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3 full days in Nashville in May - first time there

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3 full days in Nashville in May - first time there

Old Jan 24th, 2020, 01:38 PM
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3 full days in Nashville in May - first time there

In May we will be arriving on a Saturday night, and leaving the next Wednesday morning. We will be staying in the 12 South district and have a rental car. Below is a list of things to do we have found that interests us, ranked in order. We aren't big country music fans, but are interested in history and gardens. Most of them don't tell you how long it takes to do each one. We don't eat breakfast but will make stops for lunch and dinner.

Questions:

How much of this is reasonable to do?

About how long to allow for each one?

What would you say "don't bother" or "you don't want to miss..."?


1. The Hermitage
2. Belle Meade Plantation
3. Johnny Cash's Storyteller's Hideaway Farm
4. Cheekwood or Belmont Mansion?
5. Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
6. Ryman or Grand Ole Opry?
7. Frist Art Museum
8. Marathon building shops (Antique Archaeology)
9. Bluebird Cafe

Places to eat:
  1. Swett's Cafeteria
  2. Arnold's Country Kitchen
  3. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
  4. Dinner in Germantown - City House or Rolf and Daughters
  5. Black Rabbit
  6. Loveless Cafe
  7. Holler and Dash Biscuit Shop
  8. Frothy Monkey
Thanks everyone!

Last edited by cheezz; Jan 24th, 2020 at 01:40 PM.
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Old Jan 24th, 2020, 01:56 PM
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LOL, cheezz, I never visited any of the places you mentioned when I went to Nashville. My trip report might be helpful for getting around though:
Chasing Sargent in Nashville
Please let everyone know what you get to see.
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Old Jan 25th, 2020, 12:02 PM
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Oops, I didn't mean to lie, the Frist was my goal!
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Old Jan 25th, 2020, 09:09 PM
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If you like gardens, definitely go to Cheekwood over Belmont Mansion.

I'm not sure Arnold's is there anymore. You're missing my favorite place to eat: Monell's. There are two of them. You will be closer to the one on 6th Street, in Germantown near the Bicentennial Mall (which you might find interesting). There's nothing special about Frothy Monkey. It's a nice place to have coffee, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it.

When you go to the Frist, wander through the lobby at the Union Station hotel. (It's next door.)

The Grand Ole Opry is a performance that takes place either at the Ryman or the Opry House (next to the Opryland Hotel) depending on the time of year. Check the schedule. If you are interested in the history you can take a guided tour of the Ryman. The Opry House is nothing but an enormous, sterile theater -- but it might be the only place to see a performance of the Opry while you're there. If you do find yourself at the Opry House be sure to wander through the Opryland Hotel. It's over-the-top with incredible atriums and even a boat ride through the hotel -- like Disneyland.

Go to the Bluebird's website well in advance to see how to reserve tickets. Every show sells out instantly. The better shows are the later ones (9 pm or 9:30pm). These will have the top-tier talent. The early shows are hit and miss. You might also want to experience the atmosphere on Lower Broad, which is basically Broadway from around 5th or 6th Ave. to the river. It's where all the tourist honkytonks and souvenir shops are located.

And ... if you like natural beauty walk at Radnor Lake -- the prettiest spot in Nashville.

I think you can probably fit everything in if you go nonstop. I haven't been to Johnny Cash's but it's about an hour drive from where you'll be, so you might have to cut that.

Y'all have fun!
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Old Jan 26th, 2020, 07:59 AM
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Bookmarking for a future trip - thank you!
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Old Jan 26th, 2020, 06:06 PM
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Thank you Songdoc! This is just the kind of info I need. I checked and Arnold's is still going strong. Would you still do Monell's over Arnold's? How long do you think we should allow for the Frist? I'm not a museum fan myself but a couple in our party would like to see it.
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Old Jan 26th, 2020, 06:07 PM
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I read your report and YES! I will report back
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Old Jan 26th, 2020, 07:12 PM
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YES! Monell's is an "experience." There's no menu. It's like Sunday dinner at grandma's -- if grandma was an awesome Southern cook. It always features biscuits & cornbread and awesome fried chicken, as well as an array of all-you-can eat other entrees, vegetables, and salads served family style in a funky old building.

And be sure to visit the Parthenon in Centennial Park. It can be a quick stop.

IMO, the best thing about the Frist is the art-deco building itself. I doin't know if there is a special exhibit. Otherwise, you won't need more than an hour. [/color]
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Old Jan 27th, 2020, 12:08 PM
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My whirlwind 24 hours in Nashville in December is here. I'm pretty neutral on country music, but I did enjoy the Opry backstage tour and wished I had made time for Ryman. And though the gardens were not in spectacular bloom as they will be in May, I thoroughly enjoyed Cheekwood. Touring the house does not take long; the majority of your visit will be in the gardens, I suspect.
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Old Jan 27th, 2020, 12:59 PM
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Cheezz, I'm going in March for the fist time and will try to help fill in on some of the activities! I am researching now and so far am getting ready to pull the trigger on tickets for the Country Classics night at the Ryman. Will be watching your planning decisions as well!

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Old Jan 27th, 2020, 02:11 PM
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I did enjoy your trip report and excited to hear the Cheekwood was a hit. Thank you!
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Old Jan 29th, 2020, 05:43 PM
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May is a great time to visit Nashville. I like especially the Omni Nashville Hotel (fancy, expensive), the Hilton Nashville Downtown, and the Gaylord Opryland Resort if it doesn't have to be Nashville downtown. More ideas on Nashville hotels - check here.
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Old Jan 30th, 2020, 07:04 PM
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Thanks amiro but we have already booked a large house through AirBnB
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Old Jan 31st, 2020, 01:52 PM
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So I have been to Nashville twice... and first thing is that there's so much to see. You've gotten good advice already-- I want to make it to Monell's next time.

Restaurants/clubs:

1. Loveless Cafe, the downtown one is really a great place especially on Sunday nights where they have lesser known groups. Country but more unplugged. We heard a women's duo who had just terrific harmonies. Food was great and nice vibe.

2. Hot Chicken--We loved Hattie B's. My son, who lives there now, has tried others that are less known and likes those too, with far less lines.

3. BB King's club has good music and we liked the food. Not cheap but not in the stratosphere either.

Sites:

1. We did go to the Bel Meade Plantation and it was a great, great choice. It is the history of horse racing. The history of the Civil War. The history of slavery. And of antebellum life. Lovely grounds.

2. Country Music Hall of Fame--the museum here turned out to be interesting as a history of America as well as of country music. We added on the RCA Studio B tour and that was hands down our favorite part. I grew up hearing my parents play Elvis and the guides were so great telling the stories of the artists who had all recorded there. Note that you cannot tour RCA Studio B unless it is part of a combination ticket with the main museum.

3. Opryland--we went and did not go to a show. We wanted to see the gardens and the scene. It was a great way to spend our last afternoon as we were moving to a hotel by the airport for an early morning flight the next day. Tip: About parking here, it's about $35. But the hotel staff told us that if we ate dinner at certain restaurants, they would validate our parking. One of the places is more a fusion/Asian restaurant. We were able to get a light dinner of appetizers/salad in a lovely setting, and get our validation so the meal wasn't much more than the parking would have been.

4. Yes, the Frist is lovely. On one of our visits though the exhibit was sensational--the Belle Epoque tour that came to the USA from France. And an amazing Civil Rights display. We spent closer to two hours here. And they are open late on Fridays.... Our second visit, the exhibits were not nearly so enticing so we didn't go back. So it can really vary.

5. City Library--this is a quick stop but they have a wonderful Civil Rights room. Nashville was an important place and we learned a lot.

And a couple things we noticed...

If you go to hear music, it is just a decent thing to put some money in the hat. So many musicians here, there is competition for every gig.

There are significant homeless here if you look around. Down by the river and along Broadway. If you can't eat all your dinner, ask for it to be put in foil and give it to someone who needs it. Just a thought.





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Old Feb 1st, 2020, 08:21 AM
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Thank you 5alive! Such good tips and this all sounds so much like us. We are keeping Loveless Cafe and Belle Meade on the agenda for sure and I'll let the group know about the rest. We have considered Studio B add-on but wasn't sure it was worth all the extra $$. City Library hadn't even come up in my searches so I was glad to hear about that. Every city has its homeless and I've been known to befriend some and yes, share a leftover or two, or drop a few dollars in the hat - wonderful advice. I'm often amazed at the undiscovered talent of some of these street musicians. I always like to give a little back wherever I visit.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 12:46 PM
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DEFINITELY do Studio B. It's the best part.
Imagine standing in the very spot where Elvis, Dolly, Patsy and other legends recoded their iconic hits. The guide told some great stories, too.

And here's a hot tip for parking at the Opryland Hotel ...
Shhh... You can park for free a block away at Opry Mills Mall (which also has lots of restaurants) and walk over.

FYI, my place to hear music in Nashville is the Station Inn. It's the real deal -- and not hard to get into (like the Bluebird). The Bluebird will likely have songwriters sitting in a circle doing stripped down versions of their songs -- just a guitar and vocal. The song is the star; the vocals might -- or might not -- not be good. At the Station Inn you will hear bands and recording artists doing bluegrass. I have never heard a show there that I didn't love.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 09:55 PM
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Thanks Songdoc...good hints!
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Old Feb 4th, 2020, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Songdoc View Post
DEFINITELY do Studio B. It's the best part.
Imagine standing in the very spot where Elvis, Dolly, Patsy and other legends recoded their iconic hits. The guide told some great stories, too.

And here's a hot tip for parking at the Opryland Hotel ...
Shhh... You can park for free a block away at Opry Mills Mall (which also has lots of restaurants) and walk over.

FYI, my place to hear music in Nashville is the Station Inn. It's the real deal -- and not hard to get into (like the Bluebird). The Bluebird will likely have songwriters sitting in a circle doing stripped down versions of their songs -- just a guitar and vocal. The song is the star; the vocals might -- or might not -- not be good. At the Station Inn you will hear bands and recording artists doing bluegrass. I have never heard a show there that I didn't love.
Songdoc, thanks for the tip about Station Inn. Do they have dinner food there?

​​​​Our guide at StudioB was one of the best guides I've had on any vacation.

Regarding Grand Ole Opry, I had looked at the aerial view map ahead of time. Some of the mall parking lots were closed when we were there. So we drove around the parking lots that were open, trying to find a cut through to the hotel and Opryland. Streets aren't always marked and there's a lot of trees and fencing along the little roads through this complex. And, it was pouring down rain with lightning, so we
​​​decided a pleasure jaunt was not in the cards. To find Songdoc's cut through, I recommend people use Google Maps Street View at home on a bigger screen.


​​​​
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Old Feb 4th, 2020, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Songdoc View Post
DEFINITELY do Studio B. It's the best part.
Imagine standing in the very spot where Elvis, Dolly, Patsy and other legends recoded their iconic hits. The guide told some great stories, too.

And here's a hot tip for parking at the Opryland Hotel ...
Shhh... You can park for free a block away at Opry Mills Mall (which also has lots of restaurants) and walk over.

FYI, my place to hear music in Nashville is the Station Inn. It's the real deal -- and not hard to get into (like the Bluebird). The Bluebird will likely have songwriters sitting in a circle doing stripped down versions of their songs -- just a guitar and vocal. The song is the star; the vocals might -- or might not -- not be good. At the Station Inn you will hear bands and recording artists doing bluegrass. I have never heard a show there that I didn't love.
Songdoc, thanks for the tip about Station Inn. Do they have dinner food there?

​​​​Our guide at StudioB was one of the best guides I've had on any vacation.

Regarding Grand Ole Opry, I had looked at the aerial view map ahead of time. Some of the mall parking lots were closed when we were there. So we drove around the parking lots that were open, trying to find a cut through to the hotel and Opryland. Streets aren't always marked and there's a lot of trees and fencing along the little roads through this complex.

And, it was pouring down rain with lightning, so we
​​​​​decided a pleasure jaunt was not in the cards. To find Songdoc's suggested cut through, I recommend people use Google Maps Street View at home on a bigger screen.


​​​​

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Old Feb 5th, 2020, 02:04 PM
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The Station Inn sells pizza, nachos, hotdogs, popcorn...
not exactly dinner fare. ;-)
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