Summer Fun in Music City Playlist
Oh hello sweet glorious summer. We’ve been expecting you. We’ve been setting up stages, dusting off patios, turning on water slides, and perfecting our summer cocktail recipes just for you.
In honor of you, dear summer, we’ve put together a “play list” of not-to-be-missed summer events, attractions, concerts, and activities happening in Nashville as well as a “playlist” of summer-worthy songs by Nashville artists, ideally designed to be listened to while packing for and then exploring Music City.
New Kids on the Block
Three big exhibits hit Nashville this summer, just in time to give you a good reason to get out of the sun and into some air conditioning. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Blake Shelton: Based on a True Story exhibit explores the life and work of one country music's most popular and multi-dimensional artists. Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art features Steve Tobin: Southern Roots with outdoor and indoor installations placed across the estate, and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts' will have Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945-1975 which will have car fans, and people of all ages, in awe at the innovation and design. The Frist also has a special deal in partnership with Nashville's Lane Motor Museum that you need to check out.
Music Always Sounds better when it’s FREE
Of course Nashville has a lot of music, that’s a given. But you will be amazed to discover how much FREE music there is every. single. day. Start with the fact that Downtown Nashville has rows of honky tonks and bars with FREE live music all day, every day. Head to Lower Broadway, aka Honky Tonk Highway, or 2nd Avenue to experience it for yourself. You could spend your whole vacation there and never spend a cent on music. Except for the excellent tips you would leave the talented musicians of course. But don’t stop there, there’s much more FREE music to take in this summer. For example, check out:
Musicians Corner, Saturdays in May and June, where local artists take the stage at Centennial Park for an afternoon of authentically Nashville live music.
CMA Fest, June 9-12, has a ton of great FREE music during the day. Several stages are set up throughout Downtown Nashville hosting live music by country artists. Ticketed nightly shows are definitely worth the price for avid country fans, but there’s still plenty of FREE shows open to the public. See the lineup.
The GRAMMY Award-winning Nashville Symphony hosts a community concert series with seven FREE performances taking place at parks around town. Bring a picnic and enjoy listening to some of the best classical musicians in the world. Get there early because this is a popular event. See when and where.
Live on the Green, a FREE concert series, presented by Lightning 100, at Public Square Park in downtown Music City. This year's dates include Thursdays, August 11, 18, and 25. Followed by a three day festival September 1-3. Just so you know, Ben Folds, Lord Huron, Passion Pit, and more rocked the stage during the 2015 Live on the Green series. Stay tuned for this year's lineup which will be released June 23!
The Music City Walk of Fame is a great spot to honor music legends in Nashville. We will host a ceremony, May 26, to inducted Alabama and Sam Moore. In case you didn't know, Music City Walk of Fame is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or industry collaboration with connections to Music City. Stop by and check it out.
Nashville goes all out for July 4th and is raising the bar again this year with its stellar lineup of FREE music at Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing. Sherly Crow will headline this year's event. The lineup will also include Maddie & Tae, Erin McCarley, Andrew Combs, Ruby Amanfu, and the GRAMMY®-winning Nashville Symphony followed by one of the nation’s best fireworks displays choreographed to live music. AND the free concert moves to two stages at Ascend Amphitheater and The Green at Riverfront Park.
Check out even more FREE live music in Music City!
Eat, Drink and Catch Some Rays
Nothing says summer like dining al fresco, sipping on fresh cocktails, and lazy weekend brunches. Nashville has plenty of that to go around along with some tasty food festivals hitting the streets of Music City that are a must-stop for any food lovers.
Nashville’s dining options are expanding daily...literally! Hit up your go-to favorites and add a few to the agenda that you haven’t tried before. Looking for a casual dining spot with a great patio? Head to Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Saint Anejo, Bajo Sexto, The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden, Local Taco, or Pinewood Social. For a nice dinner under the stars try City House, Virago, Sambuca, City Winery, or Rolf and Daughters. Check out more patio dining options.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere so quench your thirst with some tasty libations at places like 12South Taproom, Holland House Bar & Refuge, Whiskey Kitchen, The Sutler Saloon, or William Collier’s. You could head to a local brewery, distillery, or winery for some ‘Made in Nashville’ brews at places like Tennessee Brew Works, Corsair Distillery, Arrington Vineyards, Black Abbey Brewery, or Hops + Crafts. Another option is to hop on the Music City Brew Tour or Nashville Brew Bus and hit multiple breweries in one afternoon. Check out more brewery and distillery options.
Brunch is its own food group in Nashville. Restaurants fill up on the weekends with folks itching for a good bloody mary and a carb overload to recover from the night before. Some favorite spots in town include Tavern, Urban Grub, The Southern Steak & Oyster, Sinema Restaurant & Bar, or Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
And don't forget to join the many fun food celebrations occurring throughout the season. From beer festivals to full out wine celebrations there's something in Nashville for every type of foodie, wino, or craft beer enthusiast. Check out some of the food festivals and events on Nashville’s summer calendar:
• Taste of Music City - June 18
• Music City Hot Chicken Festival - July 4
• Nashville Rib & Jazz Festival – July 16
• Music City Brewers Festival – July 25
• Wine on the River - September 10
• Music City Food + Wine Festival - September 17-18
Once you've filled up, it's time to play. We have to mention Nashville's Ascend Amphitheater. The 6,800 seat state-of-the-art amphitheater, located on The Green at Riverfront Park has an impressive list of performers taking the stage this summer. That includes Jimmy Buffet & The Coral Reefer Band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Duran Duran, Weezer, Brand New, Journey, Ray Lamontagne, and so many more. Just a few blocks away, the beloved Nashville Sounds will be playing at First Tennessee Park, located just north of downtown. Head on over to catch a great game, under the sun, with the back drop of the Nashville skyline. Finally, enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors with a picnic and game of frisbee or a nice hike at one of Nashville’s beautiful parks and greenways including Centennial Park, Shelby Bottoms Greenway, or Percy Warner Park. See the full list of outdoor fun at: visitmusiccity.com/outdoorfun.
It’s not a fun family vacation unless everyone is having fun. No worries because Nashville has no shortage of attractions certain to entertain the whole family. Head to Nashville Shores and hit the eight water slides, massive treehouse, and zipline adventure. The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere will appeal to your wild side as you get up close and personal with some of your favorite furry friends, and while you’re there let ‘em loose on the 66,000 square foot Jungle Gym. Now you can see the Zoo like never before with their all new zip line experience called Soaring Eagle which takes you 110 ft. in the air to overlook the African Savannah, Historic Home, Festival Field, and Gibbon Islands. Little tip, one of the best ways to visit the Zoo and Nashville would be with one of our Vacation Packages which allow you to do more for less! Can't beat that, right?
Explore the interactive exhibits at the Adventure Science Center and be sure to check out the summer exhibit Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs featuring the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibition created on the history, biology, and evolution of dogs.
Develop your artistic skills at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Admission is FREE for children under the age of 18. This summer take advantage of the Kids Club program, a program designed for 5 to 10 years olds to help them discover their inner artist.