My Newest Favorite City: Nashville

I’m currently on the car ride home, somewhere in southern Kentucky, from a wonderful vacation to the Panhandle of Florida. However, before I get to the secluded beaches of St. George Island and artsy downtown of old-Florida Apalachicola, I have to cover another place: Nashville. This cannot wait, simply because I’m too excited to wait to write about it.

We left the Panhandle yesterday morning at 5 a.m., and reached our hotel on the outskirts of Nashville mid-afternoon. We didn’t make it all the way downtown Nashville until about 6 p.m., but the short time we spent downtown was enough to leave quite an impression.

Downtown Nashville, Tennessee

I’m a huge country music fan (no judgments, please), so I’m most likely biased toward loving Nashville—but if you can even stand country music, I’d recommend visiting, for a few reasons, listed below.

The people. Maybe it’s because I’m from the north, where everyone constantly has places to be and people to see, but the constant smiles and come-on-in attitudes so prevalent in the south are always so welcome. I love the stream of niceties and well wishes—even more than in the north, maybe, because in southern accents everything seems just a little sweeter. People really want you to have a good night, it seems like.

The culture. Nashville is known for its connection to country music, but the downtown is worth a visit for more reasons than that. Nashville knows its roots. It’s more than worth stopping to listen to the live music floating out of the bars downtown on the weekend—but it’s also worth looking around. Nashville’s downtown is built into old brick southern buildings, filled with memorabilia from decades of southern culture. There are attractions galore downtown– I just didn’t get a chance to explore them all. Needless to say, I plan to return.

Downtown Nashville, Tennessee

The food. If you go to Nashville, you must stop for some classic southern food. Nearly all the bars offer classic southern fare you can enjoy inside or often on open-air patios above the streets. Specialties include pulled pork, ribs, chili, and more. We ate on the outdoor patio of Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar and Grill, enjoying some pulled pork, corn cakes, and chili in particular—as well as a view of bustling Nashville at night.

The music. This is an obvious one, but for that same reason it’s worth mentioning again. We stepped into about three or four music bars (of many) to check out local artists; and all it cost us was a drink and some tip money at each one. The music is almost exclusively country music, but more notably, it’s all very good. Artists played contemporary hits, old country classics, and a few original pieces. A few had been signed; others hadn’t—but all had a ton of talent. A practical note: most bars require you to be 21 to enter, but a few allow those a little younger.

July Michael at Honky Tonk Central, Nashville

It’s also worth noting there are a few great concert halls that host the bigger names in music, both country and otherwise—specifically the Grand Ol’ Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and Bridgestone Arena (check!). We just missed Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Ryman, a band my sister and I would have loved to see. So, check the schedules before you visit, and buy your tickets.

So there are my reasons Nashville, my most recent favorite city,is more than worth a visit; I promise to have even more reasons after I’ve returned for more.

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