Music city. The land that never sleeps. The city where hustle is ever present. The streets that have a vibrant energy and a honky tonk spirit that seems to live and breathe.
Jason Aldean perfectly describes Nashville in his hit song ‘Crazy Town’. He sings, ‘It’s a crazy town full of neon dreams, everybody plays everybody sings, Hollywood with a touch of twang, to be a star you gotta bang bang bang’.
Walking down Broadway in my well worn cowboy boots, it only takes ten or so steps for new songs to rise through the storefronts and fill the street. The passion in musicians’ songs is undeniable, as they share their souls through their performance. The atmosphere music creates in Nashville is simply charming. It’s clear that music is a key to live in this Southern city.
Nashville has a hub for everyone to love; whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, a creative spirit and wanderer, someone just looking for a good time, or of course, a music lover – Nashville has a spot for you!
For the MUSIC LOVER:
Nashville is home to the legendary venues such as The Bluebird Café, The Ryman Auditorium, and The Grand Ole Opry. These historically rich venues started the careers of many well-known artists and garner respect in the country music realm, resonating as historical music gems. To play in these venues is a huge honor for both new and veteran artists. Watching performances on these stages is humbling, as artists typically strip down their sets and let their emotions rise from their vocals.
- The Bluebird Café: The Bluebird is a 90 seat restaurant where acoustic music is played. They hold writers nights, open mics, spotlights, and ‘In The Round’ performances with different artists taking turns playing their music and sharing their stories.
- The Grand Ole Opry: deemed ‘Country’s Most Famous Stage’, the Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country-music stage concert that is broadcasted live via radio. Membership in the Opry is known as a crowning achievement and a coveted honour as being inducted into the organization is only achieved when nominated by an existing member.
- The Ryman Auditorium: known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry, this venue is a National Historical Landmark
For those who want a taste of SMASHVILLE:
- ACME Feed & Seed: this is a 3 story bar and restaurant. The first floor acts as a classic honkytonk with fast and casual service in an eclectic atmosphere with communal tables and live music. You order your food from the bar/ cash, receive a number, wait for your food, and then choose where to sit. The second floor acts more like a bar or lounge. There is full bar service on this level with craft cocktails, a special menu that features shareable plates and an Asian-inspired bar with fresh sushi and bento boxes, group spaces with comfortable seating and flat-screen televisions broadcasting sports and special events. The rooftop patio overlooks the waterfront, has bar service, and tables where you can bring up your food from the first level.
- The Stage on Broadway: this is where I learned to line dance and is also the first Nashville bar I ever set foot in – so obviously this spot holds a special spot in my heart. The stage has live music, line dancing, and lets you boot and scoot all over the dance floor all night long! Plenty of movies (like ‘Country Strong’), music videos, and events have been held at this venue.
- Honky Tonk Central: if you’re looking for that classiiccccc Nashville experience, Honky Tonk Central is the place to be. It is 3 stories of live music, parties, food, and dancing. If you’re holding your bachelor or bachelorette party in Nashville – check out their special packages for your celebration!
- Tootsies Orchid Lounge: this lounge’s past is historically rich in the country music realm – Willie Nelson got his first writing job after singing at Tootsies. The walls are filled with memorabilia and photos from over the years and have been nicknamed the Wall of Fame.
- Red Door located at 1816 Division St., this is my favourite bar to hangout in Nashville. Although there isn’t live music, there is a jukebox and just an overall fantastic atmosphere for a chill night. Befriend a local and ask them to show you why the bar is so special 😉
- Pinewood Social: if you’re looking for a little bit of an upscale night, Pinewood is a fancy bar, lounge, and restaurant, that also is home to a bowling alley.
- If you’re into karaoke and love a bar stocked with cheap beer check out Santa’s Pub! Santa’s Pub is a dive covered with unreal graffiti and holiday decor run by a man who resembles Santa himself.
For the HISTORY BUFF:
If you’re interested in learning the history of country music and how Nashville grew its reputation, there are a few spots you definitely need to check out:
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Johnny Cash Museum
- RCA Studio B recording studio
- Hatch Show Print letterpress shop
- If you’re in Tennessee for a while, have access to a car, and are looking to do a little roadie, drive out to Memphis (about 3 hours away) and visit Graceland, the home of the King himself – Elvis Presley.
For the FOODIE:
Food is almost as sacred in Nashville as music and the two often pair together perfectly. Bar food in Nashville is like no other. Whether grabbing nachos, tacos, hot chicken, or biscuits and gravy, Nashville food is little plates of heaven served up hot and heavy. Here are a few of my favourite foodie spots:
- Rosepepper Cantina: this is a delicious Mexican Restaurant where a live mariachi band plays as you eat. Order the Buffalo White Cheese Dip as it is TO DIE FOR… changed my life… that cheese pull… that’s what dreams are made of. Also their Chimichanga… words cannot describe…
- If you have a sweet tooth check out Nashville Sweets or Sweet 16th for alllllll the yummy desserts and baked goodies
- If you are looking for the best burger you will eat in Nashville, NAY, in America, I HIGHLY recommend Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint located at 1123 Third Avenue North. I get the Greg Brady (mac and cheese with BBQ chip burger) and my mouth waters every single time. Cue: drooling.
- Are you a brunch and breakfast buff? The Pancake Pantry has an extensive assortment of – you guessed it – pancakes (among other options) on its menu. Biscuit Love is also known for its brunch. There will be a line, you will have to wait, but you will love it.
For the WANDERER:
From the full scale replica of the Parthenon, to the street art and murals that paint the city walls, to the waterfront and different parks perfect for lazy days, Nashville has some cool and eclectic spots. For those with the wandering spirit, I suggest you do just that – wander. There are cool things to see and interesting things to do everywhere you turn in Nashville, and that is part of its beauty. A couple hot spots to wander off to include:
- The “I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE” mural: one is found in 12 South by BarTaco
- The Wings: Painted in the alley by Saint Anejo restaurant in the Gulch
- The Parthenon: located in Centennial Park