Just because you don’t love the sounds of country music doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love with Nashville. Although it’s considered country music headquarters, there’s plenty to see and do that have nothing to do with the twangy genre.
1. Visit one of the other live music venues.
[Source: Denise Mattox—Flickr]
This is Music City, but the name doesn’t just refer to the Grand Ole Opry and other honky tonks scattered around the city. Home to more than 100 live music venues, ranging from rock to jazz to hip hop, everyone can enjoy their own kind of show. Some of Nashville’s best live music venues include 12th and Porter and The Basement.
2. Eat a Nashville specialty.
[Source: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Facebook]
Hot chicken, breaded, fried and coated in cayenne and other spices, is a local specialty of Nashville. And the two places to test your hot level are Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. The first is the most-visited joint among tourists serving up the juiciest chicken and delicious cobbler, and the second is the hot chicken originator that sticks to tradition, serving theirs up on two slices of white bread with pickles on top. Whether you choose one or both, just remember these birds bite back.
3. Find your new favorite beer.
[Source: Blackstone Brewing Company Facebook]
In the last several years, Nashville is becoming quite the beer drinker’s destination. There are more than 20 craft breweries located here, but a few local favorites are the Blackstone Brewery Taphouse, the oldest craft brewery in Nashville; Yazoo Brewing Company, serving the best American porter and beer breads; and Jackalope Brewing Company, a unique name that complements their unique beer and line of soaps made from their beer and hops.
4. Tour a historic plantation.
[Source: Anthony Jones—Flickr]
A trip to the South isn’t complete without touring a plantation, and Belle Meade Plantation is the one to visit in Nashville. It’s been a part of Nashville history since the early 1800s, back when John Harding first bought the 200 acres of land. Belle Meade, meaning beautiful meadow, later became a horse farm, and today you can tour the spectacular Greek-Revival mansion, horse stable, gardens and end your visit with a free wine tasting at the winery.
5. Canoe or kayak down the Harpeth River.
[Source: Mark B.—Flickr]
If your travels take you to Nashville on a warm day, rent a canoe or kayak and float down the Harpeth River. This winding, Class 1 river is slower moving and scenic, making it the perfect way to spend a nice, leisurely day.
6. See the world in a different way.
The vision of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is to help people look at the world in new ways. And with its unique rotating exhibitions from various international and domestic artists, it does just that. Spend an hour perusing its current collection and see why this Nashville art museum is important to the city’s culture.
7. Learn the role Tennessee played in the American Civil War.
For all you history buffs, the Tennessee State Museum is your idea of afternoon fun. Featuring more than 60,000 square feet of permanent exhibits and nearly 10,000 square feet of an altering exhibition hall, it’s a great way to learn about the state’s history, especially Tennessee’s role in the Civil War. Look back through the past as you view old weapons and uniforms, Native American handiworks, frontier paintings and furniture and other historical artifacts.
8. Take a scenic drive through history.
Continue your adventure through history by driving The Natchez Trace Parkway. This 444-mile long drive, starting in Nashville and ending in Natchez, Mississippi, is surrounded with beautiful scenery and 10,000 years of Native American history. Besides taking a scenic drive, you can also go biking, hiking and horseback riding, with plenty of places to stop at and things to see along your travels.
Where to Stay
301 Union St.
This downtown hotel puts you near many of Nashville’s hottest attractions. It also brings its own unique charm through original travertine flooring, a library and a speakeasy-type lounge that features local artists every night of the week.
1808 West End Ave.
Another downtown hotel that’s close to numerous things to do, the Hutton Hotel has a great in-house bar and restaurant, friendly staff and comfortable rooms with great city views.
2100 West End Ave.
At the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel you get personalized service and a comfortable stay inside a beautiful contemporary hotel. This hotel is perfect whether you’re traveling alone on business, with family or with a pet.