Nashville Destination Guide
From its first national broadcast of a country music radio show in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry music tradition began. The show became a weekly ratings hit around the country and through the decades Nashville became one of the worlds music epicentres, eventually earning the nickname Music City U.S.A. Today that moniker is indisputable as Nashville is filled with some of the most iconic music stages in the world. This genteel city on the banks of the Cumberland River is filled with great music venues and its rhythmic atmosphere is intoxicating even for those who might not consider themselves fans of country music. Of course there’s a lot more to Nashville, but country music is this city’s soul.
Nashville is a city filled with great music and fascinating history and much of it can be seen right in the downtown area. Even if you’re not interested in country music the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum offer great tours and a revealing glimpse into America’s musical past. The city’s stunning symphony hall is nearby and well worth a visit to hear the Nashville Symphony Orchestra play. Of course The Grand Ole Opry is a Music City tradition and this iconic venue located east of the city is near the equally famous Opryland Hotel. And no visit to Nashville would be complete without a stop at one of the honky-tonk bars along Broadway and Second Avenue where great acts perform daily. Many of these bars are where Nashville’s biggest stars got their start. The Greek Revival Tennessee state capitol building overlooks the city from atop Capitol Hill where wonderful city views can be enjoyed. This impressive building is over 160 years old and daily tours are offered. Three U.S. presidents came from Nashville and one fascinating look into presidential history is at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation home just east of the city. From downtown, just south of Broadway, take a walk over the Cumberland River on one of the worlds longest pedestrian bridges, the historic Shelby Street Bridge built in 1909. This great span offers magnificent city views and leads to a lovely riverfront park and to LP Field where Nashville’s NFL team the Tennessee Titans play.
The city’s most popular live music scene is on Second Avenue and along Broadway. The bars here offer a great atmosphere filled with live music, dancing and fun loving crowds. There are many restaurants to choose from in this area and there’s even a little Rock'n'Roll mixed in at Nashville’s Hard Rock Café. If you’re after more of a quiet and refined atmosphere try Tennessee’s finest hotel, the historic Hermitage Hotel. The hotel’s Capitol Grille has some of the best fried green tomatoes found anywhere. Nashville’s West End neighbourhood has many top notch restaurants and bars situated not far from Vanderbilt University.
Where to Stay
Nashville has some iconic hotel choices. Two renowned downtown choices are the immaculate Hermitage Hotel and the equally impressive Union Station Hotel. Union Station served as the city’s train terminal when it opened in 1900. The clever redesign has transformed it into a marvellous hotel. Several other mid-range and high-end branded hotels are located downtown. One interesting choice outside the city is the famous Opryland Hotel, located right next door to the Grand Ole Opry. Known for its beautiful indoor gardens, wide selection of restaurants and shops and a resort style atmosphere, this is a great place to visit even if not staying at the hotel.
If you’re looking for Country and Western fashions, then downtown’s Broadway and Second Avenue is the place to shop. The area features lots of great specialty stores filled with all the gear, from cowboy hats and leather boots to belt buckle’s and leather jackets and more. For traditional shopping and popular retail outlets, much of this is located outside the city. One of the most popular malls is Green Hills. Located on the southwest edge of downtown and near the upscale neighbourhood of Belle Meade, Green Hills features all the luxury brands and top department stores. Another popular choice is Cool Springs Galleria in Franklin. This inviting shopping centre is Tennessee’s largest and contains all the popular brand name stores plus five department stores. There are many great restaurants in and around both of these shopping centres.
Nashville Like a Local
There is a lot to do in this city and Nashvillians enjoy their city as much as the tourists. Many locals live here precisely because of the music and they can often be found in the local entertainment venues tapping their feet to the latest country tunes or enjoying a summer day at an outdoor concert. Outdoor recreation is top on their list and Nashville is blessed with great parks for hiking and for spotting the local wildlife. Percy Priest Lake, Warner Park and the Harpeth River State Park just outside the city are all stunning landscapes and city residents flock to these areas. Nashvillians are sports lovers too and during football season they cheer the Tennessee Titans, their hometown NFL team. City residents hit the local malls for shopping but they also enjoy the many quaint and historic small towns in the area. Franklin is one of those delightful little cities with an adorable downtown area filled with great little shops and boutiques, cozy cafes and country style restaurants. Franklin is also rich in history and features many historic sites related to the American Civil War.