Nashville Trip Ideas – Top 10 Things to Do Around Nashville (continued)
Nashville has far too much to offer for one blog post to do it justice. Picking up where I left off in my last post (which covered items 1-4), here’s more of my Top 10 list for Nashville Trip Ideas:
5. Walk around Broadway to get the flavor of Nashville
6. Visit Vanderbilt and Centennial Park
7. Check out …the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum
8. Enjoy lush indoor gardens and forests at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center
9. Take a swim at Percy Priest Park and Reservoir
To find out why these picks made my Top 10 list, read the rest of this post and see the photos. (And stay tuned for the final installment of my Top 10 list in a future post. If you subscribe to the blog — at the top of the right sidebar — you’ll be sure not to miss it!)
Nashville Trip Ideas – In Town
Just walk around Broadway to get the flavor of Nashville (#5). Music leaks out into the street from wall-to-wall bars, pubs, and restaurants. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is famous so head inside for a quick drink and some music, and you may want to pick up a souvenir. If you are like me, you may prefer the atmosphere in some of the other lounges. Check out a few to choose one you like.
Walk toward the river and you can cross the walking bridge, and get a different perspective of the city – a lovely view of the city and its modern architecture. Look at the vistas from the bridge and the beautiful river banks around Nashville. There was a festival with music along the river banks when we visited; apparently that’s a usual occurrence, and a potential draw for visitors. A couple blocks from the bridge is the Acme Feed & Seed, an historic property transformed into a restaurant (it got great reviews but we did not eat there). The rooftop is a huge bar and deck that overlooks the Cumberland River. If you walk around Nashville in the other direction away from Acme, you’ll come to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Music City Center (housing the free exhibit on ‘Songwriter’s Hall of Fame’).
To travel around Nashville, you can use the free Green Electric Bus that runs around the outskirts of downtown Nashville. You can pick it up many places; we got it at Music City Center and took it to the Gulch, a shopping and restaurant area. It reminds me of corporate buildings and apartment or condo complexes with restaurants and stores on the first floor. There are lots of restaurants to choose from there. We ate and left since we are not big shoppers.
You can take the Green Bus from there back out toward downtown or midtown. In midtown you’ll see Vanderbilt and Centennial Park (#6). Centennial Park is beautiful with gardens, a lake, and a full-size replica of the Parthenon. The Parthenon has some historic exhibits and the top floor houses a giant statue of Athena. From the top floor you also have a nice view around Nashville.
Nashville Trip Ideas – Out of Town
The outskirts of town around Nashville offer lots of history as well. Since we stayed near the airport our first 2 nights, we visited sites and neighborhoods outside of town.
We went to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum (#7), and loved it. It was owned by the Maxwell House Coffee family. The house is filled with antiques and art on display. The Museum owns a wonderful collection of American Impressionists, and some of the collection was on display. Artists like Red Grooms, many from the Ashcan School, and the Hudson River School. I loved seeing the works by Sculptor Steve Tobin (from Bucks County), and American painters – Childe Hassam, George Luks (from Ashcan School), Martha Walters (studied under Merritt Chase), and Modernists Calder and Wolf Kahn; there were works by Maurice Prendergast, John Singer Sargent, and silver and porcelain collections – an art lovers dream.
In addition there is a plantation that we heard good things about – Belle Meade Plantation. If you ride around the area surrounding Cheekwood and Belle Meade area, you will see beautiful homes and you may see music celebrities in Franklin and Brentwood, TN.
Next to the new Grand Ole Opry sits an enormous mixed use hotel complex called Opryland Resort and Convention Center (#8), a Marriott resort located 10 minutes from the airport. The highlight of this complex is an indescribable 4.5 acres of lush indoor gardens and forests, which you can visit for free – A must see! The art in the hotel lobbies is worth a look as well. I hear it is an awesome sight when decorated for Christmas.
There are many restaurants to choose from in the Opryland resort. It is easy to spend a whole afternoon in this temperature-controlled atrium environment. We walked for over 2 hours and were so impressed with the landscape design, water features, and different environments that were created. It was one of my favorite sights.
We love the outdoors, so while Cheekwood offered us some outdoor time, I wanted more. As a swimmer, I wanted a place to swim outdoors in the hot weather. After a bit of a search, we found Percy Priest Park and Reservoir (#9) and swimming beaches just 10 minutes from our AirBnB accommodations. It is a huge beautiful park with boating, marinas, hiking trails, beaches and swimming with a 42-mile lake and over 19,000 acres of grasslands. We went to the Anderson Road Recreation Area since it had a very large beach and facilities. It was a great way to end a hot day at Cheekwood, and the park was so relaxing and a favorite spot for me.
There is so much to see and do around Nashville, pick and choose carefully or plan to visit Nashville several times. Stay tuned for the final installment of my Top 10 list in a future post to help you sort through the options.
Please add your Nashville experiences in the comments section.