Nashville is most famous for its association with country music, but it has quite a bit to offer in other ways as well. It’s a great spot if you want to experience authentic southern cooking as well as explore some of the history of the south. That said, most of the city’s most popular attractions are music-related.
Highlights of Nashville
- Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum -If you’re a fan of country music, you’ll surely have to make a pilgrimage to this museum, which is full of artifacts and exhibits highlighting the exciting history of this American musical genre.
- The Hermitage -If you’re an enthusiast of history or architecture, you’ll want to visit The Hermitage, which was the home of President Andrew Jackson. This is one of the largest and most impressive presidential homes you can visit, with more than 1000 acres of home, exhibits and property to explore.
- Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum - A landmark and museum that celebrates the city’s early history. If you’re interested in antiques, architecture and furnishings from the early to mid-1800s, you’ll love this museum.
- Radnor Lake State Park -This is a place of natural beauty and tranquility right in the middle of Nashville and can provide a good respite from all the sites. You can take hikes, ride in a canoe, walk your dog or go bird watching.
- Ryman Hall -This is a famous and historic concert hall that still holds performances regularly. It’s best known as being the home of the Grand Ole Opry.
- The District/Downtown Nashville -This is the neighborhood for walking, shopping, exploring and finding places to eat, drink and shop. If you’re looking for a pub with live music, you could spend months here and go to a different place every night.
- Boat Tours -Several companies in Nashville let you see this beautiful city while riding in various types of boats. Delta River Flatboat Tours at Opryland Hotel offers traditional riverboat rides. If you want a more active experience in the water, you can go paddleboarding at Nashville Paddle Company or Paddle Up. River Queen Voyages rents kayaks and offers river tours as well.
Dining and Nightlife
From burgers and seafood to authentic southern BBQ, Nashville offers plenty of dining options. There are also more exotic and contemporary choices.
- Etch Restaurant, on 3rd Avenue/Demonbreun Street, has a great reputation for serving amazing traditional and contemporary American and International dishes, from Thai chicken to venison to steaks made from Argentinian beef. They are open for lunch and dinner.
- For fantastic southern style cooking at breakfast, lunch or dinner, try the appropriately named The Southern, on 3rd Avenue South, where you can get seafood, burgers, pork chops, pancakes, fried egg sandwiches and much more.
- Nashville isn’t the place you’d expect to find a first rate vegetarian restaurant, but there is one here —The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant on Eastland Ave., which offers delicacies such as tofu scramble, lentil loaf, seitan and veggie Reubens and tacos.
- Every city has at least one famous pizza place. In Nashville, this distinction goes to Joey’s House of Pizza on Elm Hill Pike, whose motto is simple and to the point: “A pizzeria with a passion for pizza.” The owner, Joey, is a Brooklyn native who took his pizza-making skills to Nashville in 1999. Take note: they are only open from 11 to 3 weekdays.
For a good sampling of Nashville nightlife, take the Music City Pub Crawl, which will introduce you to some of the area’s liveliest pubs and nightspots. You might also visit the Grand Ole Opry, Schermerhorn Symphony Center or Tennessee Performing Arts Center for some first rate entertainment.
Where to Stay
You can stay in modern luxury hotels, historic inns, homey B & B’s or economy motels -it all depends on your preferences and budget.
At the upper end of the spectrum, you have places such as Omni Nashville Hotel on 5th Avenue South, with contemporary decor or the Hermitage Hotel on 6th Avenue North, which is more historic in its ambiance. Hilton Nashville Downtown is another choice if you want to stay in an elegant hotel with a convenient downtown location.
If you’re budget minded and want to save money to enjoy Nashville’s attractions, you also have some good choices, including Club-Hotel Nashville Inn & Suites on Atrium Way, only about 15 minutes from downtown or GuestHouse Inn & Suites Nashville/Music Valley, an old but still charming hotel close to Grand Ole Opry.
If you prefer a B & B, some of your choices include 1501 Linden Manor Bed and Breakfast, a historic mansion 10 minutes from downtown, whose address is in its name and The Big Bungalow B&B on Fatherland Street, also close to downtown.
If it’s a campsite you’re seeking, you can stay at Two Rivers Campground, quite close to the Gaylord Old Opry and Opry Mills. It has amenities such as bathhouses, WiFi, a swimming pool and playground.