Nashville

The Dryftwell Guide to

Nashville

Introduction

Nashville, Tennessee, is known for its legendary country music, lush green parks, gorgeous classical museums, and neoclassical architecture. It is also known as "The Athens of the South'' because of its focus and establishment of higher level education.  Enjoy the stunning views of this vibrant city and beautiful skyline from the pedestrian bridge day or night. Walk the main streets of Nashville and witness this exhilarating city come to life through sound. Wear your favorite outfit for a night on the town with a pair of cowboy boots and be ready to embrace the “songs of the South.” Wander in and out of small bar venues featuring up and coming music artists that will amaze you with their unique sound and energy. Also, visit the famous Ryman Auditorium and see a well-known artist perform at this iconic red brick building.  If you would like to get out of the city, adventure is not far. You can head to the beautiful Percy Priest Lake for hiking, fishing, and boating. 

When to go

Winter

Brr it's cold in here. December till March has an average temperature of low 50’s during the day and dipping close to freezing at night. The altitude makes the city quite windy and cold. However, there is still a lot to experience in these cold winter months. Nashville has countless museums all open in the winter such as; Country Music Hall of Fame, George Jones Museum, and the First Center for Visual Arts. You can take an Old Town Trolley Tour to make your way around the city. The holiday season brings joy and happiness to Nashville as fairy lights sparkle through the streets and festive shows help you embrace the magical time of year. Attend the Country Christmas or Radio City Rockettes for dazzling performances. Also visit the Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion which are ornamented with 19th century holiday decor and will provide you with an antebellum Christmas. Ring in the new year at the New Years Eve Bash on broadway, this is a free outdoor concert that includes live music, fireworks and a countdown to a ball drop at midnight. Bundle up and have a great holiday in Nashville.

Summer

Summertime in Nashville provides you with long hot days and warm summer nights. The average temperature ranges from about 86-90 degrees fahrenheit with around 70-80 percent humidity.  However, there are ways to beat the heat and have a great summer experience in Nashville. If you like outdoor adventure head to the Cumberland River and try River Queen Voyagers for kayak rentals or Paddle Up Nashville which does SUP rentals, lessons, and paddleboard yoga. Soundwaves Water Park and Nashville Shores are two water parks not far from the city and are a great way to keep cool. If you are looking for a more local vibe just head to the Cumberland Park Spraygrounds, a free water playground open to the public, and great fun for kids. There are great live shows at the Live on the Green free concert series August through September, bring a picnic basket, blanket and a hat and enjoy the warm summer day.

Spring

Spring forward and enjoy long days with slightly cooler temperatures where all you will need is a light jacket. It is a good time of year to wander the main streets and experience the music of the city. Even though this is a pleasant time to visit it is still considered off-season which makes for low flight rates and hotel prices. Experience the roar of hooves racing to the finish at the Iroquois Steeplechase Grounds, established in 1941 located on the southwest side of Nashville. The atmosphere is elegant yet electric, wear your finest hat and you will feel as though you are at the Kentucky Derby. Treat yourself to a private skybox or soak up the energy of the crowd in the lower stadium seats. Stay fit and watch others push their limits at The Rock-n-Roll marathon which combines musical entertainment and athletic competition.

Fall

Fall is one of the best times to bring your family to Nashville because of the milder temperatures and cozy autumn air. The crisp cool air that surrounds the city makes this the perfect time for outdoor activities. Cultural festivals are booming with a vast variety from the Fun Family Fun Pumpkin Patch to the Jewish Film Festival and even Octoberfest.   Weekly live music events at Centennial Park, which locals often attend, are a chill way to spend the day this time of year.  The City Night Tours are a great way to experience the city as well as the Nashville Cruises that incorporate stops at The Grand Ole Opry or at a local honky tonk for a quick drink and dance.   You can also take part in the Halloween festivities at Hallowed Haunt at Hidden Bar or taste an array of food, wine and beer at Wine on the River. Jump into the leaves and relish in the fall fun of Nashville.

Neighborhoods

Nashville opens up its arms with cute little coffee shops and Downtown famed "Honky Tonk Row", which runs down along with the Broadway to the riverfront with soothing music and romantic venues. Nashville is a place where the music never stops. Many bars, clubs, and pubs have live performers around the clock. As you travel from one venue to the next you are instantly greeted by the sound of street performers, walk through Nashville as though you have your own soundtrack.

Check out the best neighborhoods Nashville has to offer:

East Nashville

Explore the art of the musical city in East Nashville. This historic neighborhood is a hub of arts, local music, and craft beer. Visit The Holland House Bar and Refuge to find the perfect beverage and after a drink taste of the local cuisine try Marche Artisan Foods. You can not go wrong in East Nashville as it is the premiere stop for food and drinks. You can party and hang out in the best and top-rated places for a perfect night.

Downtown

Downtown is where you will make unforgettable memories. Broadway is the undisputed home of country music and live musical performances 24/7, in other words the party does not stop! You'll find fortune tellers on every mile, live music, dedicated museums, and streets lined with bars. Downtown is known to be the liveliest neighborhood of Nashville and you will find the energy level is insane. People go to downtown Nashville to “cut footloose” and take in the vibe of this electric place. Dance, sing along with your favorite song, meet new people and soak up all the energy of downtown Nashville. However before getting too engulfed in the party that is Nashville, check out North of Broadway where you will find historical buildings, boutique hotels and unique art galleries that truly catch the eye.

The Gulch

The Gulch is a foodies paradise, indulging in the countless trendy restaurants that line the streets and you will not regret it. Check out Biscuit Love for a brunch to die for, maybe pick up homemade preservatives and a witty t-shirt “Resting Brunch Face” for purchase. There are also fantastic BBQ joints and sushi options. The Gulch has something for all your cravings and it is a must for all food lovers. The Gulch also provides chic hotels and high end fashion boutiques, so fill up on great food, shop til you drop in at your elegant hotel for a nap. You can not go wrong with a stay at the Gulch.

Map

Transportation

Driving/Parking

Driving in Nashville can be a bit tricky as you might experience traffic jams, confusing roads, and slowdowns during commute hours. Using google maps is helpful in avoiding traffic but still be prepared for your travels to take some extra time. Parking in downtown Nashville can be difficult and expensive. We recommend renting a car for day trips outside the city but if you plan to stay in the city for most of your trip there are other more efficient ways to get around.

Public Transit

Nashville's bus system gives passengers the service directly from the airport to all around Downtown. Bus passes are available throughout the day and are easily purchased at any station. The free MTA service Music City Circuit also gives passengers free transportation in Downtown from Monday through Saturday. If you like to ride the rails the trains operate Monday to Friday. Lyft and Uber are available in the city which is any easy way to travel to the different neighborhoods especially after having a few drinks.

Biking/Walking

Nashville has a huge number of bike lanes and has become more bike-friendly in recent years which makes it a safe and fun way to see the city. There are many places around the city to rent bikes by the hour, week, or months. Electric bikes are great if you are looking to see more places in a short time frame or a standard if you are wanting more exercise. There are many nice areas to walk but it will be difficult to see all Nashville has to offer just walking so biking and walking is a good combination.