Broadway: Home to the lights, sounds, & places that made Nashville “Music City”

While Nashville has grown in recent years to be a city bustling with commerce and technology, it is fundamentally known as Music City, and its roots lie on Broadway.

Lower Broadway is home to Nashville’s famous honky tonks. The legend of Broadway says that musicians start building their careers at the bottom of the street, performing in the bars closest to the riverfront. As they gain fame and success, they can slowly gig their way up towards 5th avenue, and eventually play gigs at the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, or even the Ryman Auditorium.

For a musician to play any venue on Broadway is kind of a big deal. It is the place to be to garner recognition on the scene in Music City. Even busking on the sidewalk on a busy afternoon or evening will draw a crowd.

While Broadway is packed to the brim with places & things to do, we’re featuring our favorites and the ‘must-sees’ for tourists and natives alike. Like an aspiring country music star, we’ll start at the riverfront and work our way up to the corner of 5th Avenue.

Riverfront Park

Take in views of the Cumberland River at this park featuring picnic areas, sculptures, and a large dog park.

Acme Feed & Seed

One of the newer bars on Broadway, Acme has 3 floors and a great food menu. They have the perfect rooftop (& view of Broadway) for a sunny day.

The Johnny Cash Museum

Learn about the life of the historic singer-songwriter in the same place he used to hold concerts.

Honky Tonk Central

One of the best Honky Tonks on Broadway with 3 floors of music and a balcony on each upper floor to take in the scene.


In the midst of all the honky-tonks lies Merchants, a dining establishment that embodies traditional upscale Southern food & atmosphere.

Robert’s Western World

A classic dancing joint adored by older Nashville natives and newer transplants alike.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

A venue you simply cannot miss while you’re on Broadway – firstly for its history in hosting legendary acts (like Willie Nelson & Dean Martin) – but also for its vivid purple hue.

The Ryman

The Ryman is rich in history, first a church and then converted to house The Grand Ole Opry. Many legendary artists have played this intimate venue, and if you attend a show you’ll be able to sit on one of the original church pews.

Bridgestone Arena

Cheer on Nashville’s favorite team, The Predators, at Bridgestone. The arena is conveniently located on Broadway, so you can honky-tonk to your hearts delight before or after a game.

Union Station Hotel

A little further past Lower Broadway is an old train station converted into the Union Station Hotel. This historic spot is the perfect place to stay for those visiting, or a great locale for a staycation. The hotel also houses Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, a large beer hall with an endless selection of brews.