A weekend in Nashville, TN, isn't all country music (but it is a big ol' part of it). Visit this city's world-class restaurants and museums, and learn why there's a little country music in all of us.
Where to Stay
Visitors to Nashville owe it to themselves to visit Opryland. Whether a fan of country music or not, the palatial property consisting of 85-foot waterfalls, tropical foliage and winding "rivers" is a Nashville must. Guests of this sprawling Southern oasis enjoy comfortable rooms and access to the new Relâche spa, 14 restaurants and lounges, 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool and gorgeous golf greens.
Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel
While Opryland Hotel offers traditional Southern grandeur, the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel is a posh and sophisticated high-rise hotel. Located across the street from Vanderbilt University in Nashville's West End, the hotel's lower guest rooms are among the hotel's most charming with angled walls and European tapestries. The concierge-level rooms are more spacious and include complimentary breakfast and evening hor d'oeuvres.
1501 Linden Manor Bed and Breakfast
The Linden Manor B&B is housed in a completely renovated 1893 Victorian home. Located near Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, Music Row, Opryland, and downtown Nashville, this comfortable and elegant B&B brings 19th-century décor comfortably into the 21st century. After a day of exploring Nashville, relax with afternoon refreshments on the Linden's airy front porch.
Where to Eat
The movie marquee signage announces that F. Scott's is a chic and urbane restaurant with a taste for nostalgia. Its menu is seasonally inspired and changes frequently, however one steadfast and must-taste appetizer is the tender scallops, wild mushrooms and spinach in a crispy phyllo cup with a sun-dried tomatoes, bacon and warm white-truffle butter sauce. The wine list is extensive, and diners love the nightly live jazz in the lounge area -- a perfect (and free) after-dinner treat.
Marché Artisan Foods
Visiting a city like Nashville for a long weekend means finding good food that's served quickly and can be enjoyed on the go. Marché Artisan Foods is a European-style café and marketplace that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour menus. The added feature of an onsite marketplace allows customers to purchase fresh ingredients for picnics, late-night snacks or on-the-go eats.
Highway 100 is Loveland Café's famous Southern home. Typical fare includes country ham, biscuits, hash brown casserole and stone-ground grits -- all topped with gravy. And if that's not enough food, make sure to order the biscuits -- made with love by Carol Fay, The Biscuit Lady, who's been serving biscuits hot off the griddle for over 28 years.
What to See & Do
The Country Music Hall of Fame
Located on the west bank of the Cumberland River, the Country Music Hall of Fame chronicles the 200-year evolution of American country music. Inside, museum patrons can absorb country video clips, recorded music, state-of-the-art exhibits and a regular menu of live performances, public programs and radio broadcasts.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Open since 2001, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts showcases revolving exhibits from around the globe. Amongst the artists that have graced its walls and halls are Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Auguste Rodin. Adults and children will love the ArtQuest Gallery, a permanent museum fixture that encourages artistic exploration through more than 30 interactive media stations.
Located along Nashville's 16th and 17th Aves. between Demonbreun St. and Grand Ave., Music Row is the heart of the country music recording industry. A hot spot for country music stars makes this the perfect place for super fans to take an afternoon stroll. Be sure to check out the famed Musica, a 40-foot statue of 6 nude figures marking the entrance to Music Row.
The District includes several streets of restored downtown warehouses and is ground zero for the Nashville nightlife scene. The Wildhorse Saloon is a massive country music dance hall perfect for two-stepping the night away. Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is also a great place to grab a drink and spot Grand Ole Opry performers doing the same. Stop in for a performance at Ryman Auditorium, the previous home of the Grand Ole Opry.
The Grand Ole Opry
The biggest venue in country music's stellar roster includes Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Scaggs, and Trisha Yearwood to name just a few. Tickets are available via the Opry website and theater box office, so purchase a few and have a grand ole time.
Travel Channel Insider's Tip:
Pick up a copy of The Nashville Scene, the city's arts and entertainment weekly. It comes out on Thursday and is available at restaurants, shops and hotels. It publishes the weekly music performances as well as listing other community events.