Everything You Need to Do in Nashville This Weekend

Between Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin and Music City Food + Wine Festival downtown, Nashvillians better thank their lucky stars they already live here because hotels are gonna be packed tighter than a tick in a dog’s ear -- with corresponding crazy-high prices. That’s not to even mention all those crazy LSU fans descending on Music City to watch their team play at Vanderbilt and drink our fair city dry. If not of that sounds appealing, remember that you can always just eat your way through Nashville.

Get wild with the wild animals at the Nashville Zoo

Thursday, September 19
Nashville Zoo
Sunset Safari is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, and it’s your chance to stroll the grounds with a drink and food from more than 50 local restaurants while peeking at the nighttime activities of many of the zoo’s denizens. Considering most of the animals are nocturnal, it’s the most action you’ll get out of them all year.
Cost: $150-$250

Overindulge at the Music City Food + Wine Festival

Friday, September 20 - Sunday, September 22
Various venues downtown
It’s the biggest foodie weekend of the year as the annual Music City Food + Wine Festival comes back to town with two days of tasting tents in Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park on Friday and Saturday along with cooking demos and panel discussions featuring local and nationally known chefs. Saturday is Harvest Night with an even fancier tasting event and a concert from a group of Chicago blues music legends. Sunday morning’s Gospel Brunch will offer an opportunity to atone for your gluttony on the first two days of the fest.
Cost: $165-$525

Party at the ballpark at Brewfest

Friday, September 20
First Tennessee Park
Now that the Nashville Sounds season is over, First Tennessee Park is free to host the fifth Annual Nashville Brew Fest with more than 150 local and regional brews on tap along with food from some of your favorite vendors. There will also be live music and games to divert attendees between pours, so drink, drink, drink for the home team!
Cost: $45-$60

Drink rosé all day at the Blush Bash!

Friday, September 20
Green Door Gourmet
All hail the pink drink at this evening of wine, cocktails, canapes, and live music that’s a fundraiser for CORE, a non-profit that supports families in the food and beverage industry navigating life-altering circumstances. Several local chefs are kicking in for the cause by hosting a multicultural potluck dinner before the serious late-night partying begins.
Cost: $165

Enjoy an urban oasis on Nashville Park(ing) Day

Friday, September 20
Parking spaces all over town
This event calls attention to the need for more urban public space by inviting local citizens, artists, and activists to collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into precious little urban parks by laying down strips of artificial turf and equipping them with sofas, chairs, and anything else to make them comfortable hangout spaces. All you have to do is maybe put another coin in the meter to extend your stay.
Cost: Free

Experience the biggest music fest of the year with Pilgrimage

Saturday, September 21 - Sunday, September 22
The Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin
Pray for better weather, because last year’s Pilgrimage Music Festival was a total wash-out. That means this year is due to be awesome with entertainment from major artists such as Foo Fighters, The Killers, Keith Urban, and more over the course of the two-day concert. Food, drink, and crafts vendors ring the festival grounds and its multiple stages, so there should be plenty to keep you busy in addition to the jam-packed performance schedule.
Cost: $145-$675

Get a head start on Oktoberfest at Craft Brewed

Saturday, September 21
Craft Brewed
Already known as a bit of a clubhouse gathering spot for serious beer lovers, Craft Brewed is the logical locale to celebrate the official first day of Oktoberfest with an afternoon of German beers, local festbiers, pretzels, bratwursts, and a live stream of Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s free to attend, and you can buy food and drink tickets in advance at the link above.
Cost: Free

Be a better you at the Wellness Block Party

Saturday, September 21
LC Germantown
If you’ve visited The Goat in Germantown, you understand what this lifestyle community is all about. If not, this is the perfect chance for them to introduce themselves and demonstrate their commitment to healthy lifestyles with a day of free public workouts, yoga, and a trade show featuring vendors of wellness products and services. After all that goodness, you can celebrate an early Happy Hour at The Goat restaurant and bar starting at 2pm, featuring live music and drink specials.
Cost: Free

Get a skillet full of learning about Southern food culture

Saturday, September 21
Tennessee State Museum
As part of the programming associated with their big “Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food” exhibition, the Tennessee State Museum has invited some special guests for a conversation about Southern food, heritage, and culture. City House chef Tandy Wilson will be joined by author Erin Byers Murray and Keitlyn Alcantara of Vanderbilt University for what should prove to be a tasty talk.
Cost: Free, but RSVP at the link above

Cheer on the Preds at their home preseason opener

Saturday, September 21 
Bridgestone Arena
The Nashville Predators begin their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup with this preseason tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which is sure to feature some young stars from both teams. It’s worth it just to experience a little chill from the ice while we wait for fall to arrive. Since it’s just preseason, tickets are cheap and plentiful. 
Cost: $10 and up

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Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.