My Best of Music City USA | Nashville, TN

View of Nashville from John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Hot, hot, hot. Hot chicken, hot weather, hot job market…this city is hot in every way!

With so many Americans forgoing international travel well into 2021, American parks, cities and towns are more popular than ever among starved and thirsty travelers, and Nashville has something for them all. In fact, Nashville has replaced Las Vegas as the number one bachelorette party destination, and you’re sure to run into more than one person celebrating a milestone birthday.

Not a country music lover? Don’t own a pair of cowgirl boots? Never heard of Music Row? FEAR NOT! Nashville residents are some of the friendliest you’ll find anywhere and they’re sure to make you feel welcome, even if you have no idea who George Straight or Barbara Mandrell are.

Get ready to immerse yourself in one of the world’s premiere live music destinations.

One of Nashville’s many murals

Where to Stay? Apartment rentals and hotels alike are good choices for lodging. I recommend you stay within a half mile of lower Broadway, Honky Tonk Central. I rented an apartment on Airbnb and stayed at the boutique Bobby Hotel —both excellent choices.

Getting Around? With the price of car rentals through the roof thanks to inventory sell off during the pandemic, and parking hassles, you don’t need to rent one. Uber and Lyft are great options as well as cab service into town from the airport. If you’re in the downtown zone you’ll be able to see much of what’s on offer on foot.

The Great Outdoors? There are so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and the water in Nashville. I can’t made an recommendations as I didn’t spend my time this way, but you certainly can.

Lobby of the Bobby Hotel

DAY ONE

Lane Motor Museum

If you fly into Nashville and arrive on the early side as we did, catch a ride to Lane Motor Museum, housed in the former Sunbeam Bakery at 702 Murfreesboro Pike. It’s a fascinating collection of eclectic motorized vehicles as well as a trip through time.

Once you settle in, chill out at the swanky new Twelve Thirty Club [550 Broadway] and fuel up with food, drink and live music, of course.

[HOT TIP: If you rented an apartment consider popping into Whole Foods [1202 Broadway] for provisions. Alcoholic beverages available there too.]

The Listening Room Cafe

If I only had one night in Nashville, I would spend it at The Listening Room [618 4th Ave. S]. Pre-buy your ticket online, show up and prepare to be blown away by the talent. There’s also a $15 minimum per person food or beverage purchase, so take a look at the menu and either book a show time and eat there, or dine out before or after elsewhere.

A fun place for a drink and some corn hole is the hanger sized Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine [6th and Peabody] also home to Yee Haw Beer. Try the moonshine tasting.

DAY TWO

After my favorite morning oatmilk latte we found breakfast at Frothy Monkey [several locations] with solid options for vegans and vegetarians, not common in Nashville. If you’re okay with waiting in line, another option is the famous Biscuit Love, as sinfully good as you’d imagine.

Having been the the Acropolis, I really wanted to see Nashville’s Parthenon in Centennial Park. Built in 1876 to celebrate Tennessee’s 100th year of statehood, it is the world’s only exact-size and detail replica of the original temple in Athens, Greece. Pretty impressive since most of the original Parthenon doesn’t exist! Here, you can see what it would have looked like when it was intact in 432BC Greece.

Two fun neighborhoods nearby to grab and bite and shop around are Hillsboro and 12 South. On Caruthers in 12 South you’ll find an outpost of the amazing Five Daughter’s Bakery, home to the MOST delicious donuts you’ll ever eat, unlike any you’ve ever eaten before. Chocolate Sea Salt was our favorite. Gluten-free versions too! Our favorite shop? The bargain hunter paradise UAL, designer brands up to 90% off.

Rest up for dinner at Adele’s [1210 Mcgavock Street] in the Gulch. Seasonal, local comfort food in a relaxed yet chic atmosphere. Make advanced reservations if possible.

DAY THREE

At some point, head to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum [222 5th Avenue S] to learn the entire history of the country music genre. It’s well done, and I recommend the audio guide. There are also interactive and special exhibits and an extensive permanent collection.

While you’re there you can visit and buy a souvenir from Hatch Show Print, the legendary letterpress creating limited run poster’s since 1879.

When you get hungry try Bakersfield [201 3rd Ave. S] Known for two of my favorites—tacos and tequila. Make advanced reservations if possible.

Take in a performance at the Grand Ole Opry which began as a radio show in 1925. It’s still being broadcast but only those in the house actually see the set changes between performances. It’s like a variety show with an MC so you’ll see several acts.

Check the schedule since they are not open every night of the week and purchase advanced tickets online. I bought tickets months in advance, before the lineup was announced, and we happened to see the fabulous Carrie Underwood! Truthfully, every performer was terrific and it was a sold out crowd.

[HOT TIP: If you take Uber or Lyft, know that the venue is about 12 miles outside downtown Nashville. Directly adjacent is a kind of shopping mall, which seems rather strange. Also be prepared to wait a bit after the show for someone to come pick you up. Each ride averaged $30.]

DAY FOUR

Time to hit the Honky Tonk Highway!

Consider starting at Acme Feed & Seed [101 Broadway] at the far end of Broadway. Check out Acme’s lineup for live music, order a bite and a brew and grad an open seat. The shrimp and grits were goooooood.

My favorite was Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge showcasing talent since 1960, but you can pop in and out of as many as you can jam into the time you have. Some of the venues are open to those number 21 before a certain time, but they vary. Just ask the bouncers.

Nudie’s boasts the longest bar in Nashville and you can discover his true identity at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum!

FOR NEXT TIME

There were a few places on my list I didn’t get to. Good thing since my first and second visits to Nashville won’t be my last.

  • Ryman Auditorium [116 5th Ave. N]
  • Johnny Cash Museum [119 3rd Ave. S]
  • Pinewood Social [33 Peabody Street] was mentioned by more than one person I met who’d been as a place you can visit with kids under 21. I recommend making a reservation online to bowl or to eat so you are guaranteed a spot!
  • Turnip Truck [321 12th Avenue S]
  • The Pancake Pantry with a line almost as long as their menu of pancakes [1796 21st Ave S]
  • Jeni’s Ice Creams Scoop Shop [Nationwide and Several Locations in Nashville] Dairy free options too
  • Jane’s On Top [209 Printer’s Alley] late night food, drinks and music, this is an over 21 crowd, so I was unable to visit with my teenage son. The entrance isn’t conspicuous, but if you ask someone they’ll right kindly point the way.
  • Nashville has some of the best public art I’ve seen anywhere. Hunt for these amazing murals.

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