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Shopping in Nashville

The best buys in Nashville are all about listening right and looking good. So whether its rare CDs and second-hand vinyl you're after, or a Stetson hat and cowboy boots, the city has it covered.

Key areas

Downtown is a good place to start for boutiques for fashionable Western wear and souvenir shops hawking country and western memorabilia. There are also several antique districts. Prime areas are Nashville's Eighth Avenue South, Franklin (south of town), Goodlettsville (on the north side) and Lebanon (30 minutes to the east).

Markets

The fourth weekend of every month, the Flea Market at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds draws huge crowds for the two-day bargain bonanza. Meanwhile, Nashville's Farmer's Market, which is open seven days a week, is the place to go for fresh produce and a tasty range of ethnic foods.

Shopping centres

The best malls are out of town. The biggest and newest is Opry Mills, 433 Opry Mills Drive, with 200 stores and an IMAX theatre. Slightly smaller is the Cool Springs Galleria, 1800 Galleria Boulevard, Franklin, off I-65. The main shopping mall on the north side of town is RiverGate Mall, located on 1000 Rivergate Parkway, Goodlettsville, just off I-65.

Opening hours

Opening hours of retail stores tend to be Monday to Saturday 1000-1800 Downtown and Monday to Saturday 1000-2100 and Sunday 1300-1800 in the suburbs.

Souvenirs

You can't strut your way home after a holiday in Nashville without a pair of genuine cowboy boots. Lucchese, located at 503 12th Avenue South, is where the locals buy theirs and the shop carries over 200 styles of boots for men and women.

For music-related treasures, head to Music City where rare CDs and second-hand vinyl are easy to find, or visit Ernest Tubb's Record Shop No 1 at 417 Broadway. Nashville has a plethora of hot stores for looking good while rocking out - many with musical connections. Hank Williams, Jr.'s granddaughter has just opened high-end hot spot, H. Audrey, at 4027 Hillsboro Pike.

Tax information

In Nashville, the sales tax is 9.25%, which is non-refundable.

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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.

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.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

Nashville’s answer to Graceland, this regal property has 3.6 hectares (9 acres) of indoor gardens, skywalks, cascading waterfalls, winding pathways and riverboats. Outdoor pools, a huge spa and 85-foot fountains complement the 14 restaurants, 20 shops and 5 ballrooms. Guest rooms are comfortable, but not as grand as the public spaces.