Nashville Tourism Advice: Tips to Remember in Tennessee
Get ready for your next trip to Music City by following these simple tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time in Tennessee.
There’s no wrong way to visit Nashville! The capital city of Tennessee is also the state’s largest city, with a vibrant, bustling local community and a culture revolving around old-fashioned traditions and country music of the past and present both. A large number of visitors make Nashville their destination of choice every year, from country music fans to United States history buffs and plenty of others in between. If you’re thinking about visiting Nashville for your next family vacation, or if you’re considering taking a couples’ trip or personal getaway to this popular Tennessee locale, there are a few tips and tricks you will need to know in order to make your visit go that much more smoothly. Read on to learn everything about Nashville tourism in a nutshell, and get ready to plan for your next vacation!
Nashville International Airport
The Nashville International Airport is the first taste of Nashville that many visitors have a chance to experience. If you’re flying into the airport, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to make your travel as easy as possible. To begin with, although Nashville International Airport is a significant hub of airline travel, there are only ten airlines which use it as part of their regular routes. The more widely used of these airlines include Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, although there are five lesser-known companies which call Nashville International one of their departure and arrival locations as well. Just like any other airport in the United States, security at Nashville International is strong, so no matter which airline you’re using, be sure to arrive at least two hours ahead of your departing flight when the time comes to leave Nashville and head back home once again.
When you arrive, you will be in one of three concourse sections. The airport is actually fairly small, so no matter which concourse you arrive at, you’ll just need to make your way down to the second level from the main terminal area in order to get to baggage claim. From there, ground transportation services such as rental cars and hotel shuttles can be reached from the first level, or you can hang out on the main level and grab a bite to eat from one of the several on-site restaurants and fast food eateries located inside the airport itself. When you leave the airport, you’ll be within a half hour drive of any part of Nashville, so wherever you’re headed, it won’t be long until you arrive!
The Nashville International Airport is located at 1 Terminal Drive in Nashville.
Parts of Town
Nashville is a big city with several different districts that all make for unique experiences. Depending on what type of entertainment you’re looking for, you might want to consider staying in and traveling to certain parts of town more so than others, so it’s best to know what you’re getting into before you go.
Downtown Nashville is packed with live music venues, bars, and nightlife, so if you’re looking to party well after the sun goes down, this is the place for you! Visit Broadway to discover local talent singing and playing in one of the many area bars, or stroll over to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and see what’s in town. Downtown Nashville is easily the busiest part of the city, but for after-hours fun, you don’t want to be anywhere else.
Located right around the Vanderbilt University campus, this part of town caters to the young and trendy college crowd. Visit the Vanderbilt district, sometimes also referred to as Midtown, to find the best restaurants, gastropubs, and other foodie hangouts in the city, as well as some excellent shopping and bars. Bear in mind that the area gets very crowded in the mornings and afternoons while the University is in session.
As the oldest neighborhood in Nashville, Germantown’s architecture dates back to the Victorian period and speaks of a time and a sense of elegance and refinement long gone. Take a walk through the beautiful tree-lined streets of this upscale district, or stop by one of the area’s popular locally owned shops and restaurants. This is a great place to visit when you want to get some fresh air and step away from the chaos of the city for a while.
Although Opryland itself no longer exists, the part of town named for the now-defunct amusement park still remains one of the most popular and commonly visited Nashville districts. The Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills Mall are both located in the Opryland part of town, as well as tons of other tourism attractions, restaurants, music venues and more. If you’re in town for a concert, this is probably where you’ll want to stay!
Learn all about Nashville’s multitude of neighborhoods at Visit Music City.
There are several Nashville area attractions that draw in the largest crowds of visitors every year. If you’ve never been to this city before, you might want to consider making these venues a part of your vacation. However, if you’re a repeat Nashville traveler or if you simply want to take it easy on your trip and stay away from the more tourist-focused locations, you might instead think about skipping them. Whatever you choose, it’s important to pay close attention to which major attractions are known for being the most heavily attended in the city.
The Grand Ole Opry tends to pull in a high volume of visitors during its weekly performances. Depending on who the headliner is, however, tickets can be harder or easier to come by, so it’s worth checking ahead rather than trying to purchase your tickets at the door the day of the event. Sometimes, very big names in country music stop by to perform at the Opry, so you might get lucky and catch one of your favorites while you’re in town. Conversely, if you prefer not to get in the middle of the crowds, stay away from the Opry on the nights when popular singers take the stage, and instead grab your ticket for a night when an up-and-coming country music hopeful is performing instead.
Opry Mills Mall can sometimes also be responsible for big crowds, although this has lessened somewhat since the Nashville flooding of 2010. Even so, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are out in droves, Opry Mills can be packed at certain times of the day, and especially on weekends. To avoid the crowds, try to visit on a weekday during normal work and school hours. This is a great place to go when you want to get a lot of unique shopping done under one roof, so if you don’t mind running the risk of a crowd, it’s worth it to stop by wile you’re in town. The mall is located adjacent to the Opryland Hotel, which is yet another popular destination for Nashville tourists; if you have time, try to hit up both venues. The Opryland Hotel can get crowded as well, but it’s a very large space that doesn’t usually feel packed under normal circumstances.
Buy your tickets to the Grand Ole Opry through the venue’s web site.
Many Nashville travelers use the city as a home base of sorts, and make day trips to other popular Tennessee locations while staying in Nashville. Since the city is located more or less in the center of the state, this proves to be a valid method for most visitors trying to get the most out of their time in Tennessee. In about three hours or less, you can reach just about any other point in Tennessee from Nashville, so if you’re planning to cram a lot of sightseeing into your trip, it’s worth it to consider this option!
Take a two-hour drive to the southeast and you’ll find Chattanooga, one of the most historically significant cities in Tennessee. A day trip to Chattanooga can include visits to Lookout Mountain, which was a key point during the American Civil War, and to the Tennessee Aquarium, a massive and very impressive display of both freshwater and saltwater inhabitants. You might also stop by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and learn about the significance of the train system that once utilized Chattanooga as one of its most important hubs, or “see Rock City,” a huge rock garden with walking trails, kiddie displays, and a little bit of old Tennessee charm as well. If you’ve driven through the countryside in Tennessee you’ve probably seen more than one barn with “see Rock City” painted on its roof!
Head to the west from Chattanooga and you can reach Knoxville in about two hours as well. Knoxville is home to the popular Knoxville Zoo, as well as to the Sunsphere which was the symbol of the 1982 World’s Fair that was held in the same city. Drive for one more hour past Knoxville and you’ll find yourself in Gatlinburg, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smoky Mountains are an excellent place to go when you want to hike, camp, or just enjoy some fresh air while you do some shopping on the Parkway in Gatlinburg. Although it’s easy to reach the mountains for a day trip from Nashville, you might want to consider staying over at least one night while you’re there, in order to make the most of the daylight and fit in as many hikes as possible.
Plan your trip to the Smoky Mountains from Nashville by checking out the hiking trails that will be open when you visit.
Ready to hit the Nashville streets? By now, you should be a Nashville travel pro! Make your travel arrangements and get ready to see Tennessee’s beautiful and exciting capital in all its glory on your next vacation to Music City. No matter what you’re looking to see or do while you’re in town, you can find plenty of entertainment, arts and culture, nightlife, and dining to keep yourself and the people you’re traveling with occupied for weeks. The only challenge is to narrow down your choices to fit into your vacation time! Happy travels!
flickr photo by Powellizer http://flickr.com/photos/powellizer/872909379 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license
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