Country Music City
As a Country Music fan, visiting Nashville has always been a dream of mine. Like mentioned in the itinerary post about our tour, I was also afraid to go to Nashville, just because I imagined it to be magical and I was afraid it was not like I hoped. But boy was I wrong: I loved everything about Nashville, the city, the spots that we visited and of course the main reason I came: some good country music.
If you visit Nashville for the first time and want to get the most out of your trip in one day, I have listed my favorite spots and attractions:
Grand Ole Opry
Even if you are not a big country music fan, the Grand Ole Opry is a must-see if you are visiting Nashville. I might have mentioned, I am also a big fan of the series “Nashville” 😉 and the Grand Ole Opry plays a big part on the show, so I had to go and see it. Since there were no concerts on the day we were in Nashville, we decided to take a tour instead. We did the “Grand Ole Opry Daytime Backstage Tour” for $27, which is a guided tour through the whole building, including all the backstage areas. You are also allowed to stand on the stage and place yourself right in front of the microphone. Our guide was super sweet and when noticing I was a big fan of the show as well, she always pointed out spots seen on the show when we walked past them.
During the tour we also got the see the Hall of Fame with all the Country Music Stars that are members of the Opry. Until this day, it is one of the greatest honors for a Country Music Star to become one of these members. You have to be nominated and invited by another member to receive the honor. Stars like Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley are among them.
The Bluebird Café
The Bluebird Café might not mean much to people who are not into country music or haven’t seen the series “Nashville”, but the restaurant plays a big and important part in it. I just had to take a look at it. Since it is not in downtown, we drove there and were only able to take a look at it from the outside, since it is mostly closed during the day. If you are a songwriter and want to get your music out there, the Bluebird Café is the place to go. Believe it or not, but the world famous Taylor Swift was actually discovered here, when she was just 14 years old. If you want to enjoy fresh and new music played by songwriters as well as seeing country music stars (e.g. Carrie Underwood) in an almost private surrounding while having great food, you should definitely check it out (since it is not too big, you might want to make a reservation).
After we visited the Bluebird Café, we drove around and took a look at some of the houses used in the series. We were able to catch a glimpse of the House of Rayna Jaymes as well as the house of Deacon Claybourne and Scarlett O’Connor. The house, used for Juliette Barnes cannot be seen from the street. Fun Fact: the house of Deacon and Scarlett is actually the normal home of a family. Since they were sitting on the porch and seeing us, we asked if we were allowed to take a picture. They were super nice and told us, that the inside of the house looks exactly the same than on the show. The production would use the house up to 4 weeks a year to film all the scenes in the house and pays for the family to go on vacation or live somewhere else.
The Pantheon is located in the Centennial Park and is a replica of the real Pantheon in Athens, Greece. It was built in the 1890s and is home to a museum nowadays. Since we only had about an hour, we decided to not go into the museum but wander around the park and take a break in the shade of the Pantheon. The park is huge and there were a lot of students of the Vanderbilt University, which is located right next to it, who played ball or studied.
Opryland Hotel Garden
The Opryland Hotel Garden is one the most fascinating hotel complexes I have seen in my life: it is a huge covered area which includes a hotel, a conventions center, as well as several restaurants and bars. The included botanical garden with waterfalls and a little river is really pretty and you can also take a boat tour though it (which is super short and expensive, so we didn’t do it). You are also able to visit it, without being a guest at the hotel and it is located close to the Grand Ole Opry. If you want to see something different, take a break, wander around an exotic garden and enjoy some cocktails, this is the place to go. We didn’t stay at the hotel, since it is super pricey. By the way: park your car on the Opry Mills parking lot and walk over.
The Broadway is the music streets in Downtown Nashville. Especially between 2nd and 6th Avenue, you will find several bars and restaurants which all have one thing in common: there is someone playing live music. I think I have never been to a place, where you can walk from one building to another and hear the sweet sound of singers or bands just playing their music. After taking a look at some of them, we ended up staying at the Tootsies Orchid Lounge, which is a three floor bar and they have different live music on every floor. Since they had Jake Maurer performing on the ground level, we stayed there and listed to his set for about an hour. If you want to have a great evening, great food and drinks, and different types of country music played live, check out Tootsies Orchid Lounge – you will not regret it.
There are a lot of other cool and fun things to do in Nashville, like visiting the Ryman Auditorium or the Country Music Hall of Fame. But since we only had one full day there, these are the places we visited.
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions.