Country Music Hall of Fame / (c) nola.agent / Flickr
Many people visit Nashville to enjoy live country music and chow down on the finest southern cuisine in the country. While Nashville is definitely notorious for country songs and delicious grub, it has so much more to offer than that! These ten hot spots are the best places to go if you want the most authentic Nashville experience possible.
Check Out the Country Music Hall of Fame
If you’re planning to visit Music City to learn more about the country music scene, then visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must. With exhibits on older country artists such as Johnny Cash to more contemporary entertainers like Carrie Underwood, the Country Music Hall of Fame provides a lush history of some of Nashville’s finest country stars. The walls are lined with CDs of the many musicians who have earned followings due to their immense vocal and instrumental talents.
Nashville nightlife is quite lively, especially down Broadway, the main street downtown. Here, you’ll see horses pulling people in carriages and you can bar hop between the honky-tonks that line the streets. While you listen to music by the city’s aspiring songwriters, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on the block.
The Wildhorse Saloon may be a live music venue, but it’s also the best place in Nashville to go for a night of line dancing. Even if you’re a beginner, there are professionals present every night to teach the crowd dance steps. Whether you go to watch your favorite band or to learn a few new moves, the Wildhorse Saloon is a fun place to go!
Want to see where former president Andrew Jackson spent many years? The Hermitage, which was a plantation owned by Jackson, tells the story of his life and has been restored with many of his original belongings. The Hermitage is a National Historic Landmark, and Jackson is buried on the grounds of it next to his beloved wife, Rachel.
Amazing food, great company and a warm welcome are what you’ll find at Monell’s Restaurant. This eatery has family-style dining, so you get to enjoy your meal among the presence of strangers — but in a town like Nashville, those strangers often become new friends. The dining experience at Monell’s is unique, and you will definitely not leave hungry! The menu, which has a new theme each day, includes fried chicken, hot southern vegetables, drinks, desserts and biscuits.
It’s hard to spend time at Centennial Park and feel anything but relaxed. Between the gorgeous greenery, the beautiful scenery and the sense of community, the park is more than just a place to have a picnic. In the warmer months, many families enjoy feeding the birds in the pond, walking the hiking trails and going for bike rides; there’s also an entertainment stage and a playground for children to enjoy. Be sure to watch out for the squirrels that like to try and join visitors for lunch!
One of the oldest and most well-known places to hear live music is the historic Bluebird Cafe. The small space hosts songwriter nights on a regular basis and usually has a long line out the door. Some of country music’s greatest talent, including Taylor Swift, have been discovered at The Bluebird Cafe. Its popular listening room was also featured on the ABC show Nashville, in 2012.
On any given day, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be a line out the door at Pancake Pantry. Wait times for getting into the restaurant can be as long as an hour, and people love it so much, that not even rain or snow can stop them from dining there. This brunch spot is known for its diverse selection of pancake flavors, but it also includes a full menu of breakfast and lunch foods. Local celebrities such as Keith Urban allegedly stop by for a serving of the Caribbean pancakes, too; it’s just that good!
Many college students and young professionals frequent the Hillsboro Village area. With a variety of small shops and restaurants, this hip part of town is where people go to check out businesses geared towards millennials. There’s the bohemian boutique, Pangaea, the used bookstore, Bookman/Bookwoman, and the artsy coffee shop Fido all waiting for you to explore.
Catch a Show at The Grand Ole Opry
You haven’t experienced the fullness of Nashville until you’ve been to a show at the Grand Ole Opry House. Since 1925, the venue has long been a country music stage where performers young and old have entertained audiences. Even if you can’t make it to a concert, the venue does backstage tours, giving you the opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of professional music artists. There’s also a retail store for you to snag some souvenirs from your visit.