When you think of iconic cities that love to party you think of Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and New Orleans. Those are all outstanding cities, but Nashville can give them all a run for their money because it is unlike any other place on the entire planet. The people are genuinely nice, the food is outstanding, the drinks aren’t overpriced, and the music is first-class. Nashville has some splendid music museums and no shortage of lively music venues, and it’s not all country. If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville, there are countless attractions, but may we suggest these nine reasons why you need to go to Music City right now.
What might be the most incredible part about going to Nashville is the music. They don’t call it the “Music City” for nothing. Every bar has top-notch bands playing at all times. It could be Saturday night and you’ll hear great music or it could be a Tuesday morning and you’ll hear great music. The bars and music are mostly situated on Broadway, which is known as the Honky Tonk Highway. But if you’re not into country music don’t worry because you’ll hear all kinds of music from blues to Stone Temple Pilots to folk to Elvis to rockabilly covers of Britney Spears. If you’re an ungrateful SOB who doesn’t appreciate the music at one bar you can simply walk to one of the other 300+ bars in the area and check out another band. There are no cover charges and most bars have open garage door fronts so you can hear the music before you commit to the bar. Find your venue of choice, saddle up at the bar, grab a cold drink, and enjoy some tremendous live music. Definitely make sure you tip the band before heading to the next joint pumping incredible tunes. Who knows, you might just see the next great singer while at a bar on Broadway. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, and Dierks Bentley got their music careers started on this iconic street.
There is no shortage of music history in Nashville. The first Country Music Association Awards were presented at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in 1967. Since 2006, the CMA Awards have been held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. There are country music institutions in Nashville such as the Ryman Auditorium, which previously staged the Grand Ole Opry House. The Ryman Auditorium can be a religious experience for some because of all of the music history and because it was originally the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Music stars such as Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Emmylou Harris, B.B. King, Paul Simon, the Pixies, Garth Brooks, Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, and the Foo Fighters have performed at the “Soul of Nashville.”
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum allows you to visit the ghosts of legends. See Nashville’s oldest surviving recording studio, where music icons such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, and Waylon Jennings made some of the greatest albums ever. There’s a self-guided walk through music history with the “Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music” exhibit. The is also the 776-seat CMA Theater and the Taylor Swift Education Center.
The Johnny Cash Museum is the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia, including films, handwritten letters, personal mementos, and costumes. Get a better grasp on who exactly is The Man in Black with the Johnny Cash Museum, noted as one of the eight must-visit museums for music-lovers by Condé Nast Traveler.
Drinking At Iconic Bars!
There are just too many superb bars in Nashville to name all. So here are some of the most popular and most notable Nashville watering holes that you’ll definitely want to hit up: Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, Legend’s Corner, The Stage on Broadway, Honkey Tonk Central, Nashville Crossroads, The Second Fiddle, Tequila Cowboy, The Bluebird Cafe, Whiskey Bent Saloon, and Robert’s Western World where you can order the “Recession Special” and get a fried bologna sandwich, bag of chips, and a PBR beer for just $5. For a classier joint with well-prepared cocktails and fine fare, try The Patterson House, The Stillery, The Station Inn or Skull’s Rainbow Room.
George Dickel Distillery!
Hidden in the middle of absolutely nowhere amongst rolling hills, 40-foot-tall white oaks, and lush green countryside stands a modern-day Arcadia. If you have never heard of Tullahoma, Tennessee before don’t fret because not many more than the 18,655 locals of the small Tennessean town have heard of it. But what you do need to know is that this seraphic location is where Cascade Hollow is located, a magical place where they wondrously transform crystal-clear naturally purified water from the 5-million-year-old glacial aquifer Cascade Creek into glorious whisky. Since about the 1870s, the area of Cascade Hollow has been producing whisky from the untainted grounds of this pristine farmland in Tennessee.
Cascade Hollow is located about an hour away from Nashville and it is where George Dickel Whisky is crafted. This blithe spirit not only meets the stringent regulations to be considered Tennessee Whiskey, but it has been named as the “Best Tennessee Whiskey” at the annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. You can tour the distillery where the whisky wizardry is accomplished. Get a behind-the-scenes vantage point of how water, fermented grains, and corn are transformed into art and into one of the finest whiskies in the world. Take one step into the whisky warehouse where hundreds of American white oak barrels of liquid gold is aged into perfection and you’ll think you’re in heaven with the ethereal bouquet. Get an education of how their magnificent world-class whisky is made as well as the illustrious history of the grounds. Cascade Hollow is one of the nine active distillers in the American Whiskey Trail because it is a whiskey institution. Plus, Cascade Hollows hosts several Porch Sessions where you can see today’s finest country acts perform in this immaculate area.
Fried chicken is delectable. Hot fried chicken might even be more delectable. Hot chicken is the signature dish of Nashville and it is extraordinary. You get a tender, juicy piece of chicken deep-fried in a crispy batter. You then select what level of heat you want your delicious and wonderfully fried chicken breast, thigh, or wing. The spiciness of the cayenne-dusted chicken is offered at mild, medium, hot or something even more extreme that you may regret the next day. Some of the best hot chicken purveyors in Nashville are Hattie B’s, which offers “Shut The Cluck Up!,” Prince’s Hot Chicken that offers XXX Hot, and Party Fowl serves up a tongue-scorching “Poultrygeist.” For these mega-hot peppery and pungent poultry, it is advised that you freeze your toilet paper before you consume this sweat-inducing chicken.
Go Boot Shopping!
If you want to party like a cowboy then you had better at least make the effort to look the part. Sure’nuff there are plenty of boot purveyors offering all kinds of deals that’ll have y’all fixin’ to go boot shopping in Nashville. Trust me, once you slide your feet in a pair of these cowboy boots you’ll automatically have a more confident strut and have the hankering to plant your new Cuban heels on every table in your vicinity. Western boot stores include Nashville Boot, Boot Country, Betty Boots, and Boot Barn.
Nashville is said to be the “bachelorette party capital of the U.S.” and you’re very likely to see groups of rosé-filled young women traveling on these pedal taverns. You’ll hear these mobile bars coming from a mile away with passionate bridesmaids shrieking “WOOOOOOOO!” You’re going to be consuming a ton of calories by drinking from 11 AM until possibly 3 AM, plus you’re going to eating a fourth and possibly fifth meal (probably hot fried chicken) late at night. Why not jump on one of these peddle bars and at least attempt to not gain 10 lbs in a three-day-weekend. Plus you’ll get to do some sightseeing while pregaming for your epic day. There are several peddle bars in the Music City such as Nashville Peddle Tavern, Sprocket Rocket, and Country Music Crawler.
Visit Ancient Greece! (Sort of)
It costs well over $1,000 just for airfare to travel from the U.S. to Greece. Save yourself some buku bucks by seeing one of the most popular attractions in Greece, but right here in grand United States. The Parthenon was completed in 432 BC but has some major wear and tear over nearly 2,500 years and is falling apart. Get to see what the Athenian Acropolis looked like in its heyday by visiting the full-scale replica that is available for your viewing enjoyment without huge crowds and 10 hours of traveling around the world. The Parthenon in Nashville was built in 1897 as part of Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition and features a 42-foot high statue of Athena. There’s even an art museum inside and you don’t even need a passport.
Eat A GooGoo Cluster!
Nashville’s favorite candy of choice is the GooGoo Cluster, a heavenly combination of milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and marshmallow nougat. It’s been a Nashville staple since 1912 and they are the self-proclaimed “world’s first ever combination candy bar was invented.” Get an original GooGoo Cluster as well as a GooGoo Supreme, which has pecans.