Write your own music story. That’s exactly what the chefs, artists, historians, musicians and impassioned locals of Nashville want visitors to do as they dive into this culturally diverse and oh-so-friendly city. Our team of local lifestyle fanatics at City Lifestyle are thrilled to collaborate with Visit Music City to present a customized visitor’s guide to this city rich in experiences that only Nashville can give. It’s a destination drenched in distinction with elevated tastes, down-home charm and a range of discoveries both well-known and emerging—Nashville is ready to rock your world.
With recent headlines such as “Top destinations for food and city lovers” (Tripadvisor), “Most anticipated hotel openings of 2022” (Forbes), and “Top global venues for live music” (Tennessean), Nashville has so much more than you’ve ever imagined, and we’re here to round up our recommendations for you.
Whether you’re a Nashville enthusiast or a novice soon to cross this off your domestic bucket list, you will love the medley of past meets present and Southern roots paired with modern amenities. As the largest city in Tennessee, Nashville boasts an impressive array of destinations, including luxurious hotels such as the Sheraton Grand in the heart of downtown, Urban Cowboy, Noelle and The Hermitage Hotel, which houses the upscale restaurant Drusie and Darr, led by world-renowned chef Jean-Gorges. Come and enjoy a truly elevated dining experience that reflects the new era of Nashville.
When ready to absorb the historic side of the city, the centuries-old landmark and winery, Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery, offers guests “historic tours, family tours, wine and food pairings, bourbon tastings and chef-inspired food and wine pairings” that are unparalleled in their local experience. Likewise, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery carries an incredible story of origination and bottles a remarkable 1860 family recipe that made Tennessee Whiskey world famous.
Let’s talk about one of the most anticipated—the food scene! Three things Nashville is known for are hot chicken, barbecue, and meat & three restaurants. Meat & three is a traditional Southern, cafeteria-style eatery with three meats changing daily, such as roast beef, meatloaf, fried chicken or catfish, plus your choice of three vegetable sides.
Nashville has amassed a lot of attention over the last 10 years for its exquisite food scene, with several James Beard award-winning chefs and an incredible independent restaurant scene.
People know how good the food scene is, but if they really want to find those independent, chef-driven restaurants like Rolf and Daughters, FOLK, Bastion, Locust, or Henrietta Red, these are the chefs that garner a lot of attention that you won’t want to miss.
Along with these notable culinary establishments, don’t overlook mainstays such as Arnold’s Country Kitchen, a traditional meat & three that has been in the same family for decades and where chefs love to eat because everything is sourced locally and delicious. Whether it’s traditional Southern food or higher end chef-driven cuisine, the quality is expected and delivered.
You can also find dozens of amazing rooftop bars and cocktail lounges, as well as many hidden bars you can dig around for, such as the one in the Noelle hotel.
For the art lovers at heart, Nashville’s ever-growing arts scene is as diverse and approachable as its music scene. Murals, streets art, public art, art galleries and museums are all a part of experiencing Nashville’s visual art offerings. Music history venues such as the new National Museum of African American Music will complement your old favorite Frist Art Museum, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, and Grand Ole Opry experiences. According to @visitmusiccity, “Everyone should do the Grand Ole Opry one night; it’s not just about the music, it's a piece of history and the world’s longest running radio show.”
As for the lay of the land, Nashville is definitely a city of neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is known for its own distinct feel and personality. East Nashville is funky, artsy, trendy and quirky. Germantown is a little more upscale with its chef-driven restaurants and walkable nature, known as Nashville’s first neighborhood founded by German settlers. 12South has eateries, boutique shopping and a lot of local favorites. Wedgewood-Houston is in transition mode right now with great breweries, distilleries, bakeries and art galleries.
In the end, they all have their own scene. Plus, you can shop your heart out at a wealth of boutiques, galleries and local maker shops, as well as Nashville’s upscale The Mall at Green Hills brimming with luxury stores such as Golden Goose and Gucci.
Last but not least is the music scene. Whether you’re into blues, jazz, honky tonk, rock, symphony or quite literally any genre of music imaginable, Nashville has it all.
Spend one night on Broadway hopping bar to bar, sit orchestra-side at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, tour and take in a show at the 130-year-old Ryman Auditorium, then experience a songwriter’s night at The Bluebird or The Listening Room Cafe. The music is different every night everywhere, so one is best served by referring to visitmusiccity.com for their Upcoming Concerts Calendar to soak up all the magnificent sounds.
There’s often a general misconception that if you don’t like country music that you won’t enjoy this musically rooted city. This could not be farther from the truth, according to the team of lifestyle experts at Visit Music City.
“There’s a lot more than just country music happening here. Country music laid the foundation that put all of these song writers, studios, musicians and infrastructure into place for all of this music to happen. But whether you like country music or not, what you don’t realize is that there’s a lot of music you might like that you never thought of as country.” This is a revelation that will pleasantly surprise many.
And, what better way to bestow a no-questions-asked travel itinerary than with the locals’ knowledge. “Once people experience the genuine hospitality of Nashville to the level they do, many are surprised by how incredibly friendly people are.” - Visit Music City
Visit Music City offers a complimentary service called Trip Planner where you can contact their “Nashville Experts” who work on the visitor experience team, and they will help as much or as little as you want, including an entire agenda or a few suggestions (See “Plan a Trip” on the site).