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17 Top Nashville Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for Nashville
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Nashville Tennessee, the home of country music, full of history, southern charm, and some of the most amazing food. With a history dating back before the 1800s, there is so much to see, learn and experience in this large, wonderful city. We have curated a guide for your next trip to Nashville. From essential packing items, to what to wear, to what not to wear, some FAQs, and more, I hope you find this helpful for you and your family!

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What to Pack for Nashville - 17 Essentials

  • 1. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes really make the world of difference when packing for any trip. With these packing cubes, you can easily pack all of your belongings in one organized place that fits perfectly into any bag or suitcase.

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Fanny Pack

    When you are taking a day trip around the city, it’s always good to have some essentials on you, but it’s also really nice to be hands-free. Backpacks work just fine, but I find it safer and easier to have a fanny pack.

    Fanny Pack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    A fun day walking around Nashville probably means you’ll be using your phone a lot to use the maps, or take pictures. Don’t risk your phone dying right when you need it most and have this portable charger! Fits perfectly in any small bag, and charges your phone for 2 full charges.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Neck Wallet

    Keep all your most important bank cards, IDs, and all your cash in one convenient spot! The neck wallet makes it super easy to have all your things in one place, so you don’t have to go digging around for them or risk losing them.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    If you are going during the summer, or not, it’s always good to have a towel with you just in case. I like the quick-dry travel towel because it’s compact and easy to travel with, and it also dries 10x faster than a regular towel, making it so easy to toss in a bag after use.

    travel towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    There is no better way to travel with your toiletries than this hanging toiletry bag. Keeping everything organized, and having a large capacity, it’s so easy to pack your things. Plus, you can hang it up anywhere for easy, the way, access.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Cooling Towel

    If you are visiting Nashville, especially in the summer, it gets hot. Walking around the city may get a little too hot. I highly recommend bringing along this cooling towel. Within seconds, feel the cooling relief for up to 60 minutes, after dipping this towel in water.

    cooling towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. LifeStraw Water Bottle

    Water anywhere from home can be a little suspicious, especially city water. Drink your water worry-free with this LifeStraw water bottle. The LifeStraw filters out 99.9% of all bad bacteria so you don’t have to worry about the quality of your water.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Luggage Locks

    Luggage locks will keep your checked baggage safe from thieves. It’s important to get locks that are TSA-approved like these so that airport officials can access your luggage if need be. These luggage locks work great with lockers and day bags.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Travel Umbrella

    Not only does this umbrella provide shade from the rain, but it also is a great sun protector and helps create a wind barrier! Folding up into a small 1-foot long stick, and weighing around 1 pound, it’s the perfect travel umbrella.

    Travel Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Travel Insurance

    You can protect all your assets when you travel if you have travel insurance. Everything you spend while on vacation can be protected and if need be, reimbursed if you have travel insurance. We recommend TravelInsurance.com because you can compare policies from top companies to find the best option for you and your travel plans.

    Travel Insurance

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 12. Waterproof Phone Case

    For the hot days that you spend at the lake or one of Nashville’s splash pads or water parks, you will definitely want to keep your phone safe! Stick it in this waterproof phone case. It works like a charm, and you can even still use the touch screen without taking your phone out.

    Universa Waterproof

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Virtual Private Network

    There are so many places in the city with public wifi or just places where your phone is vulnerable. Protect yourself, and all your information with a VPN or virtual private network.

    vpn

    View options at NordVPN ➜

  • 14. Day Bag

    If you aren’t a fanny pack person, or you need more space, I recommend this day bag. It’s lightweight, has a good holding capacity and the shoulder strap makes it easy to carry.

    Day Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Poloroid Camera

    What’s a fun vacation without taking pictures? My family is huge on pictures, from the wholesome family moments to the funniest ones, we have collected some amazing memories on our family trips.

    Poloroid Camera

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Sunscreen

    Anytime you are walking around in the sun, sunscreen is a must to protect your skin. Nashville is full of sunshine, especially in the summer. It’s also hot so you’ll likely be showing plenty of skin. Protect your skin and apply SPF.

    Sunscreen

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Electrolytes

    Stay hydrated in Nashville’s hot and humid climate. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so be sure to replenish lost electrolytes. These electrolyte tablets couldn’t be more convenient and they taste great.

    Essential Electrolytes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in Nashville

To feel most comfortable in Nashville, wear clothes that are simple, casual, and fitting to the season is the best idea. The most important thing is to wear shoes that will keep you comfortable for all the walking around. Though most people think the theme of Nashville is country chic, there is no need to wear cowboy boots unless you want to look more like a tourist.
What Should WOMEN Wear in Nashville? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women walking around Nashville can wear clothes that they feel are stylish, yet comfortable. Remember, you are probably going to be doing a lot of walking, so if you are more comfortable walking around in joggers rather than jeans, or a dress rather than a skirt, those are some things to think about.

What Should MEN Wear in Nashville? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Men can also stick to wearing comfortable clothing. Check up on the local weather before deciding what to bring. In the off seasons, you will definitely want a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket for walking around Nashville. Don’t be afraid to bring a nicer button-up and some nice trousers in case you decide to go to any nice restaurants or music venues!

Packing for the Seasons in Nashville

Winter – December, January, February

While there is always something happening in the bustling city, things certainly do tend to die down after the Christmas rush. December can be a very enjoyable time to visit Nashville. January and February are nice if you are really looking to avoid crowds, however, there isn’t much going on. Typical daytime temperatures in the winter are anywhere from 30 degrees to 50.

There is a slight chance of snow, so layer up! A nice winter jacket, hats and scarves, and warm winter boots will be perfect for walking around Nashville in the winter.

Spring – March, April, May

I find spring to be one of the best times to visit Nashville, as the weather is warming up, but the summer crowds haven’t really begun to seep in. Events like flower bloom events and family-friendly bluegrass and jazz festivals are held in small venues around the city. Generally, the temperatures are around 50-60 degrees, with a chance of rain.

Pack your raincoat, because you never know when those spring showers may come through. Quality walking sneakers, or boots, a cute pair of jeans, and a t-shirt will be great to wear in the spring. A light spring jacket will also be helpful when it gets chilly.

Summer – June, July, August

When summer comes along, the streets really start to fill in! It can be an extremely fun time to visit Nashville with all the activities and events going on. The weather is warm, so you can even visit Wave Country, or take a dip at the hotel pool. Prepare yourself for some heat if you are visiting in the summer! Daytime temperatures can get above 90, and that humid city air may get to some who aren’t used to it.

Wearing loose, thin clothing will be best for Nashville in the summer. Tank tops, shorts, sandals, and/or flip flops, (comfortable for walking around), are all good ideas. Lather up on sunscreen, and wear sunglasses and a sun hat for protection. Also have a light sweatshirt on hand in case the evenings get chilly, or for walking to cold restaurants. A nice summer dress or a button-up can also be worn.

Fall – September, October, November

Fall is another very lovely time to visit once the temperatures start cooling down, and the crowds disperse. Fall can be especially fun around Halloween, with many Halloween-related events for all ages. Fall can be particularly rainy, and most days are usually anywhere from 75-60 degrees.

It’s back to jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and sweaters when fall hits! A good fall jacket is also helpful for colder days. Definitely do not forget your rain jacket in the fall, and you may want waterproof boots just in case.

Dressing for the Activity in Nashville – (Click to expand)
Sightseeing/Tours: There are beyond 30 museums across Nashville. All telling the important history of the city, sharing the arts, or the other beautiful things the city has to offer. There are also many guided tours of music venues, and botanical gardens, you can even take a trolley tour of the entire city!

Going around the museums, or taking guided tours, often means there will be lots of walking. Make sure to have quality walking shoes, comfortable pants, and a sweatshirt in case it gets chilly. Sunglasses, a sun hat, and sunscreen are all good especially if you are going to be outside.

Swimming: Between lakes, rivers, water parks, rooftop pools, and splash pads, there is no shortage of swimming places in and around Nashville. I highly recommend checking out the Pool Club or Wave Country if you are visiting Nashville in the warm summer months. It’s a great way to cool down.

Pack your favorite swimsuit! I also suggest bringing along a beach cover-up for modesty and comfort. Flip flops or waterproof sandals are good footwear to have, and I like having a sun hat and sunglasses for lounging around outside the water. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Restaurants: Believe it or not, the city of Nashville has over 5,000 restaurants scattered all over the city. Each one with its own unique Nashville charm and style of food. After being the country capital of the US, it’s quickly becoming one of the best foodie cities.

I certainly wouldn’t wear any white while going restaurant hopping. A good pair of walking shoes, jeans, and a casual, but nice, t-shirt will be perfect for restaurant hopping. I suggest bringing a light sweater in case the AC is blasting. Research the restaurant before you go! There are a few restaurants in Nashville, like House of Cards, and E3 Chophouse, among a few others, that have specific dress codes.

Night Life: “Honky Tonk Row”, located on Lower Broadway street in Nashville is the spot for the most exciting nightlife. Almost every bar on the block blasting live music, hosting DJs, with people dancing and playing games. If you are looking for something to do, any night of the week, head on down!

You don’t have to wear your fanciest ball gown for a night on Honky Tonk Row. Keep it casual, with a dress or a button-up, comfortable shoes for dancing and walking, and a sweater or a light jacket in case it gets cold.

What NOT to Bring to Nashville

  • 1.DON’T Bring Lots of Food

    Since there are literally thousands of restaurants in Nashville, the chances of you eating your own packed food are very slim. Plus, you wouldn’t want to leave that in your car or the hotel anyway.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Expensive Jewelry

    It may seem like a good idea, dressing up for a night on the town, but it makes me extra nervous wearing valuable jewelry being in the big city. You never know if you may lose it, or it may get stolen. Best to leave that stuff at home.

  • 3.DON’T Bring A Lot of Cash

    I find it more tricky to carry around wads of cash in the city, and a bit more dangerous. If you can, I recommend having your bank cards instead of cash. If you do need cash, there are plenty of banks and ATMs around the city.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Snow Gear

    Nashville is not known for getting much snow at all, let alone having many snow activities. You can leave the heavy snow parkas, snowshoes, snow pants etc, at home.

  • 5.DON’T Bring Statement Cowboy Hats

    Although you may think that everyone in Nashville is decked out in large cowboy hats all the time, this is very much a stereotype of the area. Hardly any of the locals wear cowboy hats, large ones at that unless they are dressing up for an event.

  • 6.DON’T Bring Heavy Books

    Books will just weigh you down and take up valuable space in your luggage. Use a Kindle or download ebooks to your phone to save room for souvenirs.

What NOT To Wear in Nashville – (Click to expand)
Many think that Nashville is all about the cowboy boots and big cowboy hats! Unless you want to be lumped in with the ultra tourist scene, you probably don’t want to be wearing those things. While the locals may wear them casually, this is the big city and most Nashville natives don’t tend to wear those things.

FAQs About Visiting Nashville

  • 1. What are the best restaurants in Nashville?

    What are the best restaurants in Nashville?

    As I mentioned above, there are thousands of restaurants around Nashville. It can be challenging to pick which one to go to! Here are just a few of the crowd favorites.

    • Butcher and Bee – Mediterranean and Eastern European style foods.
    • Josphine- Laid back upscale, fine dining, one of the best brunch spots.
    • The Farm House- A hidden gem in Nashville, with excellent farm-to-table meals.
    • Arnold’s Country Kitchen- There is always a line out of Arnold’s, but it’s worth it for some home-style, classic country cookin’.
  • 2. Should I bring my dog to Nashville?

    Since 2019, Nashville has been working on becoming a much more dog-friendly place. There are a multitude of pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, and dogs are always welcome to walk on any streets or sidewalks.

  • 3. Where to stay in Nashville?

    Where to stay in Nashville?

    Besides airbnbs, there are a little over 350 hotels in the city! Here are some of the best ones in downtown Nashville.

    • Hutton Hotel
    • Dream Nashville
    • The Hermitage Hotel
    • Renaissance Nashville Hotel
  • 4. What is Nashville known for?

    The number one thing Nashville is known for is its rich music history. Considered the home of country music, some extremely famous and well-respected musicians come from Nashville, along with some very famous music venues.

  • 5. What are the best museums?

    What are the best museums?

    Nashville is full of amazing history and there are plenty of museums to visit to learn more. Here are just a few to look into.

    • Grand Ole Opry (more of a music venue, however, they do have some amazing tours of the stage)
    • Country Music Hall of Fame
    • Frist Art Museum
    • Cheekwood Botanical Garden (best visited in the spring, when the flowers are in wonderful bloom!)
    • Johnny Cash Museum
  • 6. Is Nashville a large city?

    Nashville covers 526 square miles of land. It is relatively large, normally it’s considered a mid-sized city. However, it is a very populated city, being number 24 on the most populated cities in the United States list. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the country as well.

  • 7. Is Nashville a safe city?

    Is Nashville a safe city?

    In general, for visitors and guests to the city, it is relatively safe. Of course, like any big city, it has its fair share of crime and places that are more dangerous than others. Be safe, especially at night, and know where you’re going. You’ll definitely feel the southern hospitality when in Nashville, but still, take necessary precautions like not walking alone at night and keeping your valuables in a safe place.