Boots and jeans are right at home next to summer dresses and heels in Nashville. Music permeates just about every facet of life here, and not necessarily just country. Many genres, including indie rock, are recorded and performed here. Nashville revels in its roots but is very connected to the greater world. Health care, music, and education are its largest industries and attract employees from across the country. Vanderbilt and other schools draw students from all over, and Nashville's neighborhoods reflect this diversity and energy.
When to Go
Nashville is a year-round destination, with summer temperatures reaching into the 90s with lows in the 70s, and winter dipping below freezing before climbing into the high 40s. On average, Nashville sees seven days of rain throughout each month, so make sure to pack a jacket any time of year. Spring is a glorious riot of blooming trees and flowers, with temps ranging from the 50s to 70s. Likewise, fall has similar temperatures and changing leaves.
Annual events include April's Tin Pan South, billed as the world's largest songwriter festival, when 400 songwriters perform 100 shows in 10 different venues over five days. It's a unique opportunity to see up-and-coming performers and to hear established songwriters perform their own material. Also in April, the Nashville Comedy Festival brings in performers such as Tim Allen and "Weird Al" Yankovic for a week of laughs. Each New Year's Eve, Jack Daniel's Music City Midnight celebrates with live music, fireworks, and the famous Music Note Drop to mark the New Year. May's Iroquois Steeplechase demonstrates the finest in Tennessee horsemanship, and June's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in nearby Manchester is four days of national music acts and art.
What to Eat
Barbecue is an obvious favorite in Nashville, but the city is gaining national recognition for a food scene that blends down-home with upscale. Nashville is known for its hot chicken-fried chicken heavy on the spices, including cayenne pepper, and served with white bread and pickles. Food trucks offer eclectic menus and often use local ingredients, and thanks to the city's diverse population, global cuisine has boomed in recent years.
Souvenir to Take Home
A print or logoed mason jar from the Hatch Show Print is a unique take-home you'll be happy to display or use. Ornate cowboy and cowgirl boots and hats abound, and guitars of varying quality are easy to come by, too. Must-visit sites such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, the Johnny Cash Museum, and other locales all have gift shops that sell all manner of souvenirs and media. Nashville visitor centers at Fifth Avenue and Broadway, and Fourth Avenue and Commerce Street, stock locally made items such as leather work, candles, and jewelry.
Sustainable Travel Tip
The Music City Circuit is a free bus service that travels throughout the popular downtown district every 15 minutes. Golf cart services transport people around downtown for tips but are otherwise free, and pedicabs also ply the downtown area. Nashville's B-Cycle program allows customers to rent a bicycle and return it at any one of 36 locations around town. With Nashville's growing population, the city is considering expanding its public transportation to include more bus routes and adding light rail.
A photo of Nashville's skyline from the Cumberline River Pedestrian Bridge or from across the river from Cumberland Park is a Nashville must, especially at dusk. Nashville's Parthenon in Centennial Park is also striking, especially in early evening when its exterior lights are turned on. Downtown's Music Row is chockfull of neon signs, details, and statues honoring Nashville's music history that make great photos.