Nashville’s Quirky Side: The 25 Weirdest & Most Outrageous Things To Do

Nashville, known affectionately as Music City, attracts millions of visitors every year who come to soak up the sounds of country music at the Grand Ole Opry, wander the Country Music Hall of Fame, and bar hop down the neon-lit strip of Broadway.

But behind the rhinestone cowboy image lies a wonderfully weird and outrageous city waiting to be discovered.

From peculiar museums to avant-garde art, Nashville overflows with strange and unusual things to see and do beyond the typical tourist haunts. So let your freak flag fly and get ready to embrace your inner weirdo as you uncover a side of Nashville many never know exists.

Here are 25 of the most outrageous, oddball attractions to discover in Nashville, TN.

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1. Skull’s Rainbow Room

Skull’s Rainbow Room

Transport back to Nashville’s vintage past at this beloved dive bar known for its retro burlesque shows, classic entertainment, and nostalgic ambiance. Soak up the old Hollywood atmosphere as feathered showgirls shimmy across the small stage, martini glass in hand.

With red velvet walls, dramatic lighting, and taxidermied wildlife adorning every inch, Skull’s Rainbow Room immerses visitors in eccentric style. Sip expertly-made classic cocktails from their extensive menu while you revel in the retro vibes.

2. Hatch Show Print

Hatch Show Print

Discover an authentic letterpress print shop operating since 1879, creating the iconic vivid show posters that gave Music City its nickname. At the historic Hatch Show Print, visitors can tour the traditional print making workshop, view the immense collection of vintage wood type blocks, and watch artists hand-carve and press new designs.

Known the world over for their distinctive, retro event posters and typography, Hatch Show Print still functions as a working letterpress. Buy one of their fine art prints as the ultimate Nashville souvenir.

3. Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social defies categorization. Part upscale bowling alley, part cafe, part pool hall, and part dance club all rolled into one enormous converted trolley barn – this ultra-hip spot has it all. Come for the eclectic, communal vibe day or night.

Bowl a frame while sipping an expertly crafted cocktail or nibble gourmet fare as you lounge poolside out back. With diverse entertainment options united under one terrifically restored historic roof, a visit to Pinewood Social makes for an only-in-Nashville experience.

4. Lane Motor Museum

 Lane Motor Museum

Calling all lovers of unique transportation! Lane Motor Museum houses one of the most extensive and unusual collections of European cars in the country. Go exploring through two huge buildings to discover over 300 rare, exotic vehicles spanning 90+ years – some you likely never knew existed.

See early electric cars from 1910, the quirkiest microcars ever conceived, amphibious cars that convert into boats, Eastern European Cold War-era oddities, and everything in between. It’s heaven for car buffs who appreciate the innovative and obscure.

5. Timothy Demonbreun’s Cave

Timothy Demonbreun's Cave

Hidden inconspicuously off downtown streets lies the cave once inhabited by Nashville’s first-ever resident, French explorer Timothy Demonbreun. Stop to see remnants of the ENIGMATIC CAVE he reportedly used for smuggling, shelter, and maybe less savory activities back when Nashville was still frontier territory in the late 18th-century.

Peer into its dark recesses and contemplate what stories its walls could tell.  While not much remains today, it’s still an intriguing bit of history.

6. Pfunky Griddle

Pfunky Griddle

The Pfunky Griddle is not your average breakfast joint. This vibrant eatery with a funky name has customers customize their own MONUMENTAL MEALS by griddling up massive pancake and waffle creations at their tabletop hotplates.

Top your sizzling short stack with everything from sprinkles to gummy bears to chili sauce from their vast toppings bar for a COMPLETELY CUSTOMIZABLE and interactive dining experience. With enormous syrup dispensers and dishes that feed up to 10 people, the Pfunky Griddle is hugely over-the-top.

7. George Boedecker’s Sculpture Garden

George Boedecker's Sculpture Garden

Stumble upon this sprawling sculpture park of the eccentric artist and philanthropist George Boedecker and enter a world that’s half fantasy, half nightmarish fever dream. Meander dirt paths through the woods viewing his LARGER-THAN-LIFE HANDCRAFTED SCULPTURES including giant heads, enormous hands reaching to the sky, abstract shapes, and mythical animal creations.

Feel pleasantly unsettled taking it all in. And kids can run free exploring the imaginative art that seems alive. Peering in through the gate alone is an eyeful!

8. Fannie Mae Dees Park

Fannie Mae Dees Park

Tucked away in a Nashville neighborhood lies this cheerful little community park featuring the locally-famous smiling DRAGON SCULPTURE and chock full of play equipment. But it’s the whimsical sculpture garden that makes Dragon Park a must-visit.

Folk artist Fannie Mae Dees over her lifetime handmade the hundreds of colorful mosaic sculptures that fill the park – depicting spiritual themes, political icons, Mother Goose characters, and more in her highly stylized forms. Let kids roam while you appreciate one woman’s eccentric outsider art.

9. President James K. Polk’s Tomb

President James K. Polk's Tomb

The final resting place of America’s 11th president at the Tennessee State Capitol is not what most would envision for a head of state. James K. Polk’s unexpected tomb modeled after a CLASSICAL GREEK TEMPLE features 10 dramatic Doric columns topped by a simple brass dome. Inside the echoey interior, only a solitary SARCOPHAGUS on a stone platform marks the longtime Nashville resident and political leader’s grave.

The mismatch of elaborate exterior and spare burial chamber make this unusual statesman memorial a noteworthy visit.

10. Ryman Alley

Ryman Alley

Many visitors flock to the famed Ryman Auditorium on Broadway to revel in the iconic former home of the Grand Ole Opry. But right next door lies a true hidden gem known only to savvy locals – Ryman Alley. Stroll the vibrant, photographically resplendent block WALLPAPERED IN NEON ART to snap edgy portraits amid the cool urban vibe.

Vivid graffiti murals morph into mind-bending optical illusions. Located appropriately enough between honky-tonk mainstays Tootsies and Robert’s, Ryman Alley lets Nashville’s creative side shine.

11. Downtown Presbyterian Church

Downtown Presbyterian Church

Venture inside this historic house of worship known as the “Church of the Arts” and discover a vision of the apocalypse like no other. A MASSIVE PAINTING behind the altar titled “The Rapture” depicts the biblical end times in lurid, graphic glory – complete with volcanoes, doomsday skies, and tiny people floating into the heavens.

At 70 feet wide and 134 figures, the provocative religious art is astonishing to behold in person. While Sunday services carry on below parishioners’ feet, you can only crane your neck taking in the towering display until Kingdom comes.

12. The Bowery Vault

The Bowery Vault

Uncover this hidden gem located beneath a downtown parking lot that conjures the heyday of old radio shows and Prohibition-era escapades. The Bowery Vault bottle shop and bar mixes craft cocktails amid a theatrical atmosphere rich in Old Hollywood glamour and Art Deco opulence reminiscent of vintage Nashville.

With its cabaret stage, velvet couches, flapper décor, and artifacts like antique typewriters, taxidermy, and carnival spooks, the space drips with drama and intrigue for a transportive night out.

13. Edgehill Polar Bears

Edgehill Polar Bears

Ring in the new year by taking an icy dip with the hearty Nashvillians keeping this annual tradition alive. On January 1st since 1904, the brave have plunged into the frigid Cumberland River as Polar Bear Swim Club members to kick-off ANNUAL FESTIVITIES.

Spectators line the river banks cheering on chilly swimmers dressed in wacky costumes as they take the brief but BONE-CHILLING DUNK for charity. Free and accessible for any cold-water daredevils, it’s a quirky way to start 2024 if you don’t mind

14. Welcome to 1979

Welcome to 1979

For the wildest throwback night out, head to this nostalgic adult arcade dripping in 1970s decor. At Welcome to 1979, let your inner child run rampant across dozens of classic coin-op machines like Space Invaders, PacMan, Tetris, and forgotten games of yore.

WIN TICKETS to trade for quirky prizes. Or duck into a darkened blacklit room for a round of skeeball surrounded by vintage concert posters in the glow of the disco ball. With old school snacks like Nuggets and Pop Rocks lining the shelves, the entire vibe screams 1970s. Don your grooviest ‘70s threads and come ready to boogie the night away!

15. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

This wild attraction houses dozens upon dozens of UNCANNILY REALISTIC wax figures molded precisely from A-list celebrities. Wander through interactive sets placing you alongside music royalty like Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton or sports greats like Peyton Manning mid-play.

The detail achieved by expert sculptors recreating every pore and hair will have you doing frequent double-takes. Bring your camera to snap selfies with favorites including comedy legends, silver screen icons, cultural trailblazers, and political figures chillingly frozen in time.

16. Cooter’s


Part down-home eatery, part outrageous gift shop, part makeshift Dukes of Hazzard “museum” – this wacky destination built on its love for the iconic show parks the actual General Lee out front for photo ops! Inside Cooter’s, marvel at oddities like a VW Beetle encased fully in resin, HeeHaw barnyard sets, a Duke’s Jukin’ Jukebox, Bo & Luke’s actual race helmets…you name it. With autographed photos, NASCAR collectibles, CB radios, a “Moonshine Museum“, and much more yahoo-ness under one roof, it’s heaven for good ole’ boys and stunt driver fangirls.

17. Woodlawn Memorial Park

Woodlawn Memorial Park

Most cemeteries aim for tranquility, but historic Woodlawn Memorial Park holds some seriously bizarre surprises within its peaceful lawns. Alongside the pond rests the sculpture known as “Emaciated Man” – depicting a skeletal, emaciated figure writhing in AGONY beneath a stone shroud.

The chilling memorial carving is enough to stop any passerby dead in their tracks. But don’t miss Woodlawn’s showstopper – the imposing bronze angel sculpture “Katrina Carter.” Her beauty and immense wingspan make her one of Nashville’s most unforgettable cemetery sights.

18. Nashville City Cemetery

Nashville City Cemetery

While Nashville City Cemetery may be smaller and lesser-known than its rural counterpart, it brims with captivating oddities for cemetery aficionados. Take thoughtful walks beneath mature maple and cedar trees to discover unique 1800s gravestones crafted into tree trunks, draped urns, clasped hands, and other elaborate VICTORIAN ART forms.

Standouts include the Landers Lion watching over generations lost and the mysterious Bicking crypt sealed shut since the 1870s – never opened since the day it mysteriously appeared. Wander slowly through and pay respects to lives once lived.

19. 21C Museum Hotel

21C Museum Hotel

Nashville’s sleek contemporary art museum slash upscale hotel strikes the perfect balance of avant-garde and Southern hospitality. The soaring atrium leads visitors to thought-provoking contemporary art exhibitions rotating through that encourage dialogues around challenging themes.

You’ll find everything from playful pop art sculptures to PROVOCATIVE INSTALLATIONS on identity, technology, history and our shared humanity in the compelling museum free and open to all. When it’s time to lay your head, retreat to their chic luxe accommodations, swanky restaurants, and indulgent spa.

20. Hail, Dark Aesthetics

Hail, Dark Aesthetics

Embrace your inner goth while discovering this singular East Nashville gem described as an “avant-garde art boutique…filled with otherworldly gifts.” A riot of fantasy sculptures, pagan paraphernalia, gilded animal skulls, alternative wares, and exhibition pieces subversive and darkly whimsical fill the space.

The bewitching owners host regular events from bands and burlesque to piercing parties within the velvety black walls. Pop in just to browse HERMETIC TALISMANS and dark art you won’t find anywhere else. All are welcome in their little shop of (odd) horrors!

21. Santa’s Pub

Santa's Pub

Ho ho ho – where every day is Christmas! This kitschy country dive bar stays festive year-round WITH TWINKLING TINSEL, Santa memorabilia, and straight-up holiday cheer dripping from every surface.

There’s wreaths, mounted elk heads wearing Santa caps, walls bursting with ornaments and enough Santas to fill the North Pole. First opened in the mid-1960s, their overjoyed hoedowns and (Christ)mash-up music embody the Nashville spirit. It even earned fame starring in Robert Altman’s film “Nashville,” so drink a spiked eggnog and celebrate Yuletide spirits!

22. Music City Flow Arts

Music City Flow Arts

Ever fancied spinning fire or wanted to learn flair bartending tricks? This eclectic studio teaches beginner to advanced FLOW ARTS letting you channel your inner circus performer. Try your hand at fire dancing, hooping, poi, staff, acroyoga or whatever piques your interest. Their instructors exude boundless patience for anyone wanting to push boundaries.

Unleash those secret desires and discover hidden talents while having an outrageously good time. Classes offered for all skill levels ensure even novices can join the (safe) fun.

23. Phat Bites

Phat Bites

Indulging a sweet tooth? Then get a bit freaky at Phat Bites – Nashville’s cheekily-named “adult” candy outpost. Beyond rows of conventional candies dazzle the truly cutting-edge palate pleasers. We’re talking chocolate seasoned with Sriracha, pickle candy canes, maple bacon lollies, and other temptation with decidedly punk rock edge.

Or peruse their outrageous cake balls, massive bulk candies, and nostalgic throwbacks stockpiled to the ceiling. When you want candy UNLEASHED from traditional flavors, Phat Bites hits that sweet and spicy spot.

24. Two Ten Jack Ramen

Two Ten Jack Ramen

Slurp up ramen unlike any you’ve tried at Two Ten Jack, cultivating an utterly transportive izakaya vibe. Their sleek downtown locale feels enveloped in nightfall, setting the perfect stage for their showstopper “Goth” signature ramen crowned in fragrant black garlic oil pooling darkly like the night sky.

Bright yuzu contrasts rich miso in a bowl best described as BROODING AND DECADENT. With modern Japanese plates, theatrical ambiance, and East-meets-South inspired libations, Two Ten Jack enthralls diners craving evocative fare.

25. Jimmy Kelly’s

 Jimmy Kelly's

Lastly, no round-up of offbeat Nashville would feel complete without mentioning the legendary Jimmy Kelly’s. At this quintessential Nashville dive, the drinks flow and the characters reel you in with their larger-than-life hillbilly stage shows and charisma.

Grab a bucket of beers and let loose hootin’ and hollerin’ along with Possum Man, Banjo Man, Rodeo Suzie, and other regulars. Kick back amid the taxidermied wildlife lining the walls of this grimy landmark while country music history unfolds nightly on their over-the-top stage.

And there you have the inside scoop on Music City’s marvelously weird side for the travelers who think they’ve seen it all. From contemplating the cosmic while uncovering hidden histories to embracing your deviant epicurean spirit, Nashville rewards those who savor the strange.

Next time you’re in town, venture off the beaten tourist track to all the curious, kooky, creepy, and cool attractions uncovered in this Nashville guide to the bizarre unknown. Just be prepared for the unexpected, because in this delightfully odd city, you never know what you’ll discover next!

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