The Music City
Maybe you love country music. Maybe you think it’s not really your thing. But no matter your stance on twanging guitars and big ol' cowboy hats, you can’t help but tap your feet when you step off the plane in Nashville, Tennessee. With over 200 years of music history, 150 music venues and live bands giving it their all every night of the week, this city is truly a sight for sore ears. From bluegrass jam sessions to doo-wop dance parties, here’s everything you need to do in the music capital of the world.
Where to Stay
Cool digs in the heart of the music scene
Music City Loft
A half block from the iconic Ryman Auditorium and down the street from the live music mecca that is Broadway, these industrial chic lofts are where it’s at. Originally an 1800s printing press, this warehouse is now home to one- and two-bedroom vacation rentals, renovated with fully equipped kitchens, exposed brick living rooms, washer-dryers, airy bedrooms and local art throughout. Each loft is inspired by a different a country star and uniquely designed without falling into kitsch.
Where to Eat
From Southern staples to modern marvels
Arguably the best and hottest restaurant in town, Husk shakes and classes up traditional southern fare. On the ever-changing menu you might just find deviled eggs with pickled okra and trout roe, gumbo-seasoned catfish with smoked Meyer lemon and cocktails so good, they’ll actually make you like whiskey.
Monell's at the Manor
“Serving South to your mouth since 1995,” Monell’s is a family-style down-home staple housed in an 1880s antebellum mansion. The set menu changes every day (BBQ Rib Friday, Pulled Pork Saturday and so on) with plenty of sides--including the naughty-good skillet fried chicken. Come hungry, turn off your cell phone and pass to the left.
A playground for gourmands, Pinewood is actually a series of multiple eateries…an airstream trailer offering bites by the pool, a living-room-style coffee shop, a craft cocktail bar (alongside a bowling alley) and a proper swanky dining room serving up lamb Bolognese and jalapeño mac and cheese.
What to Do
Come for the bluegrass, stay for the honky-tonk
Robert's Western World
Smack-dab on Lower Broadway, Robert’s is the spot for real-deal country western. (Think Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.) Between “Brazilbilly” dance sessions, order a Recession Special, which consists of a fried bologna sandwich, chips and a PBR, all for $5.
You know Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” or David Cook’s “Time of my Life”? Yeah, this unpretentious 90-person listening room is where hits like those are first released. Every night, songwriters come to test out their latest work, each taking turns while the others riff with acoustic instruments and harmonies.
The Station Inn
Round out your sounds with a bluegrass session at the legendary Station Inn. Go listen to the pro pickers any night of the week or sign up for a jam class to learn the standards and tricks of the trade--no experience required, but drinks highly suggested.
What to Skip
Go dancing with the right type of crowd
Bachelorette Dance Parties
With all the happening bars and music venues, Nashville has become quite the bachelorette party scene. Get your groove on while avoiding the bridesmaids with Eclectic Western at The Five Spot. On Monday nights, this boutique recording company hosts the city’s hottest dance party, spinning '50s, '60s, rock and roll, roots, soul and doo-wop. (No screaming gaggles of girls in sight.)
What to Pack
Whether you’ve already got them or have always wanted an excuse to buy a pair, this is the time to break out those bad boys. Bonus points for classic stitching in fire engine red.
A fitted cotton T-shirt with a sweeping V-neck will give you that sexy girl-next-door look--with just a hint of cleavage, of course. Consider it your go-to for nights at the honky-tonk.
Nashville Live Music App
This free app helps you browse over 150 venues, see updated band schedules and get in the party mood with a changing selection of featured music.