My husband and I just returned from a November weekday, good-for-your-marriage, good-for-your-soul kind of getaway. It was my first experience in Nashville, and I loved it. A downtown Nashville trip is perfect for couples, but I could also see it being a fun place with friends and a future destination for my daughter’s 21st birthday. I will share some highlights and recommendations.
Country Music Hall of Fame. This is likely the must-do of a Nashville trip. It is a two to three-hour experience and filled with country music history.
Johnny Cash Museum. If you like Johnny Cash walking into the museum, you will leave loving and maybe even obsessing over him. We spent a good hour there. If you like to peruse, two hours could be filled reading every detail about Johnny Cash and listening to the variety of song samplings. Love me some Hurt song.
CMA Awards. I grew up on country music and have leaned towards country music for most of my life, except for my diversion for Indigo Girls and Liz Phair. So tickets to the CMA’s was a built-up event. And well worth it! The formal/business attire had me a bit concerned, but when it came to it, there was every description of dress attending: formal attire for sure on the lower level where performers sat, more like cocktail attire in the 100 and 200 seating sections, and in the 300’s where we were, everything from nice jeans to cocktail attire. The day of the show there were tickets still for sale so do not think that this is a sold-out event that you have to be in-the-know to get tickets for. Outside of the Country Music Hall of Fame the morning of this event, radio stations were giving away tickets with trivia questions, so there is another way to score tickets.
The Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake duo was unbelievable! iTunes had my $ that night when I uploaded both performer’s songs, and Chris Stapleton’s entire album.
Honky Tonk Central. This three-level bar hosts a different musician on each level (two open during our visit). I would recommend going early to mid afternoon. By late afternoon, the customers who have had a few too many beers start to dominate the entertainment. Tootsies is another establishment with a similar vibe.
The Bluebird Cafe. “The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms and the venue has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs; songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music. Located in a small strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, the 90 seat venue…” Tickets are limited, but the website guides you through the Queue process. I loved watching the up and coming talent and will follow these artists to see how they rise: Adam Bruno, Adam McPhaill and Dustin Herring.
The Listening Room. “The Listening Room Cafe was built on LIVE MUSIC. We bring the best local and national acts and let them do their thing nightly. We love music as much as you do. Come on out and share an evening with us listening to the best Nashville has to offer.”
Collin Raye performed at The Listening Room, and wow! so much talent. I recommend a glass of wine, a shot of confidence and then dance and sing like every song is karaoke.
Walk Eat Nashville. Karen offers three Nashville tours; ours the SoBro/Downton Walking Food Tour. This was a different activity for us to do, and that in itself made it a memory. This was a fun way to meet new people, try a variety of restaurants, sample foods we wouldn’t typically try, and learn a bit about Nashville history. I would highly recommend this tour. The food tour covered these restaurants (followed by my brief comment/review/recommendation):
- Cherry Street Eatery and Treatery–tasty soups and sandwiches for a quick lunch stop
- The Southern Steak and Oyster and Southernaire Market–returned for lunch, fresh meat/fish selection
- Bakersfield Nashville–we ate there twice
- Etch Restaurant–who knew cauliflower could taste so good
- The Farm House–my husband’s favorite
- The GooGoo Shop–stop in for a fresh treat or take one to go
Jack’s BBQ. Our taxi driver recommended Jack’s, and I am glad he did. It’s A Nashville Tradition with plenty of history behind it. Overall a quick, inexpensive, and tasty stop that is perfect for a light lunch. My brisket sandwich was tender, and I experimented with three of the BBQ spices for just the right amount of sweet and spice.
Bakersfield Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey. We are suckers for margaritas and Mexican food, and this modern with a rustic edge restaurant has all of the casual elements of a trendy bar with a simple yet complicated-enough menu. Our picks: Queso and Spicy Margaritas. The Spicy Margarita’s ingredients: El Jimador Blanco, triple sec, agave nectar, fresh lime/lemon, fresh fresno/jalapeno.
Where to Stay
Hyatt Place Downtown Nashville. For our first night in Nashville, this is where we stayed. And we wished we could have stayed all three nights for the location. It is beyond convenient and accessible to downtown, meaning you can wear cute shoes and not have to climb any hills later that night. Our room was clean, the hotel had an updated look, friendly staff, and fresh fruit-infused water available all day. The included breakfast was also not the typical all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at most hotels: the food was actually good and included a wide selection of hot coffee and tea.
What are your Nashville must do’s? Happy Traveling.