An Almost Local's Guide To Nashville, Tennessee

22 January 2015

I spent six years living and breathing in the town of Nashville Tennessee, a quaint southern city that houses the flourishing genre of Country music.

Nashville has glorious surroundings with the Smoky Mountains not too far away, the stunning green state of Alabama close by also and the unparalleled fresh air and southern charm of sweet Tennessee.

If you are a fan of Country music and all its wonderful history, well Nashville is really where it all began.

With the Grand Ole Opry booming out the AM radio all over the country every weekend, Nashville became the hub for record labels, studios and most of the artists to boot.

 Unmistakably America's Music City (Getty)

Nashville is best known for it’s history of twanging steel guitars, travelling minstrels, honky tonk heartaches and hillbilly superstars. It also goes by the name of Music City USA and surprisingly houses all different genre’s of music.

There is an ever-changing scene of music coming out of Nashville from Indie Rock to Americana to Christian to pop. There’s an abundance of things to do in Nashville at any given time of the day.

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Music, Show-Seeing And History

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Follow my locals guide (well, I was for six years anyway) to the wonderful destination of Nashville Tennessee.

First off, I highly recommend a night out at the Grand Ole Opry, watching some of the best in the biz perform on one of the most famous and long-lived music stages in history, or a day spent walking around the Hall Of Fame Museum soaking up country music history.

If you want a luxurious stay while in this famed music city you should consider forking out the coin to stay at Nashville’s premier Opryland Hotel, which is conveniently stationed next too the superb shopping precinct, Opry Mills and also the Grand Ole Opry House which is where they hold the famed Grand Ole Opry since it moved out of the original venue downtown, The Ryman.

You HAVE to spend at least one late night out in Nashville’s intoxicating honky tonk bars that inhabit Nashville’s downtown strip – Broadway too.

 The iconic Ryman (Getty)

If you are the Country Music super fan that I am, you will want to visit the Ryman Auditorium.

There are fantastic guided tours that are a wonderful experience, and also if you get the opportunity to go see a show, do it.

Soak up that entire beautiful atmosphere while taking in the history of the room.

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Sneaky Drinks Between Sets

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Also, make sure you walk down the alleyway that separates the old Ryman Auditorium and the honky tonk bars and just try to imagine the stars back in the day that would walk (stumble) between the Opry into a honky tonk for a sneaky drink or two between sets.

I know for a fact that Tootsies Orchard Lounge was a favorite drinking spot for many of the stars back in the day.

 The music goes on into the night (Getty)

While you’re in and out of these honky tonks soak up the sounds of the struggling artist on stage that just like all the country super stars of today did, is just trying to get noticed and be the next big thing.

Who knows, you may be watching the next Taylor Swift up there!

So if you like the sound of any of these hard working and talented musicians, make sure you throw a few bucks into the tip jar to show your gratitude as they pour their blood, sweat and tears into what they're doing.

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Time To Take A Hike

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Make sure you have breakfast one morning at The Pancake Pantry, where you may spot a country star hoeing into some fluffy pancakes and southern sides.

Also for mouth watering but also hip expanding food, make sure you head out to the infamous Loveless Café and experience some fresh biscuits and gravy along with a very southern spread of food.

They also host some wonderful shows there, so maybe head in for a feed before catching something like Music City Roots, which occurs every Wednesday and is hosted by the delightful Jim Lauderdale and packed full of exciting musical guests every week.

Work off all of that southern food and be at one with nature by taking a little hike on The Natchez Trace Parkway.

It is a breathtaking walk through the breathtaking woods of southern America and really captures Nashville’s nature.

The likelihood of running into a country singer that you recognise whilst wandering around Nashville is pretty likely, which is much like other celebrity haunts, Los Angeles and New York.


Check out Catherine's favourite Country bars. Best Country Music Bars in the USA

Driving songs for an American tour. Catherine Britt’s Driving Songs For A Journey Through The Country


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Bump Into A Star

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These ‘country somebody’s’ see Nashville as a safe place to call home and treat it as such, so respect that.

I have often bumped into Keith Urban whilst grabbing a Starbucks coffee or even Vince Gill who sits in with the esteemed Time Jumpers every Monday Night at 3rd and Lindsay, which is a highly recommended must see!

Feel like shopping one day? Why not visit the Greenhill’s Mall. It’s a great shopping spot with yummy restaurants and some of the most esteemed label outlets in the world, including my personal favorite Free People.

 You always know where you are (Getty)

Sitting next to the mall in a little alley, kind of hard to find, is my favorite little Mexican haunt, El Palenque, that has by far the best authentic Mexican food in Nashville in my opinion.

Also make sure you pop down and have a visit and look around at Hatch Show Print, which is located downtown. They make souvenir posters and great merchandise as well as very cool looking invitations like the ones they made in the good ol’ days.

They are one of the oldest letterpress print shops in the world and have printed more historical playbills than any other.

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Where Elvis Cut His Discs

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Make sure you take a tour of the music industry sector, which is confined to what they notoriously call “Music Row”.

Take a guided tour that will take you through the streets and even take you to the historic RCA Studio B where artists like Elvis, Roy Orbison and Chet Atkins all recorded during their careers.

Also head to the infamous Bluebird Café which you may have seen or heard about, especially if you watch the new TV series Nashville where you will often see some of Nashville’s best songwriters in a songwriters in the road set up, literally just in front of you.

Take a day trip to historical Franklin Tennessee, only about 30mins from downtown Nashville, to soak up some great local history, do some boutique shopping as well as eat some of the best food you’ll ever taste.

Pop into the fairly new Grays On Main and order some surprisingly elegant southern food, I recommend the shrimp and grits or the chicken and biscuits.

And cross the street for a more traditional southern feed at Puckett’s Grocery, one of my favorites.

Both Grays and Puckett’s have great live music on select nights also.

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Hope To See You There

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If you're wondering when a good time to head to Nashville is, I would recommend to go during their Spring or Fall seasons as the day temperatures are just perfect, the wildlife is blooming and the greenery is at its best.

If you’re a country fan then you will most likely head over for the June CMA fest during the brutal heat of a mid-southern summer so just be weary of the stinging heat while you're there.

Enjoy your time in my old stomping ground Nashville Tennessee, Music City USA. Who knows, I may even see you there!

Catherine Britt

Catherine Britt has a voice which instantly gets your attention. Singing, travelling and entertaining her way around the world, her recording career commenced in 1999 when at the tender age of 14 she released her first album going on to win multiple awards including two CMAA Female Artist of the Year Awards.