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A Road Trip To Nashville Offers More Than Just Country Music



Whether You Spend A Long Weekend or a Week, Nashville Has Plenty To See &  Do

Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer

While New York is the city that never sleeps and Los Angeles is the home to Hollywood and movie star sightings, the Big Apple and La-La Land along with other big cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland have lost their appeal over the past several years. Whether it’s politics, crime, safety concerns, filth, or overall cost, vacationing in the some of the biggest metropolises has waned, with independents, conservatives, and families leaning more towards cities that have just as much to offer without the added stress.

Aside from NYC and Chicago, it’s no small wonder the 2021 list by Travel + Leisure Magazine of Top 15 cities in the United States include six southern communities and another two from Texas. No surprise my home city of Charleston SC came in at number one for a record ninth year in a row, with sister city Savannah taking the third spot and New Orleans in fourth place. Tourists simply love the south, and the genteel feeling they get from vacationing in spots where they feel unthreatened.

Just outside the Top Ten (11th overall) on Travel + Leisure latest list is one of my favorites, Nashville TN. And while Music City may be the home to country music, there is way more to do in Nashville than just celebrating their country music heritage. Rock n’ roll, pop, R&B, folk, soul, bluegrass, and gospel music all thrive in Music City, along with some of the most interesting museums, theatres, attractions, landmarks, as well as great food and drink. Saddle up for a visitors guide through the awesome city of Nashville TN.

Unless your a resident or the most skilled bar hopper with a couple of months to kill, there is no way you’re going to drop in and spend quality time at every honky-tonk in Nashville, so don’t concern yourself with getting to every night spot. On Broadway alone there are over 60 live music clubs, within a five block radius, so I recommend picking a venue that appeals to you or your group and enjoy the evening. Maybe spend an hour or two and move on. If you’re a late-nighter perhaps you’ll notch four or five joints on your belt before closing time.

Country music legends and today’s hottest artists have live music clubs on Broadway featuring eclectic menus. A.J.’s (Alan Jackson) Good Time Bar is a throw back club offering live music and karaoke nightly at 7pm until. At A.J.’s ‘it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere’ anytime you mosey in. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar is a four level mega bar complete with a ‘My Kinda Party’ rooftop patio, with Luke’s (Byran) 32 Bridge Food + Drink a six story complex with six bars, four stages, and two restaurants offering everything from hot chicken to poke bowls.

John Rich’ (Big & Rich) Redneck Riviera opened in the summer of 2018 and has quickly become a favorite spot for military veterans, active duty personnel, and first responders with their special by-one-get-one free prices for those who protect. RR has two live stages and a DJ on the roof top. Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse might be the rowdiest of them all, but not surprising from the alternative country rocker. Kid’s meat-heavy menu features their famous 36 oz. ‘Tomahawk Ribeye’. Hungry types apply within.

Partnering with the Ryman, Blake Shelton’s Ole Red aka ‘Swanky Tonk’ is easily one of the preferred venues for up and coming artists and musicians, eager to play guests their favorite requests for a buck or two. A popular food & drink destination located at 3rd Ave. & Broadway. Just up the block you’ll find Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, an American Gastropub delivering upscale cuisine alongside an extensive whiskey selection. Eat, drink, and repeat at your favorite nightspot.

Miranda Lambert represents the ladies of country music with her Casa Rosa, a four level live music cantina well known for its Tex-Mex cuisine. Drop in for lunch, dinner, or a late night bite, because it’s always a fiesta atmosphere at Casa Rosa.

A stones throw off lower Broadway at 120 3rd Ave. at FGL House, Florida Georgia Line serve up a ‘Get your SunDaze Brunch‘ on Saturday and Sunday. Come back later in the evening and dance the night away in their 90’s themed Little Red Corvette dance hall complete with a sunken marble floor, where DJ’s play a mix of old and new songs. If you love to dance, it’s a must place to shake your money-maker.

Big name bars aside, there are plenty of smaller joints to check out live music on the neon strip. The century old Bootlegger’s Inn at 207 Broadway is a two story icon, known for live music and moonshine. Be sure to sample their Apple Pie and Peach whiskeys. The Second Fiddle 420 Broadway pumps out live music seven days a week and is a great place to enjoy a drink, while often times witnessing the next up and coming country music sensation.

Classic country albums and a signed Johnny Cash 12 string guitar cover the wall in neighboring Legends Corner, voted one of Nashville’s classiest dive bars. Like every other honky tonk on Broadway, there is never a cover charge. Enjoy some pickin’ and some singin’ from up and comers, as well as some todays superstars like Darius Rucker, Toby Keith, and Big & Rich. You never know who might drop by at Legends Corner. Their mural painted outside the building (5th & Broadway) provides a nice selfie or group picture.

Perhaps the most famous Broadway destination is the famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge where tourists can say they’ve sat where Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson threw back a belt or two. Dating back to 1960 the noted honky-tonk sports one of the most iconic photo and memorabilia-lined walls in all of downtown Nashville. Look for the violet painted exterior. Tootsie’s, Second Fiddle, and Legends Corner are adjacent to the historic Ryman Theatre.

As I said earlier, there are way to many gin joints to check out, so either plan ahead or just do what many do and drop on in. Most clubs serve up their own brand of Tennessee hot chicken, juicy burgers, fat steaks, pizza, appetizers, and finger licking southern BBQ. You can’t go wrong wherever you meander into, plus they all carry beers and whiskeys from local breweries and distilleries. Good food and great drink with a plethora of non-stop live music. It’s full tilt party from mid morning until 2am!

Travelling with a large group where everyone wants something different for lunch or dinner, than the obvious choice is Assembly Food Hall, Nashville’s largest rooftop featuring over 30 eateries and bars. Whether it’s fill me up food, light bites, or sweet treats, Assembly Hall has a variety of appetites covered. You can get raw seafood and seasoned rice at Hōru Sushi Kitchen, charcuterie boards & pizza at Sixty Vines, fresh Italian at Coco’s, an eclectic taco at Velvet Taco, or a near authentic cheesesteak at The Philly Special.

Hattie Jane’s Creamery offers custard-based ice cream, with Cotton & Snow offering “the smoothest” Hawaiian shaved ice (boozy and nonalcoholic), and cotton candy. They say it’s a little piece of heaven on Earth. My personal favorite is NoBaked Cookie Dough, ample scoops of homemade gourmet edible cookie dough. Comes in all your favorite flavors, with dairy-free and gluten-free options. Freakin’ Scrumptous!

Want to get your drink on, than cozy up to Homegrown Bar with 32 craft draft beers, including local favorite Yazoo Brewing Co. Craft cocktails as well. If you’re in the mood for fruit of the vine, find your way to Blush for a healthy selection of wines by the glass or by the bottle. Still have a little life in you late in the evening, let Date Night provide the ideal intimate setting for you and that certain someone. For a full list of all Assembly has to offer visit

Food & drink are a must, with live music an added bonus, but there are those who enjoy shopping along Broadway. A sufficient number of western boot and clothing stores are strewn along the strip with a good mix of boutiques that cater to the female persuasion. With several locations Legends Gifts has the best souvenirs, T-shirts, shotglasses, mugs, magnets, keepsakes and more. Below Assembly Hall you’ll find several chain and upscale stores including Tecova’s. If you need a NASH memento, visit Legends Gifts.

Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop has been serving country music fans for over seven decades, and carries hard to find vinyl, books, CDs, t-shirts, merchandise and much more. Pop in and spend a few minutes looking for that one of a kind keepsake, and check another downtown institution off your to do list.

Musicians seeking a quality guitar to take home might want to check out Carter Vintage Guitars, North American Guitar, or Rumble Seat Music where they specialize in premium, American-made vintage guitars and amplifiers. Several of the biggest names in country, rock, and pop music have visited these downtown destinations, and for good reason.

Maybe you can’t party until you drop every night, and want to soak in as much as Nashville has to offer while the sun is up. Take my advice and spend a day on Music City Hop, a narrated bus tour featuring 16 stops and over a 100 points of interest. Want to gain a little bit of history on some of Nashville’s famed destinations, parks, museums, and villages, allowing you to hop off, browse a little and hop back on 30 or 45 minutes later, the Music City Hop is the way to go. Check also Cook Trio for the best tips about guitars.

Discover Nashville’s Greek architecture heritage. Walk along Music Row (stop #13), the heart of Nashville’s country music industry, take a tour at RCA Studio B where Elvis and Dolly Parton recorded some of their biggest hits. The state capitol building is stop #5, with Nashville’s Bicentennial Park & Farmers Market (stop #7). A great place to purchase inexpensive handmade items or have a hotdog and a cold brew at the Picnic Tap. Beer lovers I suggest their Honey Biscuit Blonde, Pickup Pilsner, or the Fourty Four Porter from Black Abbey Brewing. The Music City Hop departs from the Glen Campbell Museum & Rhinestone Stage at Broadway and 1st Ave. beginning 8am daily.

Seeking an ideal midday destination for both sexes, where men can relish over antique cars, sip Tennessee whiskey, survey old school industrial machinery, and shop at the Antique Archaeology retail store, while ladies check out a variety of unique boutiques, than place a day trip to Marathon Village on your ‘got to do list in Nashville’. If the guys get lucky maybe they’ll run into Mike Wolfe from American Pickers, who drops by the shop about once a week. It’s stop #8 on the Music City hop tour.

The hardest part about writing how wonderful a vacation truly is in Nashville, is doing justice to the very reasons many visit Music City, the museums. Various country artists have their own galleries on or near lower Broadway, including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Mr. Glen Campbell.

However the museum triple threat belongs to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Musicians Hall of Fame. No amount of words can describe the sense of awe you’ll get when touring any of the three icons. With its origins dating back to 1892, the Ryman is the mother church of country music, having played host to legendary entertainers such as Mae West, Bob Hope, and Harry Houdini over the past century.

When a partnership with the Grand Ole Opry formed in 1943, the Ryman would introduce Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Minnie Pearl to America. Catching a show at the Ryman is much like going to a spiritual revival, with even the casual country music fan leaving a believer. Renovated in early 1990’s the Ryman Auditorium is an iconic music and entertainment venue that has literally risen from the ashes, with a daytime behind the scenes tour allowing fans to soak in all the rich history the auditorium has to offer.

Located at 222 Rep. John Lewis Way S., the Country Music Hall of Fame incorporated in 1961, throwing open their doors in 1964 with Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Roy Acuff among early inductees. More than 60 years later the CMHOF is among the largest museums (350K square feet) in the world, and chronicles more than a century of country music heritage, with more than 500K photos (including magazine & album covers, concert posters), 30K moving images, and 1000 instruments on display.

From its earliest beginnings blending gospel, blues, and hillbilly sounds, country music has evolved over 100 years, with the CMHOF detailing its progression. No detail is left uncovered. From Jimmie Rogers and Maybelle Carter to Jimmie Allen and Mickey Guyton, the CMHOF unfolds the rich stories behind early pioneers and the emergence of African American artists, with a strong focus on the pioneering woman of country music yesteryear and today.

Country music’s impact on television (specials, western movies, TNN, & CMT), how Bakersfield California, Austin Texas, and Memphis played a major part in the genre, and consequently how country music gave birth to rock n’ roll is detailed in the hall. The exhibits and the printed information are so vast, attendees could spend a good half a day touring the CMHOF. Historians have a lot to soak in, with younger visitors certain to embrace the generous displays from Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, and Taylor Swift. See where it all began at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Just across Demonbreun St. take a leisurely stroll around Music City Walk of Fame Park, where over 85 artists celebrating all genres of music are honored for their contributions to the music industry, as well as to the city of Nashville. Adjacent to the Music City Center (convention hall), where music plays 24/7, Walk of Fame Park is a great place to sit back and relax, while immersing yourself in the overall aura emanating from Nashville.

Located at 401 Gay St. the Musicians Hall of Fame Museum celebrates musicians regardless of genre or instrument. The MHOFM is a must for musicians. Among the 68K sq. ft. hall situated on the first floor of the Nashville Municipal Auditorium are early inductees The Funk Brothers (Motown), the Nashville A-Team, The Wrecking Crew (Los Angeles), and the musicians who made Memphis great such as the Blue Moon and Memphis Boys.

Their signature sounds can be heard on records by the Miracles, Supremes, Temptations, and the Four Tops. The LA cats including studio musicians Hal Blaine (drums), Leon Russell (keyboards), and Glen Campbell (guitar) helped put iconic licks on songs by the Righteous Brothers, Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Everly Brothers, and the 5th Dimension. The Tennessee crew worked on records from diverse artists from Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis to Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, and Aretha Franklin.

The MHOFM is another gallery you can spend a whole day at, soaking in exhibits from Jimi Hendrix, the British Invasion, Booker T. & the M.G.s, Buddy Guy, Mike Curb (Curb Records), the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Roy Orbison, Duane Eddy, Charlie Daniels, and more. You can record with Garth Brooks, take instructional drum lessons from Ringo Starr, or sing backup for Ray Charles at the MHOFM.

Seeking more enlightening exhibits, the Frist Art Museum 919 Broadway is a non-collecting gallery focusing on securing and creating exhibits from around the world with a focal point on local, state, and American based artists. More at

Founded in 1866 and listed among the National Register of Historic Places, Fisk University (a predominantly black college) at 1000 17th Ave N. house the Carl VanVechten and Aaron Douglas galleries. Both are cultural delights as are the murals by Douglas portraying African American lifestyle.

Just a hop, skip and a jump by car (basically 15 minutes) outside of town is the much visited Opry entertainment complex, home to the Grand Ole Opry House, Opryland Resort & Hotel, a Paula Deen’s Kitchen, the General Jackson Showboat, and Opry Mills a 200 plus store upscale shopping mall home to a Bass Pro Shop, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, and Madame Tussauds famed wax museums, where you’ll discover life-like wax notables such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, Diana Ross, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, and many more.

You could easily spend a whole day at Opry Mills, taking in the attractions, shopping in stores not found in many malls, and of course enjoying some really great dining options such as Houston based Claim Jumper Restaurant and Saloon, or the jungle themed Rainforest Cafe (seafood, beef, and chicken to pastas and pizzas), Austin TX’s famed tex-mex Chuy’s, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, or the family themed sports bar slash arcade Dave & Buster’s.

If you want to take in two of most trafficked attractions at the Opry complex you’ll have to return on separate nights. The historic Grand Ole Opry plays host to a who’s who of country music stars, and where artists, musicians, and performers call home. Enjoy up and coming singers or Nashville legends, playing everything from bluegrass, to alternative country, with a extra slice of comedy. The Grand Ole Opry is a definite bucket list item.

Come early or stay after the show and take the behind the scenes back stage tour at the Opry House, where you’ll enjoy a seat in their custom-built theater as the entire room comes to life with music, state-of-the-art special effects, 3D film images, and priceless archival footage, all hosted by superstar couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, as well as Darius Rucker. You can step on stage and into the famed wooden circle, check out some of the most privileged dressing rooms, and see the private entrance where artists come in. It’s an epic tour and well worth the price.

Want to enjoy a good meal and see a live show, all the while cruising down the Cumberland River that provides awesome night time views of the Nashville, than the General Jackson Showboat is your ticket. Step on board, order up a refreshing drink in a souvenir glass, while a multi-talented band plays country and southern rock favorites. Afterwards move into the grand ballroom for dinner followed by a musical variety show that equals anything you’ll see in Branson or Pigeon Forge. Your whole excursion takes two and a half hours, and will leave you with fond memories for years to come.

If you’re among the fortunate to acquire tickets to the famed Bluebird Cafe at 4104 Hillsboro Pike than you’re in for a real treat. Just 10 minutes from downtown, the Bluebird is a 90 seat listening room tucked inside a non-descript shopping center, where many of your favorite artists or their hit songs got their start. Founded in 1982, the Bluebird was famous long before the hit ABC TV show Nashville (2012-18) provided it more exposure. On any given night four or five singer songwriters may sit in the round or play in succession, and where you might hear a future number one hit song.

From Bluebird’s hallowed walls have come chart toppers for Bonnie Raitt, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts, and where Garth Brooks once performed at an open mike night. The Bluebird’s “Shhh policy” is designed to support an environment where both the audience and the songwriters can concentrate on the songs. It’s truly a magical experience. Tickets go quick, so be patient, be persistent, and visit their website early each morning.

The capitol of Tennessee was ripe with history long before it became the birthplace of country music. Dating back to its founding in 1779 by Francis Nash, a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, Nashville played a part in both the Revolutionary and American Civil Wars. You’ll find placards and monuments all over the city describing its rich history and the people who helped put it on the map.

Six respected colleges can be found in Nashville including Vanderbilt (#11), Belmont, and Fisk universities. The Vanderbilt Commodores play host to some of the biggest schools in the SEC & ACC, such as Georgia, Louisville, and Tennessee. Exciting collegiate athletics. Nashville also host two professional sports teams, the Tennessee Titans of the NFL and the Nashville Predators of the NHL. The hockey team play in Bridgestone Arena where the biggest names in entertainment perform, and like most of everything in Nashville, it’s right in the center of downtown.

Looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nashville, and want to enjoy a nice day to stroll, shop and dine in a charming village, than I suggest taking a quick 25 minutes drive south on I-65 to beautiful downtown Franklin TN. Plenty of locally owned cafes, shops, boutiques, antique dealers all along America’s favorite Main Street district. Frank-linly (candid pun intended), it’s a real life picture perfect representation of a Norman Rockwell small town painting.

If you’re hungry in Franklin there’s plenty of options. Puckett’s Grocery 120 Fourth Ave S. serves up southern style comfort foods, capped off with the best bread pudding ever. Hell yeah, they have live music almost every night. Just down the street 55 South located at 403 Main St. celebrates delta classics from New Orleans and Memphis, serving up classic such as po’boys, jambalaya, alongside fried green tomatoes.

Getting an early start, drop by Merridee’s Breadbasket 100 4th Ave S. for the best breakfast in town. The Viking Sandwich or several of their hearty morning platters will satisfy even the hungriest appetites. Family owned McCreary’s Irish Pub is a Franklin original serving up great food & drink for decades. Throw back Imperial pints and authentic Irish Whiskey as well as local brews, while chowing down on Cottage Pie or Dublin Fish & Chips. Current owner Natasha Hendrix started out as a waitress back in 2002, and she believes in quality food in a casual atmosphere.

Owned by Holly Williams, a country singer with a old soul, White’s Mercantile is ‘a general store for the modern-day tastemaker’, carrying something for everyone, and for those who didn’t even know they needed something. Part mercantile and part apothecary, White’s carries an eclectic mix from handcrafted leather bags to organic dog treats. Looking for the unusual, than White’s Mercantile at 345 Main Street fits the bill.

If you’re on a strict budget you’ll know doubt find less expensive hotel rooms off the highway just a short drive outside of Nashville, but like most cities if you want to stay close to the action you’ll pay it bit more. All the well-known chains have high rise hotels downtown, and if you’re staying on or near Broadway, you’ll pay a premium. The Hyatt known for their upscale hospitality have four properties to accommodate visitors to Nashville. Among the most affordable of their brands is the Hyatt Sobro (south of Broadway) at 535 Rep. John Lewis Way S. (5th Ave).

Less than two years old, Hyatt Sobro is their only extended stay hotel downtown, providing a small kitchen should guests want to save a few dollars and prepare a dinner or two in the room during their stay. A hot breakfast is provided every morning with a ample coffee bar, so jump starting your day is already taken care of. Less than a 10 minute walk to Broadway, Hyatt Sobro checks all the boxes and is easily accessible to any of the surrounding interstates. Doing a long weekend in Nashville, than stay at the Hyatt Sobro from Thursday until Monday morning to secure one of the best rates per night.

There are numerous high priced steakhouses in downtown Nashville, and other restaurants catering to every other epicurean cuisine you can imagine, however if you want to have an affordable budget friendly meal than I suggest Varallo’s 239 4th Ave. N. or Arnold’s Country Kitchen at 605 8th Ave S. Both are family owned, with long standing traditions in Nashville, and because they are off the beaten path, it’s not unusual to see big name celebrities pop in.

Jack and Rose Arnold threw open the doors to Arnold’s back in 1982, earning a prestigious James Beard American Classics Award in 2009, and a feature presentation on Diners, Drive in and Dives. 40 years later their daughter runs the place, carrying on the same home cooked traditions her parents set out. Arnold’s is known for their daily specials including fresh sliced roast beef, fried catfish, turnip greens, and mac n’ cheese.

A half dozen or more sides to choose from daily. Get a meat and three sides for $12, or order a four veggie plate for $10. Really good food at an incredible price. Complete your meal with Arnold’s delicious Chocolate, Pecan, or Chess Pie. Their bread pudding comes highly rated.

Varallo’s is famous for their signature chili and chili dishes. With their origins dating back to 1938, Varallo’s offers up breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the cheap. More than a dozen breakfast offerings under $6, with lunchtime sandwich combos under $9. A meat and two veggies will set you back $8, with the spaghetti combo going for a cool $9. Varallo’s Blackberry or Peach Cobbler, and their Banana Pudding are all the rave.

I Dreaqm of Weenie (food truck) at 113 S 11th St. pays tribute to the all American hotdog. Over at Rise located at 153 5th Avenue N. they serve up southern biscuits and donuts, alongside their signature Righteous Chicken Sandwich from 7am-2pm daily. Their Bacon Ring Donut and their Counter Culture cup of coffee are a cool $2.99 each, with everything else on the menu under $8. Pancho & Lefty’s Cantina have two locations in Nashville with 104 5th Ave S, closer to the action. Maybe get two tacos and their signature Mad Dog Margarita for $20 before your two minute walk to Ryman Auditorium.

If you’ve got money to burn and have no problem dropping $60 or more on a steak, than Nashville provides plenty of upscale dining choices. You’ll find prime cuts of meat, wine, and cocktails at Oak Steakhouse, Husk, Fleming’s, Bourbon Steak, Skull’s Rainbow Room, Jeff Ruby’s, The Palm and many more. The Capitol Grille inside the historic Hermitage Hotel has been serving Music City for over a century.

Bring an appetite and your American Express card because these aren’t your run of the mill off the highway chain steakhouses. I suggest calling ahead, because they stay busy, and most don’t open until 4pm. Looking for a magical experience (pun intended), House of Cards allows for a high-end American cuisine and cocktails, surrounded by the art of magic, in an enchanted enclave.

If brunch is your thing, I highly recommend chowing down at Party Fowl. With four locations in greater Nashville and a fifth in Chattanooga, Party Fowl specializes in Nashville Hot Chicken, boozy slushies and local brews (20 on tap). From Southern Fried (non-spicy) to Poultry-Geist (you’ve been warned, it’s hot as hell), Party Fowl have five seasonings that cater to your measure of heat. Their downtown location is at 719 8th Ave South.

Every entree is off the charts awesome, but brunch favorites include Hot Chicken and Stuffed French Toast and Hot Chicken Pimento Cheese Omelets created with four eggs and served with lyonnaise potatoes. It’s huge and easily feeds two. Their 55oz Bloody Mary breakfast special is an ideal brunch for two. Worth every bit of $50. Think family friendly sports bar meets the best damn chicken in Music City and you have Party Fowl. Brunch served on weekends. Check them out at

By far the coolest memories you can leave Nashville with center around modes of transportation. If you just want to get from one place to another in quick fashion, you can rent a motorized scooter, just stay off the sidewalks. Rent by the ride, the hour, or the day. Prefer to be illuminated while taking a unique tour, spend an hour on a double decker bus while learning about more than 100 points of interest around Nashville.

Want to drink while burning off calories at the same time, than the 15 seat Sprocket Rocket, is Nashville’s #1 party bike and tavern tour. Your driver serves as your DJ as well. Large parties may prefer to ride in a cart pulled by a pickup truck or tractor complete with a dance floor or even a hot tub. We’re talking chic and unique, but that’s how they roll in Nashville.

While it’s possible to visit Nashville and not take in the nightlife, or celebrate a variety of music styles, it’s more enjoyable if you do. Any given night along the neon strip there might be 500 plus musicians and singers offering up songs from every genre. Walking along Broadway is akin to turning the dial on the radio. You might hear Hank Williams for a few seconds, followed by likes of Lynyrd Skynrd, Queen, Charley Pride, Tina Turner, and Tanya Tucker. You never know what you might hear, but it will be a classic nonetheless.

Nashville is full of life and history. You can experience all it history, or become a part of history. You can catch an up and coming artist before they hit the big time, maybe witness performers making their debut at the Opry or Ryman, or better yet be in the audience when he or she is invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. You can tell your grandchildren you were there on that special night.

Celebrity sightings are rare in Nashville but more common than in Los Angeles. Occasionally you’ll find singers popping up at their namesake eateries or the iconic night spots. Just like you and me, they love to be entertained. Kid Rock likes to party down at his place. With hundreds of country and rock legends living 30 to 45 minutes from downtown Nashville, there’s a good chance you’ll run into them at one of the off the wall eateries or their favorite music store. Legendary rockers Peter Frampton and Robert Plant call Nashville home.

There’s so much available in and around Nashville it’s hard to squeeze it all in. If it’s a long weekend, maybe catch a show at the Ryman or Opry. Check the museums out earlier in the day, and save the honky-tonking for later in the evening. If you’re blessed to spend a week or more, follow the previous method, but maybe add a day or two outside of downtown Nashville for shopping, or perhaps a showboat dinner cruise. For souvenirs pick up western boots, shot glasses, postcards, or T-shirts from one of your many destinations.

Again, you can experience history, or be a part of history. Extend your hospitality to any number of the entertainers you’ll enjoy nightly. Drop a $5 or a $20 dollar bill in their bucket for a song request, or throw in a few dollars as you exit the honky-tonk to say thanks for entertaining me or my group. Spread goodwill around, it will return to you. Who knows if you just tipped the next big thing coming out of Music City!

At its core Nashville may bleed red, white & blue, with an underlying patriotic theme, and country music as its anthem, yet make no mistake Nashville is among one the most gracious cities in America. Young and old, no matter what ethnicity, gender or sexual preference, Nashville always has the welcome mat out for you. If you’re looking for a vacation spot that offers something for everyone, including great food & drink, live music, exciting shows, sports, shopping, history, and culture, I recommend putting Nashville Tennessee on your short term bucket list.

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