There’s more to Nashville than just music. Check out these 10 amazing experiences


The friendly Tennessee metropolis of Nashville is best known by it’s nickname, Music City, and for most visitors that name comes to life in the dozens of honky-tonks that line Broadway where live bands performing from 10 am until the wee hours of the morning. While that is definitely part of the quintessential Nashville experience, there’s a lot more to this city that meets the eye. Here are 10 more unforgettable experiences that shouldn’t be missed when you visit.

Grab a bottle from a Champagne vending machine

Plenty of fine restaurants have champagne on their wine menus, but how many of them offer a champagne vending machine where you can pick up a bottle of bubbly to go? At the Rutledge, a wonderful restaurant housed in the same building as the Four Seasons Hotel Nashville, you can purchase a bottle from their exclusive Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine. Buy a special Moët & Chandon-branded token from your waiter, then head over to their machine to make a selection and watch it dispense a bottle of Imperial Brut or Imperial Rosé for you to enjoy.

Step into the Circle Room at the Grand Ole Opry

The country and western institution that is the Grand Ole Opry has been entertaining music lovers for nearly a century and with good reason. Every show is different, but you can guarantee that something special will happen just about every night. It’s where the genre’s biggest stars perform, but there are always newcomers and you never know when you’ll see someone before they become famous. Make your evening even more memorable by upgrading your ticket with VIP access to the Circle Room lounge where you can enjoy drinks and a buffet and get to meet one of that night’s performers.

Make your own Goo Goo Cluster

The name may sound ridiculous, but Nashville’s own Goo Goo Cluster just might be the best candy bar you ever tasted. First introduced back in 1912 by the Standard Candy Company, the Goo Goo Cluster was actually America’s first combination candy bar. Unlike most candy bars which are rectangular, the Cluster is shaped more like a hockey puck and consists of a mixture of caramel, marshmallow nougat and fresh roasted peanuts which are all enrobed with milk chocolate. At their retail store in downtown Nashville, you can buy Goo Goo Clusters in a box, but, better yet, you can dream up your own combination of ingredients and watch them make a custom Cluster for you on the spot.

Visit the (other) Parthenon

You don’t have to fly to Europe to see The Parthenon. Nashville has it’s own full-size replica and it’s actually in better shape than the one in Athens because it’s not in ruins. Why is it here? Well, once upon a time, the city was known as The Athens of the South and to commemorate the state’s centennial in 1897, the city fathers thought it would be a good idea to honour Nashville’s nickname by building a copy of one of antiquity’s most famous edifices. Today, it serves as an art gallery and a popular landmark that is worth the detour to see for yourself. While you’re there, be sure to look for the massive statue of the goddess Athena inside.

Hotels in Nashville, Tennessee

Eat a Nashville hot chicken sandwich at Prince’s

Nashville’s underrated culinary scene is fantastic and while it’s well known for its barbecue, it’s possibly even more famous for Nashville hot chicken. Consisting of breaded fried chicken covered with a spicy hot sauce and served as a sandwich, it is a delight that should not be missed, but be forewarned, it is hot! Just about every restaurant in town has its own take on the popular dish and while the popular chain of Hattie B’s is recommended, some Nashvillians insist that the only place to have it is at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, the inventors of the dish.

Bottle your own Tennessee whiskey

Tennessee whiskey flows like water in Nashville’s honky-tonks and it’s easy enough to buy a bottle to take home to share with your friends and family but wouldn’t you rather bottle your own? At Nashville Barrel Company, you can sample the contents of different barrels, some of which are strong enough to curl your toes, and fill up a bottle with your favourite. They’ll even print a custom label for you on the spot so that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring home.

Play guitar at the Gibson Garage or Carter Vintage

In their 1966 hit Nashville Cats, The Loving Spoonful sang that there were 1,352 guitar pickers in Nashville. These days, there might be a few more than that and if you’re one of them, you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit The Gibson Garage while you are there. The flagship store of the iconic American guitar maker is a guitar-lover’s playground. Hundreds of guitars orbit above the showroom on a conveyor belt and you’re invited to try any of them in a no-hassle, no judgement atmosphere. For more guitar-picking fun, head out to Carter Vintage Guitars where they buy and sell some of the most sought-after guitars anywhere. They’re such a success that they are moving to a larger space across the street which is like dying and going to guitar heaven.

Get a birdseye view from a rooftop bar

Nashville’s skyline is rapidly changing as new skyscrapers continue to pop up. Some of them offer spectacular panoramic views of the city below and one of the best is from Bourbon Steak, a top-notch restaurant and bar that sits atop the exemplary JW Marriot Hotel. If you can find a tour that will take you there, find a way to get to the top of the L&C Building for another nice view. Once upon a time, this was the 1950’s-era building was the highest commercial building in the Southeast and it’s still an architectural gem.

Get your photo taken on stage at the Ryman

The fabled Grand Ole Opry is housed today in a purpose-built concert hall, but once upon a time it was staged at the historic Ryman Auditorium in the heart of downtown Nashville. If you’re lucky enough to catch a show there, don’t miss the opportunity, but it’s also worth taking the tour to learn about the history of this fascinating performance space that was almost lost to the wrecking ball in the 1970s. As part of the price of admission, you can get a souvenir photo taken of yourself on the stage where legends like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton have performed.

Visit a cat café

For Nashville cats of a different kind, head out to The Catio, a cat lounge and adoption center what welcome locals and curious tourists to come grab a snack or a drink and spend some quality time with friendly felines looking for a forever home. This fun and interactive space that is just steps away from The Opryland Hotel, is a delight for cat lovers of all ages.

DON’T MISS: I am obsessed with Nashville’s other culinary masterpiece: The Goo Goo Cluster

Mark Stachiew

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