If you’re thinking about heading to Nashville for a few days of fun in one of the South’s finest cities, you may be wondering what time of year is best for traveling. The fact is that any time of year is a good time to visit Music City, depending on what you want to do. Spring sees azaleas and dogwoods in bloom, while summer is warm and features live entertainment galore. Fall sees beautiful foliage and comfortable temperatures, while winter offers affordable prices and all the holiday fun you can handle. Take a look at what all there is to see and do during Nashville trips in every season
The days grow a little warmer, the birds are chirping, the flowers are in bloom and more and more people are getting outdoors to enjoy Nashville. That’s how you know spring has arrived in Music City. It’s the perfect season to enjoy the great outdoors, whether you’re taking in a festival, hiking in a park or exploring a beloved outdoor attraction like the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
If you love festivals and other similar events, spring in Nashville is your season. Start with Music City Irish Fest, the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, or Tin Pan South, the world’s largest festival of songwriters (which also takes place in March). Each year, April brings the East Nashville Beer Festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival, Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt University and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon, which is sponsored by St. Jude. If you’re in town in May, you may want to visit the Tennessee Craft Fair, the Nashville Film Festival or the Nashville Flea Market Spring Fling.
Nashville Fashion Week occurs ever April and is the place to be if you want to catch up on the latest trends, shake hands with industry insiders and enjoy live music and good food across the city. Speaking of good food, many of the city’s most beloved restaurants open up their patios and outdoor dining areas during spring, so you can dine on everything from barbecue to pizza while enjoying the gorgeous Tennessee weather. Bring the family along to watch the animals come out of hibernation at the Nashville Zoo, check out a AAA baseball game when the Nashville Sounds start their season and stop by Cheekwood Garden & Estates to see over 100,000 tulips in full bloom.
Nashville really heats up during the summer, which also happens to be the town’s peak travel season. Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville becomes one of the most popular spots in the city, thanks to a number of outdoor concerts that take place at the park’s open-air venue overlooking the beautiful Cumberland River. Come for the city’s annual July 4th celebration, which includes fireworks, delicious food and live music. There’s also the CMA Fest, which takes place in June, and the Rewind Bar-B-Que Festival, which happens every Labor Day weekend.
If you want to get inside and beat the heat in air conditioning, you can practically walk from Riverfront Park to one of the city’s many museums and shrines to music legends from the past. There’s the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum, The George Jones Museum and the Ryman Auditorium.
Shopping is another great way to beat the Southern heat. The Nashville Arcade dates back to 1902, and today is home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, art galleries and businesses. The Mall at Green Hills is an upscale place to shop, and is home to several department stores, boutiques and luxury brands. You’ll find favorite stores and restaurants at Opry Mills, too.
You know it’s fall in the city when the temperatures begin to cool off, the leaves on the trees turn to beautiful shades of red and gold and the Tennessee Titans take to the field at Nissan Stadium. Football is big in Nashville. Not only is the city home to the beloved NFL team, but college fans come to watch the Vanderbilt Commodores. If you can’t get tickets to a game, at least visit one of the city’s favorite sports bars or do some tailgating. There’s plenty of hot chicken (Nashville’s signature dish) to go around.
Spring may be the ultimate season for events in Nashville, but fall is definitely the second-best time to come enjoy festivals like the Music City Food + Wine Festival, the African Street Festival, Oktoberfest and the Southern Festival of Books. October (or “Artober”) is also when the city celebrates the arts. All throughout the month, you can visit art galleries and enjoy live performances at local theaters.
The CMA Awards bring all of music’s biggest stars to the city each November. And if you prefer more intimate performances, check out a live show at a venue like the Bluebird Cafe, the Grand Ole Opry or the Mercy Lounge.
Winter sees its fair share of sports fans in Nashville, thanks to the Nashville Predators NHL team. The season starts in October, and by December it’s in full swing, with the team battling at Bridgestone Arena. If you’re in town for New Year’s Eve, stop by the free “Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville” event to see some of your favorite country stars perform.
Of course, the Christmas holiday season is the perfect time to visit Nashville and enjoy the city’s Holiday Harmony celebration. From November through January, catch dozens of holiday-themed activities.
Winter is also a wonderful time to check out Nashville’s food scene. The Gulch, Germantown, East Nashville, 12South, Downtown and Hillsboro Village are all great foodie neighborhoods. Be sure to stop into one of the city’s coffee shops to grab a cup and maybe run into great songwriters working on their next big hits.