For an exhaustive list of events, check Nashville’s official tourism website: www.visitmusiccity.com.
Restaurant Week. More than 60 Nashville restaurants offer deals and prix-fixe menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tel. 615/472-8879. www.nashvilleoriginals.com. Mid-January.
Nashville Auto Fest. This swap meet and car show at The Fairgrounds Nashville has been going strong since 1991 and includes a Sunday church service with the Christian Hot Rod Association. Tel. 502/893-6731. www.nashvilleautofest.com. Third week of January.
Martin Luther King Day Celebration. A National Day of Community Service starts with a youth rally at 8:30am featuring the Nashville Youth Poet Laureate and culminating in a ceremonial march from Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church to Tennessee State University (TSU). Tel. 615/579-3300. www.mlkdaynashville.com. Third Monday in January.
Zoo Run Run. The winter 5K winds through Nashville Zoo property, including areas not generally open to the public. Tel. 615/833-1534. www.nashvillezoo.org. Late January.
Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville. Experts exhibit antiques, decorative arts, and landscape designs at the Nashville Convention Center. Tel. 615/352-1282. http://antiquesandgardenshow.com. Early February.
Nashville Home + Remodeling Expo. All things decorating, construction, and remodeling, featuring experts from TLC TV shows, at Music City Center. Tel. 800/395-1350. http://nashvillehomeandremodelingexpo.com. Mid-February.
Experience Oscar. Watch the awards show on the big screen at Belcourt Theatre, plus a red carpet party, silent auction, and glamorous VIP backstage lounge. Tel. 615/846-3150. www.belcourt.org. Late February.
Soup Sunday. Taste and vote on soups from 50 of Nashville’s best restaurants and enjoy kids’ activities like face painting and balloon animals at the Nissan Stadium. Proceeds support Our Kids (tel. 615/341-4911; www.ourkidscenter.com), a Nashville nonprofit that helps those affected by child sexual abuse. Late February.
Wine, Women & Shoes. Come to Music City Center to sip wine, bid on auction items, and shop the boutique marketplace while raising funds for the YWCA’s Weaver Domestic Violence Center. Tel. 615/269-9922. www.ywcanashville.com. Mid-February.
Nashville Lawn & Garden Show. An acre of live gardens, free lectures and demonstrations, floral design gallery, and 250-vendor marketplace, at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Tel. 615/876-7680. www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com. Early March.
Mad Bash. Explore the Adventure Science Center (tel. 615/862-5160; www.adventuresci.org) without the kids for a change, while indulging in great food and cocktails. 21+. Early March.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. Riverfront Park and Franklin. Run or walk a half marathon, 10K, or 5K at the riverside St. Patrick’s Day Race and then enjoy Irish food and drink downtown at Music City Irish Fest or head to Franklin for the Main Street Brewfest. www.team-magic.com; www.musiccityirishfest.com; www.downtownfranklintn.com. Mid-March.
Oyster Easter. Enjoy local beer, wine, spirits, and cigars alongside a full Cajun feast by Puckett’s Boat House, at Green Door Gourmet. Tel. 615/291-6688. www.oystereaster.com. Late March.
“Awesome April.” The month of April is chockablock with special events, many of which overlap, so the city branded it Awesome April. The Tin Pan South songwriters’ festival and the Music City Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony take place in this action-packed month, when Nashville weather is at its prettiest. Also on tap are crawfish boils, the Nashville Film Festival, Nashville Fashion Week, East Nashville Beer Festival, and the Country Music Marathon, where 50 bands play on 27 stages along the marathon route. Cheekwood in Bloom features special events throughout the month while the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths bloom. For detailed information on April events visit www.styleblueprint.com or www.visitmusiccity.com/visitors/events/awesomeapril.
Nashville Wine and Food Festival. Experience more than 100 wineries, local Nashville cuisine, and artisanal products atBicentennial Mall, plus live music and chef demos. Tel. 615/327-3874. www.thenashwineandfoodfestival.com. Mid-April.
Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. This downtown festival features arts and crafts, Japanese food, Cherry Blossom Walk, cosplay contest, and a puppy parade. www.nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org. Mid-April.
Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon. Formerly the Country Music Marathon, this annual downtown run begins on Broadway and continues past many Nashville sights, including the Nashville Symphony, Music Row, and Tennessee State Capitol. www.runrocknroll.com. Late April.
Tennessee Renaissance Festival. Maidens, knights, gypsies, jugglers, jousters, games, and food—including whole turkey legs, which you are required to eat like a barbarian—are all part of this medieval fair held on the grounds of Castle Gwynn, 20 miles south of Nashville in Triune. Tel. 615/395-9950. www.tnrenfest.com. Weekends in May, including Memorial Day.
Tennessee Craft Fair. Held in Centennial Park, this is the largest display of Tennessee crafts with a sister event in September. The fair is rounded out by food, demonstrations, and children’s craft activities. Tel. 615/736-7600. www.tennesseecrafts.org. Early May.
Iroquois Steeplechase. This horse race at Percy Warner Park has been a Nashville ritual for more than 75 years. A benefit for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the event is accompanied by tailgates that range from debaucherous to ornate. Tel. 800/619-4802. www.iroquoissteeplechase.org. Second Saturday in May.
Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman. Thursday nights at the historic Ryman Auditorium (tel. 615/889-3060; www.ryman.com) play host to top-name bluegrass acts such as Alison Krauss and Ricky Skaggs. Thursdays June–July.
CMA (Country Music Association) Fest, downtown. This 4-day event includes music from hundreds of artists including concerts, meet-and-greets, autograph signings, celebrity sporting events, and more. If you like popular country music, this is your event. If you don’t, pick another weekend and avoid the hassle. www.cmafest.com. Mid-June.
Taste of Music City. All-inclusive tasting featuring live music and food and drink from local restaurants, at Public Square Park. www.tasteofmusiccity.com. Mid-June.
Music City July 4th Concert & Fireworks. One of the biggest fireworks shows in the country, this downtown event grows larger every year, and features food, kids’ activities, and entertainment by acts such as Lady Antebellum. Music by the Nashville Symphony accompanies fireworks during the televised extravaganza. Tel. 800/657-6910. www.visitmusiccity.com. July 4.
Music City Brewers Festival. The event, held at Walk of Fame Park, features more than 40 brewers from around the country, live music, and food. www.musiccitybrewersfest.com. Late July.
Tomato Art Fest. Food, friendly competitions, parades, and lots of tomato-themed arts, crafts, and costumes are part of this annual event in East Nashville’s Five Points area. www.tomatoartfest.com. Second weekend of August.
Live on the Green. This free outdoor concert series in Public Square Park culminates in a 3-day festival Labor Day weekend. www.liveonthegreen.com. Weekends in August.
Music in the Vines. Enjoy live jazz in the Arrington Vineyard (tel. 615/395-0102; www.arringtonvineyards.com) courtyard, take part in a complimentary wine tasting, or pack a picnic. Weekends April through October.
John Merritt Classic. Tennessee State University’s opening football game at Nissan Stadium (formerly LP Field) is celebrated with a charity golf tournament, concerts, and special activities. Tel. 615/963-5841. www.merrittclassic.com. Labor Day weekend.
Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival. The city gathers downtown to honor the age-old Chinese tradition by participating in dragon boat races and festive parades. Tel. 615/837-1151. www.cumberlandrivercompact.org. Labor Day weekend.
African Street Festival. Entertainment includes gospel, R&B, jazz, reggae music, and a Children’s Pavilion with storytelling, arts and crafts, drumming, and dance. At Hadley Park, Tennessee State University. Tel. 615/251-0007. www.aacanashville.org. Mid-September.
Americana Music Festival. More than 1,000 musicians, fans, and industry professionals attend this multiday event, which includes more than 50 showcases featuring established and emerging artists. It culminates with the televised Americana Music Awards show at the Ryman. Tel. 615/386-6936. www.americanamusic.org. Mid-September.
Music City Food + Wine Festival. This 3-day festival at Bicentennial Mall features vendors from across Music City and culinary talents from around the world with demos, panels, and more. Optional add-ons include a Saturday night concert and a Gospel Brunch on Sunday. www.musiccityfoodandwinefestival.com. Mid-September.
TACA Fall Craft Fair. Upscale, fine-crafts market in Centennial Park, featuring Tennessee artisans. [tel] 615/736-7600. www.tennesseecrafts.org. Late September.
Wine on the River. Enjoy live music as you sample wine, beer, and spirits from around the globe plus culturally themed menus, in Riverfront Park. Tel. 615/664-2484. www.wineontheriver.com. Late September.
Artober. This celebration of the arts comprising hundreds of events throughout the city in visual and performing arts, music, theater, dance, craft, film, and more. www.artobernashville.com. Monthlong.
Cheekwood Harvest. See the renowned pumpkin house, 5,000 chrysanthemums, and scarecrows at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Tel. 615/356-8000; http://cheekwood.org. Enjoy beer and bluegrass each weekend and celebrate El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the end of the month. Monthlong.
Fall Fest at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Art, music, and history converge at the Hermitage. Tel. 615/889-2941. www.fallfestatthehermitage.com. Early October.
Southern Festival of Books. More than 200 authors gather at War Memorial Plaza and Main Public Library for a variety of free special events over 3 days. Tel. 615/770-0006. www.humanitiestennessee.org. Second full weekend in October.
Oktoberfest. This crowded but still fun Germantown festival includes dancing, accordion players, authentic German food, beer, and more beer. Tel. 615/686-2867. www.thenashvilleoktoberfest.com. Mid-October.
Native American Indian Association Pow Wow. Native Americans from the United States and Canada gather at Long Hunter State Park for this powwow, sponsored by the Native American Indian Association (http://naiatn.org/powwow). Mid-October.
Christmas at Belmont. The opulent, antebellum Belmont Mansion at Belmont University is decked out in Victorian Christmas finery—and the gift shop is a great place to nab Christmassy Victorian reproductions. Tel. 615/460-5459. www.belmontmansion.com. Late November to late December.
A Country Christmas. More than 2 million Christmas lights adorn the grounds of the Opryland hotel (tel. 615/889-1000; www.gaylordhotels.com). Musical revues change every few years, with headliners ranging from Pam Tillis and Louise Mandrell to “Charlie Brown” and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. November 1 to December 25.
Holiday Lights at Cheekwood. Cheekwood Estate’s gardens and mansion are decorated with elegant displays and hundreds of thousands of festive lights. Tel. 615/356-8000. http://cheekwood.org. Late November through December.
Porter Flea Holiday Market. Dozens of vendors descend upon The Fairgrounds Nashville to sell unique apparel, accessories, home goods, and more. www.porterflea.com. Early December.
12South Winter Warmup/Warmer. These 6K and 12K races, plus a 1K run for kids, serve as the Warmup to the 12South Winter Warmer beer festival that follows later in the day in Sevier Park. www.12southwinterwarmup.racesonline.com. Early December.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. The rival football game between the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), at Nissan Stadium. Tel. 615/743-3130. www.musiccitybowl.com. Late December.
Nashville New Year’s Eve. This Lower-Broadway celebration includes fireworks, performances by artists like Keith Urban, Maren Morris, and Cheap Trick, and the Music Note Drop. Tel. 800/657-6910. www.visitmusiccity.com. December 31.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.