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5 Ways to Save Money During Your Nashville Vacation
Enjoy Music City on the cheap with these helpful travel hacks.
Nashville visitors can easily walk to "honky-tonk row" on Broadway and other popular music attractions from most of the downtown hotels. (Getty Images)
Nashville, Tennessee, used to only attract musicians and songwriters hungry to ink the next big record deal. But all that has changed. Today, you'll find the airport packed with travelers from around the world. It's no surprise that Music City has become one of the top destinations for music lovers, bachelorette partygoers and savvy travelers, given its surge to "It City" status. And, it can be an affordable place to visit if you do your homework before packing your bags.
You can still experience the best of what Music City has to offer without clearing out your bank account. For recommendations, U.S. News spoke with concierges at some of the top hotels around town. Take a few tips from these local insiders to find the best ways to save money.
Listen to live music for free.
You might be surprised to learn that you can hear live music 365 days out of the year in Nashville and not even have to open your wallet.
[Read: The Best Hotels in Nashville.]
One of the best ways to see the city on a budget is to spend time at the honky-tonks downtown. Most of the music venues that line the strip offer free live music performed by talented music veterans and up-and-comers.
"Unlike cities that are not Nashville, guests are not paying a cover charge to do the honky-tonks on Broadway," says Andrew Atkins III, a longtime resident and lead navigator/concierge at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. "So, that's a savings right there. Somewhere else you would pay, who knows, $10 or $20 for the kind of entertainment that we have starting at noon every day."
If country music isn't your thing, it's important to note that Nashville has an incredibly diverse music scene. As Atkins says, "We're Music City, not Country Music City."
For visitors looking for something a little different, there is a live music series hosted at Nashville's Public Square Park, a 2-acre green space in the heart of downtown. Lightning 100's Live on the Green Music Festival features everything from indie rock bands to singer-songwriters. Past performers include Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Elle King, Rodrigo y Gabriela and the Cold War Kids.
Dawn Kote, concierge at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, says "Live on the Green is absolutely amazing. The lineup is Grammy Award-winning artists. And, it's free. It's spread out over several weeks during late August into early September. I think it's the most underrated music series in the country."
Be strategic about where you stay.
Before you book your accommodations, think about what you want to do while you're in town. Plan on booking a hotel that is within walking distance of some of the spots on your list of things to do. That way you can cut down on the number of Uber rides you hail, and you might even be able to avoid having to rent a car at all.
[Read: The Best Things to Do in Nashville.]
"Pay attention to what is within walking distance. Try to put yourself close to some of the activities that you like," says Kelcie Borton, lead concierge at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown.
One good thing about Nashville is that many of the most popular attractions are located downtown. You can easily walk to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium and "honky-tonk row" on Broadway from most of the downtown hotels.
Consult your concierge.
Concierges can help arrange your transportation and offer recommendations for things to do while you're in town. And, more often than not, they can also help you avoid overpaying for tickets at local attractions.
"If you are trying to save money, see if your hotel has a concierge. We might be able to help you get service fees waved," says Laura Cunningham, head concierge at the Hutton Hotel. "Your room key might even be able to get you a discount. Check out visitmusiccity.com. It has a lot of coupons and deals, too."
Take advantage of the Nashville MTA Music City Circuit.
The city offers a free bus service for residents and tourists, called the Nashville Music City Circuit, that stops at most of the key destinations downtown, including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Frist Center for the Visual Arts and many downtown hotels.
"It's a full loop around downtown," says Adam Chantarumporn, celebrity concierge agent at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. "You can get a full tour of downtown."
[Read: The Best Nashville Tours.]
You can catch a ride on the Nashville Music City Circuit from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Indulge in fine dining for lunch instead of dinner.
Years ago, your dining options were fairly limited in Nashville. But recently, Music City has experienced a culinary renaissance. Some of the nation's best chefs have relocated to the area to open restaurants with ambitious and inspired menus. In kitchens around town, you're more likely to find ingredients that are organic and locally sourced instead of just battered and fried.
If you're an adventurous foodie (who is also on a budget), you can still enjoy some of the best of what the town has to offer.
"I would suggest that visitors go out to some of our high-end restaurants, but for lunch! You are going to get a bigger bang for your buck if you go there for lunch as opposed to dinner," Kote says.
To experience more of what Nashville has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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