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It was in early May 2010 when the lives of many of the 600,000 residents of Nashville changed forever, and, initially, not for the better.
Thirteen inches of rain fell over the first weekend of that month and made wild rapids from normally tranquil tributaries that fed the Cumberland River, a secondary waterway in the United States.
Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers joined the party to announce that it needed to release—that’s right, release—the rising waters that were now severely pressuring area dams. It was, indeed, the perfect storm that no one had wanted and certainly didn’t need.
By that Sunday evening, the now-swollen Cumberland was seeing its banks spilling over and creating nightmarish conditions for everyone in its path. Flooding, like no one in these parts can remember, spread out and gobbled up many streets, homes, buildings, businesses, and lives.
It was an absolute and tragic mess.
About a dozen people died in the flooding, mostly from drowning. The financial cost to Nashville was pegged at more than $1 billion. The personal price tag was, well, priceless. And the national media essentially ignored the story in favor of ongoing coverage of an oil spill and a terrorist car-bomb plot that fizzled, thank God.
But, that was then.
Today, after those in the Volunteer State pitched in and helped to clean-up what they could, Nashville has changed, in a very good way. The city is re-charged and back in gear. High gear. And doing what it does best—playing host in what is dubbed “Music City USA.”
The mere mention of Nashville elicits a chord of similar and positive responses.
“This is a great town!” chimes one enthusiastic visitor. “There’s a lot to do here!”“Yeah, it’s home to country music,” says another.
Country superstars Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban are among the many artists who live here. Some noted athletes, rock stars and movie actors also reside locally. Think Scott Hamilton, Michael McDonald, Nicole Kidman (Keith Urban’s wife), and others.
There’s also a sizeable industry of Christian and gospel music being recorded in Nashville. And, we have the Nashville Symphony located in the elegant Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a $123 million top-of-the-line complex that suffered mightily during the flood, but has recovered better than ever.
Look at a map and you’ll find Nashville and its gently-rolling hills right in the middle of Tennessee. It’s about a three-hour drive from key cities in every direction—west of Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains; east of Memphis and Elvis’ Graceland mansion; south of Louisville, Kentucky, home of the fabled Kentucky Derby; and north of Birmingham, Alabama, near NASCAR’s Talladega Superspeedway.
There’s, well, a certain cache and vibe to Nashville, the state’s historic capital city. And, it draws people from everywhere.
Many more are expected to travel to Nashville in the not too distant future once the massive Music City Center construction project is completed in 2013. The $585 million convention center and adjoining Omni Hotel are, get this, on schedule and under budget.
Contracts already have been signed for the new complex to host The National Science Teachers Association in 2016. Some 15,000 teachers are expected to attend and will likely bring in millions of tourist dollars to the city and state.
Nashville is rich in history. The Civil War played out in the city and beyond and there are numerous battle sites and exhibits to see. In fact, now thru 2015, the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission is sponsoring a series of discussions on the events that occurred 150 years ago.
Of course, you can’t visit Nashville without a stop for a slice of Americana at the longest-running, live radio program, the Grand Ole Opry. Opry shows date back to 1925 and are held throughout the week at the Grand Ole Opry House. The theater is adjacent to the Opryland Hotel, the South’s grande dame, on the outskirts of downtown Nashville. Not long ago, it was another packed Opry house, this time to celebrate the 80th birthday of country music icon, George Jones.
Over the years, the Opry has played at half a dozen locations, the most famous of which is the historic Ryman Auditorium. Country stars such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl and Jim Reeves graced the Ryman stage on many nights. Today, the Ryman is a highly-regarded and extremely active venue, featuring just about everything and everyone. Recent acts have included singer Tom Jones, alternative rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Garrison Keillor, host of the popular radio program, “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Those, of course, are indoor events. Then, we have gigs held outside.
Every second week in June, thousands of people, many sporting some of the best cowboy boots and hats, head to Nashville to be a part of the CMA Country Music Festival. It’s a chance to see favorite singers perform live and, if lucky, get their autographs. Five months later, in November, thousands more return to attend the live broadcast of the CMA Awards.
It’s not just country music that’s the top dog in Nashville. Actually, health care is the dominant force with more than 200 related companies which have set-up shop locally. And, of those, about three dozen are headquartered here, chief among them, HCA, Hospital Corporation of America, founded by Nashville’s Frist family.
There are half a dozen major hospitals in Nashville including Baptist, St. Thomas and Vanderbilt University Medical Center with its renowned Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.
Publishing and printing also are high on the list, along with banking, insurance, transportation, and education.
About three dozen schools of higher learning dot the landscape, with Vanderbilt University, established in 1873; Belmont University, known for its music and nursing programs; Fisk University of Fisk Jubilee Singers fame; Lipscomb University, one of the South’s 20 best universities; and Tennessee State University, home of one of its most famous graduates, Oprah Winfrey.
So, you’ve arrived, pumped and ready to go. Now what?
I’d consider swinging by the Nashville Visitor’s Center, inside the Bridgestone Arena and pick-up some maps and brochures. And, staff members are on hand to answer all of your questions.
You’ll find that Nashvillians, as some call us, are friendly, outgoing, and willing to help. Just as we did during the flood.
This is your time in the city.
And in the country.
Go to it!
Things to See and Do in Nashville
Adventure Science Center, The center aims to educate youngsters through numerous interactive exhibits. 800 Fort Negley Blvd. Nashville. 615-862-5160. M-Sa 10a-5p, Su 12:30-5:30p. Open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission. http://www.adventuresci.com
Arrington Vineyards & Winery, The winery, co-owned by country music star, Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn fame, is located 30 minutes south of Nashville and offers tastings and great views. 6211 Patton Road, Arrington, TN, 615-395-0102. M-Th 11-8, F & Sa 11-9 and Su 12-6. Free wine tastings offered daily, including Sundays. http://www.arringtonvineyards.com
Aaron Douglas Gallery, Exceptional collection of African-American art, Fisk University, 1000 17th Avenue North, University Library , 3rd floor, 615-329-8720, M-F 10a-5p.fisk.edu/CampusLife/FiskUniversityGalleries/AaronDouglasGallery.aspx
Belle Meade Plantation, A Civil War battle was fought at this historic plantation and to where the bloodlines of many Kentucky Derby winning horses can be traced. There’s a wonderful restaurant and a well-stocked gift shop. 5025 Harding Pike, 800-270-3991. M-Sa 9-5, Su 11-5; Last tour starts daily at 4. Closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and the 3rd week of January. Admission. bellemeadeplantation.com
Belmont Mansion, Take a journey through American nobility and see how Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham, the richest woman during the Civil War, lived during that tumultuous period. 1900 Belmont Blvd, 460-5459. M-Sa, 10-4; Su 1-4p; Last tour begins NLT 3:30. Admission. belmontmansion.com
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, The 19-acre park, just north of downtown, commemorates 200 years of Tennessee’s existence—1796-1996. Inscriptions on granite walls tell the interesting and historic stories. 615-741-5280, Daily, year round. Free. 600 James Robertson Parkway, http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/Bicentennial
Carnton Plantation, Home of the widow of the South. Used as a hospital during the Civil War’s Battle of Franklin. 1345 Carnton Lane, Franklin. 615-794-0903, M-Sa 9a-5p,Su 12-5. Closed on major holidays. Admission. http://www.carnton.org
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art, A 55-acre botanical garden and museum where the Cheek family of Maxwell House Coffee fame lived in the 1930s. 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville. 615-356-8000. Tu-Sa, 9:30-4:30; Su 11-4:30. Closed Monday, except for Memorial Day and Labor Day; also on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission. www.cheekwood.org
Country Music Hall of Fame, Located downtown and primed for a major addition to house its massive collection of country music artifacts, exhibits, films, and more. If you love country music, whether old or new, this is the place to spend some time taking it all in. 222 5th Ave. South, 615-416-2001, Daily 9a-5p. Admission. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, as well as being closed on Tuesdays in January and February. http://www.countrymusichalloffame.org
Ernest Tubb Record Shop, The original shop of the Texas Troubadour has been selling records here since 1947. 417 Broadway, Nashville, 615-255-7503. The Midnite Jamboree airs live every Saturday night adjacent to Tubb’s other Nashville record location, 2416 Music Valley Drive, at the Texas Troubadour Theatre. Free. 889-2474. http://www.etrecordshop.com
Fontanel, The former home, actually a massive log cabin, of country singer, Barbara Mandrell, is now open for tours. While visiting, stop by the gift shop and the Farm House Restaurant. Just a short distance from downtown Nashville. 4225 Whites Creek Pike, 615-724-1600, Tu-F 11a-3p, Sa-Su 10a-3p. Admission. fontanelmansion.com
General Jackson Showboat, The 300-foot paddle wheeler is one of the largest showboats in the nation. Daily luncheon and dinner cruises on the Cumberland River, with live entertainment. 2812 Opryland Drive, 615-458-3900, generaljackson.com
George Dickel Distillery, Brand-name whiskey is made here. And, it’s the only American distillery with a working post office. 1950 Cascade Hollow Road, Tullahoma. 931-857-4110. Tu-Sa, 9-4 except major holidays. Last tour starts at 3:30. Free. dickel.com
The Hermitage, The home of President Andrew Jackson. 4580 Rachel's Lane, 615-889-2941, Daily 8:30a-5p, Apr 1-Oct 15, and 8:30a-4:30p, Oct. 16-Mar 31. Admission. thehermitage.com
Jack Daniel’s Distillery, The distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the U.S. and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 182 Lynchburg Highway, Lynchburg, TN, 931-759-6357. Daily 9a-4:30p. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve day, Christmas, New Year's Eve day and New Year's Day. Free. jackdaniels.com
Fort Negley, Gateway to Nashville’s Civil War. 1100 Fort Negley Blvd. 615-862-8470. Park is open daily from dusk to dawn for free, self-guided tours. nashville.gov/parks/historic/fortnegley
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, A gem in downtown Nashville that has no permanent collections, but constantly-rotating ones. Housed in the city’s former main post office. 919 Broadway. 615-244-3340. M, Tu, W, Sa 10-5:30; Th-F 10-9, Su 1-5 (Café opens at noon on Sunday.) Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission. fristcenter.org
Lane Motor Museum, 150 cars and motorcycles and includes the nation’s largest European car collection. 702 Murfreesboro Pike. 742-7445. Daily except Tu & W, 10-5. Admission. lanemotormuseum.org
Nashville Zoo, The zoo is home to many animals and creatures found around the world. The historic home, Grassmere, and its farm, offer a look into life in the 1880s. 3777 Nolensville Road. 615-833-1534. The zoo is open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Check for seasonal hours. Inclement weather may cause an unannounced closing for the safety of guests and animals. Admission. nashvillezoo.org
Parthenon, An exact-sized replica of Athens’ Greek temple, with a 42-foot statue of the Greek goddess, Athena, serves as an art museum featuring classical and modern work.
Centennial Park. 615-862-8431. Tu-Sa, 9-4:30. Su 12:30-4:30p. Closed July 4th, Labor Day, Thursday & Friday of Thanksgiving week, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Extended summer hours. Admission. http://www.nashville.gov/Parthenon
RCA Studio B, It’s where many stars recorded and, in some cases, still record their hit songs. Daily, hour-long tours are co-ordinated through the Country Music Hall of Fame. 1611 Roy Acuff Place. 615-416-2001. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Tuesdays in January and February. Admission. countrymusichalloffame.org/studiob
Ryman Auditorium, Not the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, but this National Historic Landmark is the most famous of its half a dozen locations, from 1943 to 1974. The Ryman remains an active music venue that still receives top praise from performers, audiences and industry publications. Los Angeles-based Pollstar continues to place the Ryman at #1. Self-guided and guided tours are conducted daily. 116 5th Avenue North, 615-889-3060. Admission. http://www.ryman.com
Schermerhorn Symphony Center, One Symphony Place. 615-687-6500. Opened in 2006 and home to the Nashville Symphony. Named in honor of its late conductor, Kenneth Schermerhorn. Flooding in May 2010 closed the facility for seven months. Free 50-minute tours are offered every W & Sa at 1p. For updated info, call 615-687-6580. nashvillesymphony.org
Tennessee State Capitol, Built by slaves and convicts in 1859 and survived the Civil War. Charlotte Ave. between 6th & 7th Avenues. 615-741-2692. Free tours, M-F 9-4, leave hourly from the Information Desk on the First Floor of the Capitol. Last tour is 3p. Closed major holidays. capitol.tn.gov/about/capitolvisit.html
Tennessee State Museum, 505 Deaderick Streets. 800-407-4324. The museum offers exhibits from prehistoric, frontier, antebellum, civil war and reconstruction periods, and includes flags, furniture, paintings, quilts, silver, uniforms, and weapons. Tu-Sa, 10-5; Su 1-5. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Free. tnmuseum.org
Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum, 636 Farrell Parkway. 615-832-8197. Nashville’s oldest historic home, built in 1799 by Judge John Overton, one of the state’s first Supreme Court Justices, the founder of Memphis, and friend of Andrew Jackson. M-Sa, 10-4, Su 1-4. Closed for key holidays. Admission. travellersrestplantation.org
United Record Pressing, 453 Chestnut Street. 615-259-9396. They’re still making vinyl records here after 40 years! Some Beatles and Motown records were manufactured at this facility. See the process and where some top recording stars and executives ate and slept. Tours are available for $5 per person on Tuesdays at 2p and Fridays at 11a. Other times can be scheduled for large groups by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 866.407.3165. urpressing.com
Double-Tree, Attractive hotel in the middle of downtown. 315 4th Avenue North, 1-615-244-8200, doubletree.hilton.com/Nashville
Hampton Inn & Suites Nashville-Downtown, Great downtown location across the street from both the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bridgestone Arena and much more. Beware, though, of several nearby construction projects. 310 4th Ave South, 615-277-5000, http://www.hamptonnashvilledowntown.comhamptoninnnashville.com
Hermitage Hotel, The Hermitage, the city’s oldest hotel (1910) and Tennessee’s only five-star and five-diamond hotel, is located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Over the years, the Hermitage Hotel has played host to many U.S. presidents and celebrities. How’s this for an award? The men’s room has been voted the “best in the U.S.” for its gleaming onyx and lime-green art deco design. Women are allowed to go inside and take a peek. 231 6th Avenue North, 615-815-1097, 888-310-8176. thehermitagehotel.com
Hilton Garden Inn, This nine-story hotel is located in Mid-Town, not far from either downtown or Vanderbilt University. 1715 Broadway Avenue, 615-369-5900. hiltongardeninn.hilton.com
Hilton Nashville Downtown, The only AAA 4-Diamond, full service, all-suite luxury hotel in Nashville. Located across the streets from the Bridgestone Arena, The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame, adjacent to lower Broadway, the honky tonks, the Ryman Auditorium and within walking distance (if you wish) to LP Field, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans. 121 4th Avenue South, 615-620-1000. hilton.com
Hutton Hotel, One of the city’s top five hotels located just blocks west of downtown. 1808 West End Ave, 615-340-9333, huttonhotel.com
Hotel Indigo, Two locations. This boutique hotel is situated in Mid-Town at 1719 West End Avenue, 615-329-4200. hotelindigo.com. A second and newer Hotel Indigo location, in a century-old office building, is downtown at 301 Union Street, 615-891-6000. musiccityhotel.com. Both are within blocks of restaurants and bars.
Loew’s Vanderbilt, Nashville’s only four-star hotel for more than 25 consecutive years and located directly across from Vanderbilt University. 2100 West End Avenue, 615-320-1700, Reservations: 1-800-336-3335, loewshotels.com/VanderbiltNashville
Renaissance Nashville Hotel, The Renaissance Nashville Hotel stands tall and very convenient in the middle of the city. 611 Commerce Street, 615-255-8400, Toll-free: 1-800-327-6618. marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnash-renaissance-nashville-hotel/
Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, As the name implies, this hotel is truly downtown. 623 Union Street, 615-259-2000. sheraton.com/Nashville
Union Station, A former train station that’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is now a Wyndham Hotel. 1001 Broadway, 615-726-1001. wyndham.com
There are numerous Best Westerns, Comfort Inns, Country Inn & Suites, Hampton Inns, Holiday Inns, Marriotts , Sheratons and other lodging facilities throughout the Nashville area worthy of consideration.
Lower Broadway/Honky Tonk & Printer’s Alley Nightclubs
Lower Broadway is an unofficial nickname given by locals to establish where this section of the city is located. Broadway is a major thoroughfare in Nashville and Lower Broadway (some simply say “Lower Broad”) is home to many nightclubs, honky-tonks, restaurants, shops and more between 5th and 1st Avenue by the Cumberland River.
B.B. Kings, The Stacy Mitchart Band gets rave reviews. 152 2nd Ave N, 615-256-2727,M-Th 11a-1a, F-Sa 11a-3a, Su 11a-mid. bbkingclubs.com
Coyote Ugly, 154 2nd Ave N, 615-254-8459, M-Sat 11a-3a, Sun: 2pm-3am. coyoteuglysaloon.com/nashville
Wildhorse Saloon, The Wildhorse, a former warehouse, established itself during the line-dance craze of the ‘90s. Name acts are booked here throughout the year. Dine and dance. The dance floor is massive—nearly 5,000 sq. ft. 2nd Avenue North, 615-902-8200, Daily at 11a, but double-check because it often closes for private events. wildhorsesaloon.com
What’s a honky tonk? It’s a dive bar with tons of country music history and where many of the stars got their start in the business. There are several honky tonks located on lower Broadway, near the Ryman Auditorium, between 4th and 5th Avenues. It’s best to check, but these clubs have age restrictions at night.
Legends Corner, The five original 78RPM Elvis Presley Sun Records, a set of KISS Dolls and a 12 string autographed guitar once owned by Johnny Cash hang on the walls. 428 Broadway, 615-248-6334, Daily 11a-3a. legendscorner.com
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The place gets packed, but that’s part of its, well, gritty appeal. The music is great, too! Folks like Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Tom Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, John Rich, Kid Rock, Hank Williams, Jr., are among the many who’ve hung out here. A scene from “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was filmed at Tootsie’s. You can’t miss it. It’s painted orchid. 422 Broadway, 615-726-0463, Daily 10a-2:30a. tootsies.net
Robert’s Western World, It’s a place to listen and dance to the music, grab a bite to eat and even buy something to wear. A veteran Robert’s employee says “It’s in a tourist area, but so many locals still consider Robert’s their favorite.” Church is held here every Sunday morning at 10:30! 416B Broadway, 615-244-9552, M-Sa 11a-3a; Su 12p-3a. robertswesternworld.com
Second Fiddle, The very place that says it’s a honky tonk with attitude! Who can argue with that? 420 Broadway, M-Th 2p-3a, F-Su 11a-3a. 21 and up after 6p. thesecondfiddle.com
The Stage, The Stage is “a little bit Texas and a whole lotta Nashville.” Tim McGraw and Gwenyth Paltrow filmed a scene here from the movie, “Country Strong.” Stacy London and Clinton Kelly taped their hit TV show "What Not to Wear" at The Stage. 412 Broadway, 615-726-0504, M-F 2p-3a; weekends 11a-3a. thestageonbroadway.com
There are other clubs in this area, but these are the most famous of the group and the reason why they’re highlighted.
Printing was once and, still is, a key industry in Nashville, dating back to the late 1800s. Many mom and pop printing shops opened off lower Broadway, between 3rd and 4th Avenue North and bordered by Church Street to the South and Union Street to the North. After work, print shop employees wanted to go somewhere to relax, and over time, various bars and other types of establishments sprung up. Even after liquor was banned during Prohibition, Printer’s Alley flourished. Today, the printing shops are long gone although several have since become major companies. As for Printers Alley, numerous bars are open these days and the setting, some of it of the naughty variety, is reminiscent of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Paul McCartney wrote the song, “Sally G,” after visiting Printer’s Alley. Top country trio, Rascal Flatts, was discovered here.
Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Legendary for live blues. For three decades, from the ‘50s to the ‘70s, this was the home of the Boots Randolph Carousel Club. Cajun food, beer and cocktails, 220 Printers Alley, 615-242-5837, Daily 4p-3a. bourbonstreetblues.com
Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar, So-called “Cheers” bar of Nashville for its clientele of artists, musicians, locals and tourists meeting and listening to country music. Ask for Alison. She’s the owner and loves to say hello. This place used to be an exotic dance club, “The Black Poodle.” 210 Printer's Alley, 615-251-9002, fiddleandsteel.com
Lonnie’s Western Room, Voted “Best Karaoke Bar” in Nashville. Open mike nightly. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Lonnie’s was known as a piano bar, “The VooDoo Room.” 208 Printers Alley, 615-251-1122, M-Th & Su 6p-3a; F 5p-3a; Sa 4p-3a, lonnieswesternroom.com
Ms Kelli’s, A karaoke bar with a bar, pool tables and TVs to watch sports. Meghan Linsey of the Country duo, Steel Magnolia, once worked here. 207 Printers Alley, 615-255-4423, M-Th 8p-3a, F-Sa 6p-3a. mskellisnashville.com
The Brass Stables, A Nashville institution, The Brass Stables, is the last remaining exotic dance club in this area and it has great history to it. Years ago, it was a gourmet restaurant and used the name, Brass Rail Stables and Lounge. Before that, Andrew Jackson, once the nation’s 7th U.S. President, boarded his horse here when he was Tennessee’s governor. In fact, the original barn board was used to frame the walls. 206 Printers Alley, 615-780-9186 Su-Th 7p-3a, F-Sa 7p-5a, brassstables.com
The Gulch was once a gritty neighborhood, adjacent to a rail yard, just blocks southwest of downtown. Pieces of its past still remain, by design, as it transforms into a glassy and glitzy commercial and residential zone. Easiest access, 12th South, between Demonbreun and Division streets.
Cantina Laredo, Gourmet Mexican meals in an upscale setting in one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, the Gulch, 592 12th Avenue South, 615-259-9282, M-Th 11a-10p; F-Sa 11a-11p; Su 11a-9p. cantinalaredo.com
Demos’, (pronounced deema-sehz), Family-owned, American entrees; “Definitely the best meal in town for the money! Service was prompt, but not hovering.” 300 Commerce Street, 615-256-4655, M-Th, Su 11a-10:30p; F-Sa 11a-11p. demosrestaurants.com
Diana’s Sweet Shoppe, Soups, salads, sandwiches, ice cream, shakes, oh, and sweets from 1920s recipes. In 2010, Diana’s Sweet Shoppe had its interiors removed from the original Diana’s in Port Huron, Michigan (1926 to 2001) and carefully transported to Nashville. The centerpiece is the Violano-Virtuoso, a rare, but working player-piano/violin. 318 Broadway, 615-242-5397, M-Sa 10:30a-8p; Su 10:30a-7p. dianasnashville.com
Flyte World Dining and Wine, New Southern cuisine in an off-beat location just south of downtown. 718 Division Street, 615-255-6200, Tu-Th 4:30p-10p; F-Sa 4:30p-11p. flytenashville.com
Hard Rock, The remodeled eating spot, site of the city’s first brothel, has nearly 13,000 sq. ft. that include a 378-seat restaurant, an open air terrace, the Rock Shop and a state-of-the-art live concert venue. Like its other locations, this Hard Rock has gold records, guitars and pictures on the walls. 100 Broadway, 615-742-9900, M-Th, Su 11a-10p; F-Sa 11a-mid. hardrock.com/locations/cafes3/cafe.aspx?LocationID=105&MIBEnumID=3
Jack’s Bar-B-Que, This hole-in-the-wall is pretty amazing. Ask anyone which BBQ they like the best and almost unanimously, everyone says “Jack’s.” So, go already. 416 Broadway, 615-254-5715. M-Th 10:30-9p, F-Sa 10:30a-10p, Sun 12-6p. jacksbarbque.com
Kayne Prime, Swank eatery near the Gulch with a name (pronounced cane) deriving from the historical and nearby Kayne rail switch yard. 1103 McGavock Street, bar opens nightly at 5; dining room at 5:30p. 615-259-0050, mstreetnashville.com/kayne-prime
Margaritaville, Parrotheads re-unite in Nashville where Jimmy Buffett got his start in the music business. So, too, did Jimi Hendrix. Food, drink and live music. 322 Broadway, 615-208-9080, margaritavillenashville.com
Morton’s The Steakhouse, Two guys become pals while working at the Playboy Club in Montreal. One cooks a hamburger for the other who is really impressed. It’s built up from that point over more than 30 years. Easy reach to the Ryman Auditorium, the Bridgestone Arena and other downtown destinations. 618 Church Street, 615-259-4558, M-Sa 5:30p-11p; Su 5-10p. mortons.com
The Palm, The Palm philosophy is simply this—Treat guests like family, serve great food, and always exceed expectations. That philosophy came into being in 1926, when Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened the first Palm in New York City and their families still own and operate Palm restaurants around the nation. 140 5th Avenue South, 615-742-7256, Weekdays 11a-11p; Sa 5p-11p; Su 5p-10p. thepalm.com
The Pie Wagon, A “Meat and 3”—choice of meat and three sides—has been serving up cafeteria-style southern dishes since 1922. Th restaurant has been in business at this location since 2002 and used to be the offices and recording studios for country star, Faron Young. 1302 Division Street, 615-256-5893, M-F 8a-3p. thepiewagon.com
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Don’t let the name fool you. The original Puckett’s, founded by the family in the 1950s in Leiper’s Fork, a rural community south of Nashville, was a place to gas up, buy groceries, grab a bite to eat and chat with the neighbors. It’s still that way today. In 2002, Puckett’s added dinner and music. With all of the singers and songwriters living in the area, the Friday night writers’ show quickly grew in popularity. And now, it’s branched out to include Nashville. 500 Church Street, 615-770-2772. M-Th 7a-10p; F-Sa 7a-11p; Su 7a-4p. puckettsgrocery.com
Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill, An action-packed restaurant and sports bar with flat screen TVs, live music and a roof-top, open-air patio. 429 Broadway, 615-244-7477, Daily for lunch, dinner and late nights. rippysbarandgrill.com
Sambuca, Stylish Gulch nightspot for drinks, apps, dinner, live music and atmosphere. 601 12th Ave South, 615-248-2888, M-W 11a-11:30p; Th 11a-mid; F 11a-1a; Sa 6p-1:30a; Su 6p-10p. sambucarestaurant.com
Station Inn, This understated, single-story, cement-block nightclub serves up lots of bluegrass music and grub in the middle of the Gulch’s revival. It’s almost possible to overlook this place because of its much newer and glamorous surroundings. But keep thinking bluegrass and a throwback and that should give you a sense of what the Station Inn is all about. And tuck this into your mind, every Monday evening at 9. 402 12th Avenue South, 615-255-3307, M-Sa 7p-2a; Su 7p-mid. stationinn.com
The Standard at the Smith House, The Smith House has a rich history and continues to be an important part of downtown Nashville. During the 1840's, a woman built and ran a respectable boarding house for many of Nashville's most prominent citizens. In the late 1800s, the boarding house became a private residence and later was fashioned into a social club. Today, it’s a high-end and highly-regarded restaurant. 167 Rosa L. Parks Blvd (8th Avenue), 615-254-1277, Tu-Sa, 5-9p. By reservation only. Lounge, Tu-Sa, 5-mid. smithhousenashville.com
3rd & Lindsley, Food, music and good times. 818 3rd Avenue South, 615-259-9891, Weekdays 11a-2a; Weekends 5p-2a. 3rdandlindsley.com
Virago, Sleek Robata (Japanese for “by the fireside”) grill and sushi bar with a roof-top patio and a dress code that says no hats! 1126 McGavock Street, approaching the Gulch. Nightly, 5-mid. 615-254-1902, mstreetnashville.com
Watermark, Low-lit, upscale dining experience. 507 12th Ave South, 615-254-2000, M-Th 5p-9:30p; F-Sa 5p-10p, watermarknashville.com
Whiskey Kitchen, A tavern-chic neighborhood bar, serves daily lunch, dinner and late-night meals when the place really gets busy. Reese Witherspoon, a Nashville native, was seen here eating with her father. On the road to the Gulch at 118 12th Avenue South. 615-269-4646. whiskeykitchen.com
Mid-Town is a short stretch of hotels and restaurants just west of downtown, running between the split of Broadway and West End Avenue from 16th Avenue to 20th Avenue. The West End, with more hotels, restaurants, shops, residential areas, and Vanderbilt University, picks up from 20th Avenue and ends at I 440.
Amerigo, This Nashville-based classy Italian eatery, an OpenTable Diners' Choice winner, has three other locations—in Memphis, TN, Jackson, MS and in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood. 1920 West End Avenue, 615-320-1740, M-Th, Su 11a-10p; F-Sa 11a-10:30p. amerigo.net
Bound’ry, The Bound’ry began as an apartment building in the early 1900s, then in the ‘70s and ‘80s became home to the “Close Quarters Rock-n-Roll Hotel,” which had, among other things, a hot tub in the bar and a seven-foot TV—much ahead of its time. Today, food is the focus at the Bound’ry with keen attention to steaks, fish and pasta. 911 20th Avenue South, 615-3043, Su-Th 5-10p, 5-11 F-Sa, Late Night Menu F-Sa ‘til mid. pansouth.net/boundry
Bricktops, Contemporary restaurant featuring steaks, seafood and salads. Free parking. 3000 West End Ave, 615-298-1000, M-Th 11a-10p, F 11a-11p, Sa 10a-11p, Su 10a-10p, Brunch—Sa & Su 10a-3p, bricktops.com
Chappy’s on Church, Alabama-born, John “Chappy” Chapman, son of a British consul in Mobile, later moved his family to New Orleans where he dreamed about owning and operating a Cajun-style restaurant. His dream came alive in 1984 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. More than a decade later, Chappy’s dream was shattered by Hurricane Katrina which destroyed both his restaurant and his home, forcing him to set-up shop in Nashville. Lucky for us! On the fringe of the West End, 1721 Church Street, 615-322-9932. M-F, Lunch 11a-2p, Dinner 5p-10p, Sa, 5-10p, Su-champagne brunch 11a-3p, Dinner 3p-10p. chappys.com
Cori’s Dog House, Yep, a place that sells hot dogs, but these lucky dogs come with grilled and canyon-deep, split-top buns and toppings such as baked beans and banana peppers. 106 29th Avenue, North. 615-329-9444, M-Th, 10:30a-9p, F-Sa, 10:30a-10p, Su 10:30a-7p. corisdoghouse.com
Corner Pub Midtown, With Vanderbilt University and Music Row just around the bend, you know this is one hot spot for local flavor, especially when the Pub’s 15 HD TVs are tuned to some Vandy, Titans or Predators games. Check out Smoking Monday's where the pub crew smoke up their BBQ ribs, half chicken and chicken wings. 2000 Broadway, 615-327-9250. Happy Hour is from 3p-7p M-F, 11a-10p on Sun. http://cornerpubtn.com/CP_midtown/index.html
1808 Grille, Sophisticated, yet unpretentious. Overlooking Nashville from the top of the Hutton Hotel. 1808 West End Avenue, 615-340-0012. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. 1808grille.com
Elliston Soda Shop, Nashville's oldest continuously-operating restaurant in the same location—from the late ‘30s. It’s typical soda shop stuff, with burgers, shakes and things of the sort. In 2011, locals roared in protest over news that the soda shop was soon to close its doors. Quickly, the owner revised the lease deal. Wished it included a mop. 2111 Elliston Place, 615-327-1090, M-Sa 7a-3p. No website.
Gigi’s Cupcakes, National chain has found a home in Nashville. Here’s your place if you’re in need of a cupcake fix, with the likes of Hunka Hunka Banana Love, Italian Cream Wedding Cake and Kentucky Bourbon Pie. 1816 Broadway, 615-342-0140, Weekdays 9-6; Sa 10-6. gigiscupcakesusa.com
J. Alexander’s, J. Alexander's is a contemporary American restaurant, known for its wood-fired cuisine. Our core philosophy is to provide you with the highest possible quality dining experience. The menu features a wide selection of American classics including prime rib of beef, steaks, fresh seafood, sandwiches and entrée salads. J. Alexander’s, with its headquarters in Nashville, has restaurants in 13 states. 2609 West End Avenue, 615-340-9901, Su-Th 11a-10p, F-Sa 11a-11p, Sa-Su brunch 10a-2p. jalexanders.com
Maggiano’s, This Italian cuisine chain delivers from a southern mansion locale. 3106 W. End Avenue, 615-514-0270, M-Th 11a-10p; F 11a-11p; Sa 11:30a-11p; Su 11:30a-9p. maggianos.com
Noshville, Think of a New York City delicatessen in the middle of Nashville. 918 Broadway, 615-329-6674 (NOSH), M 6:30a-2:30p; Tu-Th 6:30a-8:30p; F-6:30a-9:30p; Sa 7:30a-9:30p; Su 7:30a-8:30p. noshville.com
Patterson House, On the fringe of Mid-Town and Music Row. A music industry hang-out in a renovated home amid a once-seedy, but now, fast-growing neighborhood. Along with the food, hand-made cocktails are the rage. And above it all, literally, is a new restaurant, the Catbird, where renowned chefs whip up exquisite meals before your eyes. 1711 Division St, 615-636-7724, Tu-Su, 5p-3a. thepattersonnashville.com
Rotiers, Classic southern-style restaurant in business for more than 60 years. 2413 Elliston Place, 615-327-9892, Weekdays 10:30a-10p; Sa 9a-10p. No website.
Ruth’s Chris, Well-known, upscale chain steak house. 2100 West End Avenue, 615-320-0163, Weekdays 5p-10p; Sa 5-10:30p; Su 5-9p. ruthschris.com
South Street Restaurant, Funky hangout that features catfish, crab cakes, ribs, bread pudding, and much more. A short distance from Vanderbilt University. 907 20th Ave S, Su-Th 11a-mid, F-Sa 11a-2a, late night menu, mid-1:15a. pansouth.net/southstreet
Stoney River, Voted best Nashville steak house in Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City. “It reminds me of an upscale lodge,” says one diner. 3015 West End Avenue, 615-340-9550, M-F, 11a-2p & 5p-10p; Sa, 4p-10p; Su, 11a-3p & 5p-9p. stoneyriver.com
Ted’s Montana Grill, Media mogul, Ted Turner, has grown his restaurant empire to 46 locations in 16 states since opening in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio. American favorites include steaks, meatloaf, crab cakes, pecan-crusted trout, cedar plank salmon, burgers, chicken grills and vegetable sides. Fresh-cut fries, hand-dipped salt and pepper onion rings, soups, salads and desserts also are featured on the menu. 2817 West End Avenue, 615-329-3415, Su-Th 11a-10p, F-Sa 11-11p. tedsmontanagrill.com/TNNashville.html
Tin Angel, Opened in 1993, Tin Angel is one of the few historic commercial buildings left on Nashville's West End Avenue. The building has been carefully restored, from its brick walls and floors and its round, freestanding fireplace, to its period tin ceilings. “Can't say enough about the food, service and atmosphere!” 3201 West End Avenue, 615-298-3444, M-F 11a-10p, Sa 5-10p, Su 11a-3p. tinangel.net
Valentino’s Ristorante, Highly-regarded Rustic Italian cuisine served in a warm, inviting setting. 1907 West End Avenue, 615-327-0148, M-Sa 5p-10p, Closed Sundays valentinosnashville.com
East Nashville is a diversified neighborhood on the re-bound and boasts some of the city’s quaint and period architecture.
Battered and Fried, A New Englander moves to Nashville and brings his fresh seafood and chowder skills with him. The place is also loaded with sports memorabilia, especially from Boston! 1008 Woodland St # A, 615-226-9283, M-Th & Sun 11a-10p, Fri-Sa 11a-11p. batteredandfried.com
I Dream of Weenie, It’s not exactly a food truck. It’s a weenie mobile, a vintage, but beat-up Volkswagen van. Ask for the Flamin’ Frank. 113 South 11th Street, 615-226-2622. No website.
Margot Café & Bar, Margot Café & Bar is a casual, fine dining restaurant located at “Five Points” in Historic East Nashville offering rustic French and Italian cuisine with an emphasis on the regions of Provence and Tuscany. 1017 Woodland St, 615-227-4668, Bar: 5-10p Tu-Sa, Dinner: 6-10p Tu-Sa, Sunday Brunch: 11a-2p. Closed Mondays. margotcafe.com
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Lots of yummy choices by this Columbus, Ohio-based company, from Bourbon Buttered Pecan to Ugandan Vanilla Bean. 1892 Eastland Avenue, 615-262-8611, Daily 11a-11p. jenisicecreams.com
The Pied Piper Creamery, A dream come true for Jenny Piper, a former youth minister who once honed her skills scooping ice cream elsewhere and often spoke to middle school students. Voted Best Ice Cream by Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City. And here’s why—ready?? Trailer Trash--Vanilla with Oreo, Twix, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces; Take Me Out To The Ballgame--Popcorn flavored ice cream with Crunch-n-Munch; and my favorite, Cop Stop—Coffee ice cream with assorted donut pieces! 114 S. 11th Street, M-Th 12-7p, F-Sa 12-8p, Su 1-5p.thepiedpipercreamery.com
Germantown is a handsome and upscale enclave of historic business buildings and homes just north of downtown.
Cupcake Collection, Voted Best Bakery in Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City. Cupcakes are $1.50 apiece. Most popular are Strawberry, Sweet Potato and Red Velvet. 1213 6th Avenue North, 615-244-2900, M-Th 10a-5:30p, F 10a-5:30p, Closed Saturday. Su, 11a-3p. thecupcakecollection.com
Germantown Café, Go-to place set in a fashionable neighborhood. 1200 5th Ave N # 100, 615-242-3226, Lunch, M-F 11a-2p, Sa 11a-2p; Nightly Bar 4:30p, Dining Room 5p, Sunday Brunch 10:30a-2p. germantowncafe.com
The Mad Platter Restaurant, Mad Platter is considered a harbinger in serving seasonal menus by using local products and is now heading into its 23rd year. 239 6th Avenue North, 615-242-2563, M-Tu 11a-2p; W-Th 11a-2p, 5:30p-10p; F 11a-2p, 5:30p-11p; Sa 5:30p-11p; Su 5p-9p. themadplatterrestaurant.com
Monell’s Dining & Catering, Southern cooking served family-style. 1235 6th Avenue North, 615-248-4747, Lunch and dinner hours, plus weekend breakfast hours. monellstn.com
Stock-Yard, "One of the Top Ten Steakhouses in the United States" - Int'l Restaurant & Hospitality Rating Bureau. It’s also where country stars, Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins, filmed their music video, “Hillbilly Bone.” 901 Second Avenue N., on the fringe of downtown and Germantown, 615-255-6464. M-Th 5-10p; F-Sa 5-11p; Su 5-9p. Complimentary shuttle service. stock-yardrestaurant.com
Restaurants/Hillsboro Village Area
Just three small blocks long, Hillsboro Village is known for its trendy, but laid-back demeanor, shops and restaurants, southwest of downtown and within the shadow of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Cabana, Here you’ll find a mix of Vanderbilt students, athletes and music industry types soaking up the atmosphere, tipping back the drinks and eating the American cuisine. It’s also a private party spot. 1910 Belcourt Avenue, 615-577-2262, M-Sa 4p-3a; Su 4p-mid. cabananashville.com
Bongo Java, How’s this for a description in USA Today? “One of 10 great places for coffee & conversation.” Bongo Java is the city’s oldest and most celebrated coffeehouse. The café, across the street from Belmont University, opened in 1993 and three years later, it made headlines after many customers ruminated that its cinnamon bun resembled Mother Teresa. And, Rachel Ray filmed a segment here for her Food Network program, “$40 a Day.” 2007 Belmont Blvd., 615-385-JAVA (5282), Daily 7a-11p. bongojava.com/bongo_belmont.php
Fido, Popular, local coffee shop where you never know who you just might run into. Fido got its name from a former occupant-a pet shop-and a sign that Fido now uses as its logo. Fido is also owned by the same people who run Bongo Java. 1812 21st Ave. South, 615-777-FIDO, Daily, 7a-11p. bongojava.com/fido.php
Hot and Cold, As the name implies, it’s hot or cold. Snacks, iced tea, hot tea and all sorts of coffees, hot and, well, cold. Other refreshments are found here, as well. 1804 21st Ave S. 615-767-5468, M-Th 11a-9p, F-Sa 9a-11p, Su 9-9. The Bongo Java crowd also owns this place. bongojava.com/hot_and_cold.php
Pancake Pantry, Very popular, family-owned restaurant since 1961. Expect long lines, especially on weekend mornings. Voted Best Breakfast by the Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City. 1796 21st Avenue South, 615-383-9333, M-F 6a-3p, Sa-Su 6a-4p. thepancakepantry.com
Provence Breads & Café, This is the original of now six locations throughout Nashville. Assorted breads, gourmet coffees, breakfasts, soups, salads and sandwiches. 1705 21st Avenue South, 615-386-0363, M-F 7-7, Sa 8-7, Su 8-6. Locally owned and operated since 1996. provencebreads.com
Sportsman’s Grille, It’s been more than two decades since this locally-based eatery opened its doors. Today, it continues to serve its famous dishes of roasted smoked ribs, hand-breaded catfish, barbecue on Cajun cornbread, along with assorted fresh salads with in-house made dressings. 1601 21st Avenue South, 615-320-1633, Smoking is allowed here. sportsmansgrille.com
Sunset Grill, American and seafood dishes are the main offerings. Tends to be a late-night action spot. 2001 Belcourt Avenue, 615-386-3663, Mon 5p-mid; Tu-Th 11a-mid;
F 11a-1:30a; Sa 5p-1:30a; Su 5p-10p. sunsetgrill.com
Sweet CeCe’s, Frozen yogurt that everyone swears tastes exactly like ice cream. And, it comes, if you wish, with many topping possibilities. Various locations around Nashville including stores in The Gulch and at Green Hills. This one happens to be in as good a place as any. 1708 21st Ave South, 615-942-8908, Winner of Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City award for Best Yogurt. sweetceces.com
Restaurants/12th South Area
12th South is the road that brings you directly to a re-vitalized area of little shops and restaurants south of downtown and just blocks from Belmont University.
Burger Up, Opened in 2010 as a community-driven, quality hamburger spot. OK, so it’s an Upscale burger joint. Get it? With locally-raised beef. And, it comes with great fries! 2901 12th Ave South, 615-279-3767, Su-Th: 11a-10p, F-Sa: 11a-11p. burger-up.com
Frothy Monkey, Voted Best Coffeehouse in Nashville for the Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City. The menu features “breakfast for dinner” items, for example, chicken and waffles, grits and shrimp and Eggs Benedict. 2509 12th Avenue South, M-F 7a-7p; Sa-Su 8a-7p, 615-292-1808. frothymonkey.com
Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles, Among the eye-opening Mexican-style choices: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Wasabi, Nutella, Chai, Strawberry Blackberry, Strawberry Lime, and Hibiscus. TV’s Bobby Flay did his show here. 2905 12th Ave South, 615-386-2101, Tu-Sa Noon-7p. Cash only. Part of the Bongo Java family. No website.
Music Valley is an area due east of downtown Nashville and was developed in the 1970s after Gaylord Opryland blossomed from the construction of a theme park and hotel. There are numerous chain hotels and restaurants, nightclubs and souvenir shops packed tightly off Briley Parkway and directly opposite from the main entrance of the Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
Best Western Suites, 201 Music City Circle, Toll Free: 1-888-994-9940 bestwesternnashvilletn.com
Comfort Inn Opryland, 2516 Music Valley Drive, 615-889-0086,
Country Inn & Suites Nashville, 210 Rudy Circle, 615-316-9944, countryinns.com/nashville-hotel-tn-37214/tnnashvi
Countryside Lodge Hotel, 2500 Music Valley Drive, 615-316-0145, countrysidelodge-nashvilletn.com
Courtyard Nashville at Opryland, 125 Music City Circle, 615-882-9133, marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnaco-courtyard-nashville-at-opryland/
Days Inn Nashville, 2460 Music Valley Drive, 1-866-599-6674, expedia.com/Nashville-Hotels-Days-Inn-Nashville-Opryland-Area.h456806.Hotel-Information
Fairfield Inn & Suites Nashville at Opryland, 211 Music City Circle, 615-872-8939, marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnaop-fairfield-inn-and-suites-nashville-at-opryland/
Fiddler's Inn, 2410 Music Valley Drive, Toll-free 877-223-7621, fiddlers-inn.com
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Iconic, sprawling hotel with southern charm, nearly 3,000 hotel rooms, a massive indoor display of plants and flowers amid a series of waterfalls, restaurants, shops, convention halls and meeting rooms. Adjacent to the Grand Ole Opry House and about a 15-minute drive from both the airport and downtown Nashville. 2800 Opryland Drive, 888-777-6779, gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/
GuestHouse International Inns, Hotels & Suites/Music Valley, 2420 Music Valley Drive, 615-885-4030. guesthouseintl.com
Hampton Inn & Suites Nashville @ Opryland, 230 Rudy Circle, 615-620-2500, hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/accommodations.jhtml?ctyhocn=BNAOPHX
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Nashville-Opryland, 2461 McGavock Pike, 1-800-423-0908/615-829-7777, hiexpress.com/hotels/us/en/nashville/bnamp/hoteldetail
Hyatt Place Opryland, 220 Rudy's Circle, 615-872-0422, nashvilleopryland.place.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/place/reservations.jsp
Nashville KOA Campground, 2626 Music Valley Drive, 615-889-0286, koa.com/campgrounds/Nashville
Radisson Hotel, 2401 Music Valley Drive, 615-889-0800, radisson.com/nashville-hotel-tn-37214/tnnashop?s_cid=se.ggl.rad_cmp15
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park-Camp Resort, 233 RV sites, 30 tent sites and 2 rental cabins. 2572 Music Valley Drive, 615-889-4225, nashvillejellystone.com
Bob Evans, Ohio-based country kitchen restaurant complete with a gift shop. 200 Rudy Circle. 615-889-9266, bobevans.com
Caney Fork River Valley Grille, Family dining with a campy atmosphere and catfish pond. 2400 Music Valley Drive, 615-724-1200, M-Th 4p-10p; F-Sa 11a-11p; Su 11a-9p. caneyforkrestaurant.com
Cock of the Walk, It’s all about the fish, the cornbread, and the sweet tea at this casual and country-style eatery. Check out the huge rocking chair. 2624 Music Valley Drive, 615-889-1930, M-Th 5p-9p; F-Sa 5p-10p; Su 11a-9p. cockofthewalkrestaurant.com
Cooter’s, Fans of the wildly-popular TV show, Dukes of Hazzard, will love this memory lane gift shop. You can’t miss the two vehicles out front. 2613 McGavock Pike, Daily 9a-5p, Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas, cootersplace.com
Cracker Barrel, Just down the street a bit from its corporate headquarters. 2406 Music Valley Drive, 615-883-5440, Su-Th 6a-10p, F-Sa, 6a-11p, crackerbarrel.com
Ernest Tubb Record Shop, This is one of two Ernest Tubb record shops in Nashville and is located at 2416 Music Valley Drive # 110, 615-889-2474, M-F 9a-7p, Sa & Su 10a-6p, etrecordshop.com. Every Saturday night at midnight, join the fun and nostalgia at the adjacent Texas Troubadour Theater for an hour and a half live radio broadcast of the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree. There’s no admission charge. In case you don’t know, Ernest Tubb was a country singer in the ‘40s and ‘50s and was nicknamed the Texas Troubadour.
Grand Old Golf and Valley Park Go-Karts, It’s the kid in us that will put a smile on your face. They also do birthday and company parties here. 2444 Music Valley Drive, 615-871-4701, Open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day, summer hours M-Th 10a-10p, F-Sa, 10a-11p, Su 12-10p. grandoldgolf.net
John A’s, Great food, decent prices, live music, good atmosphere. ‘Nuff said. 2421 Music Valley Drive, 615-885-1540, M-F & Su 3p-mid; Sa 11a-mid. johnasrestaurant.com
Logan’s, New location for this growing restaurant chain, featuring a huge menu and its famous just-out-of-the-oven rolls! 2506 Music Valley Drive. logansroadhouse.com
Nashville Nightlife, A combo of country music and country cookin’ is presented throughout the week. Check for schedule and rates. 2620 Music Valley Drive, 800-308-5779, 615-885-4747, nashvillenightlife.com
Nashville Palace, Live country music and dining venue. 2611 McGavock Pike, 615-889-1540, Daily 11a-1a, nashvillepalace.net
Old Hickory Steakhouse, Exquisite dining set in a southern plantation located inside the Opryland Hotel. 2800 Opryland Drive, 615-871-6848, M-Th, Su 5p-10p; F-Sa 5p-11p.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-national/dining-activities/national-harbor-restaurants/old-hickory-steakhouse/
Opry Backstage Grill, Meals served up by singing waiters. Radisson Hotel, 2401 Music Valley Drive, 615-231-8854, Daily 6:30a-10a, 11a-3p, 4p-10:30p. F & Sa 4p-11:30p. oprybackstagegrill.com
Santa Fe Cattle Co., Steaks, ribs & fajitas, 2520 Music Valley Drive, 615-885-7852, M-Th, Su 11a-10:30p; F-Sa 11a-11:30p, santafecattleco.com
Scoreboard Restaurant & Sports Bar, Kick it back for some food, music and sporting action in this slightly hidden spot, tucked behind the Nashville Palace. Smoking is allowed here. 2416 Music Valley Drive, 615-883-3866, Daily 11a-2:45a, scoreboardbar.net
Shoney’s, Southern-style dining chain that began in 1947. 2645 McGavock Pike, 615-885-0568. shoneys.com
Sokho Thai, Serving authentic Thai cuisine. 2450 Music Valley Drive, 615-883-6050,
M-Th 11a-2p, 4:30p-9p; F-Sa 11a-2p, 4:30p-10p. sukhothainashville.com
“Tribute to the King,” A non-stop look-back on the life of Elvis, starring John Beardsley. Standing O’s every night! Texas Troubadour Theater, 2416 Music Valley Drive # 109, 615-889-2474, thenashvilleking.com
Two Rivers Campground, A camper’s delight with all the amenities and more. 2616 Music Valley Drive, 615-883-8559, tworiverscampground.net
Waffle House, What can you say? Breakfast and more at all hours. And it all started near Atlanta in 1955. You have to check out its music video, Southern Classic Cookin’ on YouTube! 2727 McGavock Pike, directly across Briley Parkway from the Opryland Hotel. 615-885-5113. wafflehouse.com
Willie Nelson & Friends, Family-owned and operated museum and general store for more than three decades. 2613A McGavock Pike, 615-885-1515, M-Sa 8:30a-9p, Su 8:30a-8p. willienelsongeneralstore.com
Arnold’s Country Kitchen, This is another “Meat and 3,” your choice of meat and three sides, anything from mac ‘n cheese to collard greens. If you drive by, there’s a chance that you’ll continue driving on. You need to stop and go inside. You’ll see why. Voted Tennessean’s 2010 Toast of Music City Best Meat & 3. 605 8th Avenue South, 615-256-4455, M-F 10:30a-3p. hollyeats.com/ArnoldsCountryKitchen.htm
Athens Family Restaurant, The restaurant website says it serves “traditional Greek and American cuisine good enough to receive your Greek grandmother’s blessing and satisfy American appetites.” Guy Fieri of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has done a segment here. 2526 Franklin Road, 615-383-2848, M-W 7a-10p, Th-Sa 24 hours a day. Su ‘til 10p. athensfamilyrestaurant.com
Bluebird Café, Eat and watch singers and songwriters test their talents throughout the week before an intimate group (28 seats). It is unlike a country concert where the crowd goes wild. Rather, people come to listen to those who’ve passed an audition to perform. Some big names have played here over the years. Reservations are strongly suggested. 4104 Hillsboro Pike, 615-383-3669, bluebirdcafe.com
Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, A classic, outdoor summer treat destination that, frankly, needs a little love. Not to worry, though. Taylor Swift loves this place. 5301 Charlotte Avenue, 615-463-8088, M-11a-7p; Tu-Sa 11a-10p. No website.
Gabby’s Burgers & Fries, You just gotta love this tiny place, a counter with high stools, and scattered tables, all within earshot of Greer Stadium, home of the minor league baseball team, Nashville Sounds. And you can forget those standard-issue photos of the country stars on the walls. Oh, there are pictures here, but of everyday folks! “My favorite part of the meal was the sweet potato fries,” says one. Owner Doug Havron, who left the corporate world to focus on his family, is working the counter, overseeing the grill, taking orders and doing so in his friendly and unassuming manner. Doug says the goal is great food and great service at a great price. Judging from the crowd, the goal has been met! 493 Humphreys Street, 615-733-3119, M-Th 10:30a-2:30p; F 10:30a-7:30p. Sa 11a-2:30p. gabbysburgersandfries.com
Gerst Haus, You might have guessed that German food is on the menu and has been since 1955. The signature dishes include Wiener Schnitzel, bratwurst, and corned beef and cabbage. It’s across the street from LP Field where the NFL Tennessee Titans play football. 301 Woodland Street, 615-244-8886, M-Th 11a-10p; F-Su 11a-11p. gersthaus.com
Hot Diggity Dogs, Home of Nashville’s Chicago-style hot dog. 614 Ewing Avenue. Just a short walk south of downtown. 615-255-3717. M-F 10:30a-4:30p; Sa 11a-4:30p. hotdiggitydogstn.com
Jim ‘N Nick’s B-B-Q, It’s so good that Alan Jackson orders it. 7004 Charlotte Pike, 615-352-5777, M-Th, Su 10:30a-9:30p; F-Sa 10:30a-10:30p. jimnnicks.com
Loveless Café, Legendary roadside restaurant famous for its fried chicken and biscuits. For years, the biscuits were made from scratch by the restaurant’s greeter, Carol Fay. Perhaps you’d seen Carol Fay, the Biscuit Lady, on television trying ever so hard to show Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O’Brien and other celebrities how to make biscuits without getting flour and dough on their hands and faces. Sadly, Carol Fay passed away in April, 2010 at age 48. 8400 Highway 100, 615-646-9700, Daily 7a-9p. lovelesscafe.com
Swett’s, Southern food and plenty of it served cafeteria-style at this “Meat & 3.” Tim McGraw has been known to swing by here a time or two. 2725 Clifton Avenue, 615-329-4418, swettsrestaurant.com
Sylvan Park, Yet another popular “Meat & 3” locale. This one is known for its delicious meals and equally delicious desserts including chocolate pie and peach cobbler. 4502 Murphy Road, 615-292-9275, M-Sa-Lunch and Dinner. No website.
The Pfunky Griddle, A quirky and, yep, funky restaurant where YOU cook the pancakes on your table’s in-laid griddle. Lunch is also served. Plus, it’s right across the street from Martina McBride’s recording studio. 2800 Bransford Avenue, 615-298-2088, Tu-F 7a-2p; Weekends 7a-3p, thepfunkygriddle.com
Cool Springs Galleria, A premier shopping destination with 150 stores. 1800 Galleria Boulevard off I-65 in Franklin, just south of Nashville. M-Sa 10a-9p, Su Noon-6p. Department store and holiday hours may vary. 615-771-7213, coolspringsgalleria.com
Hill Center Green Hills, Just south of The Mall at Green Hills is another upscale shopping destination, but about half the size. Locals call the Hill Center Green Hills simply “Hill Center. But, they’ll call The Mall at Green Hills simply “Green Hills.” 4015-4031 Hillsboro Pike, 615-252-8101, hillcentergreenhills.com
Opry Mills Mall, Closed by the flood, but fully back in business by Spring 2012. Opry Mills exit off Briley Parkway, adjacent to the Opryland Hotel Resort and Convention Center. simon.com/mall/oprymills/default.aspx
Providence Marketplace, The largest open-air shopping center between Nashville and Knoxville and home to many familiar names, such as JC Penney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Books-a-Million, Target, Belk, Petsmart, and Kroger as well as many regional and local stores and restaurants. 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, Mt. Juliet, TN. Off I-40 just east of Nashville. M-Sa 10a-9p, Su Noon-6p. Department store and holiday hours may vary. shopprovidencemarketplace.com
Rivergate Mall, A sprawling indoor mall with all the familiar name stores and food court businesses. 1000 Rivergate Parkway, Goodlettsville, Off I-65 just north of Nashville. M-Sa 10a-9p, Su Noon-6p. Department store and holiday hours may vary. 615-859-3456, rivergate-mall.com
The Mall at Green Hills, Anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, and Nordstrom, the mall also includes some fine specialty shops, such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Sephora, Brooks Brothers, The Cheesecake Factory and about 90 other stores. Faith Hill, Nicole Kidman and Carrie Underwood are among the many who shop at the Mall at Green Hills. 2126 Abbott Martin Road, 615-298-5478, M-Sa 10a-9p, Su 12p-6p. themallatgreenhills.com
Here are some websites that might help you plan your visit to Nashville.