Explore the Best of Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee

From the Author: I've lived and worked in Nashville for 12+ years. I'm heavily involved with the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, so when you visit, you might find me giving the odd tour or helping out wherever possible. If you have any questions, I respond quickly to comments. Come in and say hi!

Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee, is a bustling street famous for its live music venues, honky-tonks, and nightlife.

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, country music hit the mainstream, earning Nashville the title “Music City.”

Broadway remains a hotspot for music lovers, packed with honky-tonks and live music venues. The legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, which opened in 1960, became a favorite among country stars.

Today, Broadway thrives with new restaurants, bars, and entertainment spots alongside its iconic honky-tonks. It’s the go-to destination for millions of visitors seeking vibrant nightlife and delicious food.

History of Broadway

Nashville sits on the Cumberland River, a 688-mile waterway flowing from the Appalachian Mountains. At the start of Broadway on 1st Avenue, shipping docks once fed hardware stores, car dealerships, and feed stores back in the 1800s. Today, this area is known as the “Honky-Tonk Highway.”

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge now spans the river, connecting to Cumberland Park, with fountains, climbing walls, walking trails, and Riverfront Park, featuring a 1,200-seat amphitheater.

During the Civil War, many buildings on Lower Broadway served as makeshift hospitals or warehouses for troops.

In the 1700s, Davy Crockett emerged from the Cumberland River, becoming known as a fiddle player and storyteller.

The Grand Ole Opry opened in 1925, and by the 1930s, the music scene flourished with Jimmie Rodgers performing in Broadway bars, attracting other artists.

Lower Broadway Nashville

Lower Broadway (Honky-Tonk Highway)

Lower Broadway, famously known as the “Honky-Tonk Highway,” is an exhilarating place to be.

More than half of its 32 bars are owned by country music stars, and it’s not unusual to see them perform.

Live music pours onto the streets 24/7, even on Christmas and Sundays!

While country music dominates, you’ll also hear contemporary rock and hip-hop.

No cover charges here, but tipping the musicians is a must.

Iconic spots include Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a legendary hangout for aspiring musicians, and Robert’s Western World, often awarded for the best country music on Broadway.

The Ryman Auditorium Nashville

The following points of interest are worth exploring when on Broadway:

Discover the Must-Visit Spots in Nashville

Ryman Auditorium: Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Now, it hosts a variety of shows every night. It’s a must-see on your itinerary. Learn more here.

Johnny Cash Museum: Just a short walk up Broadway, this museum offers a deep dive into the life of the Man in Black, featuring artifacts, instruments, and costumes. There’s also a café. A must for music fans. Check out this video walkthrough and get tickets here.

Musicians Hall of Fame: Showcasing the history of recorded music worldwide, this museum features artifacts from legends like Jimi Hendrix and Elvis. Your ticket also includes access to the Grammy Museum Gallery. It’s a short walk from Broadway. Click here for a walking map. Get your tickets here.

Midtown: If Lower Broadway, known as “Nash-Vegas,” is too crowded, head to Midtown. It’s filled with bars and restaurants along Division St. Check out our complete guide to Midtown here.

Union Station: This former railroad station, built in 1900, is now a luxury hotel with preserved historic architecture. It’s a Nashville landmark. Learn more here.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts: Housed in a historic post office building, this art museum features various exhibitions and an auditorium for performances. Learn more here.

Hume-Fogg High School: Popular for its beautiful Gothic Revival architecture, this historic school is a surprising tourist spot. See a virtual tour here.

Bridgestone Arena: Easily walkable from Lower Broadway, it hosts concerts, hockey, and more. If you’re in town for a show, it’s likely here.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: One of the most famous honky-tonks on Broadway, Tootsie’s backs up to the Ryman and offers three floors of history and fun. I wrote a guide to Tootsie’s here.

Robert’s Western World: Known for its authentic country music, Robert’s is a must-visit honky-tonk. Check out this fantastic video walkthrough by The Scene Nashville.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop: Although closed in 2022 after 75 years, its iconic sign still stands on Lower Broadway. This legendary store specialized in country music.

Riverfront Park: Established in the 1980s, it celebrates Nashville’s early history with an amphitheater and unique art. Just a short walk from Broadway, across from First Avenue.


Restaurants on Broadway

Fifth & Broadway

Fifth & Broadway: Nashville's Latest Hotspot

Nashville's Fifth & Broadway is a fantastic new development at the top of Lower Broadway, within easy walking distance from the honky-tonks, Ryman Auditorium, and Bridgestone Arena. It also has onsite parking, making it super convenient.

Fifth & Broadway is perfect for a break from Lower Broadway or waiting for a show. It features Assembly Food Hall, offering a diverse range of eateries and bars. You’ll find everything from pizza and burgers to Thai food and hot chicken.

Popular spots include Hattie B’s and Prince’s for hot chicken, and CAVA for healthy salads. For a full list of restaurants and bars, click here.

Lower Broadway

Known as the “Honky-Tonk Highway,” Lower Broadway features over 32 bars streaming live country music year-round. Many honky-tonks also serve great food and drinks. For a list of must-visit bars on Broadway, click here. Notable mentions:

  • Jack’s Bar-B-Que: Tennessee and Texas BBQ with six types of meat.
  • Broadway Brewhouse Downtown: Craft beer, food, and sports.
  • Margaritaville: Famous for fried pickles, cheese grits, and shrimp.
  • Acme Feed & Seed: The most Instagrammed spot, originally a feed and seed store, now offering cocktails, sushi, and fresh fish from the rooftop bar.
Shopping on Broadway Nashville

Shopping on Broadway

Shopping on Broadway in Nashville

For the best shopping on Broadway, head to Fifth & Broadway. This new development offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, including electronics and clothing stores.

If you're looking for souvenirs and gifts, here are some top spots on Lower Broadway, also known as the Honky-Tonk Highway:

  • Nashville Gifts
  • Legends Gifts
  • It's A Nashville Thing Y'all
  • Boot Country (near the Ryman)
  • Boot Barn
  • Big Time Boots
  • Ariat Brand Shop

These stores provide a wide range of Nashville-themed items and Western wear.


Where to Stay

There are several hotels within walking distance to lower Broadway. The beautiful thing about Nashville is that it's a very walkable and safe city. The following hotels are a short walk to Broadway. For a full list, here's our guide to hotels near Broadway in Nashville.


How to Get Around

The great thing about Nashville is that you don't need a car to get around unless you prefer private transportation.

Nashville is only 20 mins from the airport, and most attractions are focused on downtown Nashville and lower Broadway.

If you want to check out other neighborhoods, Uber and Lift operate prolifically, and areas like the Gulch, Germantown, Hillsboro, or West End are walkable once you get there.

A popular option is the Hop On Hop Off Trolley bus. It provides unlimited free re-boarding, moving around all parts of Nashville with frequent pickup service. In addition, you can explore all the major attractions with stories and songs shared by the guides. Learn more here about the popular trolley.

Upper Broadway

As you move from 1st Avenue, up through the honky-tonk highway, past Fifth and Broadway, you'll head towards upper Broadway.

You'll pass the Gulch, SoBro, and Music Row and end up in Midtown. Midtown is a fantastic place for drinks and food; we wrote a guide to Midtown here.

If you keep moving up Broadway, it turns into 21st Avenue, which will take you to West End past Vanderbilt University.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the Best Part of Broadway in Nashville?

The best part of Broadway depends on your interests. Of course, the most popular area is the “honky-tonk” highway, a strip of 32+ bars on lower Broadway. This area is commonly known as “Nash-Vegas” and features many bars started by country artists. Other popular areas include lower Broadway and 2nd Avenue. It features a mix of restaurants, bars, and shops. Fifth and Broadway also provide good places to eat, drink and shop.

Is Broadway the Main Street in Nashville?

Yes, Broadway is the main street in Nashville. Although Broadway isn't all there is to Nashville. Broadway includes the famous honky-tonk highway and a lot of main attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman. Branching off Broadway, you'll find the Gulch, Music Row, Midtown, and eventually West End and Vanderbilt. It's an excellent place to start when visiting Nashville.

Is Broadway in Nashville Called Music Row?

No, Broadway and Music Row are different. Music Row is the business side of Nashville. It has recording studios and labels where songwriters and musicians create the next hits. Broadway houses all the honky-tonks and bars. Musicians pump country music into the streets daily, whereas Music Row is a quiet neighborhood. Downtown is known for its nightlife; Music row is for industry professionals.

What Part of Nashville is All the Bars?

The part of Nashville that has all the bars is lower Broadway. It contains over 32 bars, over half of which have been started by country music stars like Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson, and Blake Shelton, to name a few. Often referred to as the “Honky-Tonk Highway,” the section of Broadway between 4th and 5th Avenue is home to the most iconic and popular music venues in the city.

What Month is Best to Visit Nashville?

The best month to visit Nashville is between April and October. During this time, the city has mild temperatures, and visitors can enjoy the city's attractions, outdoor activities, and festivals. Many popular festivals like the CAM Fest, Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman, and Music City Eats are held during the year's warmer months. The colder months are slow but include popular Christmas and New Year events.

Is Broadway the same as Downtown Nashville?

Broadway runs through the heart of downtown Nashville. It is therefore considered part of downtown. However, downtown Nashville includes an area that is larger than just Broadway. Broadway runs from 21st Avenue South to First Avenue on the Riverfront and connects neighborhoods like the Gulch, Music Row, SoBro, and Midtown. Downtown also includes spots like the Country Music Hall and Musicians Hall of Fame.

Can You Drive Down Broadway In Nashville?

Yes, you can drive down Broadway. However, lower Broadway gets high pedestrian traffic around the bars and restaurants, making it challenging, especially during peak hours. There can be long wait times as crowds cross the street or police direct traffic. Parking can also be difficult and expensive. The parts of Broadway that don’t include the lower section are much easier to navigate with less pedestrian traffic.

What Time Do Nashville Broadway Bars Close?

Most Broadway bars are open daily until 2:30 – 3am, including weekends. However, some bars might have different closing times depending on the day of the week and the specific bar. Visitors should also be aware that some bars will have a last call for drinks before closing due to Tennessee restrictions on when alcohol can be served and to allow you to finish your drink and settle the bill.

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