Nashville skyline at night and are also great if you just want a chill-out drink without too much live music pounding in your ears.
If a rooftop bar sounds just what you're looking for then you'll find the best of the bunch are the Zeppelin Nashville Rooftop and Bar, the L27 Rooftop Lounge, and Up.
NB: When you want to dine out and see the Nashville skyline with its neon lights at the same time, check out Jason Aldean's Kitchen and Rooftop Bar on Broadway. There they'll feed you Southern style while you watch the sun go down on Music City.
The name Printers Alley might not conjure up images of a great night out, but it is, in fact, one of the more renowned streets of Nashville for nightlife and home to several of Music City's top nightclubs.
Printers Alley may once have been a street dedicated to printing the written word. These days, though, the only words it inspires are rave reviews on social media of the night before. While it is one of Nashville's historic districts, most people heading here are more interested in having a historic night out than they are in architecture
The best places to drop by on Printers Alley are Dirty Little Secret, the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Alley Taps, and the Whiskey Shot. Don’t hold back the party mood though as there’s lots more besides those and all are worth going to.
NB: If you think you stand a chance of being the next big country star you can give your vocal cords a warm-up session at Ms Kelli's Karaoke Bar.
Grand Ole Opry
Out of all the music venues in Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry is the one that tops the list. It's the most renowned country music hall of all time. The best place for live country music and a place all country music artists strive to perform at.
The stage at the Opry has been showcasing the best of country music for almost a hundred years and while it started out as a radio show, the one-night-only country music shows are now sell-out events broadcast on national and international TV.
If going to the Grand Ole Opry is one of the things to do in Nashville at night that's high on your wish list the best thing to do is book your ticket well in advance of going. If you can't get tickets for the date you want, you can take a tour of the grounds, pick up a souvenir from the gift shop and listen to the show on WSM radio.
Walk To The Beat Of Music City
One of the more fun things to do in Nashville at night is to take a free walking tour. It's a great way of soaking up this city's unique atmosphere as well as learning about its very checkered past.
There are two ways of taking a walking tour. One, you can download an app from the official Music City webpage and do it self-guided. The app will lead you around all the prominent features of the city and through Downtown Nashville. The second way to do it, and probably the best way, is with a local guide.
Take a free walking tour of Nashville with a local guide and they'll give you an added insight into the rich history of the city that you might otherwise miss out on. Most free walking tours last for a duration of around ninety minutes so that still leaves you with plenty of time to get your fill of live music later in the evening.
Forget all about country and change to a different kind of live music for one night by visiting the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is home to the Nashville Tennessee Symphony Orchestra who don't just play classical music but diversify into many other genres including disco and pop as well as hits by Elton John and the Police.
The center also hosts concerts by major international stars, some operatic and some not. It's well worth checking out what's on during your stay as you may discover your favorite artist performing there.
Not everything in Music City has to be connected to live music, but it invariably is, one way or another. After all, that's what Nashville, Tennessee, is really all about. If you need a rest from the constant strumming of I, IV, and V chords, try taking a stroll over the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. You'll be able to say you've walked across one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges, but don't be surprised if you encounter a busker or two playing, yes, you guessed it, a few old country music tunes.