48 Hours in Nashville, Tennessee
48 Hours in Nashville, Tennessee
...with Destination Musick City, a DMC Network Affiliate
Better known as Music City USA, this is ground zero where the best musicians in the world gather to create, record and perform. And while chart-topping recordings made here are streamed and downloaded 24/7 all over the world, live music is just as important. With more than 180 music venues, there’s something for everyone from pop, rock, country, gospel, and bluegrass, to jazz, classical, contemporary Christian, blues and soul. And what’s more - a lot of it is free! (but bring a bit of cash for the tip jar to help the musicians - they’ll ‘preciate ya!)
So toss your favorite jeans and your sense of adventure into a carry-on, tap Southern Hospitality on your playlist, have a couple of drinks, and get ready for 48 Hours in Nashville… and hold on to your hat!
Arrivals – Nashville International Airport
Less than 30 minutes from downtown and currently undergoing a five-year terminal renovation, BNA currently welcomes flights from more than 70 markets – 50 of which are nonstop. Nashville is perfectly positioned to draw people together since 40% of the US population lives within 600 miles of Nashville. If you happen to be coming across the pond, there are non-stops from London on British Airways.
Now it’s time to step out from your Downtown Hotel to visit the 'Mother Church' of music - the Ryman Auditorium. When you walk through those doors one thing becomes clear right away: this isn’t just another music venue: this is hallowed ground. This is the spot where Bluegrass was born one December night in 1945, the place where Johnny Cash lost his heart to June Carter after catching a glimpse of her backstage, and where a coal miner’s daughter forever changed women’s role in popular music. This storied stage has hosted performances by virtually every act in country music history as well as hundreds of performing artists ranging from Elvis and Houdini to Ed Sheeran and the Foo Fighters. In this building, anything is possible: a soul can find redemption, a crumbling building can find a second life, and an unknown with a guitar can suddenly find their name in lights.
Next, take a walk 2 blocks to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. The museum, called the 'Smithsonian of Country Music' because of its unrivalled collection, recently unveiled a $100 million expansion, doubling its size to 350,000 square feet of dynamic state-of-the-art galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores, and special event space boasting stunning downtown views. There are over 136 featured inductees and the collection houses much more than just country music ephemera: inside you will discover a vast assortment of memorabilia including Les Paul’s original 'Log', Elvis’ 1960 Gold Cadillac, and handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan along with numerous historical musical instruments. And there are always ongoing exhibitions of various artists: currently featured are Little Big Town, The Judds, and 'Outlaws and Armadillos'.
Now stroll over to the amazing Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint. The combination of historical charm and quality dining - and of course live music - provides a truly unique and memorable experience. Locals swear this is the best barbecue in Nashville, if not the entire South. Be sure and head up to the second floor into Martin's lush backyard beer garden, featuring darts, shuffleboard, ping pong and a live music stage, plus two stocked bars and four whole hog smokers where you can get a Pit Master lesson!
Take a fascinating Guided Tour of Music Row, the Mecca of songwriting and recording that first brought Nashville to prominence in the entertainment industry. It was here that the earliest recording studios were constructed - often more by feel and experimentation than by technical design – soon followed by record companies and music publishing firms. Many of the bungalows in this neighborhood housed songwriters and musicians who honed their skills while sitting around a piano or with their guitars as they traded ideas, melodies, and lyrics. The tour will include the famous RCA Studio B where dozens of hits were recorded by artists like the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson. Elvis Presley cut more than 200 songs here! The tour also features Oceanway Studios, where Beck, Garth Brooks, Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, and the Black Crowes among others have recorded albums. Following the Music Row portion, your party can be dropped downtown to pick up the rest of the tour on foot.
Sit in with local musicians creating a recording: 'Live it Live' is an Imagine Recordings experience where you will sit side-by-side with the industry’s top session pros as they record new songs at the legendary Sound Stage Studios on Music Row. The Session: Curated and managed by Grammy-winning producer Steve Fishell, this 80-minute experience will grant you access to a genuine live recording session. You’ll meet the gifted musicians, experience the art of music making and the science of recording in a state-of-the-art studio. Each Imagine session is different since fresh new songs provided by some of Music Row’s most prolific songwriters are recorded– so it’s quite possible that you may be the first to hear tomorrow’s next big hit! On some occasions, our sessions will include an emerging artist/band who will be recording a song for a potential album cut.
Wind down the day with a Specialty Craft Brews Guided Tour. This local Brewery and Tap Room Crawl includes trivia, tastings and more. It includes:
(1) Full Brewery Tour, (2) Tap Room visits – where you can see and taste Nashville through its local brews! Typical Stops include Yazoo, Jackalope & TN Brewhouse all in “SoBro” – the South of Broadway area.
Saving up your beer money for something else? Get a personal Cowboy boot fitting at Frenches Boots on 2nd Street, and champagne will likely be involved! Now you can Boot-Scootin' Boogie your way to dinner.
Now it’s on to dinner at Sea Salt in their private dining room where you will experience a French Inspired local ingredient dinner and a Singer/Songwriter experience. Sea Salt’s unique decor features reclaimed wood and gleaming, gorgeous blocks of pink sea salt, make it a dining space like no other. And its aesthetic reflects its food — richly satisfying and unforgettable. While the food is reason enough to visit, the bar cannot be overlooked. Its bar program, created by James Beard nominee Jeret Peña, features regional craft beer, a carefully curated wine list and speciality cocktails formulated specifically with Sea Salt Nashville’s concept and menu in mind.
Breakfast at the famous Loveless Café – the Loveless opened in 1951 when Lon and Annie Loveless opened their home’s front doors to serve fried chicken and their now legendary biscuits to hungry travelers on Highway 100, the original Nashville/Memphis Highway. Their homemade Southern dishes became so popular that they converted their home into a restaurant and built a 14-room motel for overnight guests. The Loveless Café has become a Nashville icon and has been featured in USA Today, Southern Living, and appears in illustrations and fine prints in galleries around the South, as well as serving as a shooting location for music videos. But when all is said and done, it’s really all about the food: they serve as many as 10,000 biscuits a day!
Depart for the historic Jack Daniels Distillery walking tour that will take you back in time and give you a little taste of the magic that comes out of this tiny holler in the wooded hills of Tennessee. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that reveals the secrets behind one of the world’s most recognizable brands. And I’ll bet you didn’t know that those statues of Jack that are seen in stores across the country are actually life-sized – the world’s most famous distiller stood only 5’1” tall. You can use that in the Trivia contest on the bus ride to Lynchburg to show off your whiskey knowledge!
Come back into Nashville by way of Franklin, TN – voted one of the country’s best places to live AND best main streets by numerous travel magazines and also one of The Best Small towns in America. This historic town sits in the middle of a historic battlefield and also features a restored theatre on Main Street that has hosted live performances by some of the biggest names in show business.
Puckett’s Road House has been focused on providing friends with both new and old with great fare and has also built a name on hosting live, local musical acts while specializing in Authentic Southern comfort food. Classics like 'meat-and-three' and Nashville Hot Chicken are all here in a laid-back down-home atmosphere.
… followed by an afternoon of Great Shopping: Franklin is a must-visit shopping destination. From the quaint downtown shops, restaurants, and eclectic stores, to The Factory, a former turn of the century manufacturing complex whose shops are full of antiques, clothing, food, and a playhouse, as well as a live performance venue. There is something for everyone in Franklin.
Visit the Carnton House and Civil War tour - This historic antebellum mansion is the actual setting for the best selling novel, The Widow of the South. Your guide will provide a history of the area and general information on the Civil War in Tennessee. Carnton House served as a makeshift field hospital during the battle of Franklin, and it was here that widow Carrie McGavock carefully buried and catalogued the remains of the soldiers and wrote personal letters to bereaved family members for many years following the conflict. A walking tour of downtown Franklin will follow so you can get an in-depth look at the battle site and landmarks.
Now you can wind down and chill at Arrington Vineyards for premier wine tasting and jazz among the vines. Arrington opened its doors in 2007 and excels at providing a 'wine country experience' of award-winning varieties set among the picturesque rolling hills of middle Tennessee. Owned by country music artist Kix Brooks, winemaker Kip Summers, and entrepreneur John Russell, Arrington Vineyards has truly become 'Nashville’s Wine Country'.
Dinner at Merchants on Broadway
During the 1920s, when the Ryman Auditorium began hosting The Grand Ole Opry, many musical acts stayed just around the corner at the Merchants Hotel. Later on, during prohibition, the Merchants was home to a speakeasy, where folks came to enjoy illicit moonshine and bathtub gin. Legend has it that Al Capone even frequented the space, which also served as a brothel, a casino, a saloon, a pool hall, and a host of other businesses. In the 1970s it was converted into a honky-tonk but was subsequently scheduled for demolition until it was purchased in 1988 and restored to its former glory.
And speaking of Honky Tonks, it’s finally time to venture into the world-renowned haunts of Lower Broadway. These include such legendary spots as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Stage, Robert’s Western World, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, The Second Fiddle and Legends Corner - where many a future star got their start and where there is famously no cover charge - the musicians just play for tips dropped into passed around jugs. And there have been many new additions in the past few years - Ole Red – Blake Shelton’s Bar, the Wildhorse Saloon, Florida Georgia Line House, Jason Aldean’s, Gavin DeGraw’s Nashville Underground, Luke Brian’s new place, and Nudies, named for the celebrated costumer. You never know who’ll you’ll run into on LoBro.
We can make suggestions for you or we can set-up a guide to get you through the night!
Breakfast at the Sun Diner
Nashville’s amazing 24-hour diner, Sun Diner, features décor based on the history of Sun Records and pays homage to the artists on its label. How about a Donut Breakfast Burger, Hangover Flatbread or some Love me Tenders Chicken and Waffles from a menu that won’t quit? Sun Diner has received numerous accolades including Trip Advisor’s 'Best Diner in America'.
Last but not least - run across the street to Goo Goo Cluster’s for gifts and goodies to take back home. This is 'Nashville’s Candy Bar' and stage sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry for decades!
And now… Enjoy your flight home!
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