What to Do in Nashville If you're looking for things to do this weekend, attend a production of the legendary Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Dr.). Launched in Nashville in 1925, the live radio broadcast continues to introduce many a country musician hopeful to the world. If you’re a big fan, sign up for a guided tour of the Grand Ole Opry House; besides learning about the history of the 4,400-seat venue, you’ll have the chance to stand at center stage, on the round 6-foot piece of oak wood typically occupied by regulars like Loretta Lynn and Brad Paisley. Taken from the show’s previous home, the Ryman Auditorium, the circle memorializes such Opry royalty as Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl.
Spend a neon-illuminated night gallivanting through the Lower Broadway district, Nashville’s top spot for live music. Duck into Legends Corner (428 Broadway), Robert’s Western World (416 Broadway) or Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (422 Broadway) to hear twangy tunes from up-and-coming music stars. Keep your eyes peeled while honky-tonking downtown—a few celebrity A-listers like Sheryl Crow or Keith Urban might very well be in the crowd.
Wildhorse Saloon/Chad Lee
Show up for a free line dancing lesson at the Wildhorse Saloon (120 2nd Ave. N.), a three-level, rowdy, boot-scootin’ saloon that marked its 1994 opening with a cattle stampede presided over by Reba McEntire. Yee-haw!
Fun Things to Do in Nashville
Look through scores of country records and CDs at Ernest Tubb Record Shop (417 Broadway), opened in 1947. The store hosts a free country music broadcast—the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree—every Saturday night at the Texas Troubadour Theatre (2416 Music Valley Dr.).
Settle into an oak pew and enjoy a show at the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium (116 5th Ave. N.). Home of the Grand Ole Opry 1943-74, the storied venue often praised for its stellar acoustics now hosts musical theater performances, concerts and daytime tours.
Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
Wander the expansive Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (2800 Opryland Dr.), where nearly 3,000 guestrooms, pulsing nightclubs and several stylish places to eat intermingle with 9 acres of lush indoor gardens and waterways. Then hop aboard the General Jackson Showboat (2812 Opryland Dr.), a four-deck paddle wheeler that plies the Cumberland River.
Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
Spend an hour or two perusing exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 5th Ave. S.), chock-full of glittery stage costumes, treasured instruments and all things in between. On top of its eye-catching collection of gold records, interactive displays and relics, the attraction regularly schedules panel discussions with movers and shakers in the music business.
Take a drive through Music Row, the hub of Nashville's music recording industry. Centered between 16th and 17th avenues and Division and Grand streets, the tree-lined business district embraces hundreds of major record labels, music publishing firms, booking agencies and high-tech recording studios.
Locate signs of the Dolly Parton incident—the day the buxom songstress drove her car into Historic RCA Studio B (1611 Roy Acuff Pl.) while en route to a recording session—during your Music Row expedition. The small and now slightly dented building built in 1957 saw the likes of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and such country and pop icons as Willie Nelson, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison. Take the guided tour offered by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Discover the prestigious Belle Meade neighborhood, home to impressive estates owned by recording stars and other affluent Music City residents. Located 5 miles southwest of downtown, the posh area boasts elegant remnants from the past, including Belle Meade Plantation (5025 Harding Pike) and Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art (1200 Forrest Park Dr.).
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.