Music City really lives up to its name – from the 10th floor of our hotel we can hear the faint sounds of country classics coming from the bars on Broadway, Nashville’s walkable main drag. It’s truly a unique sight – a street lined with bars and western wear shops, with the occasional record store, each one decorated with classic neon signs. Every single bar has someone playing live music inside, covers of everything from Patsy Cline to TLC’s 90s RnB hit ‘Waterfalls’ rendered in a honky-tonk style. People roam the warm street, eating giant ice cream cones or stopping to try on cowboy boots. Broadway terminates at a park along the shores of the Columbia River, where people gather to look at the view and catch the breeze.
It’s easy to find something to do in Nashville’s walkable downtown – many tourists come here and there are plenty of maps posted on lampposts in case you get turned around. The Grand Ole Opry has shows multiple times a week, but it’s easy to catch a good show anywhere – driving in from the airport, I noticed that the Musician’s Hall of Fame auditorium was being used for a roller derby match! If you don’t want to take in the tunes Nashville is famous for, there’s always the Tennessee Titans football stadium just across the river, or Bridgestone Arena right next to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s also easy to get a great view, as Nashville has a wealth of distinctive buildings: the AT&T Tower with its “horns,” the Country Music Hall of Fame, and all the neon.
If you want to get out of Nashville’s downtown and mingle with the locals a little more, the city is easy to navigate by car and offers plenty of hidden gems. We ate at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint on Belmont Ave, in a quiet but hip neighborhood surrounded by beautiful old Craftsman-style houses. Nashville certainly has plenty of great BBQ and southern-style food options, or you can try the local specialty of ‘hot chicken,’ which is fried chicken with a spicy rub served on bread. Try Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for a convenient and comfortable restaurant with style, located in Midtown near a plethora of thrift shops. If you love breakfast food, you’ll want to brave the line at Pancake Pantry, one of the state’s most iconic restaurant institutions – it serves a wide variety of pancakes, including old-fashioned recipes made with specialty flour. Plus, Pancake Pantry is located right next to prestigious Vanderbilt University, in a hip college neighborhood with plenty to explore.
After all that exploring, you’ll want to retire to your hotel, and lucky for you Nashville offers an abundance of convenient and luxurious options. Most hotels are located close to downtown, either near the historic state capitol or the Country Music Hall of Fame. One of favorites is the Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown. Convenient. Modern. Hip, with a country flair!