There are some things I pack on every adventure I take. Other things I leave at home depending on where I travel to. Should I pack a fancy outfit? Should I bring all of my tech gear or just a few things? What do people wear in “Music City”? Find out what to pack for Nashville, Tennessee!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Find more information about affiliate links on our policy page.
- Camera Gear and Tech
- Other Important Items
Nashville Dress Code
Like many big cities, you’ll find that people dress casual, but with a little bit of style. Jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes are common. A blouse or button down shirt also wouldn’t be uncommon. However, you definitely won’t see girls strutting down the street in stiletto heels. You won’t see people moseying around in pajama bottoms either.
Below, you can seem some Nashville locals rocking jeans, a skirt, t-shirt, blouse, and button down.
Should I Bring Cowboy Boots to Nashville?
The first thing that tends to come to mind when trying to decide what to pack for Nashville is often cowboy boots. There are some people who say to leave your cowboy boots at home. They insist that locals don’t wear cowboy boots on a regular basis, so wearing them around Nashville would be like announcing that you’re a tourist.
I’m not a Nashville native, but I did get the opportunity to hang out with some of the locals at Winners Bar and Grille, and about half of them were in cowboy boots. Nashville locals may not wear cowboy boots all day every day, but at the same time it probably wouldn’t be uncommon to see at least a few wear them every now and then.
Should you wear cowboy boots your entire trip? Most definitely not. Your feet will likely kill you by the end of your first day. However, I can think of a few occasions where it might be nice to have a pair with you. Line dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon would be one of those scenarios.
If you want to wear cowboy boots in Nashville, I HIGHLY suggest buying cowboy boots before you go! Unless you buy the boots used, chances are you’ll need to break them in before they’re actually semi-comfortable to walk in.
The average high during the summer in Nashville is around 90°F and the low is around 68°F. If you plan to be out and about, I definitely recommend packing shorts and tank tops. Despite being summer, it also might be worth bringing a sweater, if only because some of the museums are often a little chilly inside.
You’ll also likely want to bring flip-flops or sandals as well as a bathing suit. There aren’t really any attractions that involve swimming, but there’s a good chance your hotel in Nashville will have some sort of a pool.
Since Nashville is in more of the southern part of the United States, you’ll find that the temperatures drop in the winter, but not too drastically. The average high is around 50°F with the low being around 30°F. You’ll definitely want a light jacket, some long sleeved shirts, jeans or sweatpants, and a sweatshirt. If you aren’t used to colder weather, get cold easily, or generally plan to stay out pretty late at night, I’d recommend bringing a heavy, winter jacket as well.
Spring and Fall
These are what I like to call the transition seasons. It’s around these times of the year that you see the most drastic changes in weather. At mid-day, you’ll see temperatures up in the 70’s and maybe even the 80’s, but at night you’ll see the temperatures drop into the 40’s.
For that reason, you’ll want to bring clothing that is easy to layer. It’s not uncommon for me to wear a tank top under a long sleeve shirt. This way I’ll stay warm in the cooler morning, but as the day goes on and it starts to get hotter, I can take off the long sleeve shirt and wrap it around my waist.
Camera Gear and Tech
I had to up my photography game when I started running this travel blog, but I loved taking pictures long before I started this blog. For me, smart phones and those compact digital cameras just didn’t cut it. A DSLR camera may seem intimating to some at first because they have so many more buttons, but even just using the camera on auto mode and pressing the little black button to take a picture will often take a better quality picture than what you might otherwise get on a compact digital camera. If you’re looking to get a DSLR for the first time, I recommend checking out these travel cameras.
If you’re more into photography and like to use different lenses, you can see which lenses I was glad I brought to Nashville and which ones I probably could have left at home.
Useful DSLR Lenses:
- A Standard 18-55mm Lens – This worked great for most of the photos I was looking to take in Nashville.
- A Wide Angle 10-18mm Lens – For some of the museums and historic houses, I found myself wishing I’d brought my wide angle lens so that I could capture an entire room or exhibit in one photo
- Low Aperture 50mm f/1.8 Lens – Most of the time I was way too close to things for the lens to focus, let alone in order to get that “cool blurred background” affect.
- Telephoto 75-300mm Lens – Some places only allowed media professionals to bring in telephoto lenses. For most other places, I found myself close enough to whatever I was looking at that a telephoto lens wasn’t necessary.
Of course, you don’t want to forget your phone and charger. That’s pretty much a given. However, I found that also having a portable charge was pretty useful. I used my phone quite a bit for navigation and researching various points of interest, and found that my phone would often run low on battery before the day was over. Having a good portable charger ensured that I would have a charged phone when I needed it.
Other Important Items
For every trip, I bring my essential medications and toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, travel shampoo and soap. I also bring some other commonly useful things like an umbrella, printed tickets or reservations, pens, and such.
The one thing I typically don’t bring is cash. For identity theft reasons, I pay for pretty much everything with my credit card. Plus, not having cash on me means one less thing to have to keep track of during my travels. However, I sort of regretted this during my Nashville trip. You’ll find that many of the local singers and performers often have CD’s available for purchase. Between visiting the Bluebird Café and Winner’s Bar and Grille, I found several artists that I would have loved to support, but didn’t have any cash on me to purchase their CD.