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Why Go to Nashville

Nashville has evolved over the years and has become a city of a lot of things for a lot of different people. It's a popular weekend getaway for those based on the East Coast and in the Midwest. It's a foodie retreat for those who love affordable Southern cooking and international fusion cuisine. And it's a fun bachelor and bachelorette spot for friends looking to bond before taking the big leap into marriage. But Nashville at its core is a haven for country music fans. The bars lining Broadway (plus the famous Bluebird Cafe) host some of the most talented undiscovered artists in the country. In fact, Nashville is where many musicians – including Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt – were discovered or launched their careers. The best way to soak up Nashville's country scene is to enjoy the free live tunes at establishments throughout the city.

You should also visit the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, tour Belle Meade Plantation and ogle The Parthenon. And plan to spend some time just hanging out in the growing number of boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants downtown. 

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Nashville Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Nashville is from April through October, when the warm weather brings this music city to life. Although December is quite charming with Christmas decorations at the Opryland Hotel and the Belle Meade Plantation, winter is low season. From November to March, you'll find drastically lower prices on flights and hotels (excluding the holidays).

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What You Need to Know

  • Eat at a "meat and three" For lunch, you should head to one of the downtown 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.

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What to Eat

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, Mexican, Italian and Cajun favorites scattered throughout Nashville.

For a casual dining experience, head over to the West End for its ribs and barbecued pork; and you can't miss sampling the famous Nashville hot chicken at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish or Hattie B's. Check out The District for more upscale dining establishments, such as the tapas-focused Black Rabbit, and a wide array of homey Southern food and burger joints. Don't forget to swing by East Nashville to dine at trendy spots like Butcher & Bee and The Treehouse Restaurant or Rutledge Hill for Husk.

You can't forget about the city's bar scene either. Locals say 3 Crows Bar and Mickey's Tavern are some of the top spots to grab a drink in town. If you're interested in Nashville's brewery and distillery scene, check out these top-notch establishments. And if you're just looking to kick back and relax with a drink and enjoy some live music, bar hop along Broadway.

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Safety

Nashville's crime rate is significantly lower than Memphis '; however, visitors should still use common sense when exploring. Keep car doors locked and make sure valuables are stored in a safe place. When walking around after dark, avoid dimly lit streets, especially in inner city areas.

Nashville's steamy climate can be a little overwhelming to those who aren't used to it. Travelers should keep this in mind when preparing to visit – especially if you are planning a summer trip. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen to avoid getting burned. Visitors to Nashville should also take precautions against heat stroke, the most common symptoms of which include headache, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Avoid eating overly heavy meals and drink plenty of water.

Getting Around Nashville

The best way to get around Nashville is by car. The city has a public transportation system, but neighborhoods and attractions are a bit too spread out to walk between. To get from Nashville International Airport (BNA) to your hotel, it's best to get a rental car. You can also take an airport shuttle, a public bus (route 18) or a taxi. Ride-hailing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, also operate in Nashville.

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