Nashville AKA Music City is billed as the home of country music. Huge stars like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley all cut their teeth here but don’t worry if you’re not a country music fan; much like the ABC show of the same name, you really don’t have to appreciate country music to appreciate Nashville… although it helps.
A great place to stay in the city is the Homewood Suites (part of The Hilton chain). Upon arrival, we found that not only was the film set for Highway 65 record label actually part of the hotel but they also include free breakfast, dinner, beer and wine (between 5 and 7pm) as standard. FREE BEER AND WINE BETWEEN 5 & 7PM – NO RESTRICTIONS. Let that sink in for a minute and bask in how amazing that is. It came as a particularly pleasant surprise as America in general is pretty expensive and we were easily going through a few hundred dollars a day at this point, not even with frivolous spending, just living. The suites are in a really great location in a central part of town, just a 10 minute walk from Honky Tonk row and The Ryman Auditorium. Actually it’s a 12 minute 32 second walk, we timed it one day when I was drunk and my fella wouldn’t let me get a taxi. Dick.
Honky Tonk Row (Broadway) is a lot of fun, especially if you love day drinking. Jack Daniels whiskey is made just outside of Nashville so as you can imagine it’s the drink of choice. You’ll find world famous bars such as Tootsie’s, Legends Corner, Layla’s (featured on the TV show Nashville) and Bootleggers Inn lining the street, with live music playing at all times of the day and night.
If you fancy picking up a pair of genuine leather cowboy boys here (they’re always coming in and out of fashion right??) then you won’t be short of choice but they don’t come cheap, a ‘low cost’ pair will set you back around $299. You can pick up a cowboy hat for around $19.99 and just wear 8 season old River Island cowboy boots if you’re really desperate to go native.
For a more hipster vibe you can visit the Marathon Motor Works shopping arcade, which is kind of like a massive Quiggins; loads of cool independent shops. Youtube sensation Olan Rogers even has his soda parlor there… although he wasn’t around when we visited. Sad face. Try the ‘Expectus Patronum’ ice cream float though it’s unbelievable! East Nashville is also full of hipster hangouts and bars that the locals actually visit.
As far as Nashville (TV show) filming locations are concerned, we did manage to catch Damien Rice at the Ryman Auditorium (tickets purchased way in advance) but when we visited the Bluebird Cafe it was sealed off for filming. Who knows… I could’ve been mere feet away from heart-throb Sam Palladio (Gunnar) or that one who doesn’t move her mouth when she talks – Scarlett.
Other cool things to check out in Nashville:
- They have a full scale replica of The Parthenon (Athens) as it would have looked in ancient times, including a huge gold statue of Athena
- Taylor Swift and Hayden Panetierre have apartments here
- Betty Page & Doris Day went to high school just off Broadway
- There’s a hotdog stand just next door to Bootleggers Inn who do the best chilli dog I’ve ever experienced
Read more about my other USA road trip stops: Chicago, Memphis, Louisiana Sugar Plantation, New Orleans, Atlanta