Updated: Jan 30
After the sobering summer of 2020 that had Americans coming up with terms like Quarantine fever, (a play on the idiom Cabin Fever) most of us have been clamoring for an excitement and sunshine fueled summer season. Nashville, America’s very own Music City, has been bustling about to bring a bit more normal to the city’s populace once again. The most noticeable way they’ve done this is by the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions and the hosting of some exhilarating events this upcoming season of sun. Here are some of the best summer activities that should make it onto your 2021 to-do list.
1) Hiking, Biking, and Kayaking
Tennessee just so happens to be nestled along the Appalachian Mountains and while that mountain range doesn’t run through Nashville the nearby topology has been shaped in its likeness. The sprawling hills covered in trails and vast shimmering lakes are perfect all variety of outdoor activities. The state parks and local wildlife trails surround The Music City on all sides and have an assortment natural flora and fauna that will be sure to please the senses of any visitors or residents that are looking to finally get out of the house and back into nature.
Montgomery Bell State Park, which holds 3 lakes in its vast 3,850 acre expanse, is one such park. The park also has a historic past in that it used to be the center of the iron industry in Middle Tennessee back when iron was thought to be as valuable as gold. Now it is a prime visitor destination with 8 environmentally cabins for rent, a massive 117 room lodge, and 94 available campsites scattered throughout the wooded wonderland. To top it all off this masterpiece of Mother Nature is located only 40 minutes from Downtown Nashville.
2) Tennessee's Whiskey and Wine Tours
Maybe the nature scene isn’t your go-to experience. Maybe you’re more of an alcohol lover instead. If that’s the case then you can be sure Nashville Tennessee is definitely the right spot for you. It is well known that Tennessee is the Whiskey capital of North America and the city of Nashville hosts a wide variety of distilleries and wineries. Not to mention some of the most famous.
Speaking of famous, The Tennessee Whiskey Trail runs right through Nashville and includes some of the most famous names in whiskey such as Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and Ole Smokey’s Distillery. Even the most famous name in Whiskey, Jack Daniels, has a distillery a few miles south of the city. There are plenty of distillery tours as well that will gladly take you throughout the whole area, while stopping at some of the hottest pubs, craft bars, and of course distilleries in town.
While the rich history of the Tennessee whiskey scene is well known and romanticized it isn’t the only alcohol centered destination in town. In fact the Athens of the American South has plenty of high end wineries and wine tastings as well. Some of these locations even have connections to the country music industry such as Arrington Vineyard. The vast majority of these locations have begun welcoming back visitors in 2021, and are often the best places to go for a relaxing weekend trip. So make sure to book in advance because tickets have been selling quickly.
3) Bonnaroo is Back
If you’re looking for music obviously America’s own Music City is the place to be. While being one of the largest hubs for country music stars and concerts it isn’t the only genre to make its way to the area. Arguably the most famous North American music festival to ever be held, Bonnaroo has always been held in Manchester Tennessee only an hour southeast of Nashville. While it was cancelled in 2020 due to fears revolving around covid-19, the celebrated music and arts festival is back on in 2021.
While they have postponed the festival until September rather than holding it during its typical time in June it is back on and this time it’s going big. This year it will be held over Labor Day weekend from September 2nd-5th which is a great time to visit as the weather is typically amazing that time of year. Not to mention it will be the 20th anniversary of this magical event so it will be bigger and better than ever. Attendees can expect 4 days and nights packed with music, comedy, art, food, camping, and activities.
The headlining will be The Grand Ole Opry, The Foo Fighters, Lizzo, and Tyler The Creator. The headliners this year certainly match the large and in charge atmosphere surrounding the two decade anniversary but are still only a few of the 150+ musicians in this year’s lineup.
4) Downtown Nashville's Nightlife
If bright lights and a night on the town are more you style then there is no better city in all of the U.S. than Nashville to visit. The downtown scene of The Music City is well known across the country for containing everything from the raucous laughter spilling from comedy clubs to subtly lit speak easy style bars. While taking a walk under the many twinkling neon signs and colored awnings of downtown Nashville your senses will be bombarded with the unique style of nightlife found only here.
Downtown is beautiful and certainly a joy to visit midday as well but nothing quite beats a night on the town with friends, coworkers, or even clients. The area even contains shops of all kinds to suit even the most avid shopper’s wildest fantasies. We haven’t even mentioned the history that surrounds every inch of the area. Such as Elvis’s famous haunt, Skull’s Rainbow Room, which has been the cornerstone of Nashville’s legendary Printer’s Alley for years.
Not to mention the speak-easy styled bars such as The Snitch that provides a creative platform for musicians of the city with weekly live performances. There are also a myriad of different nightclubs including the intriguing Dirty Little Secret that has the most tantalizing hint of subtle excess pervading it.
5) Nashville's Full Lineup of Sporting Events
We certainly haven’t forgotten the sports fans out there. Nashville is home to a team for every sport, from the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, to the NHL’s Nashville Predators. There are regular season games happening year round for at least one of the many teams that call this beautiful city home.
In fact the 2019 NFL draft was held right here in Nashville and it smashed the previous record for attendees so you are definitely won’t be alone with your love of sports. The streets are packed every year for the celebration of these occasions with people single, laughing, and just being all around jolly. More and more sporting events are making their way to Nashville every single year, and not just the contact kind.
This year the city will host the Inaugural Music City Grand Prix Indy-Car series. Which has already began turning heads and breaking records as the very first motorsports course in the entire world to cross a major body of water. The temporary street circuit will take racers by the aforementioned home of the Tennessee Titans, Nissan Stadium, then over Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, and finally into downtown.
6) The Art and Historic Culture
While we have mentioned the rich, well known history that Nashville includes, we would be remiss if we didn’t include the myriad of museums to our list. Nashville has some of the best art museums this side of the Mississippi, some of which are housed in buildings that are a marvel to look at themselves such as The Parthenon. Which is a historical recreation of the famous Greek structure hailed as the pinnacle of classical architecture and even hosts a 42-foot replica of Athena as its focal point. There is also the Frist Art Museum which has a spectacular array of art from around the world and occupies one of Nashville’s great historic landmarks, the former Main Post Office.
But of course visual art is not the only celebrated artistic medium in The Music City. There I also the Country Music Hall of Fame which is itself both a museum and a monument to all things country music. The building’s 350,000 square feet of space is home to some unusual artifacts, cars and costumes of the country stars, and a permanent exhibition outlining the history of country music. The fame and prestige of these museums are touted across the internet on sites such as nashvilleguru.com as some of the best venues for cultural learning and appreciation in the country.