Things to do on Broadway, The Main Strip in Nashville

Broadway in downtown Nashville is known as the vibrant “Honky Tonk Highway.”

This lively 1-mile stretch running perpendicular to the Cumberland River is a major hub for entertainment, nightlife, and of course, music.

Lined with honky tonks, restaurants, shops, and music venues, Broadway offers endless fun for tourists visiting Music City.

All About Broadway in Nashville

At just over a mile long, Broadway packs in some of Nashville’s top sights, sounds, and flavors. It earned its reputation over decades as the place where country music history came alive.

Today, visitors flock here to soak up the quintessential Nashville experience.

Geographically, Broadway stretches from 1st Avenue up to 5th Avenue downtown, running perpendicular to the Cumberland River.

Its central location makes it easy to access by foot from many downtown hotels and attractions.

While new venues constantly pop up, much of Broadway’s vibrancy pays homage to its past.

The neon signs, bluesy music drifting from dive bars, and old-school diners summon Nashville’s heritage as a music mecca.

But Broadway offers more than nostalgia and honky-tonk hustle. World-class restaurants, luxury hotels, pro sports arenas, and new developments show Broadway’s continual evolution. Nashville’s main strip balances old and new seamlessly.

The Music That Made Broadway Famous

The Music That Made Broadway Famous

Take away the music and Broadway just wouldn’t be the same. Live tunes pulse from morning to night at the collection of venues lining the legendary strip.

For country fans visiting Nashville, catching some live music along Broadway is simply essential.

The music that made Broadway famous dates back over a century. In the early 1900s, blues bars, honky tonks, and ragtime music houses began congregating downtown.

Over the decades, country music legends like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline played storied venues that still stand today.

In the 21st century, musical acts of all genres flock to Broadway. Country, rock, pop, bluegrass, blues, and more color the marquees.

Stars like Keith Urban might play an impromptu set one night, then an undiscovered singer-songwriter the next.

This mix of up-and-coming and renowned musicians keeps the scene fresh and vibrant.

Venues range from quaint listening rooms with just a mic and guitar to expansive multi-level clubs.

Some places let patrons cozy up mere feet from the stage to catch every bead of sweat. Others have roomy dance floors and stages allowing for boot-scooting room.

Beyond the classic bars, new venues bring Broadway into the modern era.

Ascend Amphitheater, the 6,800-seat concert hall, draws major touring acts just blocks off Broadway.

The Nashville Symphony also serenades crowds at their gleaming Schermerhorn Symphony Center nearby.

But truly, every kind of music fan can find their scene along the iconic strip. Stop into Robert’s Western World for a boot-stomping honky-tonk jam session.

Or glam it up at Tequila Cowboy’s party bar. Maybe stroll by the Nashville Live stage to catch buskers performing everything from pop to rap.

There’s no limit to the endless music possibilities on Broadway.

Iconic Music Venues Not to Miss

With so many venues packing Broadway, how do you choose where to catch a show?

While you really can’t go wrong with any bar’s live act, these iconic establishments should be on every music lover’s Broadway bucket list:

Tootsies Orchid Lounge

No trip to Broadway is complete without visiting the iconic Tootsies Orchid Lounge. Open since 1960, the cozy purple dive bar launched many huge country careers back in the day.

Legends like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson have tipped back beers and played impromptu sets here over the decades.

Be sure to snap a photo in front of the famous exterior and step inside to admire all the old photos covering the walls.

Grab a drink, listen to intimate live music, and soak up all the history within those purple walls.

Wildhorse Saloon

The Wildhorse Saloon is a block up from the main strip, but worth the short walk. Come here to two-step and line dance to live country music on the main floor’s huge dance floor.

Throughout the day, instructors teach free line dancing lessons to get everyone moving to the band! Groups particularly get a kick out of attending a line dancing lesson together.

But even wallflowers enjoy people-watching the synchronized boot-scooting.

The Stage

For a more intimate musical experience, visit The Stage. Major acts play this small venue for a fraction of the price of their arena shows.

Fans love the close-up perspective. Recently, The Stage has hosted alt-rock icons like Alanis Morissette, Cyndi Lauper, and members of The Eagles.

Rippy’s Bar & Grill

Rippy’s has all the elements of an ultimate honky tonk. Sip drinks, watch sports, order bar food, play games, and listen to live country bands rock the stage.

Venture upstairs to the “Rippy’s Roof” for stunning views overlooking Broadway.

It’s an ideal spot to survey the Nashville skyline while listening to music floating up from the streets below.

The Restaurants That Fuel Broadway’s Party

The Restaurants That Fuel Broadway's Party

Between all the dancing, drinking, and exploring, visitors working up fierce appetites along Broadway. Luckily, the dining options are just as eclectic and delicious as the music scene.

Classic diners and dive bars serve up satisfying comfort food, especially after a night out. Several upscale steakhouses cater to those looking for an indulgent meal with drinks and views.

Trendy restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs also join Broadway’s culinary landscape.

For variety, head to one of Broadway’s food halls.

They allow visitors to sample bites from multiple restaurants and stalls all under one roof.

Nashville’s top local chefs and eateries operate the stalls, so you know it’s all delicious.

Broadway’s restaurants help fuel the high energy on Nashville’s main strip.

Patrons come prepared to listen to live music, raise a glass, savor the flavors, and have an unforgettable Music City experience.

Best Restaurants on Broadway

Here are top restaurants to dine at along the iconic main strip:

Merchants Restaurant

Merchants Restaurant inhabits a former 1800s brothel space on lower Broadway. Today, it’s one of the finest restaurants in town, serving creative southern cuisine.

Relish dishes like seared scallops with goat cheese grits, linguine tossed with local veggies, and pork belly BLTs.

Don’t skip dessert – the Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting earns rave reviews.

Luke’s 32 Bridge Bar

Luke Bryan lent his name and Southern spirit to this friendly restaurant shaking up Broadway’s food scene.

Locals and tourists alike flock for the gourmet burgers, tacos, and cold beer.

The buzzing rooftop patio provides excellent people-watching and views over the Cumberland River.

Kids menu options ensure families can enjoy Luke’s down-home hospitality too.

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant

For a true taste of Nashville, check out Puckett’s. This local country cooking chain opened their Downtown location right on bustling 5th Avenue.

Tuck into southern favorites like fried catfish, BBQ, mac and cheese, hush puppies, and more.

Oh, and don’t forget to save room for a piece of giant, homemade chocolate chess pie! Live music keeps the good times rolling every night at Puckett’s.

Kitchen Notes

One of Broadway’s newer foodie destinations, Kitchen Notes delivers haute Southern comfort food in an airy, chic space.

Linger over brunch, lunch, or dinner, choosing between artful plates like five-cheese mac, rainbow trout, and pork belly ramen.

Their decadent desserts burst with Oreo cream, fudge, and salty caramel flavors.

The Southern Steak & Oyster

Meat and seafood take center stage at The Southern. Their dry-aged steaks rank among Nashville’s best.

Or opt for wood-grilled oysters, lobster rolls, and other coastal classics shipped fresh daily. Save room for their legendary coconut cream pie – you might just devour the whole thing.

Fueling Up Quick on the Go

When you’ve only got time for a quick bite before the honky tonks open, these more casual eateries along Broadway deliver:

  • The Diner: This retro 24/7 diner dishes out omelets, burgers, melts, cinnamon rolls, pie, and other American classics perfect after a night out.
  • Legends Corner: Grab wings, nachos, hot dogs and other bar bites to accompany drinks and live music at this lively honky tonk.
  • Goo Goo Shop: Stop by the flagship store of this famed Nashville chocolate company for a sweet treat, sandwich, or slice of candy-strewn pie.

Is Broadway Kid-Friendly?

Absolutely! Most Broadway venues are open to patrons of all ages during the day. Around dinnertime, usually between 6-9pm, places begin enforcing the 21+ rule.

Honky tonks certainly get loud and rowdy at night as the booze flows. But during the morning and afternoon, Broadway offers clean family fun.

Stop by the Nashville Visitor Center for kid-oriented exhibits on the city’s history and sights. Catch a Nashville Predators hockey game at nearby Bridgestone Arena.

See world-class art at the Frist Art Museum just a block off Broadway.

Several kid-friendly restaurants also line Broadway, so families can fuel up together.

Choose between colorful shakes at Mike’s Ice Cream, crispy fried chicken tenders at Party Fowl, or ooey-gooey grilled cheese at Urban Grub.

Younger kids will likely reach their Broadway limit by dinnertime when the honky tonk crowds come out.

But older tweens and teens may get a kick out of the lively scene, if parents permit.

Just be sure to check venue websites for exact age policies if visiting with minors in the evening.

All in all, Broadway offers plenty of family fun earlier in the day if you know where to look.

Where to Stay Right on Broadway

Where to Stay Right on Broadway

For the most convenient Nashville experience, book a room right on buzzing Broadway.

Several modern hotels and renovated historic properties welcome visitors within steps of Nashville’s main strip.

Rates are higher due to the prime location, but the convenience can be worth it.

Here are top places to stay right in the heart of Broadway:

The Joseph Hotel

This luxurious highrise looms large on Broadway, providing gorgeous city views.

The swanky rooms leave no detail spared, with luxe B&O speakers, Nespresso machines, marble showers, and Egyptian cotton sheets.

Their latest addition, a glitzy rooftop lounge, completes the upscale experience.

The Joseph’s refined amenities and service will satisfy both leisure and business travelers.

Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Nashville

At this reliable outpost of the Hampton brand, visitors get great bang for their buck just steps off Broadway.

The modern rooms contain comfortable beds for recharging between your Lower Broad adventures.

Complimentary breakfast and WiFi add convenience, while the fitness center and indoor pool let you keep up your workout routine.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Nashville Downtown

Families and groups love the spacious, apartment-style suites at this contemporary Home2 outpost.

All rooms contain fully-equipped kitchens, enabling home cooking on vacation. Unwind in the indoor saltwater pool or al fresco patio with fire pit.

The easy access to Broadway from Home2’s doorstep proves perfect for music lovers.

21c Museum Hotel Nashville

Art and design take center stage at this boutique property with a contemporary art museum and galleries on-site.

Spacious rooms feature stylish, sleek decor along with luxe bath products and marble showers.

Their well-regarded Gray & Dudley restaurant provides delicious New American fare and craft cocktails with a view.

Quirky Hotels Just Steps Off Broadway

Nashville overflows with unique hotel concepts just blocks beyond Broadway.

Here are a few fun picks for memorable stays still within walking distance of all the action:


Bunk up in this funky Brooklyn-themed hotel offering a respite from Broadway’s chaos.

Rooms rock reclaimed wood beds, record players, outdoor showers, and hip decor reflecting various NYC neighborhoods.

Rent one of their stylish bikes and pedal around downtown Nashville during your stay.

The Gulch Hotel

Chic industrial design defines The Gulch, located in Nashville’s trendy Gulch neighborhood. Unwind by the fire pits on the private outdoor terrace with comfy couches.

Snooze in cozy hanging chairs on their balcony overlooking downtown. It’s just a quick walk to the area’s boutiques, restaurants, and bars.

Dream Nashville

This hyper-modern hotel brings a touch of the trendy Midtown vibe to Downtown.

The chic rooms contain tufted leather headboards, rainfall showers, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Enjoy amazing city views from their rooftop lounge pool and bar serving craft cocktails and small bites.

Noelle Nashville

Noelle brings English countryside charm to Nashville in the Printer’s Alley entertainment district.

Gorgeous design details like velvet sofas, fluffy duvets, leather trunks, and rich color schemes make you feel far from Broadway’s honky-tonk hum. Yet the city’s best nightlife is right at your doorstep.

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Final Thoughts

With its constant beat of live music, delicious food, and lively nightlife, Broadway truly offers endless entertainment.

Come experience Music City’s famous main strip overflowing with neon signs, boot-stomping honky tonks, talented musicians, and down-home southern hospitality.

When visiting Nashville, be sure to spend at least a day strolling up the iconic “Honky Tonk Highway.”

Have a drink where music legends once crooned. Savor some mouthwatering southern cooking. Two-step alongside newfound friends.

Broadway promises good times, great music, and memories to last long after the final encore.

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