Two things we noticed immediately about Nashville: live music everywhere and everyone seems to be under 25! Perhaps I’m exaggerating on the second point a bit, so let’s call it under 30. With 21 universities and 6 community colleges and an overall population of only 600,000, Nashville’s student vibe is quickly noticeable. Even the tourists seem to be young, with places like Memphis, Las Vegas, and New Orleans catering to more mixed or older crowds.
As you can imagine, being home to so many students creates quite a fun party vibe in the city, with key areas like Honky Tonk Row on Broadway packed to the rim! While Nashville is the home of country music, we heard everything from Southern Rock to Ska, with lots of Taylor Swift in between. Bars rarely charge cover, though no drinks “to go” here and line ups can be daunting. You can usually still find a place along Broadway to pop in to hear a tune.
For a slightly less crazy experience a bit away from the downtown honky tonks, you can wander in the area around Vanderbilt University to find lots of patios, bars, and restaurants along Division or Broadway. The Midtown Broadway Brewhouse offers over 70 beers or try the bushwacker which tastes just like a boozy milkshake. Next door, Hattie B’s hot chicken is a Nashville classic with perpetual line-ups.
On the other side of Vanderbilt, you’ll find Centennial Park, a 132 acre green space with a lake, walking trails, plus a full scale Parthenon replica and 42 foot Athena statue within, because why not? (entry is $7 for adults) It’s worth noting that the City of Nashville offers a Music City Circuit, featuring free all day bus service to key spots in the city, including Centennial Park!
One last tip for country music lovers: if you have your heart set on the Grand Ole Opry or the Bluebird Cafe, be sure to check out their websites in advance to purchase tickets. We missed out on both because we didn’t plan ahead. Otherwise, enjoy music city!