Nashville has become an incredibly popular tourist destination in recent years, thanks to its famous live music scene, delicious food and temperate climate.
But visitors to Music City have made their fair share of mistakes during their stays ― and locals tend to take note. We asked people who live in Nashville to share some of the faux pas they’ve observed.
From packing the wrong clothes to missing out on top-notch cultural experiences, here are 10 mistakes tourists often make while visiting Nashville ― and some advice for avoiding these errors during your travels.
1. Spending all your time on Broadway
“While Nashville is known for country music and neon lights, tourists don’t want to spend all their time on Broadway. Nashville may be Music City but has so much to offer with history, arts, sports and a booming food scene.” ― Dawn Burns, blogger at The Nashville Mom
“While I definitely want you to get the downtown honky-tonk experience, you’re going to have to branch out to get the true Nashville experience. You can do that by supporting the musicians who are performing original music at the Station Inn, Exit/In, 3rd and Lindsley, Mercy Lounge, Listening Room Cafe, The Basement, and tuning your radio to Lightning 100.1.” ― Katherine Forbes, founder of Designing the Row
2. Thinking you have to wear cowboy boots and hats
“The biggest mistake people make when traveling to Nashville is assuming that in order to come visit they need cowboy boots and hats. So they hit up their local Western wear store and come in matching ensembles to find out locals don’t wear them. Nashville is so much more than the Country Music Capital of the World.” ― Michelle Robinson, blogger at Modern Day Moguls
“I think [cowboy boots] are fun and also cute to wear at times but locals aren’t usually walking around Nashville in them. Feel free to wear whatever you want and to bring your own style. There is really no right or wrong way to dress while visiting Nashville!” ― Phylicia Kennedy, food and travel blogger
3. Not taking advantage of the city’s walkability
“Other than downtown and Broadway, I see most tourists using Uber or Lyft to get around. In neighborhoods like East Nashville, 12South, Germantown and my own Wedgewood-Houston, there’s so much walkability, and it’s the best way to explore.” ― Laura Lea Bryant, chef and food author
4. Missing out on local food
“As a food blogger, I am asked all the time for restaurant suggestions. I hate seeing visitors to Nashville only experiencing the Broadway venues. While there are definitely some great bites to check out downtown (Hello, Goo Goo), I would really encourage tourists to venture out to local faves — Arnold’s for meat-and-three, Butchertown Hall for a killer brunch, City House (get dessert), Nicky’s, Josephine, to name a few. It’s not all hot chicken down here (but seriously, try the chicken too). ― Phillip Fryman, blogger at Southern Fatty
“Go enjoy some local food and drinks at places like Five Points Pizza, Frothy Monkey, Proper Saké (one of the few saké breweries in the U.S.) or Fat Bottom Brewery.” ― Forbes
“If you see Conny and Jonny doughnuts at your coffee shop (they deliver to spots all over Nashville on the weekends), you must grab one. Life-changing!” ― Bryant
5. Waiting in unnecessary lines
“One of Nashville’s most popular hot chicken restaurants, Hattie B’s, always has a long line stretching outside and down the block. Hattie B’s offers online to-go ordering so you can order online to-go, skip the line and enjoy your meal outside in a local park!” ― Betsy Tannenbaum, blogger at Goldwill Digger
6. Only catching country music
“I’d say a mistake that tourists make when coming to Nashville is sticking solely to the country music scene and not venturing out to find other genres of music and artists that the city offers. Country music is a part of our city, but there are also so many other great things to offer. For example, I love going to the Nashville Symphony. There are tons of artists that come and you can experience different types of music. There are also free concerts during the summer such as Live on the Green, Jazz on the Cumberland, and free concerts at Centennial Park that host so many amazing artists.” ― Kennedy
7. Disregarding safety
“Of course tourists come to Nashville for a good time, but too many people get wasted on Broadway and stumble into the street in front of oncoming traffic. It’s become a real safety problem! Keep your wits about you and pay attention to cars.” ― Emily Mayer, consultant
8. Only sticking to indoor activities
“I don’t want tourists to miss Radnor Lake. The wildlife preservation is on point, and I’ve seen deer, turkeys, turtles, herons and more. You can walk leisurely around the perimeter or get a little sweat in with a gorgeous view going up Ganier Ridge.” ― Bryant
“Want to enjoy the outdoors? Centennial Park has lots to see (like a replica of the Parthenon) as well as a great walking trail and live music on Saturdays depending on the season.” ― Forbes
9. Skipping WeHo
“Wedgewood-Houston is still very up-and-coming, but there are so many cute coffee shops, art galleries, breweries and bars already. Start in front of Corsair Distillery and work your way down Martin Street, then hook right toward Earnest Bar & Hideaway to keep the fun going (lobster beignets, y’all). Some other faves? Humphreys and Americano for coffee and Never Never and Diskin Cider for a drink.” ― Bryant
10. Forgetting about sports
“If you want to experience the positive spirit of Nashville locals, there’s always a sporting event of some type happening whether it’s the Titans (football), Predators (hockey), Sounds (baseball), or Nashville SC (soccer) game. Cheers! Have fun!” ― Forbes
Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.