Nashville, Tennessee's crowning glory may be its spectacular country music scene. But the city elevates its historic points of attraction unlike any other destination. Nashville ups the ante by revamping their iconic sites so that they’re trendy and southern chic. It’ll take an entire weekend to tour some of Nashville’s venues. Here are 10 activities to get you started.
10 Things To Put On Your Nashville Weekend Itinerary
Friday Evening: Arrival To Nashville
Orient yourself upon arrival by checking into your Nashville home away from home, such as this centrally-located apartment. After grabbing a bite to eat at one of the city's great restaurants, be prepared to have some fun! You can't leave Nashville without going to some great music venues and concerts. Here are a few things that we recommend doing on Friday night.
1. Catch a Grand Ole Opry Concert
If you’re in Nashville, you’ve got to go to a Grand Ole Opry concert. It’s known as the “The Show that Made Country Music Famous” and “Home of American Music” for good reason. It’s a weekly country music concert held in one of two locations: the Grand Ole Opry House or the Ryman Auditorium. Remember that time Carrie Underwood rocked Tammy Wynette’s classic “Stand By Your Man”? That was at the Grand Opry. Or when Vince Gill and Diana Krall performed that impromptu duet? Also at the Opry. Who knows if you’ll catch the next great performance of rising talent or a country superstar! If one concert gets you hooked, you can catch live broadcasts of all performances on SiriusXM Satellite Radio or online.
2. See a show at the Franklin Theater
The Franklin Theater is a 1937 relic that’s all charm and nostalgia. This performance venue showcases classic movies, plays and musicals. You’ll get a sense of how seriously Nashville takes its acoustics from the fantastic technical quality of the productions. The venue’s state-of-the-art sound and lighting system takes their theater engineering up a notch. They also serve classic theater snacks like popcorn and candy and sell adult beverages on tap.
Saturday: Go Out On The Town
Roll out of bed and get ready to have a fun day in Nashville! If you're feeling quiet, explore the Cumberland River, where you can bring a book and a picnic and have a restful day. Or get your music on in these interesting and lively places where you can get the feel for Nashville's culture.
3. Get inspired at the Country Music Hall of Fame
You’ll see how Nashville rocked the music world once you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. The hall is a 40,000 square foot site all about how the country genre changed the course of Nashville’s history. The museum showcases country music artifacts and archives, and even has a theater space for shows and live performances.
4. Visit Hatch Show Print
This next destination, known as Hatch Show Print, is owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s one of America’s oldest letter-press poster print shops. This means large, hand-carved wood blocks are carved to form the basis of each poster’s design. It’s nothing like the swift, click and print customization of the digital age. Hatch takes it back to the quality and care that was afforded to each letter and each design element of customized posters. Artists like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Coldplay knew good work when they saw it. They, like Pearl Jam and Mumford & Sons, all had posters printed up at Hatch Show Print. You can get your own custom print there as well.
5. See a show at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts
To get a well-rounded sense of Nashville’s creative side, visit the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. This’ll give you a sense of the city’s burgeoning arts scene. The center was restored from a former U.S. Post Office building to highlight art-deco exhibitions from local, regional and international artists. Visiting over the weekend will give you ample time to appreciate each work of art.
6. Have a hearty meal at Puckett's Grocery
Puckett’s Grocery is a Nashville landmark that’ll warm your heart and fill your stomach. It’s a bar and grill that has the feel of a 1950s general store. It serves home-style, rich, southern food, and the best cobbler you will ever have. (Served with ice cream, of course.) For brunch this weekend, see what the food is like at a restaurant where the ‘vegetable of the day’ is mac and cheese. Puckett’s also hosts live music acts, so you’ll catch great entertainment over the weekend as well.
7. Go to a honky-tonk
Lower Broadway is where a lot of honky-tonks are located. Honky-tonks are music venues where county performers would play bawdier tunes that weren’t allowed at the Grand Ole Opry back in the day. You’ll still hear great music in Lower Broadway, which is one of the reasons the neighborhood is so popular among locals as well. Tootsie’s just may be the most well-known honky-tonk, but you’ll find different venues with distinct characters, Robert’s Western World, for example, is where some claim you’ll hear some of the finest rockabilly music in the world.
Sunday: Go Places You Can't Find Anywhere Else
Make the most of your time in Nashville by seeing some of the city's attractions that truly can't be found elsewhere (well, at least in the United States, in reference to the Nashville Parthenon.) Bring your camera, because these sights are photo-worthy and will capture some unique moments from your trip.
8. Explore history at Nashville's Parthenon
Take a mini trip to Greece this weekend without stepping foot outside of Nashville. There’s a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens right in Tennessee! Nashville’s Parthenon was built in 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition. The theme was “Athens of the South.” It’s a bit random and quirky, but at an admission fee of $6, well worth the visit. If you’ve heard of the Percy Jackson series, scenes from the first book were filmed in Nashville’s Parthenon.
9. Breathe the fresh air at Belle Meade Plantation
Continuing on with the Greek theme, the Belle Meade Plantation is another world away from Nashville. Technically, the landmark is located in Belle Meade, which is around 10 miles from the city. But it’s perfect weekend outing to enjoy the Tennessee outdoors. The plantation is a Greek Revival-style mansion that is now a historic museum. The house and grounds date back to the 1840s, but the winery and event spaces are very much the best of the present. Get yourself out to Belle Meade to take a break, sip some wine and stroll the beautiful grounds.
10. Walk down lower Broadway
Take a walk along lower Broadway to get to ‘NashVegas.’ This neighborhood is a tourist trap, but for good reason. There are shops of every kind, from Savannah Candy Kitchen’s, which sells ice cream and other delectable sweets, to Ernest Tubbs Record Shop, a one-stop shop for county and bluegrass. Just like Vegas, NashVegas has all the sights, sounds and tastes to keep you entertained. Stop by before you leave to stock up on souvenirs for your family and friends, and maybe a nice treat for yourself!
This article was written by Hanna Choi.