Welcome to the home of country music. Nashville is famous around the world for its intimate musical links, with the likes of the Grand Ole Opry and legendary recording studios like RCA’s Studio B bringing music fans flocking to Tennessee’s capital city. The city wears its musical influences firmly on its sleeve - and it’s easy to see why when it’s home to venues which gave birth to entire genres, such as Ryman Auditorium’s links to bluegrass. Other popular attractions include Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum. But if you’ve only time for a short stay, and want to experience the city’s vibrant entertainment and music scene while also exploring cultural and scenic charms, where do you start? Well, read on for ideas of what to do during 36 hours in Nashville, Tennessee.
Afternoon - have lunch at Hattie B's
After your journey, you’ll no doubt want to fuel up ready for a busy afternoon and evening of sightseeing. Well, Hattie B’s may be one option. Open from late morning until late at night you’ll have ample opportunity to grab a bite to eat, and there are multiple outlets in the city - they even deliver if you’d rather tuck in at your dig before heading out into Nashville proper. Founded in 2012, this popular family-run chain has rapidly expanded to 7 outlets - 3 of which are in Nashville, including the original in Midtown. Its success is no doubt thanks to its mix of hot chicken dishes - a Nashville signature speciality - waffles, desserts and other hearty options. Heat levels vary from little to mild, all the way up to “Shut the Cluck Up!!!”. Indeed, the very daring among you may wish to try the spiciest hot chicken dish on the menu - which is prepared with ghost peppers - but, be warned, those peppers are 400 times hotter than Tabasco!
Address: 112 19th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203
Website: Hattie B’s
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 11am - 4pm
Evening - slip into one of the bars on Music Row
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
If there’s one thing Nashville is arguably most famous for, it’s the fantastic music. The city is world famous for its links to country music. Little wonder then that the city boasts a vibrant music scene, and Music Row is the beating heart of the city’s entertainment industry. Alongside its many record label offices and recording studios - including RCA’s famous Studio A and Studio B - you’ll find plenty of live music venues. These include the likes of The Original Tin Roof. Entertaining bar-goers since 2002, the Roof, as it’s affectionately known, has played host to everyone from famous names to promising up and coming acts. Live bands perform every Thursday through Sunday, while weeknights feature a range of musical showcases. There are also DJs! The bar serves a range of food, including quesadillas, sandwiches, salads and more - including vegetarian options.
Address: 1516 Demonbreun Street, Nashville, TN 37203
Website: Tin Roof
Opening hours: 11am - 3am (daily)
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Night - stroll towards the Parthenon
After you enjoy Nashville’s vibrant music scene, why not cap your evening with a nighttime stroll? The Parthenon, a full-size replica of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, has become one of the city’s most famous sights - even appearing prominently in Hollywood movies such as Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief. The Parthenon is only open until late afternoon, but is bathed in beautiful floodlights at night - making for an enticing target for your camera lens. And, if you feel tempted to head back during the day, the stunning replica is an art museum housing works by US artists and recreations of stunning ancient pieces. The building sits amid the 153-acres (62 hectares) Centennial Park, which features a 1-mi (1.6 km) walking trail as well as the likes of Lake Watauga and Centennial Art Center.
Address: Centennial Park,. 2500 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9am - 4.30pm; Sun: 12.30pm - 4.30pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 4 USD onward
Morning - hike Richland Creek Greenway in Sylvan Park
Fans of a nice walk may wish to start their second day with a brisk hike. If so, then Nashville is home to a number of greenways dotted across the city - ranging from short 1-mi hops (1.6 km) to longer 10-mi (16 km) options over more rugged terrain. Richland Creek Greenway, located on the western side of the Sylvan Park neighbourhood in West Nashville, fits in between. Running 4 mi (6.4 km), this circuit loops McCabe Park Golf Course and runs alongside Richland Creek from which it gets its name. What’s more, the Greenway boasts a paved multi-use trail surface throughout - making it suitable for cyclists, walkers and runners. There are also parking sites dotted at several intervals and trailheads around the route, meaning you should have little trouble finding a place to stop the car if driving to the park.
Richland Creek Greenway
Address: Richland Creek Greenway - McCabe Trailhead, 4617 Sloan Road, Nashville, TN 37209
Website: Greenways for Nashville
Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)
Afternoon - fuel up at Star Bagel Cafe
After your brisk hike you’ll no doubt have worked up an appetite. Well, the popular Star Bagel Cafe may just be the option for you. Located in the same Sylvan Park area as the Richland Creek Greenway, you won’t have to venture far from your walk to reach it. What’s more, it’s open from 6 am until 5 pm every day, meaning you’ll find it open no matter how early in the day you start your walk. As you’d expect, given its name, the cafe serves a range of tempting, freshly-baked bagels, alongside oven-baked sandwiches and ground-roasted coffees - the latter of which may give you just the caffeine injection you need after your leisurely exertions.
Star Bagel Cafe
Address: 4502 Murphy Road, Nashville, TN 37209
Website: Star Bagel Cafe
Opening hours: 6am - 5pm (daily)
Evening - visit Hillsboro Village and pose with their murals
Continuing your earlier outdoor explorations, those among you who enjoy fine examples of street art may wish to check out Hillsboro Village. From the welcoming Hillsboro Village Mural itself at 2013 Capers Avenue to more fantastical creations like Hillsboro Village Dragon at the corner of Belcourt Avenue and 21st Avenue South, these works of art are dotted around the neighbourhood. They make for arresting street features - and are perfect targets for sightseers seeking to snap some unusual, or visually striking photographs. What’s more, they’re not alone in the wider Nashville area - so keep an eagle eye out for some of the other creations - which range from neon-light-inspired offerings to floral and positive-themed offerings.
Hillsboro Village Dragon Mural
Address: 1801 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212
Night - head to Acme Feed & Seed and grab a drink
After a busy day exploring the cityscape, it’s time to let your hair down. Fans of a good drink may wish to head for Acme Feed & Seed. This popular bar and eatery is set in a charming 19th-century building. Its 22,000-square feet (2,044 square metres) interior boasts funky tonk-inspired decor on one floor, a comfortable lounge and bar on the second level, the large open-plan Hatchery - a music and special event venue on the third, and an open-air rooftop bar on the fourth which overlooks the downtown area and enjoys views of the Cumberland River, Broadway and Riverfront Park. Given its large size, it’s little wonder that it also boasts a busy schedule of live music for you to enjoy, and serves no fewer than 28 beers on tap, as well as a number of different food menus depending on which floor you visit. Sounds like a recipe for a good night, right?
Acme Feed & Seed
Address: 101 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201
Website: Acme Feed & Seed
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 11pm; Fri: 11am - 2am; Sat: 10am - 2am; Sun: 10am - 11pm
Morning - have brunch at Pinewood Social and head to Ryman Auditorium
Before your visit comes to an end, there’ll still be time on day three to slot in a little more sightseeing. The Pinewood Social on Peabody Street is one option for your morning meal. It is open at 7 am every weekday, and 9 am at weekends and offers a range of hot and cold breakfast options - from pastries and muffins to classic eggs and bacon. Once done, carry on to the historic Ryman Auditorium. It holds a special place in the world of music - not only as the birthplace of bluegrass, but as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. It has played host to some of the world’s most famous music stars - from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams to Patsy Cline - and has been affectionately dubbed the ‘Mother Church of Country Music’. As well as its continuing roster of live music, the site is open for tours every day, making it a fine way to cap your stay.
Address: 116 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219
Website: Ryman Auditorium
Get a flavour of what's out there
There are a host of things to enjoy during a short 36-hour visit to Nashville. So much so, that you may plan a return for a longer stay even before you end your first trip. That is indeed the true flavour of Nashville!
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