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Notable Nashville: Experience the high notes of Music City

Ideas you have of Nashville will likely center around its music scene, but this lively city has creativity and authenticity across its increasingly diverse local culture. From fine dining to fine art, you’ll discover plenty of things to do in this evolving city.| By Paul Oswell | May 3, 2022

Nashville’s nickname of Music City is well deserved. However, although country and western legends have certainly shaped the character of the Tennessee capital, there’s much more to enjoy here. Diverse attractions, great shopping and a healthy culinary scene all help make the city an alluring, dynamic destination. Here are some suggestions to help you start making your Nashville memories:

  • From juices to jewelry: Seek out the city’s high-end experiences, whether you’re looking for organic juices or a conversation-starting fashion accessory

  • Hot spots and hot chicken: Nashville has a thriving and innovative culinary scene, with regional classics being elevated and exciting new kitchens delighting visiting foodies

  • Beyond country and western: The city’s main cultural draw is in fine shape, but there’s much more to Nashville’s music scene than the obvious, if you just know where to look

See and be seen

There are lots of healthy pursuits and experiences if you’re looking for things to do in Nashville. A good place to start is the Nashville Farmers’ Market, which operates daily along Rosa L Parks Boulevard. As well as great regional produce, Wednesday through Sunday, you’ll find a stall called The Fountain of Juice. This local company offers a delightful variety of healthy juices, dairy-free "milks" and health-promoting elixirs, and they can advise you on how to carefully design your own juice cleanse.

If you’re enjoying a cheat day and want to spice up your juices a little, then try the equally delicious concoctions at The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club. The dark woods and midnight blue velvets of their lounge make for a plush, decadent backdrop. For an equally innovative cocktail menu that celebrates fresh, quality ingredients, the indoor-outdoor space of Thistle & Rye at Conrad Nashville should also be on your list. Sit on the deck overlooking downtown and enjoy the live music program as well as the bar menu, which includes treats such as sugar cane shrimp skewers and boozy ice pops.

You might want to accessorize with your cocktail attire, and there’s no better spot to browse than at Williams Galleries Fine Period Jewelry. They specialize in extraordinary vintage and art deco pieces by coveted names and designers, and it’s here that you’ll find that eye-catching, truly one-of-a-kind statement piece. Round out your activity list with some artistic inspiration at Frist Art Museum, where you can see exhibitions by some of the most exciting regional and nationally recognized artists.

A feast for the senses

Hot chicken and Southern barbecue are two of the most famous gastronomic offerings in Nashville restaurants. Joyland, in fashionable East Nashville, is a prime example. Yes, the menu offers fried chicken, burgers and fries, but in this case we're talking burgers made from Bear Creek Farm — a local sustainable cattle farm — beef blend, biscuits that feature flour sourced from the family-owned Boonville Flour & Feed Mill and Cruze Farm buttermilk made in East Tennessee. All under the talented eye of James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, of course.

The city’s most sought-after dining experience is probably a seat at the exclusive chef’s table at The Catbird Seat. You’ll join 30 other diners to sit at a U-shaped counter, while chef Brian Baxter and his team take center stage — essentially a show kitchen — and guide the lucky guests on a gourmet adventure. There are typically 10-18 tasting courses, and they might include anything from wakame seaweed pasta to poached cod and rye bruschetta.

The dining options at Conrad Nashville complement the city’s foodie scene wonderfully. Chef Kim Canteenwalla and his partner Elizabeth Blau have created stunning dining spaces with intriguing contemporary menus. Stylish signature restaurant Blue Aster (named after a Tennessee wildflower) serves up delightfully creative dishes such as mac and cheese waffles and lobster pot pie. Meanwhile, The Lounge at Blue Aster boasts dramatic high ceilings and a chic ambiance where you can sip a classic Southern cocktail or order a delectable afternoon tea.

Nashville's greatest hits

It’s impossible to visit Nashville without experiencing its music scene and even just walking around downtown you’ll hear country and western classics emanating from almost every bar.

If that’s not quite your scene, then you can mix it up with the programs offered at the Nashville Opera and Nashville Symphony. The beautiful Noah Liff Opera Center stages classic and contemporary operatic works, best enjoyed from the seats in its Grand Tier. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville is home to the city’s best orchestra, where performances can include anything from Mendelssohn to the music from “Star Wars.”

Another musical must-see is the magnificent National Museum of African American Music, which has a dazzling array of exhibits that explore Black music from early spirituals through to modern day R&B and hip-hop. Best of all, your concierge at Conrad Nashville can help you to arrange any of the experiences described above.



Make your Nashville travel memory

Visit Nashville and you’ll find a city brimming with creativity and authenticity, and with a diverse array of attractions to enjoy. Whatever your tastes, you’ll find that the city has plentiful options when it comes to making beautiful travel memories.

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Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer, and has been reporting from all seven continents for over twenty years. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.”

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Conrad Nashville

Near the intersection of Broadway and West End Ave., we’re less than five minutes from Music Row and Vanderbilt University. Bridgestone Arena, Music City Center, Nissan Stadium, and First Horizon Park are within three miles of our door. Enjoy our restaurant, spacious rooms and suites, and a rooftop pool terrace with great views of downtown.

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