Nashville Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Eat at a meat-and-three For lunch, you should head to one of the downtown, hole-in-the-wall meat-and-threes (the nickname given to these buffet restaurants). For an affordable price, you'll get some kind of meat and three sides. But make sure you have cash; many places won't accept plastic.
- The tea is sweet The tea is sweet down here -- really sweet. If you like low-octane iced tea, specify by asking for "unsweetened tea."
- See rising stars at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge You could visit Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, but to see tomorrow's next big stars sing and strum, head to Tootsie's, located downtown on Broadway.
Even though the ghosts of greats like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash mingle with present-day headliners like Taylor Swift and Keith Urban (not to mention his glamorous wife, Nicole Kidman), Nashville exudes a modest, down-to-earth vibe. It's been characterized as a big back porch, teeming with storytellers and old timers picking on six strings. But one look at Hillsboro Village's trendy boutiques and hipster bars proves that Nashville is not only for graying country crooners. Music City affords visitors a mix of grand-stand glitz, down-home Southern hospitality and an energetic collegiate populace.
You should visit for the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, but you should also come for the smaller live-music venues. You should tour Belle Meade Plantation, but you should also just hang out in the growing number of boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants downtown. You might even catch a glimpse of someone famous…
How To Save Money in Nashville
- Plan a winter trip Hotel prices in the winter are as low as they get.
- Check the tourism site for coupons Nashville's tourism bureau pulls together traveler coupons here.
- Buy the Music City Total Action pass You can visit four attractions of your choosing for $50, which can save you up to 50 percent on your attraction expenditures.
Nashville Culture & Customs
Like other destinations below the Mason-Dixon Line, Nashville exudes a strong sense of Southern hospitality. Nashville residents are very approachable: You can expect a hearty greeting in a soothing Tennessee drawl and you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.
Much of this city's culture centers on music. The "Live Country Music Capital" features plenty of live music venues, and you'll be missing out on an essential part of Nashville's charm if you don't loosen up and get your honky-tonk on. But it's not all about crooning country tunes; Nashville has also played a role in the birth of rock and roll, jazz and blues.
Recent travelers also say that one of the main reasons to visit Nashville is to indulge in a bit of down-home cuisine. Forget the five-star restaurants and head out for some saucy barbecue or delectable chicken-fried steak. And leave your diet at home; it's not very often that you can get away with considering mac 'n' cheese to be a respectable vegetable.
Only a few years ago, Nashville's dining scene was dominated by deep-fried, saucy entrees that were enough to make even the healthiest heart palpitate. Diners flocked to this southern city for chicken-fried steaks or juicy barbecue pork with hearty portions of mac 'n' cheese and spicy baked beans. However, over the past decade or so, Nashville has welcomed less cholesterol and more international cuisine to its dining scene; you can now find restaurants serving Indian, Mediterranean, Italian and Cajun favorites scattered throughout East Nashville.
For a casual dining experience, head over to the West End for its ribs and barbecued pork. Check out the District for more upscale dining establishments like the traveler-recommended Mad Platter Restaurant, or a wide array of homey Southern food joints.