Some go to Nashville for the music. I go for the creative inspiration that pours out of everything the gorgeous Southern city touches. It’s hard to do Nashville in a long weekend, so just know that you’ll be back and that all your preconceived notions will be blown to smithereens…
Here’s a fantastic weekend in Nashville.
You’ll want to bunk down close to South Broadway, near the Ryman Auditorium and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge where Willie Nelson sold his first song. It was called “Crazy” and he sold it to Patsy Kline for $25.
Check in to Union Station, a splendidly restored former train station (now hotel) with custom-made furniture and more than a century of celebrity stays including Mae West, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and mafia kingpin Al Capone, who was being escorted to a Georgia penitentiary. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Dave Newman (newmanchu))
Every one of this boutique hotel’s rooms are different, but request one on the fifth floor that overlooks the stunning lobby with barrel-vaulted, 65-foot stained glass ceilings and gleaming Italian marble floors. Prime 108, named after Bully 108, the first steam engine to chug through Nashville, is among the city’s most celebrated restaurants.
After dinner, head to one of Nashville’s world-famous honky-tonks. Don’t miss Tootsie’s, the bright purple lounge that Tootsie Bess bought with her divorce settlement. She kept a pot of stew bubbling for the Grand Ole Opry stars who snuck over between sets. There’s still live music basically every waking moment of the day.
Just down the street is Robert Western’s World, a former western wear store that’s cramped, dingy, and incredibly hip. The burgers are 100-percent Angus and the desserts (moon pies or goo-goo clusters) are a mere buck. Friday and Saturdays, Jesse Lee Jones, the Brazilian proprietor who learned English watching Sesame Street, and his band Brazilbilly, spread the gospel of country music as it used to be.
Just around the corner is Wildhorse Saloon, a sprawling three-level former warehouse that happens to have Nashville's largest dance floor. Also notably large are the Texas-sized ribs, the stars (try Miley and her dad), the volume (if you want to whisper sweet nothings, steer clear), the number of dancers, and the fried pickles. Fifteen-minute dance lessons are held four times a night. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Neuski)