Nashville, TN

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When we were there: May 23 – 30, 2017
Where we stayed: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
What we ate: Prince’s Hot Chicken
What we drank: Local craft beer
What we did: Country Music Hall of Fame; Johnny Cash Museum; ran around the District; walked across the Shelby Street Bridge; visited Franklin and Lieper’s Fork; went to the market by Bicentennial Mall; saw the Parthenon at Centennial Park
Tourism Website: https://www.visitmusiccity.com
Worth the Trip? It’s an American icon that you should experience

Our Trip Advisor Reviews:
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Takeaway:
Nashville is a big city with big city traffic
Prince’s Hot Chicken is hotter than you think it will be
The Country Music Hall of Fame will take you all day, and is interesting for non-fans as well
Head to Puckett’s in Lieper’s Fork for a beer on the porch
They take their churches seriously in Nashville
Even the guys playing for tips in bars are highly talented
It’s hard not to eat everything in sight

The home of country music
The home of country music

Nashville is one of those big cities that retain some small town country charm. For me it’s a one and done, but Neal loved it and would go back frequently. We agree that we didn’t love the traffic, which backs up every day during afternoon rush, so plan your day accordingly.

Nashville’s Beale/Bourbon Street is Church St., and the area is called “The District”. There are 8 million bars and restaurants and entertainment venues in this area; Bridgestone arena, home of the Preds, is right there too. When people say “Nashville” this is what they’re talking about. During the day, it’s a walkabout for families and tourists….and at night it becomes party central. It’s not possible to have a drink in every interesting bar – there are too many of them and you will die – so find a rooftop bar (Tootsie’s is an icon) and enjoy your drink while watching the mayhem below.

King of the Cowboys
King of the Cowboys

Nashville is, of course, the home of country music. We didn’t go to the Grand Ol’ Opry, which made my mother throw up her hands in disgust, but we did spend the better part of a day going through the Country Music Hall of Fame. Even if you are not a country music fan (you heathen) you will be enthralled by the history and cultural exhibits. There is a ton of memorabilia of stars from Jimmie Rodgers to Blake Shelton, and exhibits showing the evolution of country music from Granny’s porch to the Grand Old Opry to sold out stadiums. They have a tribute to various session musicians, and a whole wing dedicated to Sam Phillips and Sun Studio. There are plenty of kid friendly exhibits and activities, so bring the young’uns along.

While you’re at it, hit up the Johnny Cash Museum. Even if you “don’t like” country music, you still have to love Johnny. It’s a law or something. And no lie, in the gift shop you can pick up some Man in Black poopbags for your dog as a souvenir.

The Shelby Street footbridge across the Cumberland River

Hot chicken is a Nashville thing and there are a number of places to get it. I’m a purist and go with the original – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. People come from all over the country for this chicken. There are six levels of heat and since I like spicy I chose “hot” the first time, which made the counter lady raise her eyebrow. And she was right. Subsequent visits I’ve gotten the medium, which is still plenty fiery.   They serve all chicken orders with white bread and pickle chips, and you will need both to quell the flames.

For a fun lunch, head for Lieper’s Fork (their slogan is “If Sunday morning had a hometown”) and get a meat and three at Puckett’s. It’s counter service, so you get your food and a beer and take it out on the porch to eat and chat with locals. Lieper’s Fork is an art town, so make sure to take a stroll and see the local crafts. Then back to Puckett’s and listen to local musicians in the evening. You could make a whole weekend getaway just in this small town.

Downtown Nashville

You’ve heard of the “megachurch” and Nashville area has them to spare. I had never seen anything like it. Weekly attendance at these churches runs in the thousands (!). Here’s a guide from the Tennessean to help you choose which ones to visit:
https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/religion/2016/03/25/10-largest-churches-nashville-area/82278508/

Nashville is whatever you want it to be. Casual, country, and relaxed; or exciting and vibrant with a big nightlife. Great for families or that rowdy bachelorette weekend, and you’ll see plenty of both while you’re there.



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