Nashville is quickly becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in the South. The New York Times recently included the city on its list of “52 Places to Go.” In addition to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville offers trendy shopping, live music venues and an up-and-coming food scene. It also boasts heritage architecture, fine art and a unique culture.
The following is a short list of the many reasons why you should visit Nashville on your next vacation or weekend getaway.
Over the centuries, Nashville has transformed itself from a frontier trading post frequented by trappers to a thriving educational and commercial center that earned the city its reputation as the Athens of the South. This antebellum river port would also become the center of the music publishing business as well as the focal point for country music. As Nashville grew, it created its own unique heritage that would include major contributions by African-Americans like the Fisk Jubilee Singers. This rich history is reflected in the major points of interest found on an Old Town Trolley Tour.
The tour has 15 stops that allow you to hop off and explore these and other nearby points of interest at your own pace. When you’re ready, hop back aboard the next trolley.
The informative and entertaining narrative will begin at the same place it ended when you disembarked. It’s a unique way to see the best that Nashville has to offer and learn its colorful history.
Whether you call it Southern hospitality, charm or tradition, Nashville has plenty of it. Although sometimes quirky, this endearing quality has earned Nashville the reputation as one of the friendliest places in the country. Travel + Leisure magazine awarded the city its top designation for three years in a row. While the slower pace allows you to relax, you will find that the town also has exciting activities, great music and a youthful energy.
Although summer weather can be sultry, it is a great time to experience Independence Day and open-air concerts. During the relatively mild winters, you can enjoy New Year’s Eve celebrations. Nature dons its splendid blooms and colors during the spring and fall seasons. These milder seasons also provide the ideal conditions for outdoor activities and festivals. If the weather does not cooperate, you can take the fun indoors.
Nashville’s restaurants are making waves on the international food scene and receiving accolades from travel publications such as Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure magazines. Creative chefs are relocating to the capital of the Volunteer State to make their mark in the culinary world. The emerging epicurean culture features an infusion of innovative recipes and gastronomic delights that span a wide range of international cuisines. Many of these notable eateries are located in the Gulch, a renovated former industrial and warehouse district that is a stop on the Old Town Trolley Tour.
Music City also has popular local eateries for those who prefer down-home cooking and slow-smoked Southern barbecue in a laid-back atmosphere. While many restaurants feature menus centered on “meat and threes,” you can also enjoy hot chicken, Nashville’s signature dish. Meals are often served with cornbread and sweet tea, the “table wine of the South.” In addition to Jack’s Bar-B-Que on Broadway, the Old Town Trolley can take you near Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. This country kitchen serves authentic comfort food and features live musical entertainment.
While the city is known as the Capital of Country Music, it also earned the moniker Music City for the indelible mark it has placed on genres ranging from gospel and bluegrass to soul and the blues. You can enjoy performances by up-and-coming artists in places like the Bluebird Café and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge or attend a show headlined by a legendary performer at the iconic
Ryman Auditorium. Well-known entertainers frequently sit in on jam sessions at local watering holes like the Station Inn.
Grab your dancing boots and head to the largest dance floor in the Volunteer State at the 66,000-square-foot Wildhorse Saloon. Nashville is also known for its open-air concert series and music festivals, including Live on the Green and Tin Pan South. Another popular outdoor venue is the Ascend Amphitheater in Riverfront Park.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center, located in the James K. Polk Cultural Center, hosts the city’s professional ballet, opera and repertory companies. TPAC is the setting for a variety of theatrical performances, concerts and other events. The Nashville Symphony performs in the acclaimed Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the amphitheater in Centennial Park is the setting for the annual Shakespeare in the Park program. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts hosts a variety of international traveling exhibits each year. The fine arts museum, which has a gallery dedicated to children’s activities, is housed in the historic Old Post Office building. Other heritage architecture dispersed throughout the city includes the repurposed Union Station and Marathon Village as well as the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, the State Capitol and the Downtown Presbyterian Church.
In addition to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Frist Center, Nashville is also home to several other highly regarded museums. These include the Adventure Science Center as well as museums chronicling the lives and careers of George Jones and Johnny Cash. Another popular museum is the Musicians Hall of Fame. Built in 1897 for the Centennial Exposition, the Parthenon in Centennial Park displays a variety of works and features the largest indoor statue in North America.
The city is the setting for historic house museums, such as Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion, which reflect Nashville’s antebellum period. Located downtown, the Tennessee State Museum documents and preserves the natural and cultural history of the Volunteer State.
The unique collection of rolling stock of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum preserves the railroad heritage of Middle Tennessee. While Fort Negley Park contains the ruins of a Civil War bastion, Bicentennial Mall State Park is an outdoor museum filled with various exhibits that reflect the cultural and natural history of the state.
Nashville is the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace, a historic trade and exploration route. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic drive that features the colorful blooms of spring along with the vibrant hues of the fall foliage season. The 55-acre Cheekwood Botanical Garden offers several wonderfully landscaped gardens and special events throughout the year. Cheekwood is a popular place for families because of the abundant kid-specific activities that it offers. The campus of Belmont University is a designated arboretum that carefully preserves more than 100 species of trees, shrubs and other plantings. And if you get hungry along the journey, make a stop at The Loveless Cafe where they’re serving up daily specials like Chicken-Fried Chicken N’Gravy on Monday and Watermelon Ribs on Thursday.
You can get your Southern comfort food fix seven days a week at this down-home restaurant located at the starting point of Natchez Trace.
Along with one of the country’s largest Independence Day fireworks displays, Nashville is home to a number of major events throughout the year, including the Country Music Association Awards and the Tennessee State Fair. The city also hosts the Hot Chicken Festival and a New Year’s Eve celebration that features fireworks and an outdoor concert. Nashville is the setting for several food, music and other cultural festivals that comprise its April is Awesome program.
In addition to Halloween-centered activities, you can also enjoy festivals and other activities during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. Lively events, musical magic and delicious cuisine combined with natural beauty, history and acclaimed museums are just a few of the many reasons why you should visit Nashville.
Let Old Town Trolley help you plan your itinerary so you can enjoy the attractions and events that interest you the most.