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Category: Tennessee

17 Things to do in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee is a big city with a small town charm. The city is relatively easy to get around and it has a lot of fun things to explore from…

Nashville, Tennessee is a big city with a small town charm. The city is relatively easy to get around and it has a lot of fun things to explore from restaurants and museums to parks and hikes. You can see a video of all of my favorite spots below and text on each one as well. Let me know what I left off that you love in Nashville and watch for my food blog on Nashville next week.

Video

Johnny Cash Museum

Since Nashville prides itself on its country music history, it is no surprise that Johnny cash would have a strong influence on the area. The Johnny Cash Museum is one of the cities more popular tourist attractions and the small museum is expensive but it has a lot of stuff to see. I have been twice and enjoyed it each time. You can easily spend an hour or two here as there is a lot of information to read and watch about the famous singer.

Nashville Farmers Market

Located right off Bicentennial Mall, a stones throw from the capitol building, Nashville’s Farmers Market is the cities entry into the popular food court type estblishment seen in New York and Los Angeles. There are lots of places to grab food, coffee or dessert, with Jenis Ice Cream being my favorite stop in the market.

Nashville Murals

Nashville has a huge art scene with murals popping up weekly around the city. Last I heard there was close to 100 and some of the more famous ones show up often on social media. If you are looking for a fun way to spend a few hours and you have a car, check out one of the online blog posts about the murals and go find a few.

Country Music Hall of Fame

Country music is everywhere in Nashville so, of course, it would make sense to find the country music hall of fame here as well. This museum is gigantic and if you are a country fan you can easily spend a few hours here. There were exhibits ranging from Zac Brown Band to Little Big Town and even though I don’t like the music too much myself it was still fun to explore.

Bicentennial Mall / Tennessee Museum / Tennessee State Capitol

Bicentennial Mall is a large open space area in Nashville that is popular for walking and has a few different memorials to see. It is the park that leads up to the state capitol which is small but a cool building to go inside of. On the other end is the Tennessee Museum and this free spot has some really well put together exhibits that are great for the whole family. Plus if you are here during lunch you can check out the next recommendation, the farmers market

Lower Broadway Honky Tonks

No trip to Nashville is complete without going to hear some live music. You can do that by visiting one of the famous concert halls or you can just head out to Lower Broadway any night of the week and find dozens of bars with musicians covering all of your favorite songs. It can get rowdy during summer weekend nights but it is an area you need to experience in the city.

Hatch Show Print

Located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hatch Show Print has been making letterpress posters for almost a century.  To this day you can still see the process happening daily, take a tour to learn more about it and shop some of the most popular designs in their store.

Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium is a building that has played an important part in Nashvilles history. Built in the late 1800’s the building was originally a church that attracted many of the inhabitants, but over the years it was reinvented as a music hall, complete with the original pew seating still intact. You can go on a self guided tour here to see if for yourself, or go to a concert while in the city to really experience it.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Oprey is the other famous building that houses some of Nashvilles biggest concerts and most famous singers. A good 20 minutes outside of downtown, this concert hall has tours you can take to learn the history and see the backstage area. I really enjoyed learning more about this place as its history is certainly unique with its members and the auditorium is beautiful to tour.

Goo Goo Shop

Goo Goo Clusters have been a popular treat for over 80 years. They originated in Nashville though and you can visit the shop in downtown which has all sorts of Goo Goo related things to see and eat. If you are there during the right time, you can also pay to take a chocolate class and make your own cluster as well.

Cheekwood Estates

Cheekwood Estates is south of Nashville and it includes the grounds of an old beautiful mansion that was donated to the city in the 1960’s. The grounds have been turned into a botanical garden with lots of blooms throughout the year and there is even a section with multiple miniature trains that go along a wooden track that is fun to see as well.

Parthenon

Built for the … in … this building is something you would not expect to see in Nashville. The replica of the famous greek building has been meticulously recreated and is part of a large park on the west side of the city. When it is open, the inside also has a small art gallery on the bottom floor, and a massive sculpture of Athena on the second floor. The sculpture was add in the 90s and it is said to be the largest indoor sculpture in the United States.

Radnor Lake State Park

If you are looking to hike while in Nashville, then check out Radnor Lake State Park. About 20 minutes south of the city, the park has dozens of miles of hiking trails with the most popular being the trail that takes you on a loop around the lake. The park can get busy though so get their early during summer weekends if you want to get a parking spot.

Pinewood Social

Pinewood Social is the popular attraction for 20 somethings in Nashville, but it is fun to visit for all ages with its restaurant, bar, coffee shop and bowling alley. I haven’t actually bowled there myself as I usually opt for the coffee shop or bar but I am sure it is a blast, plus the outdoor area has a bunch of attractions like bocce ball, and airstream and a pool for the summer days.

Beale Meade

Belle Meade is an old plantation from the mid-1800’s which is now part of a compound that you can tour and which includes structures and Nashville history from this time period. The grounds include an old house, milk area, original slave quarters and mausoleum. There are two tours you could go on, one that goes inside of the mansion and another that looks at the plight of the African American workers during this time period. Plus, all tours and even the grounds only ticket come with a free wine tasting, which is a fun added bonus.

Jack Daniels Distillery

This last recommendation is about an hour and a half outside of Nashville but it’s a blast and worth the trip. There are tours that will take you here from Nashville or you can just drive if you have a rental car. Jack Daniels is of course a massive operation and it is a lot of fun to go see the process, including how they burn the pallets for charcoal? And where they get their water for the famous whiskey. Plus at the end, you get to try a bunch of different types of whiskey which is always a plus as well.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Right in the middle of Nashville, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a great spot for a good view of the city skyline. The bridge is only open to pedestrians and no car, so you can walk, bike or even scooter across it. Its a fun way to get a little activity and some great views while in Downtown Nashville.

Let me know if what I left off in the comments.

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Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee

The Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the most famous spots in the city of Nashville, which is the home of country music. I will start this review…

The Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the most famous spots in the city of Nashville, which is the home of country music. I will start this review by saying that I am not a fan of the music myself. I mean some of the old guys like Johnny Cash are great, but that is about it for me. That being said, I really liked the Country Music Hall of Fame. It is an incredibly well laid out museum with fun exhibits and one that I found very enjoyable to explore. If you are in the city, you should check it out, here is all the information.

Details

  • $25 to enter (discount for AAA and military)
  • Location: 222 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Parking: Underground lot across that the street that is around $10 an hour.

The Museum

Upon arriving at the museum, you will be shocked to see how massive it is. This museum has three floors, each of which has different exhibits and artifacts from country’s history.

Before walking in, be sure to check out the star walk of fame, much like the Hollywood equivalent, outside of the museum and across the street in the park.

Heading into the museum, you will start by going to the 3rd floor, which is where you begin your time here. The museum is laid, out so that you start at the top and work your way down to the bottom in a well set up path.

The first spot you will see is the Taylor Swift Education Center. This is a fun area for kids created by one of their no doubt favorite artists.

Next, there was an exhibit on Zac Brown that I enjoyed and then a whole hallway on the history of the music.

The best part for me was the super funny band names that they had in the early days of country. For example, Coon Creek Girls was a personal favorite of mine.

The area is overflowing with memorabilia, including a car owned by Elvis that had a TV and a record player inside.

There is so much to see in this museum that you could easily spend a day if you are a real fan.

Heading down to the next floor, you are greeted by a wall of gold and silver records that is at least three stories tall.

The first exhibit on this floor was about Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, with a lot of information about how their styles influenced each other and so forth.

One of my personal favorite exhibits was an interactive one where you got to “become a star.”

This exhibit had lots of different things you had to do to create your persona, including recording the vocals to a country song and then mixing your vocals in with the track. It was a total blast to do with friends.

There was also a guitar built for a giant that you could take your picture standing in the middle of. This floor had another hundred or so displays with lots of information on the different stars for the genre and its history, but I won’t bore you by relating all of that here.

The last thing you need to see before exiting the museum though is the room with the bronze plaques of all those who have been inducted into the actual country hall of fame.

This room looked like something you would see in an immaculate church, with sunlight streaming in and a large art piece in the middle. It was really impressive to see. All the walls had the bronze plaques which had each of the inductee’s names on them, and it was fun to see some of the historic people.

After that, you will proceed back to the lobby of the museum, and you can either head to the gift shop or go on to your next stop in Nashville. All in all, I enjoyed my time here, and I would encourage you to visit even if you are not a fan of the music. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Grand Ole Opry: A Backstage Tour of Country’s Famous Music Venue

The Grand Ole Opry is one of country music’s most famous venues, whose stage has been graced by everyone from Garth Brooks to Johnny Cash. While it is no longer…

The Grand Ole Opry is one of country music’s most famous venues, whose stage has been graced by everyone from Garth Brooks to Johnny Cash. While it is no longer in its original location, the new spot across the river is incredibly impressive and worth the visit. The best way to see it (if you aren’t going to a show) is to go on the backstage tour they have every 30 minutes during the day. I got a chance to check it out recently and here is all the information.

Details

  • $25 a person (discount for AAA members and military)
  • Tours every 30 minutes
  • Location: 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Getting There

The Grand Ole Opry is located in the heart of Opryland, which is the area with the huge hotel and mall across the water from Nashville. There is parking outside in the mall lots, and be sure to check out the massive guitars on the way in.

The Tour

We got the venue about 10 minutes before the 4 PM tour was heading out. After grabbing tickets and passing through security, we were ushered back to begin our tour.

The tour begins with a history of the venue and its influence, which is shared by Blake Shelton via video. Read more about the history here.

From there the tour guide will walk you through the lobby and outside to begin the tour.

Our tour started with information on how / where the artists enter the venue from. It is fun to learn about all of this and it is interesting to see how low-key it is.

Next, we heading into the large back lot area they have for filming shows and which is completely sound proof.

From there we went into the security area where they have plaques for all the members of the Opry. I found membership to be rather odd; you can read more about that here.

This is also where they have mailboxes that artists can receive fan mail from.

The next stop was at the dressing rooms backstage. They were all open when we went and it was awesome to see how gaudy they all were. Here are a few photos:

The green room is also back here, and it features art, beverages, and couches for the artists to relax at while waiting to go on stage. It also has a line on the wall that shows how high the flood got that came through a few years ago.

From the green room, we got to go out on the stage.

This was the best part of the tour as it is fun to be on an iconic stage like this.

The stage has a 6-foot wooden circle that was cut out of the original Opry and which artists can stand on when they perform today.

I thought that was a fun addition to a historic place like this and they even let us stand on it for a photo.

To end the tour we wrapped around the backstage and went out into the crowd. This is your last view of the venue, and it is fun to see it empty from here as well.

I liked the tour as it never felt too rushed and you got to get a good understanding of what it was like to play here. As someone who knew nothing about it before I came, I really enjoyed myself, and I recommend you check it out as well. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

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Jack Daniels Distillery Tour in Lynchburg, Tennessee

With over 100 years of history that spans prohibition, Jack Daniels is a true American company that still has all of its production out of the same town it was…

With over 100 years of history that spans prohibition, Jack Daniels is a true American company that still has all of its production out of the same town it was created in. The distillery sits about an hour and a half south of Nashville, and if you are visiting the city, it is a great half day trip that is well worth the effort. I took the hour and a half tour that ended with a whiskey tasting, and here is all the information.

Details

  • Tours range from $15 – $25
  • The tour with tasting was $22 when I went
  • Takes an hour and a half to drive there from Nashville
  • Location: 133 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352

Getting There

From Nashville, the drive is relatively straightforward on a couple of highways most of the way there. You can put in the above address, and it will take you to the distillery which is in the small town of Lynchburg that pretty much only exists because of Jack Daniels.

The Tour

We arrived 30 minutes before the tour as requested, and took the time to explore the interior of the main building while we waited.

This area was great as it had a lot of antiques from the companies history as well as an easy to follow walkthrough of the many of the main components. You will learn all of this on the tour, but it is nice to read here as well.

You can also see a collection of the different bottles and what they looked like during the company’s history in another room.

Lastly, there is a bottle shop where you can buy some bottles that are exclusive to the distillery and that can’t be bought elsewhere. This is a fun addition, and if you are a whiskey fan, they have some great stuff here.

The Tour

Our tour started with a shuttle ride that took us to the top of the property.

We were lucky enough to be there when they were making charcoal. Our guide told us that this is very rare and it was impressive to see the massive billows of fire under the old machinery.

From here the tour headed past some old firetrucks that have been on the property for decades.

One of the best parts of the tour was the next stop, which was the cave spring and statue of Mr. Jack himself.

This cave has a spring that flows out of it, and it has been the water base for the whiskey since its inception. Even when there was a drought about ten years ago, the spring never ran dry.

Next stop was the old company headquarters which had a lot of the original pieces inside, including the safe that Mr. Jack kicked and which lead to the infection that killed him.

There is also a national register sign here as well as a collection of ingredients that they use for making the whiskey.

From here we headed into the manufacturing area, and this was where we were not allowed to take photos. This area was impressive though, and it allowed you to see the whiskey during different steps of the process.We also went into a room where they slow drip the whiskey into charcoal, and it takes about five days for it to filter through to the bottom of the barrel.

Next, we got a chance to see the bottling process, which is where they add the stickers to the bottles.

This was also the same area where they have walls showcasing all of the people that buy entire single barrels from the distillery. This is a popular thing to do, but only for the more affluent as it costs $9,000 to $15,000 to buy one.

Leaving this room ended the main part of the tour, and we headed next into the tasting area.

The tasting area is one of the most impressive I have ever seen. It had a large glass room with tables that the whiskey platters sat on.

There were five tastings, and they were from some pretty expensive bottles which made it a lot of fun. Our guide lead us through how to taste whiskey and talked to us about the idiosyncrasies as well.

Our time on the tour ended here, but you could still go back in and shop or explore the main building area.

I would recommend that you head into the little downtown from here as well which is about a 5-minute walk. They have a few BBQ restaurants here, a chocolate shop and a few stores.

This is also where the main Jack Daniels giftshop is if you are looking to purchase anything other then exclusive whiskeys. I liked the barrel area in the gift shop, where they had barrels for purchase and a bunch of different artistic barrel art pieces you could buy.

After about 3 hours, we headed back to the car and made our way back to Nashville.  I can easily say it was one of the highlights of our time in the state and if you are spending some time here, I highly recommend it. Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

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