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Blog Nashville2022

Down Time in a Music City

Julie Kelly blog
by Julie Kelly

January 28, 2022

4 minute read

When people think of Nashville, they think of country music. Honky Tonk bars. Cowboy boots and hats. They think of the Wildhorse Saloon and line dancing, and of course, the Grand Ole Opry.  Whilst the country music scene there is thriving and so fun, there’s much more to Nashville. It’s been eight years since I left, and this city will always have a piece of my heart. It was where I met my husband, where we got married (at the Country Music Hall of Fame!) and it was where all three of my babies were born. 

 Blog Nashville country musical hall

In Nashville, the locals come from all over the place, from all walks of life – something not as typical in other southern cities. It’s hard to find a native Nashvillean but once you live there - it’s home. There’s a kinship in this strong city that has survived devastating floods, tornadoes and more. It’s resilient – and so are the people who live there.

I am in awe of how much the city is evolving. It has always been fun and vibrant but it has changed so much since I left. It’s gotten trendier – think Austin, TX 15 years ago. It’s more of a melting pot than other southern cities. A lot of industries are coming in and the Nashville scene is emerging into something really unique. East Nashville has these great urban restaurants, renowned chefs, and curators of different fashions (Did you know that Nashville has its own Fashion Week?). The city has a unique personality and locals embrace the cultural diversity and edgy vibe completely.

When you have time in Nashville to kill, there are so many things you could do! You could, of course, visit the most famous haunts and tourist spots – they’re wildly popular for a reason. But if you want to experience Nashville like a local, perhaps venture outside the obvious choices, peel back the layers and get a pulse for this energetic city.

Here are some of my favourite things to do and places to go in Nashville:

Take to the parks for a hike. There are more recreational spots in Nashville than you’d think. I used to love going for hikes with my family. It’s a great locale for swimming and fishing and getting out into nature.

Visit Printer’s Alley. Tucked away from the busy crowds on 2nd Ave and Broadway but still close to everything, this historic nook of downtown Nashville is a favourite to all who visit. Originally known for printing presses and publishing companies this now famous alley is full of live music and good eats – everything from speakeasies to blues bars; Cajun dishes to fish and chips. 

See the Parthenon! No, not the one in Greece. Nashville’s Centennial Park has a replica of the famous Greek structure right in this premier urban park not far from downtown.

Blog Nashville showcase Parthenon
Taste some hot chicken, a local speciality of Nashville. Places like Hattie B’s or Prince’s (which we used to frequent) had this super spicy fried chicken and it’s definitely an experience!

Venture to the Green Hills area to Bluebird Café, south of Nashville. This is a well-known yet unassuming spot for up and coming songwriters to showcase their talents.  Many famous artists got their start here, like Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and Faith Hill.

Check out the campuses of Vanderbilt and Belmont University. 

Visit Cheekwood, a beautiful estate boasting a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum. There are always new exhibitions to explore making it a place to visit time and again.

If you find yourself in Nashville, with time on your hands, embrace it all. The people are welcoming and wonderful. There is something to do for anyone, no matter your interests. There’s a creative energy. There is music all around – just as you’d imagine. And yet… it’s a city full of surprises around every corner, waiting to inspire you with all of its magic.

Check out our America's Music Cities tour!

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