What Is Nashville Known For? (Food, Music, Etc.)

Nashville is nicknamed “Music City,” home of country music and focal point of entertainment for aspirants, fans, and music-makers of all types. It is not just music, as Nashville, Tennessee abounds in culture and the arts, has an exciting food scene, sports spectacles, and more. And each aspect stands out by itself. So what is Nashville known for?

Laidback, warm and friendly, the people of Nashville are a people in love with their music and southern cooking. Steep in their history, preserved vestiges of their art and culture are seen in landmarks and attractions city-wide. Despite its small-town appeal, Nashville’s vibrant social life – concerts, sports, tours, and more electrify daily living.

Here are the most notable things people ask about Nashville:

  • Why is Nashville known as “Music City?”
  • What food is Nashville known for? 
  • What sports made Nashville famous?
  • Why is Nashville rich in culture and arts?
  • What else is Nashville famous for?

What Is Nashville Known For?

1. The Nashville Nickname: “Music City”

Man Playing Guitar and Singing in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is the home of country music and the country music world. History tells us that when settlers arrived on the Cumberland River’s shores in the late 1700s, they came with fiddles and celebrated with singing.

Much later, down the centuries, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of a cappella singing African-American students of Fisk University, were singing to raise money for their school. By the late 1870s, their popularity brought them to sing before Queen Victoria of Britain.

Over time, their voices were on radio waves, and DJs in the 1950s started referring to them as the singers from “Music City.”

Music runs deep in Nashville, being the seat of live music performances, songwriting, and musical festivals. Many venues and stages are scenes of different music genres played every day. There are many notable venues where music holds sway.

Grand Ole Opry

Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee

There’s the Grand Ole Opry, also called the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown. It is one of the world’s largest museums and research centers dedicated to American vernacular music, with extensive musical collections, a repository of country music artifacts, events, and family-friendly programming. It also has a 776-seat CMA Theater. There’s shopping and dining at the museum, too.

Membership is the highest honor. The first three were inducted in 1961; the latest inductees were Dean Dillon, Marty Stuart, and Hank Williams Jr. in 2020. Many singer-superstars have performed here, and some were inductees, like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Blake Sheldon, and Taylor Swift.

Entrance tickets currently cost $26.65. Honky-tonks and other live entertainment surround the Hall of Fame building.

Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium (aka the Mother Church of Country Music) is a 2,362-seat live-performance venue. It opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 for Christian revival worships. And then, for some 31 years, it was home to the Grand Ole Opry until 1974.

The Ryman is one of the best performance halls and many times named Theatre of the Year or Venue of the Year. It has outstanding acoustics and an intimate atmosphere due to its curved construction and wrap-around arrangement of the seats or pews.

Many stars have performed on its stage in the early times, like Roy Rogers, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope, and Mae West.

What goes on now at The Ryman are popular musical performances of all genres. It holds in-house tours, has a shop for exclusive merchandise, and a lovely café.

Honky-Tonk Highway

Another way to appreciate Nashville music includes a walk down the legendary Honky-Tonk Highway, where music is free. It’s a row of honky-tonks blasting live music into the streets every day, 10am to 3am. Bars, clubs, and restaurants lined the highway. Some famous singers began their careers along this road.

The Gallery of Iconic Guitars

Other musical attractions in Music City: The Gallery of Iconic Guitars (The GIG) at Belmont is where you’ll find some of the rarest and iconic guitars and stringed instruments ever known. It’s a haven for guitar enthusiasts.

RCA Studio B

The RCA Studio B offers tours, the only one in Nashville, showcasing why it’s the home of 1,000 hits.

Music Icons

Finally, there are museums of legendary music icons of yesteryears – see the memorabilia and artifacts of Johnny Cash, George Jones, Glen Campbell, and Patsy Cline. Visit too, the Musicians Hall of Fame, Grammy Museum Gallery, and National Museum of African American Music.

So now you know why “Music City” is the nickname for Nashville.

2. Food That Nashville Is Famous for

BBQ Meat

Nashville’s food and drinks attractions are magnetizing and genuinely embody the charm of southern appetite. The Meat and Three meal is a food option that Nashville is famous for, though it’s popular in much of the South, but especially in Nashville.

Meat and Three

It consists of one protein and three side dishes on a plate. Restaurants that offer it usually list two to five entrees and one or two dozen side dishes; you choose your meat and three. The protein can be meatloaf, fried catfish, pot roast, hamburger steak with gravy. Sides may be vegetables, salads, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and rice. Cornbread, hoecakes, biscuits, and dinner rolls are always provided.

The meal became popular as workers transitioned from farm to city (or country to urban) in the first decades of the 20th century. It was designed for folks who worked at farms, then reinterpreted for those in factories and offices who catch lunch in the city instead of rushing home to eat. That’s southern philosophy. This is that particular food Nashville is famous for.

Many meat & three restaurants, cafes, and bistros are scattered all over the city – such as 417 Union, Puckett’s, Corner Pub Downtown, Loveless Café, Belle Mead’s, and Southern Steak & Oysters.

Hot Chicken

Another iconic dish is Hot Chicken. It is Nashville’s original, fried chicken dish that burns. It’s loaded with super-hot spices and served on a bed of white bread with a pickle. Restaurants serve Hot Chicken at different heat levels – mild to “clucking hot.” Visit Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Party Fowl, and Pepperfire Hot Chicken.


Nashville Barbeque is another. It’s a rite of passage, says Conde Nast Traveller. It’s inescapable. Nashville is dedicated to traditional BBQ- smoked and slow-cooked (some at 18 hours). The ribs are flavorful and served with original sweet-savory sauce. Best BBQ joints are Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill, Old Red Nashville, Martin’s BBQ Joint-SoBro, Peg Leg Porker BBQ, Opry Backstage Grill, and Wildhorse Saloon.

3. Sports That Make Nashville Famous

Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee

Football, hockey, soccer, and baseball are played in Nashville, each with a huge fan base. These four are professional sports franchises, the first three play at the highest professional level:

  • Nashville Predators: National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Tennessee Titans: National Football League (NFL)
  • Nashville SC: Major League Soccer (MLS)

There’s also another minor league team: the Nashville Sounds of Minor League Baseball’s Pacific Coast League (PCL).

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans were a rebranded team when they moved to Nashville from Texas to play in the 1999 season. They have won 2 league championships, one conference championship, and 10 division championships in their careers, the last being in 2020. The Jacksonville Jaguars have always been considered their main rival, but since 2008 and renewed only in 2019, the Titans’ biggest rival is now the Baltimore Ravens. The Tennessee Titans are a top team in the NFL.

Nashville Predators

Professional ice hockey team Nashville Predators have played their home games at Bridgestone Arena since their inaugural season in 1998. Their famous logo is the head of a saber-toothed cat. They have had one conference championship and two divisional championships.

Nashville SC

Nashville SC of Major League Soccer (MLS) began to play in the league in 2020 as a continuation of the USL club of the same name; they were founded only in 2017. They currently play at Nissan Stadium, intending to move to a future 30,000-seat stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

These three sports teams in the major leagues are the sports Nashville is famous for. And if you are a serious sports fan, visit the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, inside Bridgestone Arena. See exhibits of the state’s famous athletes, teams, coaches, sportswriters, and other Tennesseans who impacted the world of sports.

4. Nashville Arts and Culture

Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee

The people of Nashville have a culture rich in the history of strong African-American influences that flowed through its music and gave the world the best in jazz, blues, and country sounds. Yet, it is also a sought-after southern destination for its busy art scene. It’s a town of many museums and galleries, impressive architecture, and historical sites.

Apart from museums influenced by music, here are the other most visited attractions: Frist Center for the Visual Arts, a classic museum with some of the best art collections in the city, and many interactive family activities.

The Hermitage Presidential Museum

The Hermitage Presidential Museum, home to President Andrew Jackson from 1804 until he died in 1845, brings in 200,000 visitors yearly. 

The Carnton

The Carnton is a plantation home that includes The Confederate Cemetery associated with the Battle of Franklin and a 19th-century garden.

Lane Motor Museum

The Lane Motor Museum showcases 150 of the oldest and rarest cars of Europe, including motorcycles. Find here oddities like propeller-driven vehicles, micro-cars, amphibious vehicles, one-of-a-kind prototypes, and military vehicles in still running condition.

The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art

The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art provides all-family entertainment, education, and natural opportunities. The 55-acre site receives 175,000 visitors a year, amazed to see different gardens, paintings, sculptures, decorative art, and contemporary art.

Custom House

Here are other historical landmarks in Nashville: Custom House is a beautiful, ornate government building of Victorian architecture, whose cornerstone was laid in 1877 by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is the centerpiece of Nashville’s Centennial Park, the exact replica of ancient Greece’s Parthenon, even Athena’s 42-foot statue, established in 1897.

Tennessee State Capitol

Tennessee State Capitol is the government seat for the U.S. state of Tennessee, opened in 1859, located in Nashville, of course. It was designed along classical Greek lines by architect William Strickland who suddenly died during the construction. He was buried in the north façade of the Capitol. The President and Mrs. James K. Polk’s tombs are also on the Capitol grounds.

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, built-in 1909, has a unique truss design and steel superstructures. It was named after the known Nashville journalist and civil rights activist and still is among the world’s longest pedestrian bridges connecting East Nashville with downtown. While it is that old and has undergone many renovations, it cannot be demolished – owing to its uniqueness in design and beautiful views from the bridge.

5. What Other Things Are Nashville Famous For?

Batman Building Nashville

We are including two other famous landmarks that Nashville, Tennessee, is famous for. The following are unique to Nashville.

Batman Building Nashville

The AT&T Building, the tallest building in the state of Tennessee, is also called the Nashville Batman Building. One look at it from afar will suffice to explain the nickname. It’s a 33-story skyscraper completed in 1999, designed as an office tower to house 2,000 workers. It features twin spires (at 617 feet each) on either side of the building’s broad ends, looking like the batman logo’s ears. Maybe, by coincidence, it was also being constructed during the height of the caped crusader movies. 

More importantly, the Batman Building in Nashville has to look distinctive to attract investors and compete with other impressive skyscrapers jutting out of the same Nashville skyline. Did you know that the “Batman Building” is the 343rd tallest building in the US?

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a private graduate school 2 miles from Downtown Nashville. It was founded in 1873 with a $1 million gift from “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. The school is better known for its undergraduate pre-med program, medical school, and top research facilities. It has a large graduate student body and enrollment of 5,963 graduate students; offers 98 graduate programs. Total students are around 12,000 enrolled in its ten schools inside a 330-acre beautiful, park-like campus. Top-ranked in academics and financial aid, the university is globally renowned for its transformative education and research.

Conclusion: What Is Nashville Known For?

Johnny Cash Museum, Nashville, Tennessee

So, what are the most common things that people ask about Nashville? To summarize, we covered the following:

  • Why is Nashville known as “Music City?”
  • What food is Nashville known for?
  • What sports made Nashville famous?
  • Why is Nashville rich in culture and arts?
  • What else is Nashville famous for?

Looking to find answers to what Nashville is famous for is right here. 

First of all, its iconic nickname ‘Music City’ is well-deserved as music, in particular, country music pulsates from their stages to their highways. Now all genres of musical influences abound so much so that stars are born and raised in Nashville.

Also known for their dining philosophy, Nashville’s quick-and-easy favorite, Meat & Threes, is deeply southern in character, yet they love the flavors of slow-cooked barbeques and hot and spicy chicken. Very quickly, the restaurant scene offering these is bursting at the seams in Nashville.

Another area the town is noted for is their love for professional sports. Nashville fans are proud of their homegrown leagues for football, ice hockey, soccer, and baseball, that when they play, fill their stadiums to the rafters.

Lastly, Nashville is famous for its arts and culture scene that brings droves of tourists, visitors, and even locals to come. Unique museums, historic homes and sites, iconic architectures, and revered institutes of learning call Nashville home.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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