Nashville brims with activity at all times of day, but really comes into its own after dark, when the city’s lively music and entertainment scenes burst into life.
A pulsating metropolis, the historic capital of Tennessee is home to a wide plethora of fun-filled opportunities you can enjoy come nightfall – many of which are centred around the city’s enduring music heritage. But there’s plenty more to see and do of an evening other than catch some live music. We’ve dug deep and picked out 12 of the best ways to keep yourself entertained in Nashville once the sun goes down.
Take an after-hours look around a museum
Visiting a museum is typically a daytime activity, but for one evening each week the Frist Art Museum bucks this trend by keeping its doors open until late. Housed in Nashville’s historic U.S. Post Office building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum is packed full of world-class art by a range of local, regional, national and international artists. As well as an ever-changing roster of exhibitions, there’s also an award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery featuring 30 interactive art-making stations.
919 Broadway / Open until 9pm on Thursdays & Fridays
Embark on an evening river cruise
Cruise along the tranquil waters of the Cumberland River from Nashville on this 4-hour evening river boat trip with live entertainment. On board an enchanting paddlewheel riverboat, you’ll get to marvel at the Nashville skyline lit up at night from the river before sitting down to a sumptuous dinner. Afterwards, you’ll be treated to a captivating musical experience, “Rollin’ on the River,” showcasing the music Tennessee is most famous for, including bluegrass, soul, gospel and – of course – a whole lot of country. Tours depart early evening.
Discover Nashville’s spooky side
Every city has its dark underbelly and Nashville is no exception. Those unencumbered with a faint heart may want to join a guided ghost-themed walking tour which will take you to some of the city’s most famous and (supposedly) haunted locations. Over 1.5 hours, you’ll visit such spooky spots as the Union Station Hotel, the haunted Ryman Auditorium, and more, as your knowledgeable guide regaled you with fascinating stories about the ghosts of the city’s past.
Attend a Full Moon party
There ain’t no party like a Full Moon Pickin’ Party. Held monthly from May to September in the scenic environs of Nashville’s Percy Warner Park, local musicians come to perform traditional bluegrass music under the full moon in front of packed crowds of revellers (and their dogs). Visitors are even invited to bring their own instrument and join in one of the many pickin’ circles that take place throughout the events. Meanwhile, fare from local food trucks and craft beer is on hand to keep party-goers well-refreshed.
Percy Warner Park / Fridays & Saturdays monthly May to September
Explore Nashville’s nightlife on a pub crawl
Nashville’s choice of watering holes is sufficiently big that it’s hard to know where to start – let alone finish. On this 2-hour guided pub crawl, you and your small group will be taken to some of the city’s finest nightspots to enjoy craft cocktails, local brews, and samples of authentic Tennessee Moonshine as you listen to entertaining titbits and stories from your guide. Highlights include stop-offs at the iconic Honky Tonk’s on Broadway and a speakeasy-style Gin Mill in trendy Printers Alley. The tour price includes a complimentary beverage at every bar visited.
Hit the art trail
On the first Saturday of every month, art galleries throughout downtown Nashville open their doors from early to mid-evening for a whole host of special events and exhibit openings known as the Art Crawl. Guests can peruse and purchase the works of artists from Nashville and all over the world. There’s no admission charge, and most of the participating galleries offer free wine and refreshments while visitors stroll through the spaces, creating a fun-filled night out on the town.
Learn how to line dance
Country music and line dancing go together like a horse and carriage, and in Nashville visitors have the chance to learn this distinctive dance style for themselves. Taking place in a local honkytonk bar, line dancing classes typically range from around 30-50 pupils, but can also be booked as private sessions. Lessons begin with an easy line dance to get everyone warmed up before you’re taught the basics of the types of line dances that are performed in dancehalls across the US. At the end, you’ll receive a video of your efforts to show friends and family – if you dare.
Join a late-night lake hike
A veritable nature wonderland just moments from downtown Nashville, Radnor Lake is blessed with stunning beauty, untouched landscapes, an array of exotic birdlife, and picturesque city skyline views. And while the lake is a delight to visit at all times of day, it’s perhaps most atmospheric at dusk, when many come to enjoy an evening stroll or sunset picnic. Or for an organised experience, there are also several night-time guided hiking tours around the lake’s scenic parameters.
Radnor Lake State Park
Take in some live country music
The beating heart of Nashville’s country music scene, the Grand Ole Opry stage attraction is must-visit for all lovers of this much-cherished musical genre. First opened in 1925, the large but intimate venue hosts a busy programme of live music performances by both established and up-and-coming artists, with many shows taking place at night. Visitors also come for daily guided tours and weekly live radio shows featuring both classic and new country acts.
2804 Opryland Drive / Open until 9.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Tuesdays / www.opry.com
Watch a sunset from a pedestrian bridge
Spanning the full width of the Cumberland River, the John Seigenthaler Bridge is one of the longest pedestrian-only bridges in the world. While the architectural marvel, which was completed in 1907, is a magnificent landmark in its own right, the spectacular view it affords of the Nashville skyline steals the show – and never more so than just before sunset when the bridge becomes the best seat in the house.
Enjoy a Nashville trolley tour
A fun way to explore Nashville by night is on a traditional trolley tour. Following a carefully curated route, you’ll pass by some of Nashville’s most famous sites and landmarks, while learning about the history of the city courtesy of your expert guide. There’ll also be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos. Notable attractions include Broadway, where the country music scene should be in full swing; the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens that was built for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition; and the Tennessee State Capitol Building. The tour runs for 2 hours.
Catch some top-class comedy
Nashville has a thriving comedy scene and at its epicentre is Zanies, where national touring acts regularly headline, ably supported by a conveyor belt of gifted local comics and open-mike showcases. First opened back in 1983, the venues has grown to become something of a comedy mecca and has live shows taking place most evenings. Among the legendary names to have performed there down the years include Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin Hart.
Zanies, 2025 8th Avenue South / Visit website