Don your cowboy boots in Nashville; ‘Music City’

Nashville Tennessee Cowboy

For a memorable American experience, don your cowboy boots and submit to America’s ‘Southern Charm’  in Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re considering a trip to America, New York is probably high on your list. ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ with a plethora of shops, restaurants and famous landmarks seems like the obvious starting point for any State-side explorer. Or perchance you’ve been seduced by the prospect of Californian sunshine? You could be looking to keep ‘What happens in Vegas’, secure in Vegas on the trip to the strip. Before you get too far ahead with your itineraries, take a moment to consider the less well known, but no less exciting half of the United States of America. That’s right, y’all, saddles at the ready as we’re heading South.

The American South is arguably the closest you’ll get to pure, unadulterated Americana. If you want the sight kids selling lemonade in their front yards, intimate Country ‘n’ Western bars and big ‘n’ meaty burgers, then heading below the Mason-Dixon line is for you. An  ideal place to start your Southern adventure is Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville Uni

Known as ‘Music City’, the Tennessee capital is home to countless bands and songwriters and boasts one of the country’s most vibrant cultural scenes. With the ubiquity of TV shows such as ‘Nashville’ and the popularity of Country music-styled singers such as Taylor Swift, the American South is fast becoming a primary destination for holidaymakers who want to experience the rustic charm of the Southern States. Nashville’s unmatched musical heritage and welcoming atmosphere, within fair proximity of other iconic American cities like Memphis and Atlanta, make it an ideal destination for a family holiday or as a springboard for your very own Jack Kerouac, ‘On the Road’ trip. With some of the world’s best live music and enough Southern charm to melt even the stiffest upper lips, donning your cowboy boots and exploring the American South makes for an unmissable travel experience.

When to go.

Thanks to its location on the Cumberland River, Nashville escapes the harsher climates of its neighbouring cities and enjoys mild weather throughout the year. Levels of humidity rise during July and August but usually give way to balmy evenings – perfect for watching one of the many outdoor concerts staged over summer months or exploring Downtown on foot. Springtime in Nashville is cooler but just as animated, as the city then celebrates ‘Awesome April’, a month-long festival of live music and film screenings. If you’re want to experience Christmas the Southern way, Winter in Nashville well could be for you. The city is ablaze with festive lights and stages a free ‘New Year’s Eve Party’ on Broadway, complete with a spectacle of fireworks, feasts and of course, live country music.

Where to stay.

Hermitage Hotel

Whether you’ve got the  dollars of Dolly Parton to spend out on five star luxury or you’re on a struggling musician’s budget, Nashville has hotels, hostels and guest houses to suit every traveller. For high end accommodation, try the Hermitage Hotel’s spacious rooms and fantastic views of the State Capital building or stay at the Hutton Hotel and experience the ‘most comfortable bed in Nashville’ for yourself. For more modest hotels, the Red Roof Inn offers the all the amenities expected from a budget hotel as well as a good location.

What to do

A tour  Nashville is by taking a horse and carriage ride. ‘Southern Comfort Carriage Service’ can pick you up direct from your hotel and escort you through the gamut of the City’s historic districts. Alternatively, the ‘Music City Hop On/Hop Off’ company offers a trolley tour of the city and allow visitors to alight at places of intrigue such as the Frisk Center for Visual Arts.

Country Music Hall of Fame

Once you’ve become more acquainted with the Nashville streets, a visit to The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must. Even if you don’t know your Johnny Cash from your Jimmie Rodgers, the museum has a fascinating collection of musical memorabilia and explores how Nashville’s history is one that thrives on the lifeblood of its local music.

Night-life.

If you’ve made it all the way to Music City, it goes without saying that you should experience some music. But with a Down-town packed with bars, venues and outdoor performances; all of which claim to offer the ‘Best music in town,’ it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, navigating the Nashville night-life isn’t as daunting as it seems and almost every venue will offer something of interest. A great place to start is ‘Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge’ on Broadway. Impossible to miss with its bright purple walls, the Honky Tonk bar has played host to country music heavyweights such as Willie Nelson, Patsie Cline and Jason Aldean and still offers raucous live performances on its two tiny stages. After Tootsie’s, see what’s on at the ‘Ryman Auditorium’ and if you’re in the city for the beginning of July, be sure to swing by the Independence Day party at Riverfront Park. If you’re still stuck for ideas, the free Nashville Live Music app, which locates live music spots near you and shows music listings for the week ahead, can also help with planning your evening.

Nashville Cowboy Nightlife

Of course, the best approach to Nashville at night is the simplest. Find your friends, grab a cold beer, follow the sound of the sweetest Southern croonings and you’ll be line dancing on the tables in no time, or at least watching those who are.

What to eat

If anywhere knows about lip-smacking food, it’s the American South. Nashville prides itself on its barbecuing prowess and it therefore would be a disservice to the City to neglect a visit to Jack’s Bar-B-Que. Located on Broadway, the restaurant serves up no-nonsense Tennessee pork shoulder, thick and juicy ribs and beef brisket with substantial side of ‘slaw’. Back Alley Diner is a great location to indulge in any ‘Man vs Food’ fantasies: try The Gargantuan Burger for a double helping of patties and satisfyingly sloppy sauce.

Expect more than just aggressively-portioned hunks of meat, the coffee house and restaurant, ‘Fido’ offers an extensive breakfast menu and organic salads and counts Taylor Swift among its customers. If it’s good enough for the Southern Belle herself, it’s good enough for us.

Nashville Fireworks