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Nashville Travel Guide

About Nashville

It's impossible to spend any time in Nashville without getting your groove back: music made this city, music runs this city, music is this city.

A friendly Southern metropolis that beats to its own drum, line dances to its own fiddle and wigs out to its own steel guitar, Nashville has thrown up or welcomed in everyone from the Kings of Leon and Miley Cyrus to Little Richard and Johnny Cash.

Despite a reputation for country music, Nashville (or Nash Vegas as locals have taken to calling it) is far from rural. It's a stylish cityscape with skyscrapers, architecturally attractive civic spaces, high-end hotels and on-trend dining options.

Located in the centre of Tennessee, with Memphis to the west and Chattanooga to the south, Nashville is the boom city of the southern states, attracting visitors from across the USA with its easy-going lifestyle, great BBQ and sweet treats like momma used to make.

Since becoming the state capital in 1843, Nashville has transformed itself from wild hunting outpost to the nation's music heartlands. The Grand Ole Opry started its weekly radio broadcast here in 1925 and the city hasn't looked back since.

It is now a cornerstone of country music. On any night of the week, the state-of-the-art music venues in Downtown Nashville attract devoted live music fans in their thousands. It doesn't matter if it's an international superstar stopping off on their stadium tour, or an unknown songwriter trying their luck in the dark bars of Honky Tonk Alley, Nashville lives up to its nickname as the Music City.

These days, it's got more strings to its banjo than just the music though. Its restaurants are first class, its art scene is blossoming and it even has a replica of Greece's Parthenon as an art museum.

So what are you waiting for? Let the unofficial mayor and mayoress of Nashville, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, sweep you off your feet for a feet-stompin', hand-clappin', bottom-wigglin' adventure of a lifetime.

Key facts

Population:
626,144 (Nashville/Davidson County); 1.66 million (metropolitan area) (2008).
Latitude:
36.158363
Longitude:
-86.788855

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The Hermitage Hotel

Built in 1910 in the beaux-arts style, this city institution is the grande dame of local hotels. Smiling after an $18million refurbishment, the lobby is gilded plaster and stained glass windows, and the all-suite guest rooms boast Florentine marble bathrooms. Dining at the hotel’s Capitol Grille evokes an elegant wine cellar, and the Oak Bar has ornate woods and plasterwork.

Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel

Boasting one of the most modern looks on the Nashville hotel scene, Loews Vanderbilt Plaza has bedded many celebrities and country music stars. Artwork is a heavy motif, from the tapestries of the lobby to the in-house branch of the Kraus art gallery. The angular guest rooms are softened by plush curtains, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is well regarded among local carnivores.

Days Inn Vanderbilt/Music Row

The rooms here are at least refurbished every few years to keep this good value motel at least comfortable. The property dates back to the 1960s, giving it kind of a retro cool, and the free local calls and internet don’t hurt the budget. The location is convenient, with Music Row and Vanderbilt University both within easy walking distance.

The Hutton Hotel

Opened in 2009, this property blends traditional southern touched with Manhattan-esque chic, the lobby a mix of luxuriant woods, abstract sculptures and oversized lampshades. It’s a bold attempt to steer away from the more laboured aspects of the city, and you won’t find country music being piped on repeat. The rooms are trendy but not pretentious, and the 1808 Grille brings a modern twist to down-home cooking.

Union Station

A former railway terminal is the home for this hotel, which dates back to 1900. The architecture is Romanesque-Gothic, and the property enjoyed a $10million facelift in 2007. The station’s main hall becomes a striking lobby, with vaulted stained glass ceilings. While the exterior is a National Historic Landmark, the rooms are contemporary, though light sleepers may want to avoid those that overlook the tracks.

Hilton Downtown Nashville

Another all-suite offering, this new Downtown hotel has plenty of room, with 330 units. The palm-lined atrium lobby lends a touch of sophistication to the hotel, but its main appeal is the location, within walking distance of LP Field and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The suites lend themselves to self-catered living, though there are also 3 restaurants on site.