They don't call Nashville "Music City" for nothing. This city loves a catchy tune, and country music isn't the only game in town -- venues stage rap, rock, jazz and gospel concerts every night -- but country is king. See Elvis' golden Cadillac and Ralph Stanley's mandolin at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, or take in a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Nashville's nightlife is legendary. Honky-tonks along Broadway thump with music and beer-drinking dancers late into the night. You really should go. After all, today's starving artist could be tomorrow's Carrie Underwood.
Things to Do
You don't need to be a country music fan to enjoy the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Legends are honored here with a vast audio archive of important points in the evolution of country music as well as in displays of Hank Williams' fringed jackets and Willie Nelson's bandana. There is plenty of memorabilia on crossover stars too, including Elvis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, even Bob Dylan. The Grand Ole Opry Museum pays tribute to the staples of that famous radio show: Patsy Cline, George Jones, Dolly Parton and many, many more.
Walk along Broadway downtown for the quintessential Music City shopping trip. Ernest Tubb Record Shop has been selling Nashville's greatest hits -- in vinyl, cassette tape and now CD -- for over six decades. If it's country, you'll find it here. Across the street Hatch Show Print made its mark producing concert posters. The shop still maintains its monster collection, and visitors can buy newly printed copies of classic posters featuring their favorite artists and festivals.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Music City does live music like nowhere else. Catch country, blues, gospel, jazz and any number of live concerts across the city. The Bluebird Café is Nashville's premier venue for new and established songwriters. Music in the round features at least four songwriters performing their work. No trip to Nashville is complete without a little time spent honky-tonkin'. Dance and drink to live bands on Broadway at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and Legends Corner.
Restaurants and Dining
Some of Nashville's finest restaurants are located within the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Resort. Chief among them is the Old Hickory Steakhouse, where the steaks are measured by the pound and award-winning wines are served in an elegant antebellum mansion, where every diner can look out the window at a winding (indoor) river. The Loveless Café wins the award for nothin'-fancy, down-home Southern cooking, dishing up heaping helpings of country ham, red-eye gravy and buttermilk biscuits to clean up your plate afterward.