The Weekendist: 4th Of July Edition

It’s a holiday! And a long weekend! And… exploding things! Here are our top picks for 4th of July fun, and be sure to let us know if we’ve missed anything in the comments. We’ll see you on Tuesday!


  • General Jackson Showboat 25th Anniversary Celebration. Riverfront park, 8pm, free. Get a head start on the fireworks by heading downtown tonight at 8pm for a free Chuck Wicks concert, followed by fireworks. It’ll be less crowded than downtown on the 4th, but you’ll still get the thrill of seeing giant exploding things and country singers crooning on the river.
  • Summer Celebration & Fireworks. Lipscomb University, 4:30-10pm, free. Lipscomb has fireworks plans of their own tonight after a fun day of inflatable bouncy things, Chick-fil-a and very family-friendly music. Come down early with the kids to enjoy the games and food, or show up at 9pm for the, ahem, “Professionally designed fireworks display.”
  • Dive-in Movie: Independence Day. Nashville Shores, 8:30pm, regular admission prices apply. Swim up to the shore of Percy Priest Lake at Nashville Shores and watch the only movie fit for such a weekend: Independence Day.
  • Nashville Sounds v. New Orleans Zephyrs. Greer Stadium, 7pm, regular ticket prices apply. Baseball and beer… Happy Independence Day! The Sounds take on the Z’s tonight hoping to win the second of this three-game series, and they need you there to cheer them on. If you can’t make it tonight, try tomorrow instead!


  • First Saturday Art Crawl. Downtown art galleries, 6-9pm, free. This weekend isn’t all fireworks and red-and-blue food coloring (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things). Nashville’s monthly First Saturday Art Crawl is happening tomorrow, because it’s the first Saturday of the month and all, so use your handy-dandy list of road closures to figure out how to get there, and enjoy some good art.
  • Red, White and Zoo. Nashville Zoo, 11am-4pm, regular admission prices apply, hot dog buffet is $10. Face-painting, fun festival games, a pie eatin’ contest, fresh watermelon and an unlimited hot dog buffet (yes, you heard that right) are just a few of the things the Nashville Zoo has up their sleeve for their 4th of July bash.
  • A Prelude to the 4th. Riverfront park, 12pm-10pm, free. Scraping the bottom of the event-names barrel (was “Pregaming the 4th” not available?), downtown Nashville continues to host a weekend-long celebration. Yes, there will be more country music – Julianne Hough will perform a free concert at 8pm, and then more fireworks! And it’s not even the 4th yet!


  • Fourth of July Music City 5K/10K. Country Music Hall of Fame, 7am, $35. If waking up early on a holiday weekend and going for a run is your idea of fun, well, more power to you! Register in advance online to save a few bucks, or register in-person the morning of (that means you’ll have to wake up earlier).
  • Music City Hot Chicken Festival. East Park (700 Woodland Street), 12-5pm, free. It wouldn’t be the 4th of July in Nashville without the Music City Hot Chicken Festival, now in its fourth year. The really crazy truly dedicated hot chicken fans will start lining up early, because the first 500 people get free hot chicken and a free hot sunburn (as experienced by one of your Nashvillest editors last year)!  Hot chicken is kind of a big deal in Nashville.
  • National Hot Dog Month Kick Off Party. Mercy Lounge, 7pm, $5/21+, $8/18-20. Well, nothing says “independence” like hot dogs, right? Something like that. The first 300 people get a free hot dog, a bunch of bands are playing, and we hear that the Mercy Lounge’s patio has a view of the fireworks (we’d just like to see 300 people – and their hot dogs – fit on it).
  • Franklin on the Fourth. Historic downtown Franklin, 12-10pm, free. Franklin’s 4th of July street festival is one of our favorites, combining food, music, artisan street vendors and of course fireworks for an all-day shindig. Great for the kids with plenty of tasty treats to eat and no shortage of fun. Catch Franklin’s fireworks display from the Park at Harlinsdale, opening just for the occasion, or try your luck at finding a good spot on top of a parking garage.
  • Brentwood’s 4th of July Celebration. Crockett Park, 7:30pm, free. For a less-intense fireworks experience, head south to our neighbors in Brentwood. They’ll have a fireworks display of their own at 9pm, and free musical entertainment throughout the night. It’s a great celebration for the kids!
  • Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing! Riverfront Park, 12-10pm, free. Last but not least, the 4th of July celebration that we really don’t need to tell you about because you already know! Nashville pulls out all the stops on the 4th, with free concerts all day leading up to the evening’s headlining acts: the Nashville Symphony, Julianne Hough, Jaci Velasquez and Trace Adkins. Oh, and fireworks. Don’t forget the Family Fun Zone, open all day with attractions like the Musical Petting Zoo!

Photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker.

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