15 Fun, Sober Things to Do in Nashville, TN (2024)

It may be “a drinking city with a music problem” but there are plenty of fun, sober things to do in Nashville if drinking isn’t your thing. No worries. It’s not my thing, either.

So go ahead and plan that sober girls’ trip or friends’ getaway to Nashville!

There’s more to this vibrant city than the bars. You’ll have a great time exploring while you’re here, and you’ll remember it when you get home.

Here’s my full list of fun, sober things to do in Nashville, no alcohol required!

Is Nashville Worth It If You Don’t Drink?

Oh my, yes! There’s a lot more to Nashville than getting drunk while honky tonk-hopping down Broadway. Let’s address this real quick and then move on to the list.

Nashville is home to professional sports teams, a ton of history, and, of course, the country music capital of the world. And let’s not forget Southern comfort food and Nashville Hot Chicken!

I had similar reservations about visiting Vegas as a non-drinker, but that trip was a weekend full of fun! There’s plenty of sober things to do in Las Vegas, too.

So don’t let Nashville’s nickname “Nash-vegas”, or any other city’s drinking reputation, put you off. You can absolutely have a great time here without drinking or partying.

Now let’s get to the list!

A skyline view of downtown Nashville, Tennessee on a clear blue day
The Nashville Skyline from Fort Negley

Sober Things to Do in Downtown Nashville

Visit all the Music Museums

Country music reigns supreme in Nashville, of course, but there are other varieties if you know where to look.

  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • The Johnny Cash Museum
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • RCA Studio B
  • Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
  • National Museum of African American Music

Elvis is just as popular here. Stop in at RCA Studio B where he recorded some of his most famous songs, or visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and admire his gold-plated Cadillac in all its glory.

Believe it or not, Elvis’s car is not the most ostentatious one in that museum!

The Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, Tennessee

I’m not a huge country music fan, but the museums are still interesting and absolutely loaded with outfits, memorabilia, and cars from famous country singers.

These places are also always packed. Get your tickets online ahead of your visit, especially in peak summer season.

The National Museum of African American Music was my personal favorite music museum in Nashville. It showcases every genre of music that’s been developed and influenced by African Americans.

It covers, in great detail, everything from spirituals and gospel to jazz, rap, hip hop, and R&B. I loved how it wove in the history with the music timeline, and there are plenty of listening stations and interactive exhibits in each section.

More of a generalist when it comes to music? The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates all genres of music.

You’ll find everyone from Johhny Cash to Jimi Hendrix here, and the Grammy Museum Gallery is a big hit for those that want to feel like they’re on stage.

Attend a Pro Sports Game

Nashville is not lacking in the professional sports category, either. The only thing it’s missing is basketball.

Nashville's Nissan Stadium as seen from afar

If you’re trying to avoid the temptation of drinking, then these may not be the best option, but if that’s not an issue for you, then don’t miss a chance to catch a game.

  • NFL – Tennessee Titans
  • NHL – Nashville Predators
  • MLS – Nashville SC
  • MiLB – Nashville Sounds
  • Vanderbilt University Commodores – baseball

Good to Know: Predators matches are known for their intense noise levels. If you like hockey, you can’t miss a Predators game. If you get migraines easily, they aren’t for you.

Listen to Great Music

The booze-filled honky tonks aren’t the only place to listen to music in Music City! Try a listening room instead for live performances, a more intimate experience, and a tamer setting. They’ll still offer alcohol, but it’s usually not quite as wild as Broadway.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony, is literally across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame downtown, and the Amphitheater at Riverfront Park has a new concert almost every weekend in the summers.

Chilling by the Cumberland River while listening to your favorite band isn’t a bad way to spend an evening!

Centennial Park

How about a little slice of Ancient Greece in the USA? Head to Centennial Park for a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, including a museum and 42ft tall statue of the goddess Athena inside.

A replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park in Nashville, lit up at night and reflected in a still lake

The entire park is 132 acres, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and frequently hosts festivals and events.

Stroll the walking trail, stop at Musician’s Corner, or catch an event at the bandshell, pavilion, or arts center.

It’s a nice green space on the edge of Vanderbilt University’s campus, perfect for a stroll while you eat ice cream or cookie dough. Bring your furry best friend, and let ‘em loose at the adjacent dog park.

The Belmont Mansion

If historic house tours are your idea of fun (I love them!), then stop by the Belmont Mansion for a guided tour. It’s one of very few pre-Civil War homes left in Nashville, once the largest home in the city.

By 1890 it changed owners and was converted into a school, the beginnings of Belmont University which still operates here today.

The mansion is now a museum, complete with period décor, furnishings, and tour guides. It’s an interesting pocket of history in a city obsessed with music.

The Belmont Mansion's front elevation, decorated for Christmas

Frist Art Museum

In the heart of downtown, not far from the infamous “Honky Tonk Highway”, sits the stately and grand Frist Art Museum. Constantly rotating visiting exhibits ensure you’ll never see the same thing twice at this art gallery. But honestly, the building is just as impressive as the art it houses.

The building was originally the main post office for Nashville, built in the 1930s and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

If you need a quiet escape while your travel companions hit up the nearby bars, this is a great option.

Tennessee State Museum

How about another FREE sober thing to do in Nashville? Visit the Tennessee State Museum and learn everything there is to know about the state of Tennessee.

The museum covers everything from the original inhabitants of the area to today’s modern city. It’s got natural history exhibits, cultural exhibits, and history exhibits, my personal favorite. 

I haven’t been here yet myself, but it’s on the list the next time I’m in Nashville.

Eat brunch (or donuts!)

Yes, you can eat brunch without mimosas. I do it all the time. Go to brunch for the amazing food, y’all!

Get an eggs benny and good, creative avocado toast. I’m not talking some plain spread on a piece of bread. When chefs get creative and start adding local ingredients to avocado toast, it’s the perfect brunch compliment to an eggs benedict.

A Five Daughters Bakery famous 100-layer donut with a bite taken out
A 100-layer donut from Five Daughters Bakery

If brunch is too heavy, go for a donut sugar rush instead. I can confidently recommend Five Daughters Bakery and their 100 layer donuts. Now these are donuts!

Good to Know: If you can’t handle a full-size donut, they have minis. No worries.

They have a few locations around town, so this should work no matter where you’re staying in Nashville. When in doubt where to eat in downtown, go to Assembly Food Hall for tons of great options.

Eat Nashville Hot Chicken

Hattie B’s or Prince’s? A real showdown! One’s the original, the other’s a newcomer, but they’re both delicious. Just take the heat warnings seriously.

They’re both available at the Assembly Food Hall at 5th and Broadway, too, so you can try them both!

Lines will be out the door and blocking the sidewalk for Hattie B’s, mostly because it’s at street level and not all visitors realize there are tons more food choices inside the Food Hall, like Prince’s. But now you know the secret to skipping that line!

The bright red sign for Hattie B's chicken in downtown Nashville

Fun Things to Do Near Nashville that Aren’t Downtown

Not everything worth seeing in Nashville is in The Gulch or on Lower Broadway. Here’s a few of my favorite sober things to do in the Nashville area.

You’ll need a car, or at least a rideshare, to get to all of these.

Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery

Once a thoroughbred horse breeding plantation, Belle Meade functions today as a museum and winery, preserving a piece of pre- and post-Civil War history just outside of Nashville’s hustle and bustle.

The front facade of the main house at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee

Take a guided tour of the house, full of horse paintings and memorabilia, but also stories of the Harding family. Then continue on a Journey to Jubilee tour to learn about the lives of the enslaved before Emancipation and the contract workers that stayed on after the war.

The original wooden house from the first Hardings to live here are still on the property, a transformation in circumstances that I found fascinating. In just 12 years at the beginning of the 19th century they went from simple wooden house to two story Federal style brick mansion.

Finish your visit with a stroll around the grounds to see all the side exhibits, and consider eating lunch at the on-site restaurant. I didn’t eat here, but it smelled delicious!

Good to Know: A free wine tasting is included with your mansion tour, but you can skip it like I did. There’s no pressure to attend. You don’t even go to the winery tasting room until after the tour.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Estate

The 7th President of the United States called the Nashville area home. His cotton plantation, The Hermitage, was actually Jackson’s attempt at downsizing to keep his expenses in check.

Fun Fact: We don’t know for certain in which Carolina Andrew Jackson was born, but South Carolina’s Andrew Jackson State Park has a great museum and historic exhibits talking all about it.

There’s a very detailed museum as well as the mansion, outbuildings, and farm and gardens to explore on the 1100+ acre property. Jackson and his wife Rachel are both buried here in the garden, too.

The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, in Old Hickory, just outside of Nashville

I recommend you tour the house first in the early part of the day (tickets required) and explore as much of the grounds as you can before the heat hits.

The wagon tour, The Hermitage Enslaved, is a great option to get off your feet and learn about this important facet of the plantation. (You’ll need to coordinate your timed entry tickets at purchase if you want to do it this way.)

Then, go through the air conditioned museum near the entrance, and you can finish walking the grounds after you’ve cooled down a bit.

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

Get outside for a stroll through blooming gardens! Don’t worry. It’s not another historic farm. The mansion and gardens here weren’t built until the 1930s, and it never had a farm.

The Cheekwood mansion peeking out behind trees on the Cheekwood estate near Nashville

Built to look like an old English country estate, the mansion includes pieces from real English estates and has views that look out on perfectly planned landscapes. The gardens and water features add to the beauty.

This is a dreamy location for events and weddings, so check before you go to see if the house is open.

I rolled up for the first time during a Halloween event for dogs and they were setting up for a wedding in the mansion. Despite my poor timing, the flowers and gardens were still beautiful.

Opryland Hotel & Resort

You don’t have to stay here to enter and walk around, but tickets might be required, depending on the time of year. It’s worth a visit, though, especially at Christmas!

This enormous resort features an indoor atrium with a town and river inside it. Peruse the shops, grab a snack, and watch the fountain display. You can even take a riverboat ride through the atrium, for a fee.

A tall Christmas tree lit up with white lights inside the Opryland Resort and Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee

At Christmas, they go all out with the light displays! But it’s also the busiest time of year to visit, and they reserve the restaurants for overnight guests only. I still enjoyed walking around, though.

Be careful where you park! Parking is pricey, especially at Christmas.

You can self park or use the valet, but note that you don’t have in-and-out privileges with the valet if you’re not an overnight guest. Don’t get the car until you’re ready to leave for good for the evening.

Nashville Zoo

I love a good zoo, even if it’s a bit on the smaller side. Get to know fascinating animals from around the world and how you can help them, all while feeling like you’re traveling abroad without leaving the state.

The Nashville Zoo is home to some seriously adorable creatures, including several vulnerable and endangered species. See Sumatran tiger cubs, red ruffed lemurs, cloud leopards, and Andean bears.

Not to mention the largest Komodo dragon enclosure in the US! The current oldest male dragon at the zoo is 9ft long and named Lil Sebastian.

If you’re looking to hang out in Nashville without drinking, this is a good place to go in the cooler months or the cooler part of the day.

Happy travels!

Headshot of Rachel Means at Clingmans Dome in Smoky Mountains

About the Author: Rachel Means

With six-figure student loan debt and only 10 PTO days per year, Rachel started traveling the world. A decade later, she’s paid off her loans, changed careers, and been to 38 US states and 17 countries. She’s an expert at planning and budgeting for travel and loves to help others do it, too! Read her full story here.