Nashville

Nashville is the gateway to Tennessee and acknowledged as Music City USA. Opryland is just around the bend in the Cumberland River, and Nashville itself boasts many great music venues including the Ryman Auditorium and Wildhorse Saloon. The city has all the excitement and bustle of the state capital, combined with an atmosphere and warmth that’s unmistakable of the South. Alongside the music, there are museums, galleries, and historic monuments. And of course scores of shops, bars, and restaurants where you can soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant, welcoming city.

Stroll downtown Nashville and you’ll find an elegant, southern city at ease with its past, from dark country music bars to whitewashed plantation homes. You’ll also find a city looking to the future, somewhere that has blossomed as a destination without casting aside its history.

Music is at its very heart, and yet there’s so much more…museums and galleries, towering monuments and rolling parks, shopping malls and restaurants galore.

Still, this is the world’s capital of Country music and isn’t afraid to shout it out – and let you know that Country isn’t just sequins and big hair. You’ll hear everything from cool Fifties Rockabilly to modern Rock, all with that unmistakable Country tinge.

Food and drink are high on the Nashville menu, whether breakfast at Pancake Pantry – favoured by Garth Brooks – or the New York deli-style Noshville, real beer at any one of a number of brewpubs, or dinner at posh nouvelle spots such as the Sunset Grille or old Nashville favourite Jimmy Kelly’s. Music, like the weather, is exceptional year-round: In spring stars such as Bob Dylan play free riverbank concerts, in June the city comes alive with Fan Fair as dozens of country stars converge for shows while in October the Country Music Association awards week is a frenzy.

The centre point is a 16-block entertainment area known as The District, home to a huge Hard Rock Cafe, the Wildhorse Saloon dancehall – line dancing a speciality – the blues clubs of Printers’ Alley, the church-like Ryman Auditorium – original venue of the Grand Ole Opry radio show, established in 1925 – and Gruhn Guitars (a guitar shop but a show in itself as browsers pick up the vintage instruments).

Don’t Miss….

  • A stroll up the relaxed, leafy Midtown district, past bars, and restaurants.
  • Like the opulent Wild Boar, and the Great Escape second-hand record and comic shop.
  • A Saturday night hopping between the bands at Robert’s and Tootsies on Lower Broadway.
  • The Grand Ole Opry for country music how it used to be played.
  • Catch a performance each and every Friday and Saturday evening.
  • A look round at least one of Nashville’s grand mansions.
  • The Hermitage, once home to Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, even has a guitar-shaped drive.
  • A stylish lunch (and maybe a drop of moonshine) listening to free music in the airy atrium of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
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