This post was last updated on December 26th, 2013
Country music has always been the best shrink that fifteen bucks can buy—Dierks Bentley
Nashville, Tennessee. Where singers and entertainers from around the world come to get noticed. Home of all things country, including Country Music Television, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the world-renowned Grand Ol’ Opry. As our love for country music is about as deep as our unemployed, recent college-grad bank accounts, we opted out of touring the aforementioned sights. Nonetheless, we still had an awesome time in Nashville and feel like we got a pretty good feel for the city. You don’t have to don a cowboy hat and boots to recognize that Nashville really is all about the music, and there are great ways to enjoy it without hashing out money to hear the country stars you may never have heard of.
So if you’re like us and you aren’t really a country music aficionado, here are the things you still need to hit up:
Highlight #1: The Carmona’s
This is the wonderful family that took us in for a few nights and made us feel at home. They are full of love and kindness and humor—thanks so much for everything you did for us during our stay!
Highlight #2: The Bluebird Cafe
The world famous venue where up and coming stars play in an intimate café setting. We were lucky enough to catch four talented acoustic guitarists: Gary Burr, Kylie Sackley, Georgia Middleman and Don Henry. These talented artists have written for various big names like Keith Urban, Allan Jackson and Tim McGraw, just to name a few. They sat in a circle with their guitars, each taking turns performing the song of their choice, and moving the crowd to tears on multiple occasions. Make reservations in advance to make sure you get a seat, because this place is no secret. We paid $12 per person for cover plus a minimum of $7 on food or drink once inside, but the two hours of round-the-circle music was worth every penny.
Highlight #3: The Pancake Pantry
THE BEST PANCAKES EVER!! This joint’s sweet potato pancakes=pure ecstasy. Seriously, even if you think that’s not your thing, you are just gunna have to trust us on this one. So light, so fluffy, and so delicious. If you’re in Nashville, you need to be here. Located in the very quaint neighborhood of Hillsboro Village, away from the bustle and neon lights of downtown, it’s the ideal place to grab brunch before browsing the used bookstore Bookman/Bookwoman across the street. You might even catch a glimpse of superstars Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, known for eating their fair share of pancakes here.
Highlight #4: Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Once the lights go down it’s time to hit up Broadway Street. This honky-tonk highway lives up to its name with countless music venues and bars that play live music from 10 in the morning until 3am. Take your time hopping in and out of a few bars until you find the venue that works for you. Tootsie’s is one of the more famous honky-tonks, and with good reason. It’s a rough and tough little bar where some of the most talented performers in Nashville played before finding fame.
Highlight #5: Hatch Show Print
Open since 1879, this print shop is a must-see when wondering down Broadway Street. They are one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, and have made signs for all the big names in Nashville. Stop in to pick up a poster or watch the staff do their thing while still employing traditional print methods.
Honorable Mention: Love Circle
This street was recommended to us as an awesome place for a nighttime view of sparkling Nashville city. And from what we could see, it was. But apparently the view was a lot better before Rich (from Big and Rich) strategically built Mt Richmore, his gated mansion, in the middle of Love Circle. Those darn celebrities.
That’s it for Nashville, now it’s time to move on to another city made legendary for its music, Memphis!