Nashville is the country music capital of the world, and home to a rowdy party scene and plenty of wild nightlife. But the city has much more to offer than country music and bachelorette parties. With plenty of excellent food, interesting museums and cultural landmarks, it’s got more than enough to keep you occupied.
When to go
April to October, when the city’s forecast calls for warm days and cool nights, perfect for letting loose.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for style, Dream Nashville is a swanky Art Deco hotel located in the heart of Nashville, making it an easy jumping-off point from which to explore the city. Downtown’s Drury Plaza Hotel is more affordable, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t nice. It’s got plenty of amenities, and is within walking distance to some of the city’s central attractions. Traveling with a group? Nashville has tons of Airbnbs, like the Sigler House, which sleeps 10 and is located near The Gulch, a stylish neighborhood that’s home to the Station Inn, a laid-back venue that hosts classic country and bluegrass.
Where to eat
With its craggy, crispy exterior and overwhelming heat, Nashville hot chicken delivers so much spice the effect is almost psychedelic. To sample the original, seek out Prince’s Hot Chicken, still run by the family of Thorton Prince, the man who, legend says, invented hot chicken. Craving Italian? Yolan serves a creative tasting menu that runs from five to eight courses, as well as à la carte items, all of them perfected by Michelin-honored chef Tony Mantuano. Over at Edley’s Bar-B-Que, you’ll find brisket that’s been smoked for at least 10 hours, plus ribs, pulled pork and Nashville hot links.
A few other recommendations...
A book to pack
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Most of this classic novel takes place in rural Georgia, but some of the plot includes locations in Tennessee.
A movie to watch
Nashville, of course. The 1975 Robert Altman film tells the story of 24 individuals involved in the country music and gospel business over the span of five days.
A record to put on
Bright Flight by the Silver Jews. The album contains some of singer-songwriter David Berman’s best lines, including these, from the song “Tennessee”: “Marry me and leave Kentucky / Come to Tennessee / ’Cause you’re the only 10 I see.”