Nashville may be the face, heart, and soul of the country music industry, but it hasn’t let the rhinestones go to its head. This is still Music City, of course, but there’s something for everyone here—from country to bluegrass to alt rock to punkabilly, from the biggest names in the biz performing the famed Grand Ole Opry to the no-name area musicians who’ll rock your world for the cost of a beer (a local Yazoo, we hope). It’s where tourists and locals and Hollywood starlets may very well wind up on the same dance floor (true story!), and no one really cares: It’s only natural here that great music is so readily available and enjoyed by all. So it goes with the Nashville's regional food: Getting down and dirty with the legendarily fiery hot chicken at Prince’s, you might rub elbows with an internationally famous chef passing through, while at some of the more refined restaurants in town, you can dine on locally, thoughtfully sourced dishes for a fraction of what you’d pay in a bigger city. Perhaps Nashville’s family-style Southern-food joints demonstrate this down-to-earth accessibility best: No matter who you are, you sit with strangers, you eat with strangers—and you pass the fried chicken to your left.
Nashville Food + Travel Guide
What to Eat in Nashville
How to Burn It Off in Nashville
Centennial Park is the nearest green oasis to downtown, and it doesn’t disappoint. Its 132 acres, often the site of local craft fairs and free summer concerts, offer a nice one-mile loop trail, partly along Lake Watauga, that’s popular among area walkers, joggers, bikers, and roller-bladers. Wander off the paved trail inside the park and you can’t miss the city’s quirkiest landmark: a full-scale replica of Greece’s Parthenon, down to the 42-foot statue of Athena. Now an art museum, it was built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition back in 1897 (incidentally, Nashville has long been called the “Athens of the South” due to its high concentration of colleges and universities).Read More
Where to Stay in Nashville
The elegant Hutton Hotel (1808 West End Ave., map; from $249 in low season) isn’t only well-run and stylish, it makes a noble effort to be green: Besides a strong recycling program, it has no water-wasting bathtubs and uses LED and fluorescent lighting, bamboo furniture, soap/shampoo dispensers instead of bottles, biodegradable cleaning products, and low-energy elevators. A little more than a mile from the downtown Broadway area, the hotel offers a courtesy vehicle—a hybrid, naturally—to help you get around. Bonus: In addition to a great fitness center, seven of the guest rooms have a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine in the room—a godsend in this town, trust us.Read More