With FUSION 2013 on October 20–23, I know you are probably wondering, “What are the best things to do and see while in Nashville, TN?” Well here is your insider’s guide, from a true insider. Being from Tennessee and living in Nashville for five years, I have the inside local scoop.
First, if you aren’t staying at Gaylord Opryland, you should be! It’s an amazing property, filled with beautiful gardens (nine acres, in fact) and wonderful restaurants. It’s a site and attraction all on its own. You must eat at Jack Daniel’s restaurant on property; it’s the only one that exists in the world! It has the good ole Southern cooking you’re dying to get your hands on. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Things about music you should see….
The Grand Ole Opry (even if you’re not a country fan) is a gem that everyone should visit once in their lifetime. It takes you back to the good ole days, for sure. There is a show every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. They have never missed a show (even during the flood in 2010), but have sold out many times. So get your tickets now! (www.opry.com) Whether you can make it to the show or not, get a backstage tour (and even if you are attending a show). They take you behind the scenes, and you will also get to stand on the famous stage!
Another place that now sells out and is “reservation only” is the infamous Bluebird Café. While it has always been very popular, people now line up outside the doors trying to get in. This overwhelming popularity is due to the new show on ABC called Nashville. While you usually don’t see famous people there, you might see a star in the making. Bluebird Café offers up authentic, close to stardom, singer/songwriter nights that are intimate (www.bluebirdcafe.com).
Learn some history about the birth of country music at the Country Music Hall of Fame (www.countrymusichalloffame.com). It’s also a very unique building. Its architecture holds hidden musical symbols everywhere you turn. I’ll tell you one, the building is in the shape of a bass clef. Also, check out the new Hatch Show Print home while you’re there. They make my favorite musical and advertisement posters; I own 10.
Another great museum that just opened this past April is the Jonny Cash Museum (www.johnnycashmuseum.com). Walk the line through original memorabilia and artifacts of the “Man In Black” that came from the Cash family.
While you’re downtown, stop by the Ryman Auditorium. It was my second home while living in Nashville. It is so much more than its nickname “Mother Church of Country Music,” it’s the “Mother Church of all music.” It was on the Rolling Stones top 10 venues that rock. Their tagline, “Historically Cool” is absolutely correct. Everyone, no matter who you are, is privileged to stand upon that magical stage filled with legends’ breaths.
Also go check out Broadway, now called Honky Tonk Highway, where free live music pours out into the streets. (Just a friendly tip: If you are standing from 2nd Ave., looking up towards 3rd Ave.—the left side of the street allows smoking inside, the right side does not.) Some of the most famous venues (Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legend’s Corner and The Stage) are along Broadway, and famous singers sometimes stop in and play a few tunes once in a while. So, if you see a big crowd lining up outside trying to get in, a star is probably in there strumming or singing along.
There is a lot more you should see. But the best way to see all of Nashville in just a couple of hours (since I know you will be busy in sessions, right?) is to hop on these wonderful bus tours that will take you around to all the hot spots.
- Nash Trash tour bus for something sassy: www.nashtrash.com
- The Redneck Comedy Tour for something funny: www.theredneckcomedytour.com
- Grayline Trolley Tour if you don’t want to schedule anything and just want to go at your leisure: http://graylinetn.com/music-city-trolley-hop/
Enjoy the conference and my second home. Now you know my favorite places in Nashville. What are yours?