As someone with a father who absolutely loves country music, I almost felt a family obligation to visit Nashville during my time in the South of the US. After all, our dog is named “Dixie” after the Dixie Chicks! I only got to spend a couple of days in the city, so I did not get a chance to explore it beyond the downtown area. It also did not help that I was sick at the time. However, I still felt like I got a good taste of what Nashville has to offer.
My one regret was that I left my cowgirl boots back in Australia…
We organised our trip very last minute, so we had no choice but to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a hotel or stay in a hostel. I hate hostels, but my college student budget made the former option impossible. Argh. So, I sucked it up and booked the Nashville Downtown Hostel. I chose a private room, because with four suitcases between us, there is no way that my sister and I could be in a shared room. However, we did not have a private bathroom. I have to admit that I was surprised by the facilities at the hostel. It was modern and you could tell that the bathrooms were constantly cleaned by staff. The location was absolutely perfect, being just a couple of blocks away from Broadway. It turned out to be very good value for money. Did it change my dislike of hostels? Not completely, but it certainly did not make it worse.
I arrived in Nashville by taking Greyhound buses from New Orleans. The journey took 14 hours and was one of the funniest experiences of my six months in the US. I spoke about it in a recent video. By the time I arrived in Nashville, it was late at night and I was exhausted, but I could not wait to check out Broadway. It was everything that I dreamt it would be – a saturation of neon lights, cowboy boots and country bars. I visited it several times throughout my stay. It is little wonder that Nashville is such a popular tourist destination. It seriously exudes fun.
On that note, what would a trip to Nashville be without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum?! It cost $22.50 for a student ticket, which may seem a little expensive, but the quality of the exhibits is exceptional. I am not particularly a fan of country music, but I loved every minute there. I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in music history.
I also checked out the Tennessee State Capitol. It is a very impressive building that sits on a hill above downtown Nashville. I enjoyed walking through the building and seeing the different rooms. It was very interesting learning about the history – especially the fact that the architect is buried inside one of the walls! The grounds are also quite beautiful. President Polk, the 11th president of the US, is buried in a tomb on the property with his wife.
For those travellers who are museum buffs (like myself), I would definitely recommend the Tennessee State Museum. Tennessee is a fascinating state and the museum provides insightful exhibits to learn more about it. It is also quite kid-friendly, as many of the exhibits are interactive.
One of the highlights of my short stay was walking across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge (formerly the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge). It provides a fantastic view of the Nashville skyline and is conveniently located just a block down from Broadway.
Printers Alley is a famous alleyway in Nashville. I paid a quick visit to it, but was not particularly impressed. Apparently, it has lost a lot of the allure that it once had. It definitely has the “gritty cool” feel to it, but I thought it lacked ambiance. I personally much preferred Broadway.
Nashville is such a fun place. I would like to visit it again in the future and explore more.