Country music may have put it on the map, but this is not Nashville, Tennessee’s only draw. A multifaceted character paints a different picture of this destination from what you might expect — historical sites and museums, exciting sports, vibrant shopping and cuisine. But, of course, if country music is your thing, “Music City” will not disappoint with its unequaled venues and events.
Riverfront Park, which connects the Cumberland River with the city’s bustling downtown area, offers a wealth of green space, boardwalks, overlooks and plazas for laid-back exploration, and is also home to a full calendar of events. On the southern end of the park, American history buffs can investigate what remains of Fort Nashborough, the 1779 settlement that was a forerunner to the city of today.
Depending on the season, sports fans can catch the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, cheer on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena, or browse the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Two institutions worth visiting are the Tennessee State Museum, with interpretive exhibits of the state’s evolution through the ages, and the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery — showcasing its permanent collection illustrating the history of world art.
Speaking of world art, Nashville presents the unique opportunity to see one of mankind’s ancient treasures, The Parthenon. A full-size replica of the iconic temple — including a 42-foot-tall, gilded statue of the goddess Athena — located in nearby Centennial Park.
A few miles east of downtown, a must-see is the long-running Grand Ole Opry, which still entices music lovers to experience its weekly show at the new Grand Ole Opry House. While you’re there, stop by the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the Opry’s original site, and now on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also step aboard the General Jackson showboat, docked nearby, for a daytime country music show.
Modern country fans will want to mark their calendars for four days of music in June featuring hundreds of artists, live concerts, meet and greets, autograph signings and more at the CMA Music Festival. Whether you decide to stop in for a special event or just to get to know Nashville, the Southern warm hospitality and dazzling persona of this city makes it an entertaining stop along the scenic Cumberland River.
WHERE TO DINE
Husk Nashville (37 Rutledge St.) From James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock, Husk uses heirloom products and regional ingredients to create inventive Southern cuisine.
Edley’s Bar-B-Que (908 Main St.) A quintessential barbecue joint serving up classic dishes and seasonal Southern-style sides, with outdoor seating and a bar.
The Loveless Cafe (8400 Highway 100) A landmark in the South since 1951, with acclaimed fried chicken and biscuits, pulled pork and meatloaf.
WHERE TO DOCK
Nashville Municipal Riverfront Dockage (615-862-8480) The municipal docks are conveniently located in the heart of Nashville offering over 400 feet of dock space, water and electric. Cross the nearby John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and stroll right into downtown.