Nashville’s place in America’s musical heritage has always made it a must-see destination for country music fans. But an expanding food scene and growing cultural diversity, propelled by a wave of new immigrants, has transformed “Music City” into the new “it” city.
1. Visit an American icon. No visit to Music City is complete without a stop at the Grand Ole Opry—“country music’s most famous stage.” Shows are Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. (Tickets from $30 to $70)
2. Visit the home of bluegrass. The Station Inn’s nightly performances, intimate venue and cold beer make for a great listening atmosphere. (Admission up to $20, depending on the show)
3. Experience Nashville’s diversity. Egyptian, Indian and Latin American restaurants on the “immigrant corridor” along Nolensville Road are worth a visit, after checking out Casa Azafrán, an international community center.
4.Try hot chicken. Nashville’s signature dish—caked in a spicy cayenne paste—lives up to its name, and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack offers an eye-watering introduction. You’ll welcome the cooling addition of a pickle and coleslaw. ($7.65 for a half chicken)
5. Get out of the city. Just 10 miles from downtown Nashville, Lake Radnor State Park, a 1,322-acre nature preserve, offers a peaceful escape from the city. (Free)
6. See how Music City got its name. Nashville’s honky-tonk bars on Broadway are the source of the city’s sound—and you don’t even need to step inside. Free live music wafts out of every door.
7. Visit East Nashville. A 10-minute drive over the Cumberland River, East Nashville is where the historic district meets a creative renaissance. The Five Points area is home to several art galleries, and the pulled pork sandwich and hushpuppies at Drifters BBQ will remind you that you’re still in Tennessee!
8. Go Greek. Centennial Park boasts the world’s only full-scale replica of Athens’ Parthenon. The building serves as the city’s art museum and the park also hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year. (Admission to the gallery and museum $7)
9. Sample craft beers. Visit the Yazoo Brewing Company tap room or take a tour of the brewery on Saturdays. Sample the more than 10 local beers on tap, and walk away with a Yazoo glass…and a buzz. (Tour $8)
10. Channel your inner Elvis. The Country Music Hall of Fame displays legendary artifacts—from Elvis’ gold Cadillac to Johnny Cash’s guitar. Tours are also available at the famed Music Row studio.(Hall of Fame admission $25, Studio B tour $40)
View a slideshow of Nashville, Tennessee.