Nashville, also known as Music City, is the home of country music and one of my favourite places to visit. There’s music everywhere you turn.
Some people might have seem the country-music television drama Nashville filmed in and around the city for six seasons since 2012. This may be one of the reasons a record 14.5 million people visited Nashville in 2017. We actually met actors from the show, Lennon Stella and Aubrey Peeples.
Nashville is nicknamed “Music City” for a reason, but it’s the atmosphere, food, shopping and the Southern charm that keeps people coming back. Having visited twice, I stayed at the Downtown Nashville Hostel on both occasions because of its great facilities and central location along the Cumberland Riverfront. It is also a historic warehouse that was built in the 1800’s and has been renovated over the years, opening in 2005.
Here is my list of the top 10 things you have to do in the land of Elvis and Dolly.
1. TAKE A WALK DOWN BROADWAY
First things first, take a walk down Broadway to get your bearings and get into the Honky Tonk spirit, starting at the Honky Tonk Highway, where there’s music all day, every day. It’s not only country music that’s played, you’ll hear rock, blues and pop music too.
2. VISIT THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM
A short walk from downtown Nashville, you will find the Country Music Hall of Fame. Two hours should be enough to explore and record a cover single of Love Story at the Taylor Swift recording booth. Take longer if you’re going to take part in the Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest working letterpress poster shops, which I’d thoroughly recommend. Although booking isn’t required, to make sure you get entry at the time you would like you can book in advance here.
There is an additional tour run by the Country Music Hall of Fame at the Historic RCA Studio B. If you love Elvis you have to go here, considering he recorded more music here than anywhere else. If you did also want to visit Elvis’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee it’s roughly a 3 hour trip in the car, but it’s definitely worth it.
3. BRUNCH AT PINEWOOD SOCIAL
A short walk outside of the busy centre, you’ll find the Pinewood Social. It is the perfect combo of brunch, cocktails and bowling, and was recommended by locals. There is even a pool and they have a movie night on the last Tuesday of every month.
4. TAKE A TOUR OF THE JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM
For all the Johnny Cash fans, visiting this museum is a must. It features the largest collection of Johnny Cash artefacts in the world. The museum celebrates the musician’s life through the decades. It will make you want to watch Walk the Line, or re watch if you have already. Its open 7 days a week and costs $20. Skip the queue when you purchase your ticket online beforehand.
5. SPEND AN EVENING AT THE BLUEBIRD CAFE
Some might recognise this from the show Nashville. If you don’t, this small 90 seat venue is a great opportunity to get up close to some of Nashville’s best songwriters with the likes of Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes , and Taylor Swift all having played there before.
A typical nightly performance consists of a few songwriters seated in the centre of the room, or sometimes on the stage, taking turns playing their songs and accompanying each other instrumentally and with vocals.
If you’re quick enough, there are 20 available tables in the small venue available to book online. Tickets come out the week before each show normally at 8am CST. The FAQ page is very helpful with guidance on booking your ticket. Check the website for more information. However, if you don’t manage to get one of the advanced online tickets, be prepared to head over and wait outside the venue 2-3 hours before the show begins. This way you might be able to get one of the 10-12 first-come, first-served seats available at the door only.
A lot of people don’t realise that the Bluebird Café is located in a small strip mall about 15 minutes car drive from of downtown Nashville.
6. VISIT THE BELLE MEADE PLATATION
The Belle Meade Plantation is a beautiful country mansion and estate situated 20 minutes drive outside of downtown Nashville. It was built in 1807 and is an opportunity to learn about Tennessee’s Victorian architecture as well as the history of the family and slaves that worked there over the years.
7. WATCH A SHOW AT THE GRAND OLE OPRY
Another must visit for those coming to Nashville. One of Nashville’s longest running shows, the Grand Ole Opry started as a radio broadcast in 1925, and today it’s a live music concert where multiple country artists play in the one night. There are performances every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Advanced booking is required for these shows.
8. GO LINE DANCING
Grab your cowboys boots on and head down to the Wild Horse Saloon. Check the schedule here.
I hope this blog has inspired you to visit Nashville and experience its southern charm for yourself. Next time I want to go CMA Festival! Has anyone been? Any tips let me know in the comments below.