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The Tennessee capital Nashville has been the undisputed home of Country Music for more than a century. And while touring The Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame has become a rite of passage for first-time visitors, there’s much more to Music City than Taylor Swift and 10-gallon hats.Read More
We’ll start by saying that in no way should you actively avoid Nashville’s wonderful Downtown. Quite the opposite. The music that drifts from its honky tonks and bars along Lower Broadway and 2nd Avenue provides an exciting soundtrack for Downtown explorers. Its vast arenas and stadia – from Ryman Auditorium to Bridgestone – hold Mecca status for the world’s biggest Country stars and their devoted fans. Just don’t get so caught up in the toe-tapping and Dosey Doe-ing that you neglect Nashville’s culturally distinct, often overlooked other neighborhoods. Take The Gulch, for example. Sausaged between the better-known hotdog buns of Music Row and Downtown, this small bougie neighbourhood may not have the most appetising name, but it does have a collection of more than 40 interesting restaurants serving some of Nashville’s most appetising dishes. Or cross The Cumberland River on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to discover East Nashville, a progressive artsy neighborhood and supercool community of record stores, street art and boutique shopping. Don’t leave without a visit to the oddity store Hail - Dark Aesthetic, where you can pick up some antique medical apparatus or a human skull, depending on your mood. For your outdoor fix, substitute Centennial Park and Cheekwood Botanical Garden – delightful though they be – for a day’s hike in Beaman Park. Close to the border in the northwest corner of Davidson County, the park’s green ridges and clear creeks feel a world away from the city’s boisterous honky tonks, despite being a mere 25-minute drive from Music City Center. Bar hop your way through Midtown; splash some cash in fancy Green Hills; chat with the locals at the Donelson farmers market or compare shoes with the fashionistas of 12 South. Hell, embark on a 10-day Dixie-whistling tourist-athon in Downtown. The choice is yours. But our advice is to do it all.