Get your country music groove on in Nashville
This central Tennessee city is known for its Southern hospitality, its rolling topography, and its role as the country music industry's nerve center. Home to the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and CMA Awards, the city is a wonderland for country music lovers. In addition, the music scene in Nashville hosts numerous other genres, including classical, rock and blues.
Things to see
Grand Ole Opry
This prominent stage has moved several times since debuting in 1925. The current venue on Opryland Drive boasts 4,400 seats and architecture that's both rustic and lavish. This theater hosts major stars as well as promising newcomers. Every November, the Grand Ole Opry shifts its location to downtown's Ryman Auditorium, and it returns home in January.
Since 1897, Nashville's Parthenon has brought a taste of Greece to the South. Situated in Centennial Park, this majestic edifice houses an Athena statue that's 42-feet tall, along with an outstanding collection of art.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
The city's dedication to the fine arts is also evident at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. This musical palace is the Nashville Symphony's home base, and its centerpiece is a spectacular, towering organ.
General Jackson Showboat
The General Jackson Showboat, which plies the Cumberland River, looks as though it's popped right out of a Mark Twain tale. This graceful steamboat offers various cruises throughout the week, many of which include delicious food and live music.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Even if you're not a country fan, you will still be swept away by the historical and cultural artifacts inside this imposing building. The interactive exhibits display guitars, costumes, microphones and photographs. Together, they tell the fascinating story of this enduring musical genre.
Travel and lodging information
If you're driving on your trip to Nashville, you can take one of three interstates: I-65 from the north or south, I-24 from the southeast and northwest, and I-40 from the east or west.
Nashville International Airport (BNA) is eight miles from downtown, and 10 airlines operate there. This world-class transportation center has three levels, and several hotels are nearby.
The Sheraton Music City Hotel, which is one of the most distinguished Nashville hotels, has outdoor and indoor pools and a large courtyard. Plus, each guest gets a private patio or balcony. This Sheraton provides a free shuttle service to and from the airport five minutes away.
The 202-room Holiday Inn Express Nashville Airport is a more inexpensive option. It offers a fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, complimentary breakfasts, and free shuttles that go to a variety of top Nashville attractions.
Note that it costs approximately $25 to take a taxi from the airport to downtown. Public and Gray Line buses also travel between these two destinations for a cheaper fare.
Yearly events of note
In February, Nashville presents a series of soul concerts to honor Black History Month. During this month, you can also celebrate your love of turkeys at the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention, where turkey-calling competitions and turkey-themed art displays are just two of the highlights.
The "Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon" on April 30 is a race with a distinctly Nashville twist. Dozens of bands perform as runners make their way through town. After the marathon, there's yet another concert at the Bridgestone Arena.
A four-day bash hosted by the Country Music Association in early June brings hundreds of artists to the city, many of whom are the best in the business, like Keith Urban and Tim McGraw.
Every July 4, there's a massive outdoor Nashville Symphony concert and fireworks show. Then, in August, many residents and visitors head to the Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville for recipes, cooking demonstrations, games and stories, all of which incorporate the versatile tomato.
The Germantown district holds two gigantic Oktoberfest festivals, and each showcases many artists and performers. Finally, the CMA Awards is a nationally-televised event every November. Tickets are notoriously difficult to obtain, but you can be part of the buzz inside the city.
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