Nashville in 3 DaysThree days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these fun things to do to make the most of your time in Nashville.
Day 1: Morning Begin your exploration of Music City, USA, with a visit to the Ryman Auditorium , home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974, when the show relocated to its present 4,400-seat performance house at Gaylord Opryland. Take a daytime tour of the Ryman to learn all about the “Mother Church of Country Music,” which originated in the late 1800s as a tabernacle for Christian revivals.
You can take the self-guiding tour before heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum , packed with all kinds of glitzy country music paraphernalia. The museum also offers a don't-miss tour of Music Row's Historic RCA Studio B, the famous recording studio where Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton cut singles.
Day 1: AfternoonCourtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
After a casual lunch at Jack's Bar-B-Que , head to the Frist Art Museum to see its collection of impressive international artwork. If time remains, include a walk through the Tennessee State Museum and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on your afternoon itinerary.
Day 1: EveningWildhorse Saloon/Chad Lee
An evening out in Lower Broadway (centered on 2nd Avenue and Broadway), Nashville's hottest nightlife area, is a must for party-goers. Eat at Wildhorse Saloon or other local restaurants and catch a concert or take a dance lesson before hitting one of many live music clubs sharing the streets with warehouses and old bars. We like Legends Corner , Robert's Western World , Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and B.B. King's Blues Club . (If you're in the mood for a more upscale evening, opt for a leisurely dinner on the second floor of Merchants , set in a vintage hotel.)
Day 2: MorningAAA/Katie Broome
After a night of partying in Lower Broadway, return there to browse souvenir stores housing a wealth of country music-themed wares. But if you want something more memorable than a magnet or a commemorative shot glass—or even if you're just window-shopping—two venerable businesses on and near Broadway are worth a peek inside. At the original Ernest Tubb Record Shop opened in the 1940s, you can score some rare vinyl, along with hard-to-find CDs. Or, you could spend your hard-earned cash on a concert poster reprint from Nashville's historic Hatch Show Print (located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum). The cool turn-of-the-20th-century letterpress print shop has created custom designs for everyone from Bob Dylan to Mumford & Sons and offers tours of its production area.
Day 2: AfternoonSpend the rest of your day in the Music Valley area, just northeast of downtown. A couple of nearby restaurants to try for lunch are Caney Fork River Valley Grille and Santa Fe Cattle Co .
You'll also find a number of other places to eat inside Gaylord Opryland , the focal point of the vicinity. The expansive complex includes Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center , the Grand Ole Opry , and General Jackson Showboat . Sign up for a tour of the Grand Ole Opry, wander the resort's botanical garden, waterfall and fountain or take a flatboat along canals in the atrium.
Day 2: EveningCourtesy of Gaylord Opryland Attractions
The Music Valley area offers plenty in the way of live music and things for couples to do. The Grand Ole Opry presents shows on weekend evenings; if it's a weekday, opt instead for a dinner trip aboard the Cumberland River on the General Jackson Showboat . Another theater is Nashville Palace. A popular late-night event is the Saturday night radio show, which begins at midnight and is broadcast from the Texas Troubadour Theatre .
Day 3: MorningiStockphoto.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
During your vacation, delve into Nashville's cultural side. Fisk University Galleries houses works by Cézanne, O'Keeffe, Picasso and Renoir. Adjacent to Vanderbilt University are the Upper Room Chapel and Christian Art Museum , home to a Georgian-style chapel and religious art, and The Parthenon , with a gigantic, gilded Athena statue. Near campus, tour the Belmont Mansion , a furnished, ornate Italianate villa dating from the 1850s. Or stroll through Hillsboro Village, a small shopping and dining district centered on 21st Avenue South.
Day 3: Afternoonadel66/iStockphoto.com
Circling the Vanderbilt campus and near Belmont Mansion is a good selection of eateries: Break for brunch or lunch at Biscuit Love , a popular local restaurant known for its made-from-scratch Southern fare. Then take a driving tour of the ritzy Belle Meade neighborhood, where many country music stars live. In Belle Meade, the Greek Revival Belle Meade Plantation is definitely worth a stop, as is Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art , comprising substantial gallery space with noteworthy pieces, gardens and a sculpture trail.
Day 3: EveningCourtesy of The Palm Restaurant
Look into a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). Odds are, you can catch a ballet, opera or theatrical performance. Dine at the Capitol Grille , set in a historic hotel; or The Palm Restaurant , where you can eat steak or lobster in a dining room adorned in caricatures. For a more casual vibe, head to Ellington's Midway Bar and Grill , which offers updated American classics and patio seating with a great view.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Tennessee's statewide sales tax is 7 percent; Nashville's sales tax can be up to an additional 2.25 percent, and the city has a 6 percent lodging tax, plus $2 city tax per night.
Nashville General Hospital at Meharry, (615) 341-4000; Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, (615) 284-5555; Saint Thomas West Hospital, (615) 222-2111; TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center, (615) 781-4000; TriStar Summit Medical Center, (615) 316-3000; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, (615) 322-5000.
501 Broadway Nashville, TN 37203. Phone:(615)259-4747 or (866)830-4440
For tourists with airline flights,
Hertz, (615) 275-2600 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
The Greyhound bus terminal is at 709 5th Ave. S.; phone (615) 255-3556 or (800) 231-2222.
Cab fare is $3 to start and $2 per mile; a $25 flat fee is charged for transportation between the airport and downtown. Cabs are not easy to hail outside downtown, but they can be ordered by phone. The major cab company is Yellow, (615) 256-0101.
Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has more than 50 city routes, including an airport connection. Exact change is required. The fare is $1.70; $1.00 (ages 5-19); 85c (ages 65+ and riders with disabilities). Buses generally run daily 6:15 a.m.-11:15 p.m., depending upon the route. For information phone (615) 862-5950.