by: Carrie Oesmann, ASID, AKBD, CLIPP of MyBailiwickDesign
Nashville is such a hot destination these days, and I am fortunate enough to have free accommodations whenever we go since our daughter lives there! And it’s because she lives there that we get the inside scoop on the best way to see “the real Nashville”! There is so much more than hanging out on Broadway and watching drunken Brides-to-Be riding around on bicycle-powered bars. The sights are plentiful, but you actually need to spend more time OFF Broadway than on it to experience the best aspects of Nashville.
See a show. Don’t worry if you are not a country music fan, Nashville is all about the making of music – ANY kind of music! Even if you’re planning a trip around your favorite artist coming to town, check out other venues like 3rd & Lindsley, the Five Spot, or the Listening Room for is a great place to see up-and-coming musicians in a more intimate setting. It’s really cool to experience a “writer’s round” and hear the stories of the concepts behind the songs they’ve written for top recording stars. One of our favorite larger venues is Ascend Amphitheater – there’s nothing like an outdoor concert with a view of the Nashville skyline as your backdrop!
More than just music! I LOVE checking out the exhibits at the Frist Art Museum whenever I go. I am an architecture junkie, so the first thing that grabs me is the amazing Art Deco details of this repurposed building (previously a post office built in 1933). The Frist is a non-collecting museum which means their rotating exhibits are always changing and sure to please. On my last visit, I saw an amazing exhibit on the Mexican Modernist painter and activist Frida Kahlo – her art and her fashion were a symphony of color!
After the Frist you can walk across the street to the Union Station Hotel for some more architectural delights and perhaps a beer and some live music.
Of course, no visit to Nashville is complete without a photo op at the “Wings” mural in The Gulch or a walk down Broadway – at least once. There are so many bars with so many musicians and so many people, you just have to experience it once. But I like to spend time just off of Broadway at spots like Headquarters Beercade. Besides live music it has at least a hundred FREE retro arcade games – I got my Ms. Pac Man fix!
A quintessential Nashville Sunday brunch is a MUST – and there are almost too many places to try! If you find yourself in Germantown, Von Elrod’s is a fun option with large table, family-style seating where you can make some new friends. Or go off the beaten path to find incredible culinary delights like those at Mockingbird restaurant that is sure to please any palette, but be sure to make reservations.
It’s hard to squeeze everything into one weekend. If you manage a few more days or multiple visits consider attending a sporting event with one of Nashville’s many professional teams. Or check out the architecture in some of the nearby suburbs – I recommend a visit to Cheekwood, a restored house and gardens with rotating art exhibits. Nashville’s entertainment opportunities are endless. But to get a taste of the real Nashville do your homework and make reservations – then go and rock Nashville!