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Country Music Destination

Music permeates every nook and cranny of the city, from Historic RCA Studio B (where Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton cut songs), to the chic Belle Meade neighborhood peppered with stars’ mansions, to Lower Broadway, packed with bars and clubs projecting fiddle chords and love ’em or leave ’em lyrics. The renowned Grand Ole Opry beckons aspiring singers, musicians and songwriters, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum honors those who make it big. You can catch a glimpse of tomorrow’s country legends on the stages of at least two dozen clubs and attend live radio show broadcasts that welcome the public. Even The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s antebellum home, gives a nod to music—its driveway curiously resembles the shape of a guitar. Souvenir and boot shops are plentiful, and a shopping excursion might result in a hard-to-find vinyl demo or a rhinestone jacket.

Getting There

By Car

Three major interstates pass through Nashville. Near the heart of the city these highways combine to form a near circle around downtown. Convenient exits provide easy access to major city streets.

The main north-south route is I-65. Closely parallel is the US 31 corridor, which divides into US 31E and US 31W north of Nashville, US 31 and Alt. US 31 to the south, and I-24 to the west.

East-west access comes primarily from transcontinental I-40. A close companion is US 70, another route that spans a considerable portion of the nation; east of Nashville it splinters into US 70N and US 70S.

I-24 runs on a northwest-southeast axis, bringing traffic from other routes in Chattanooga and southern Illinois. A close relative on part of its journey is US 41 and Alt. US 41.

SR 155 (Briley Parkway/Thompson Lane/Woodmont Boulevard/White Bridge Road), a bypass, encircles Nashville and connects all major interstates running through the city.

Getting Around

Street System

Nashville is a fairly easy city in which to navigate, given that the downtown area is ringed by five major interstates: 40, 65, 440, 24 and 840, an outer bypass. The key to deciphering the street system is to remember that the Cumberland River runs north to south, bisecting the heart of the city. The numbered avenues run north to south, west of and parallel to the river. The numbered streets run north to south, east of and parallel to the river. East-west streets are generally perpendicular to the river on both sides.

Three vehicular bridges connect the east and west sections of downtown: the Victory Memorial Bridge, Woodland Street Bridge and Jefferson Street Bridge. Broadway (US 70) and Charlotte, Church and Jefferson streets are the principal cross-town routes. The Shelby Avenue bridge—once scheduled for destruction—has been preserved as the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

US 41 is the main north-south thoroughfare, though it is separated by the James Robertson Parkway for about a half-mile in the area around the State Capitol. James Robertson Parkway also is the link with Victory Memorial Bridge. South of Demonbreun Street, US 41 (also called 8th Avenue) divides, and the 8th Avenue S. part of the fork becomes US 31. US 41 continues south as Lafayette Street.

Broadway and Jefferson, Charlotte, Church and Demonbreun streets are all downtown access exits off the I-40 loop of the circumferential highway. On the eastern side of the river, Jefferson, Main and Woodland streets and Shelby Avenue are exits off the I-24 loop of the highway.

The average speed downtown is 30-35 mph. Right turns at red lights are legal unless otherwise posted.


On-street parking is convenient at meters, with an hourly rate of $1.50 in the Central Business District and $1 in all other areas. Parking garages and outdoor parking lots average $4-$12 per hour or $12-$25 per day. Valet parking is common for downtown restaurants and hotels.

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