“I love Nashville. It seems like everywhere you walk, there’s great music coming out of every wall”.
I am always looking for a clever quote to help me get started with the writing process.
My friends and family know I love Tennessee and Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit. I did not realize it has been almost 3 years since my last visit to the Music City.
The 2019 Rock N Roll Half Marathon and NFL draft weekend was the last time I was in Nashville.
The 2020 Rock N Roll Half Marathon was cancelled due to COVID-19. The 2021 Rock N Roll Half Marathon was moved to the week before Thanksgiving. I thought about using my race credit and running the fall version of the race, but it would have kept me from exploring the Smoky Mountains. Got to have priorities in life! 😊
It looks like I will be able to run Nashville again in April 2022 with the Rock N Roll crew again.
Back to present day Nashville.
I decided to visit Nashville prior to Christmas for a trip to explore the city in a different way than I normally do. Most times I am in Nashville for an event (race/football game) and get focused on the task at hand. I have a regimented eating pattern when I am in town for a race. I also must keep track of how much I am on my feet prior to a race so I can conserve energy to compete.
I went full tourist mode for this trip so I could explore different areas and venues without worrying about how much time I spent walking or standing up.
Booked a convenient downtown hotel which was only half a mile from Broadway which is the main entertainment center in Nashville.
This easy walk made Nashville more accessible to me since I did not have to worry about finding a place to park. Nashville is like most big cities where parking is a premium and of course you pay a premium to park. I simply left my rental car in the hotel parking lot and got my steps in while enjoying everything Nashville had to offer.
I have been to Nashville 10 times over the years but never visited the Ryman Auditorium. I have walked by this historic music venue multiple times but for some reason never tried to go in.
The Ryman Auditorium is steeped in musical history and transcends multiple genres. It is the original home of the Grand Old Opry and music fans from all over the world converged there to see their favorite artists. The Ryman Auditorium started as a house of worship but expanded to host political rallies, plays, conventions and musical acts. I was surprised to see how many rock, pop and R&B acts played at the Ryman Auditorium. The Grand Old Opry moved out of the Ryman in 1975 to the current location in Opryland. The Grand Old Opry show returns to the Ryman Auditorium on a regular basis, and they continue to attract national headliners. Josh Turner was playing the same day I took the Ryman Auditorium tour. Highly recommend adding this tour to your Nashville travel plans.
Country Music Hall of Fame
The Rock N Roll Race EXPO is right next to the Country Music Hall of Fame. I have walked by the building a thousand times but never made my way up the stairs to see the exhibits. ☹
This trip was designed to be a true tourist, so I made my way up the stairs and entered the Country Music Hall of Fame. It did not have the same nostalgic feel of the Ryman Auditorium, but it was a great place to see and relive the history of country music. The exhibits included subtexts to ensure everyone knew what they were seeing to include instruments and clothing country music stars wore in their videos and on tour.
A surprising aspect of the exhibits was how small most of the country artists are. A lot of artists look bigger than life on TV but most of the female artists based on their outfits are 5’ 4” or shorter. Even the BIG country guys are not as big as they appear on TV based on the outfit that were on display. My favorite artist is George Strait and I thought he was 6’ 3” or 6’ 4”. He is 5’ 10”—never would have guessed that before seeing his exhibit in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I made my way into the Hall of Fame Rotunda to view the plaques for everyone who has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Got to see all the legends in the rotunda but made sure to get a shot of George Strait’s plaque. Highly recommend a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The Wildhorse Saloon is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in Nashville. The food, atmosphere and music venue are all first rate. One of my targeted activities at the Wildhorse Saloon is the chance to get in some line dancing. The staff at the Wildhorse teach multiple dances throughout the day and then get everyone on the dance floor. I have learned quite a few new dances over the years. Sadly, the Wildhorse Saloon was closed while I was in Nashville. They decided to give the staff some time off before Christmas and I respect that. The gift shop was open, and I was able to pick up a few souvenirs before heading back over to Broadway for music.
Broadway is the main drag in downtown Nashville if you are looking for entertainment. I have covered almost every inch of Broadway over the years and still discover new places to listen to music.
There is no cover to enter the Honky Tonks so there is freedom to roam and change venues. I love this aspect because I move around depending on the bands playing and how good they sound.
I hit most of the Honky Tonks on this trip but found myself gravitating to The Stage, Whiskey Row, Jason Aldean’s Rooftop Bar and Tequila Cowboy. The sound stage in these spots were better quality and I enjoyed the bands playing. The food at Jason Aldean’s was good so why I kept going back. 😊
Nashville is a great place to visit if you have never been. Looking forward to getting back there in April 2022 for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon and line dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon.
“We’re playing your song”.
(Tennessee Department of Tourist Development)