You don’t have to be country music’s biggest fan to enjoy Music City. Visiting museums and seeing names I only vaguely recognized didn’t deter me. If anything, it enhanced the Nashville experience. For the most part, my time in the city was a fun ride from start to finish.
So enjoy this 2 day Nashville travel guide and embrace the craziness of Music City!
How to Spend 2 Days in Nashville
Introduction to Nashville
Official Language(s): none at federal level, English is considered the national language
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Emergency phone number: 911
When to Go to Nashville
During a holiday
One of my favorite things about Nashville is how it’s always looking for an excuse to party. I visited on the 4th of July and the entire city was going nuts. I loved it. If you don’t mind the holiday crowds, go for it. But… do beware of visiting in the summer like I did. It was scorching. Hell of a party, though.
Where to Stay in Nashville
Nashville Downtown Hostel
Nashville Downtown Hostel’s location is pretty self explanatory: it’s walking distance to Broadway, making it a perfect way to soak in the honky tonk bars and scenery. The building is pretty sweet; it’s a historic 1880’s building that comes with its own music stage because this is Music City so of course it does.
How to Get Around in Nashville
The best way to get around Nashville is by car. Nashville’s downtown area is really walkable and easy to navigate. For places like the Opry, it makes sense to drive or call an Uber.
Where to Eat in Nashville
Monel’s is a unique place to grab Southern cooking. Popular opinion is that its got killer good fried chicken. It’s a sit down dinner and everything is served family-style, which might just be your style.
Why even go to the South if you’re not going to stuff your face with soul food? Again, popular opinion here is Arnold’s is the place for ultimate soul food dining.
We’re on trend here with Southern food, aren’t we? Anyways, you’re gonna need a biscuit fix and Biscuit Love is an absolute delight. They serve both classic dishes (fried chicken and gravy) and fun new foods like bonuts (fried biscuits, a must order). Be prepared to arrive early or wait in line, it too is a popular place to be.
Skull’s Rainbow Room
Skull’s dates back to the 1940’s. If you’re into upscale food with a soulful twist, this is your spot.
Day 1 of 2 Days in Nashville
I started my first day in Nashville with a tour of the Ryman Auditorium and it really set the stage (pun intended) for the rest of my visit.
It’s historic relevance is really well explained and you’ll be able to see why country music is so important to the city (if you don’t know already). I also loved the layout; see the stage and see the cool memorabilia all at once.
P.S. If you plan on touring the Ryman, Opry and Johnny Cash museum, save some cash (lol) and book the all-inclusive ticket.
Johnny Cash Museum
Even if you’re not a Johnny Cash fan (I am), I think you’ll enjoy the Johnny Cash Museum. It touches on other country music stars as well, and shows the progression of the genre over time. Way cool and I didn’t feel like it was too overly-touristy.
Country Music Hall of Fame
So you didn’t get enough of your country music icons yet? Fret not, the Country Music Hall of Fame is walking distance away. It’s got tons of artifacts and interactive exhibits. Have fun and get your country music fix!
Honky Tonk Bars
The Honky Tonk Bars scene on Broadway can get a little gimmicky. I swear, every single current artist has a bar of their own. But in addition to the nonsense, old greats like Tootsies Orchid Lounge still stand. Hell, it’s fun just walking down Broadway and hearing music spilling out from every bar at top volume.
Day 2 of 2 Days in Nashville
Not only is Belmont Mansion a great excuse to walk around Belmont’s beautiful campus, but it’s an incredibly detailed look through history.
I was so impressed with how well-preserved it is, given the number of owners its had. If you want to get a peek at the historic and luxurious life of old money in Nashville, this is your place.
Nashville Public Library
Nashville Public Library is especially worth a visit because of their permanent exhibit; The Civil Rights Room. It features an in-depth look at the efforts in Nashville to end segregation. You can sit at the symbolic lunch counter, see photos from non-violent protests and learn what it took at the time to end a decades-long policy.
Nashville Farmers’ Market
A fun part of my visit was the farmer’s market. Every cute craft and delicious food was on display. My wallet wept but my taste buds soared.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Nearby is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. It’s structured to tell you the state’s history through plaques and monuments, with a special focus on WWII.
See a show at the Grand Ole Opry House
I’m so, so, so sorry to say this but… I toured the Grand Ole Opry House and hated it. It felt so manufactured and gimmicky. I booked the VIP tour, and considering how our guide went on and on about the importance of the stage, our time on the actual stage was so brief. It just reeks of an overly touristy spot that’s been sanitized to hell. (Blake Shelton?! Come on!)
I won’t knock it completely. But if something like this would annoy you… just don’t do the tour. Grab a ticket to a show instead. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. You can still get a feel for how important this venue is and see some good acts.
Know Before You Go
Quite a lot is happening in Nashville. Not just event-wise, but due to the rise of tourists, there’s constant city updates to accommodate the crowds. What I’m trying to say is, there will be construction. Somewhere, at sometime.
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