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Skyline von Nashville am Cumberland River, Bild: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Music City Nashville

A visit to Nashville is an Elvis and country fan’s dream. The city has always been a stomping ground for up-and-coming bands, promising country starlets and music producers with the right nose – a place of dreams, the Hollywood of the American music scene. There’s even a joke about the city’s real estate ads: In other cities, expect “two bedrooms plus office.” In the capital of Tennessee , the bonus room is a music studio hidden behind the garage… and your favorite album was probably recorded there.

Music City in a nutshell: The best neighborhoods in Nashville are full of hidden gems and surprising features. From exceptional restaurants and bars to live music venues and kid-friendly activities, the city is waiting to be discovered by you.

The following five districts are the most visitor-friendly and surprise with unexpected sights. And the best part? If you stay here, you don’t need to rent a car, because you can reach everything on foot.

1. Downtown Nashville

Parthenon in Nashville
The Parthenon in Nashville, Image: STLJB / shutterstock

Downtown is Nashville’s economic and tourist center, as well as the city’s geographic center. This is where the heart of Music City beats. Some say that Broadway has become a kind of bourbon street of New Orleans, and it’s true that the Lower Broad is lined with so-called “honkytonks” who belt out Western swing music almost at any time of the day. But this area doesn’t just attract partygoers. In addition to some of the city’s biggest attractions, Downtown is also home to glamorous hotels, restaurants, and great views of the Cumberland River. This location is particularly interesting for tourists who want to explore Music City on foot and without a car.

Tip: Gray & Dudley’s seasonal menu satisfies appetites, while the location at the 21c Museum Hotel energizes the soul with its sophisticated, innovative (and free) art exhibits.

2. East Nashville

East Nashville has a love-hate relationship with the “hip” nickname it’s earned over the years. This gentrified neighborhood east of downtown is home to stylish vintage boutiques and vendors of handmade goods, not to mention many of the city’s tastiest restaurants and best pubs. On its shores is Nissan Stadium, which hosts NFL football games and concerts. Neighboring Inglewood isn’t quite as densely populated, but it’s increasingly home to the same quirky restaurants and vintage shops.

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Tip: Wood-fired pizza with edible flowers – that’s the kind of variety you’ll find at Folk, a seasonally focused restaurant in an old grocery store. The basement of The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club is also a great place to linger: a speakeasy that’s especially popular with vegans.

3. The Gulch

“Gulch” means “gorge” and the district was named after it: in this gorge are the railroad tracks that ran through this area. It’s perhaps Nashville’s most modern neighborhood when it comes to construction, with high-rises, hectic city life combined with retail space. The Gulch is within walking distance of Downtown, SoBro, and Midtown, but packed with attractions of its own, mostly focused on shopping, food, and drink (what else do you need?).

Tip: Gertie’s Bar is one of the few pubs in Nashville that takes its cue from the West Coast, with an impressive collection of spirits and an appealing design. Shop at Two Old Hippies, a shop selling souvenirs, guitars, clothing, and more. And because we’re here in Nashville, the store also serves as a venue for live music five nights a week (as seen in the Nashville TV series).

4. SoBro

Broadway Street in Nashville
Broadway Street in Nashville, Image: CrackerClips Stock Media / shutterstock

The epithet means “south of Broadway” and this downtown neighborhood has changed dramatically in recent years. It houses the ice hockey arena, the symphony, the convention center and much more. Like its northern neighbor, it is a neighborhood very accessible to tourists, but with a slightly more unusual vibe.

Tip: No trip to Tennessee is complete without a delicious barbecue. Get your portion at Martin’s Bar-B-Que. Follow the neon sign to indulge in buttery meat.

Afterward, enjoy an amazing collection of contemporary art (all for sale) that is just as good as the specialty cocktails on the menu of this gem called Bar Sovereign. In SoBro, those interested can also learn about the history of country music. Both the Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will give you an in-depth look at the genre’s roots. Whether you’re a self-confessed country music fan or not, you’ll love these cultural destinations.

5. Germantown

Historic Germantown is crammed with boutiques, chef-run restaurants, and bars that locals love to visit. The adjacent Buchanan Street is an up-and-coming neighborhood with restaurants, artists’ studios, galleries and shops. The leafy streets are perfect for a relaxing stroll.

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Tip: Browse the market stalls selling locally grown goods, then feast at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Wood-fired pizzas and barbecues are among the favourites. The Patio Bar at 5th and Taylor is a cozy, clubby place to sip craft cocktails and make new friends. The city’s baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, play in a stadium with a guitar-shaped scoreboard and a miniature golf course just off Jefferson Street. And if you’re in the mood for shopping, Germantown is home to pretty boutiques, including Wilder, where you’ll find a variety of hip homewares.

Nashville is definitely worth a visit and convinces even non-music fans with countless curiosities and sights that will make your stay very entertaining.

Important information about Nashville

Climate

Nashville experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters. Average summer temperatures are often above 30°C, while winter temperatures usually fluctuate between -1°C and 10°C.

Sights

  • Grand Ole Opry: A famous stage and radio show that is considered the heart of country music. The Opry offers regular concerts and is a must-see for music lovers.
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: This museum houses an extensive collection of memorabilia associated with the history and stars of country music.
  • Ryman Auditorium: A historic venue known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” which is also appreciated for its exceptional acoustics.
  • The Parthenon: A complete replica of the Parthenon in Athens, located in Centennial Park, is both an art museum and a popular photo opportunity.

Activities

  • Music events: In addition to the well-known venues such as the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, there are numerous smaller venues where live music is played daily.
  • Dining experience: Nashville is known for its specific twist on Southern comfort food, including hot chicken, a spicy deep-fried chicken that’s a local culinary highlight.
  • Shopping: The city offers a variety of shopping options, from trendy boutiques to large shopping malls.

Culture

Nashville has a vibrant arts and culture scene that goes far beyond music. There are numerous galleries, theatre productions and an active nightlife.

Gastronomy

Nashville’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the Southern culinary tradition, with a special focus on barbecue, soul food, and innovative fusion cuisine. Restaurants and street stalls offer a wide range of taste experiences.

Journey

Nashville is accessible through Nashville International Airport, which offers direct flights from many major cities in the U.S. and some international destinations. It is also possible to travel by car or train, as the city is well connected to the national transport network.