- Secret Places Where You Can Live Like a Local: While the following spots could be filed under best places to stay, these unique properties remain (relatively) under-the-radar for the moment. First, there is the only non-Airbnb accommodation in Germantown: The Germantown Inn. While it is pricey, it’s also an elegant, historical place to stay near downtown where you can really get the neighborhood vibe. Similarly, the 404 Hotel, nestled smack in the middle of the Gulch, may be the best value in all of Nashville. The “hotel” comprises just four apartments, but they are modern, clean, and comfortable and you feel like you’re living in the Gulch—if you had a much higher budget. Rates include a parking space which is a huge perk for anyone driving to town, as $40 a day for valet is standard here. If you’re traveling with a group, the Buffalo Soul Airbnb near Music Row could be the ticket. It’s a little off the beaten path, which is kind of the point, and you can rent the whole house, which sleeps 10, for less than $200 a person for a weekend. It comes fully stocked with snacks and beer and breakfast and all kinds of cool stuff. It’s walkable to the Edgehill neighborhood, which features shops and restaurants, and there’s even a recording studio in the basement for those who want to rock out.
- Lesser-Known Places to Experience Music Like a Local: While the Grand Ole Opry and the Bluebird Cafe get most of the media love, you don’t have to visit either to get a sense of the city’s talent (and that’s good; neither is convenient to anything else you want to do). After you’ve done the Ryman, there are still a ton of live music venues here to explore. For huge headliners, you have the big boys—Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium—but my favorites are the smaller, more intimate venues that tourists often don’t think to check. Those include The Basement, 3rd & Lindsley, the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, City Winery, and Exit/In to name a very few. I should note “intimate” in this context does not mean quiet; it just means close to the action, as I have seen many a rager at The Basement and Exit/In. Don’t sleep on the CMA Theater in particular; many locals for some reason don’t have it on their radar, but it’s an exceptional venue that’s conveniently located, and it gets great acts. Ascend Amphitheater, while it should technically be counted in the “big boy” category because it seats 6,800 people, feels more like a small show, and the same goes for the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which hosts concerts of all kinds. Great seasonal events include the Full Moon Pickin’ Party at Warner Parks, a unique way to experience bluegrass, as well as the Live on the Green concert series downtown and Musician’s Corner at Centennial Park, both of which are free.
- The No-Wait Workaround: Only a few Nashville eateries are worth the wait, and they include Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish, and Martin’s Bar-B-Que. But there is no reason you need to visit them at high noon on Sunday or at 7pm on Saturday to stand around and wait for 2 hours. Instead, a few workarounds: 1) Go in the off hours: sleep in, have breakfast at 10:30am, and eat a late lunch around 2:30 or 3pm when the lines are less crazy; 2) Check out a non-downtown location. Martin’s has an outpost on Belmont Boulevard, Hattie B’s has one in West Nashville on Charlotte Pike and on 8th Avenue South, and Bolton’s also has one on Franklin Pike; 3) At Martin’s in particular, snag a seat at any one of Martin’s three bars, where you’re welcome to order food; 4) Call in your order for pickup or use the Postmates app, skip the line to check out, and go enjoy your food at any one of Nashville’s amazing parks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.