Quick Trip to Music City, USA

For those unfamiliar, that’s Nashville, TN; home to some of the best songwriters in the world.  While Nashville has a self proclaimed love affair with country music, it’s not the only genre in town.  You can find pretty much any kind of music if you look hard enough.  Through the years, I’ve been to Nashville quite a few times, even living there when I was in grad school, and I’ve come to appreciate the songwriter rounds the most.

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Nashville Skyline with the iconic “Batman Building”

Nashville has gone through a huge transformation over the last decade.  Going from a small, underappreciated city to hitting the top of the lists in “best places to move to” articles.  This has put a bit of a strain on the city as new condo buildings are going up everywhere and many areas of town are being gentrified.  If I had had money when I lived there previously, it would have been a great investment opportunity… but I digress.

After some gentle hinting from my friend, a decently priced plane ticket, and a weekend with nothing to do, I packed my bags and hopped across the border for a quick getaway.  I did end up having to rent a car because Nashville is really not a transit friendly city, so unless you’re planning on staying in one spot the entire time, a car is pretty crucial.  Luckily my friend didn’t mind me crashing on the couch, saving some serious money on a hotel.

Having been to the city many times before, I tried to steer clear of the tourist hot spots, although that’s getting harder to do.  I went to see some friends play at the Listening Room for two of the nights I was in town.  The Listening Room is a fantastic place to hear songwriters.  Although not as well known as the Bluebird, it’s a fantastic place to sit and listen to songwriters sing and tell stories.  You will be stunned by the amount of talent you’ve never heard of.  They have an early and late show most nights, and be sure to get your tickets early!

I also went out with a friend to Arrington Vineyards, founded by Kix Brooks.  It’s a beautiful spot about half an hour south of the city where you can bring a picnic and enjoy some wine.  Unfortunately, they’ve started charging quite a bit for the tastings now, where they used to be free.  It’s a nice atmosphere with lovely views, but not as appealing with the higher price tag.

If you’re in town on Saturday, be sure to check out the Songwriter Series at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  It’s free, but the only people who can reserve tickets are museum members.  If you’re not a member, you can request tickets the day of, but sometimes they go fast!  The show usually starts around 10:30 and is about 45 min long.  A perfect start to a Saturday.

I also wandered around some of my favourite neighbourhoods, including 12 South and Edgehille Village.  Both are small areas a bit away from downtown and feature cute shops and places to eat, which I did a lot of.  You can read all about my favourite places to eat in Nashville over at Vegan Travel (click here).  I didn’t squeeze much more in before I was on my way back to the airport to catch my flights home.

If you’re looking for some of the more touristy spots, these are pretty easy to find:

  • Honky-Tonks on Broadway
  • Ryman Auditorium (catch a show here if you can)
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Country Music Hall of Fame (they’ve expanded significantly in the last few years)
  • Pancake Pantry for breakfast
  • Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
  • Jack Daniels Distillery (1.5 hrs south in Lynchburg, TN)

Do you have any favourite places in Nashville?

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