Recently I was able to spend almost a full week in Nashville for a work conference. Granted I spent most of the trip at the Gaylord Opryland, which is a ways out from the city. But I did extend my trip so I could experience real Nashville if only for a weekend. With a limited amount of time, I set out like a mad man biking around the city and trying to take it all in. Here’s what I did with about 24 hours.
The food scene in Nashville, just like in most other cities, is burgeoning with new restaurants. There were so many places I had scoped out and intended to try but didn’t get to most of them due to time restraints. My favorite experience of the trip was snagging a seat at the bar at Husk. This Southern spot is pretty pricey but worth every penny. It’s housed in an old plantation style home with multiple levels and rooms that are elegantly designed and updated. Husk is by far one of the best restaurants I’ve been to.
If you’re dining at a place like Husk, there’s no way you can spend the rest of the night sipping on dollar beers or well cocktails. Move on to the swanky speakeasy-styled Patterson House. You’ll walk into the place and see a lobby area with a curtain keeping you from peeking into the bar area. You’ll need to see the hostess for a seat (Trust me, I tried barging into the place like a brute and was practically tackled.). The bartenders are really friendly and the drinks are superb.
Honky tonks and country music are what you’re probably expecting when visiting Nashville. Don’t worry, I experienced plenty of that, too. Head on over to the Station Inn. There’s plenty of history as many music legends have graced their stage. I happened to stop into the dive bar during the Americana Music Festival and got a chance to hear some amazing folk artists.
Normally I try to visit art museums during my travels, but unfortunately there isn’t much of an art scene in Nashville. But you can check out Centennial Park near Vanderbilt that has a reproduction of the Parthenon. It makes for a lovely photo op.
I also recommend checking out the Johnny Cash Museum. Aside from the usual biographical artifacts, there’s lots of interactive media throughout. Projectors play clips from the Man in Black’s career but there are also iPads programmed to play music videos and audio recordings.
From what I gathered there are 2 main gay bars in town and they happen to be next door to each other. Tribe and Play and they’re both worth checking out. Tribe seemed to be more of a standard bar, while Play was more of the dance club scene with two main rooms. One with a stage for drag performances the second is a dance floor. The night I visited, there was a huge drag show going on. I was pretty amazed at the number of drag queens performing and the quality of the performances that night. And of course there was plenty of Beyoncé going on.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, Nashville is a great time. It’s a smaller city, so you don’t need too many days to take it all in. If you’ve been and have some recommendations of your own or feel like I got it all wrong, let me know about it in the comments below!