Nashville Tn - some questions

Apr 8th, 2009, 03:51 AM
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Nashville Tn - some questions

We are planning to visit Nashville in September. It looks like there are heaps of things to do. Can anyone suggest some itineraries and how many days you think we should spend there. My husband loves the country music thing; I don't mind it. Would it be worthwhile to rent a car and drive to Memphis and see Gracelands? We have about 5 days.

Thanks for any help.
Rel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 04:04 AM
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Go over a Saturday night so you can attend the Grand Ole Opry.
Be sure and spend an evening at the Bluebird Cafe.
If you can afford to stay at the Gaylord, it is a beautiful place.
The outlet mall near the Gaylord may be the biggest in the country.
Memphis is a four hour drive.
stumpworks73 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 07:37 AM
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I would not stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It is a huge sprawling megacomplex that is far from most of the sites in Nashville. Plus it sounds like you aren't renting a car and if you stay there you will definitely need a car. In fact, you'll probably need a car for nashville anyway.
Stay near Vanderbilt or downtown.
Not to miss
Country Music Hall of Fame
Performance at the Grand Ole Opry
Agree: do not miss the Bluebird Cafe. You can make reservations for this.
There are lots of other bars around town where you can find singer/songwriter types performing as well.

If you have any interest in Civil War history, Franklin, now a suburb of Nashville is a short drive away with a cute downtown and very interesting battlefields and homes.

Don't forget about the hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home and Bellemeade Mansion.

Memphis is a long 3 hour drive away and frankly I am not sure it is worth it for a day trip. I would save it for another separate trip and do a shorter day trip that is closer by.

I hope someone else will chime in with a more up to date list of things to do since it has been years since I was in Nashville.
williamscb13 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 09:04 AM
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I agree not to stay at Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The only interesting attraction in the vicinity is the Grand Ole Opry, which you can taxi to easily for a show. The mall isn't that great. It is super busy on the weekends and doesn't have that many outlets. It has a nice movie theatre, but everything else isn't that big of a deal.

I recommend staying downtown somewhere. Be sure to get tickets to the Grand Ole Opry one night. All shows there are good, so don't worry about figuring out who will be there. Since your husband likes country music, the Hall of Fame is a must see. If you stay downtown you will be within walking distance.

What kind of food do you like? Jack's BBQ downtown is one of my favorites. Loveless Cafe is good too, but it is a long drive from downtown. Only try that if you are renting a car.

I agree with everything Williamscb13 says. I'm trying to think of additional things to do. The Frist art museum is great. Check out what exhibits they have currently to see if they interest you.

Let us know more specifically what kind of things you like to do and what you eat and I'll try to come up with more suggestions.

If you want more upscale dining, there are plenty of options as well. Sunset Grill in Hillsboro Village is one of my favorites. That area has some cute shops also, but they are pretty expensive. Another one of my favorite nice restaurants is Park Cafe. They have the best creme brule I've ever had.
KatieL is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Thanks so much for the suggestions; you are all great! We are from Western Australia so probably won't be coming back to this area, so should we rent a car and drive to Memphis? We can fly out from Memphis rather than Nashville so that is not a problem - we can do a one way with the car. We are flying in on a Saturday so could do the Grand Ole Opry that night. We like the plantation houses so will definitely do that, also the Hall of Fame and the Bluebird Cafe sounds a must.
Rel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Driving to Memphis - I think with five days, you could take a day and a half and do an overnight to Memphis. I would NOT do a day trip - way too long (and boring) a drive.

Chalk me up as another "no" vote for staying at the Opryland Hotel. It's really impressive (conservatories and a canal running through the building), but it's far from everything except the Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills shopping mall. I personally avoid that mall like the plague (I think it's crowded and I can shop at the same stores elsewhere, for the most part), but if you want to shop at some American mall stores, it'll have them. Anyway, I would definitely stay downtown or maybe by Vanderbilt. If you want to see Opryland, you could spend a half a day out there.

For plantation houses, Belle Meade and Cheekwood might appeal to you, and there's also Carnton Plantation in Franklin. (You'll need a car to get down there, but it's only about 20 minutes from downtown outside rush hour.) Actually, I would recommend renting a car for most of your stay - you can do the walkable stuff in a day or two and then rent one, to save on costs, but outside downtown, Nashville is hard to do by public transport.

Otherwise, everyone else has given you great suggestions. Hillsboro Village and the 12 South/Gulch area both have good restaurants - your typical meal budget would be really helpful for more specific recommendations.

In September you could try to get Titans (NFL football) tickets, if they're playing at home while you're here.
jent103 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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The Parthenon replica musuem is quite impressive. It's in the park across the street from Vanderbilt University (west edge of town). We went on a whim and came away highly impressed. I agree with the other posters about staying downtown. It's a very walkable city and quite charming.
SiteC_er is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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I don't think it would be worth your time to go to Memphis unless you really wanted to see Graceland. Memphis is not the city it used to be. I was born in Memphis and lived their my first 25 years, now we are in the small town of Chapel Hill, TN, south of Nashville. Nashville in my opinion is a much better city to visit. I feel much safer in Nashville and surrounding areas than I do in most sections of Memphis. Beale Street in Memphis isn't the hoppin' music scene it once was either. I prefer the atmosphere of downtown Nashville's music row.
momtoboysjnj is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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I agree with most all the information above, but I would add that if you want to go to the Bluebird Cafe (or anywhere else in Nashville, for that matter) especially on the weekends be sure to make reservations!!! If you are going somewhere that does not accept reservations, go early and prepare to stand in a looooooong line.

Speaking of looooooooong lines, the Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village is a very popular restaurant for breakfast, frequented by the famous, not-so-famous and everybody else. But again, prepare for a long line.

Ditto the Gaylor Opryland Hotel...too big and sprawling for me, but if you find yourself in that area it is worth seeing if you have time. It is grand, and the atriums are beautiful.

If you'd like some offbeat comedy (with a 'unique' tour of Nashville to boot) check out the Nash Trash Tours: This is a big pink tour bus that gives you a tour of the hot spots of downtown Nashville along with a rollicking good time. The tour guides are a couple of commedians that give you the 'down and dirty' about Nashville and its 'stars'. (Don't go if you are offended by a little off-color humor). I found it very funny and entertaining - along with a tour of the downtown area and a lot of gossip and jokes thrown in. (They'll have fun with you with your Aussie accent - and if you have a sense of humor you'll really enjoy it). Check out their web site at Again, reservations have to be made WELL in advance as this is very popular and busses only run once a day with 2 on Saturday and none on Sunday and Monday.

I was going to ditto the "don't go to Memphis, its too far" statements until I found out you were from Australia - where 200 miles is NOT far. If you want to see Graceland, I would save it for the end of the trip, rent a car and drive there then fly back home from there if you can.

Ditto on the Franklin idea. Franklin is 20 miles from Nashville and a very quaint little town. Lots of beautiful antebellum homes, etc. and you can tour the Carnton Mansion and Carter House if you're into that.

By the way, I visited Western Australia (Perth, Fremantle, Kalamunda, Denmark, Augusta and points in between in a van, then flew to Adelaide and Sydney). That is how I learned that 200 miles is not far in Australia. Beautiful country... wonderful, friendly people. I dream for the day I can return there.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!
cots is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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I'd just add that it's worth going to RCA Studio B in conjunction with your visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame:
DancingBearMD is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:50 AM
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The line for the Pancake Pantry is long on the weekends, but not bad at all on weekdays.

cots, when you say "prepare to stand in a looooong line," are you referring to restaurants or music venues? I'm not sure I've ever stood in line at music venues in town, unless you're referring to places like BB King's or elsewhere on Second. (The Bluebird, of course, is an exception. I definitely agree to make reservations there.)
jent103 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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cots is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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I concur about NOT staying at the Opryland Hotel...we stayed one night there on our recent trip because we had tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and because we got a good deal, but I wouldn't stay there again. It is cool to see the public areas though so allow some time when you go to the Opry and wander around. Stay downtown (there are lots of good choices) and visit all the music clubs on Lower cover charges and live music everywhere, even during the daytime at some of them!

NashTrash tours was not in business while we were there (Spring Break), but we had fun doing "Tommy's Tour."

We included Memphis on our trip's worth the drive if you are dying to see Graceland and Beale Street, but Nashville is much more desirable as a city. Also, I found the drive from Nashville to Memphis (a weekday morning) rather harrowing...hundreds of semi-trucks to deal with. I am not an inexperienced driver, but it was just a little too much for me.
musicfan is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 10:41 AM
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As others have said:

DO - Stay downtown (Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott, Doubletree, Reniassance, Sheraton) or
Vanderbilt (Marriott, Holiday Inn)
Both offer restaurants within walking distance and the Vanderbilt hotels are directly across the street from Centennial Park, you will need a car or cab to downtown

See: Centennial Park and the replica of the Parthenon (the museum inside is not worth it in my opinion), the park is a nice place to hang out for a bit with a small lake and walking trail
Belle Mead mansion - Very cool antebellum home
Carnton Plantation - The Battle of Franklin (in the Civil War) partly took place on its land
Bicentennial Mall - no shopping but a park to commemorate the 200th anniversary of statehood with some cool state history, the farmers market is next door and another place to check out
The Hermitage - home of President Andrew Jackson
Country Music Hall of Fame - your husband will love this
Grand Ole Opry - a must see, they also have shows on Tuesdays I believe
Walking downtown - 2nd Ave has lots of clubs, Broadway has several honky tonks including the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Tin Pan Alley, historic buildings, etc
Nash Trash tour - I have never laughed so much, definitely fun if you can handle it

Try the BBQ and a country breakfast.

Have a wonderful time.
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Apr 10th, 2009, 07:59 AM
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Thanks again everyone for the input; we so appreciate it, and no, Cots, you are right 200 miles is not far at all! We live in North Beach, a suburb of Perth just north of Scarborough.
kobecat is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 09:03 AM
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Wow, these are great suggestions. If you're a music fan, I'd definitely make reservations for the Bluebird Cafe. We saw Justin Townes Earle (Steve Earle's son) play there two summers ago. It was amazing--not a bad seat in the house. It seems a little anti-climatic once you finally find it in a strip mall, but it was still very worth it. I'd also recommend the Station Inn ( which no one has suggested yet. We heard a really great bluegrass band and you gotta love a bar that serves popcorn. I'd get there early for a really popular band. Have fun!
salwa_jabado is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Oh, if you like good indie used bookstores, check out Bookman/BookWoman ( in Hillsboro Village. If I remember correctly, the Pancake Pantry was right across the street (we didn't eat there---too long a line and great breakfast at our B&B).
salwa_jabado is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Yep, Bookman/BookWoman is directly across the street from the Pancake Pantry, and consistently gets "best of" awards in town. If you're into indie record shops as well, Grimey's gets my vote - on 8th Avenue north of Wedgewood. Great place to get great local music.
jent103 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2009, 11:29 PM
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bookmarking. great suggestions. thanks!
maria_so is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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bookmark. Thanks!
jmcdo is offline  

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