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The Best Time to Visit Nashville: Make the Most of Music City

The Best Time to Visit Nashville: Make the Most of Music City

Any time you have the chance to visit Nashville, I say go for it. This happening hub offers so much year-round variety for music (country and otherwise) lovers, foodies, arts, culture, and outdoor recreation fans.

Throughout the year in Nashville, you can enjoy big-name concerts, music festivals, outdoor activities, food festivals, and some of the best bars and restaurants in Nashville. As expected, a town with the nickname Music City has its fair share of nightclubs, stadiums, arenas, and other live music venues (even Taco Bell has a stage!).

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll want to plan to be in town in the fall for Titans football games and Predators hockey games. Summer is the best time for paddleboarding, kayaking, and other watersports adventures on the Cumberland River. To check off bucket list items like concerts, iconic attractions, and world-famous festivals, spring and summer are your best bets for a Music City visit.

That said, winter (with early spring being a close second) is my best time to visit Nashville. Lower crowd levels, cheaper hotel rooms, and cooler weather all come at the top of my list of travel planning goals.

When planning your Nashville vacation or elsewhere, always check out a site like Skyscanner to find deals on flights, rental cars, and the best hotels in Nashville.

Best Time to Visit Nashville

Spring

Cheekwood Tulips in Nashville, Tennessee
Visit Music City NCVC / Visit Music City NCVC

Spring brings an average high temperature of the 60s (F) and 70s to lows in the 50s and 40s. As the weather warms, this is one of the best times to visit Nashville for sunshine, low humidity, and nature watching. It’s also the start of fun and free outdoor concerts and events.

Live music? Sure. BBQ and Nashville hot chicken on every corner? You bet. Grand Ole Opry visits and country music history galore? Definitely. However, what surprised me about Nashville was the amazing number of parks and abundant green space.

Enjoy flowering trees and Japanese culture at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival in Nashville Public Square. Hit up parks like Riverfront Park, Public Square Park, and Owen Bradley Park (and the super cool piano-playing sculpture).

Remember the sprawling green space at the Nashville Parthenon at Centennial Park. Plus, there’s the urban aesthetic of the Walk of Fame Park, which sits alongside the beautiful green grassy area beside the Hilton Nashville Downtown.

The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

With milder temperatures, walking to and from local attractions is comfortable when you visit downtown Nashville. Downtown is one of the best areas to stay in Nashville for easy walking access to attractions.

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, Nissan Stadium, and the Johnny Cash Museum. You can’t miss the shopping, dining, and nightlife scene of the Honky Tonk Highway.

April begins the Nashville food truck season, which lasts until September. This tasty time occurs on the last Friday of each month at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Enjoy a variety of food trucks for lunch and dinner.

Spring Events and Festivals in Nashville

  • St. Patrick’s Music City Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K (March)
  • Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival (April)
  • Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
  • East Nashville Beer Festival at East Square (April)
  • Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt University (April)
  • Nashville Fashion Week (April)
  • Nashville Comedy Festival (April)
  • Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park (May)
  • Full Moon Pickin’ Parties (events run May – September)
  • Musicians Corner in Centennial Park (spring and fall)

See Related: Where to Stay in Gatlinburg

Summer

Aerial view of Nashville Downtown River
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

The summer brings the heat with hot and humid temperatures ranging from the high 80s to the 90s. The average low is around 65 to 70 degrees.

This starts around mid-May and lasts until early September. Nashville varies with rainfall, but June usually has the most wet days, with an average of 11 rainy days.

July is Nashville’s hottest month. The average temperature typically rises into the 90s.

The months between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend are the busiest for summer crowds, traffic, and queue times at popular attractions. Many festivals are happening, the kiddos are on school holidays, and folks are itching to get out of town and go somewhere.

Aerial view of Downtown Nashville and Fireworks
Alan Poizner / Visit Music City NCVC

Backed up by a performance by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony, Nashville’s 4th of July fireworks display is one of the largest in the country. You can expect major crowds of country music fans during this time of year.

The 4th of July display is accompanied by a free music event headlined by names like Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Mac McAnally, Chris Janson, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It takes place at Ascend Amphitheater at Riverfront Park along the Cumberland River.

On the monetary side, June is one of the most expensive months to visit Nashville. You’ll find higher rates on flights, hotels, and rental cars (along with more crowds).

General Jackson Showboat In Nashville
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

You’ll find all sorts of fun things to do along the Cumberland River and at local parks in the summer months. Go paddleboarding and kayaking, take a riverboat cruise, go hiking at Radnor Lake State Park, or head to the Tennessee State Fair.

Summer Events and Festivals in Nashville

  • Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (June)
  • Nashville Pride Festival at Bicentennial Capitol State Park (June)
  • CMA Fest (June)
  • Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman (July)
  • Music City Hot Chicken Festival at East Park (July)
  • Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th (Duh)
  • Academy of Country Music Honors (August)
  • The Tomato Art Festival (August)
  • Tennessee State Fair (August)

See Related: Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

Fall

AT&T Building in Nashville
Old Town Trolley Tours (Nashville) / Facebook

If sweatshirts, crisp days, and moderate weather conditions are your jam, you’ll enjoy early fall in downtown Nashville. Temperatures range from 60 to mid-70s, with lows from 40s to 60s. Music and food festivals, sporting events, and holiday festivities are all over the Music City docket, making fall an excellent time to visit.

October sees fairly light crowds, which is an excellent time to visit Nashville for everything from local restaurants and an annual event to live music and some of the biggest country music events in the nation.

Lukes 32 Bridge Sign in Nashville
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

Fall is a terrific time for walking along Music Row, Printer’s Alley, and the popular Honky Tonk Highway. Head to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park for leaf peeping. Check out local pumpkin patches and corn mazes, or pack a picnic and spend the day on the lawn at Centennial Park and the Nashville Parthenon.

With cooler weather, activities like a walking pub crawl and a ziplining adventure are far more comfortable than in the summer. You won’t be wringing out sweaty clothes and undergarments in early November. When checking off your packing list for a winter vacation to Nashville, be sure to add a warm coat and maybe some gloves and a hat.   

Hotel Fraye Nashville, Curio Collection by Hilton Building
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

If you decide to stay in Midtown, such as at the casually elegant Hotel Fraye Nashville, Curio Collection by Hilton, the cooler temperatures lend themselves to walking to attractions and activities. All the better to save a little dough on Uber fares and parking fees.

Fall Events and Festivals in Nashville

  • Americanafest (September)
  • African Street Festival (September)
  • Music City Eats Festival (September)
  • Nashville Film Festival (September)
  • Southern Festival of Books (October)
  • Jack Daniels’ World Championship Invitational Barbecue (October)
  • Nashville Whiskey Festival (October)
  • Fall Fest at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage (October)
  • Boo at the Zoo at the Nashville Zoo (throughout October)
  • Tennessee Craft Week (October)
  • Nashville Oktoberfest (October)
  • Dove Awards (October)
  • Country Music Association Awards (November)
  • Tennessee Titans and Tennessee State home games at Nissan Stadium (September through January)
  • Nashville Predators ice hockey at Bridgestone Arena (October – April)

See Related: Best Resorts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Winter

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville
Visit Music City NCVC / Visit Music City NCVC

Winter temperatures hover around highs in the 40s to 50s and lows in the 20s to 30s. Winter months are usually pretty mild, but they can be wet, chilly, and gloomy with occasional snow. Average snowfall hits at around 4.5 inches in total.

Looking for affordable rates on hotels while visiting Nashville for the holiday season? Winter months and early spring are excellent times to visit Nashville. My last trip planning searches brought up hotel rates going for nearly half of the listed spring and summer rates.

Winter weather will be chilly in Music City, but it’s a terrific time to check out the museums, live music venues, and multitudes of boot, hat, and western wear shops. You may want to pack a rain jacket or a light pullover jacket.

Weather woes aside, January is one of the cheapest months to fly to Nashville. Hotel rooms are much less expensive, and you won’t have the crowds of the summer and fall season. If you aren’t worried about a bit of less-than-perfect weather, this is the time for music fans to come to town.

nashville-country-music-hall-fame
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

With fewer crowds, you can wander casually through the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ensure you get step-by-step (pun intended) line dancing instructions at the Wildhorse Saloon, take your time at the Frist Art Museum, or soak in a decade of country music history at the Ryman Auditorium.

Enjoy events like Christmas shows, parades, or a New Year’s Eve party. Don’t forget about garden shows while visiting Nashville in winter.

Winter Events and Festivals in Nashville

  • Nashville Design Week (November)
  • Christmas décor at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Cheekwood Estate and Garden, Belmont Mansion, and Belle Meade Historic Site, formerly known as Belle Meade Plantation
  • North Pole Express (mid-November to mid-December) – The Tennessee Central Railway hosts a 1.5-hour ride that leaves from and returns to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum
  • Nashville Christmas Parade (December)
  • Christmas shows at the Ryman Auditorium, such as Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas at the Ryman
  • Grand Ole Opry Christmas shows
  • Music City Bowl (December)
  • Nashville’s BIG Bash New Year’s Eve (December 31-Jan 1)
  • Nashville Boat Show (January)
  • Nashville Local, formerly Nashville Originals, Restaurant Week (January)
  • Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville (February)
  • Dine Nashville: The Music City Way (February)

Summary of Key Events in Nashville by Month

This summary table will help you understand the weather, annual events, and rating by month.

Month Weather Annual Event
Jan Cold Nashville Boat Show
Feb Cold, Possible Snow Nashville Local Restaurant Week
Mar Moderate with a Chill St. Patrick’s Music City Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K
Apr Pleasant, Mild Nashville Fashion Week
May Warm Iroquoise Steeplechase
Jun Hot CMA Music Festival
Jul Hot, Humid Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th
Aug Hot, Humid Tennessee State Fair
Sep Moderate Nashville Film Festival
Oct Moderate Nashville Oktoberfest
Nov Cold Country Music Association Awards
Dec Cold, Likely Snow Christmas at the Ryman

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