Fun things to do in Nashville

  • Chihuly at Cheekwood
    Chihuly at Cheekwood
    by TravellerMel
  • Chihuly at Cheekwood
    Chihuly at Cheekwood
    by TravellerMel
  • Athena with Nike
    Athena with Nike
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Nashville

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    Historic Hotels - Lobby of the Union Station Hotel

    by TravellerMel Written Apr 12, 2010

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    A definite "Must see" when you are in downtown Nashville is to check out the lobby of the Union Station Hotel. This 100-year-old former train station has been lovingly and beautifully restored, while maintaining touches of it's elegant past. The website boasts a 65-foot, barrel-vaulted lobby ceiling, featuring gold-leaf medallions, 100-year-old, Tiffany-style stained glass, and rare bas-relief sculptures, and the original (refurbished) train timetable is behind the check-in desk.

    Excellent location, right downtown, walking distance to the District. Adjacent to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

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    The Belcourt Theatre - Historic Movie House

    by TravellerMel Written Jan 1, 2010

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    The Belcourt is an historic venue showing first run, classic, and art-house films, hosting concerts and other live events. Originally opened in 1925 has a neighborhood movie house showing silent movies, it has seen several incarnations. It is the last of the "old-time" neighborhood movie theatres in Nashville.

    The lobby operates as a small art gallery with rotating local artists. Something to look at while you wait for the movie to begin, and you can go your gift shopping at the same time! The concession stand is also a bar with a variety of local beers.

    I've been here several times for different functions, the last of which was a Christmas Eve showing of "It's a Wonderful Life". The seating is the old-time sloped floor (as opposed to the statium seating we are all accustomed to in the new theatres), but it works. There is a fundraising drive ongoing to replace the seats, which would be a good thing, as several are broken.

    Still and all, I love these neighborhood movies houses and try to support them where and when I can. There is nothing like seeing a classic film on the big screen in an historic place.

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    Frist Center for the Visual Arts

    by TravellerMel Updated Oct 13, 2009

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    "The Frist", as it's locally known, is located in the former Art Deco post office building on Broadway. Visually appealing from the outside, it is simply stunning on the inside. The granite and marble high-ceilinged walls are a perfect setting for some of the worlds greatest works of art.

    I was there for the Rodin exhibition titled "A Magnificent Obsession" - the center did a wonderful job of putting the sculpures into context for the time during which they were created, and drawing a timeline of the artist's life. There was also a wonderful exhibit re-creating the "lost wax" casting method of bronzing.

    After the Rodin's, I walked thru part of the George Eastman House Collection of photography, entitled "The Best of Photography and Film". I will have to return since I ran out of time to view the entire gallery.

    I was here for three hours, and was unable to visit several galleries - this museum is a treat to be savored in pieces. It is wonderful to view these wonderful works of art in a casual and friendly setting.

    By the way, when you visit, be sure to check out the gift shop. They have some great items at very reasonable prices. I've already started my NEXT years Christmas shopping!

    Adult admission: $8.50
    Under 18 : FREE
    Discounted admission for groups, seniors, military, and students.

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    Tennessee State Museum - FREE

    by TravellerMel Written Oct 2, 2009

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    For the history buff - this is an amazing museum - I can't believe the admission is FREE! Three levels of exhibits - the upper level has the historical background of the state of TN, from native american, to the French and Spanish, to statehood. There are wonderful interactive exhibits, and interesting artifacts from General (and later President) Andrew Jackson, Daniel Boone, and other famous Tennesseans.

    On the second level is a series of portraits of influential Tennesseans, as well as an honest-to-goodness Egyptian mummy, which was certainly a source of fascination for the kids.

    The lower level has examples of architecture in the way of storefronts. Walk inside the gunsmith shop and see examples of firearms produced in TN. Walk into the quilt shop and see different styles of quilts, etc. There is also a large area dedicated to the civil war and reconstruction, as well as the lives of slaves.

    When you return to the main level, there is an art exhibition, which I did not have time to explore. I had no idea the museum was this large, and I should have paced myself. I'm looking forward to a return visit when I can linger a little longer.

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    Cooter's Place - Dukes of Hazzard Museum

    by TravellerMel Updated Aug 22, 2009

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    For those of us "of a certain age", the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard" and it's theme song are burned into our collective conscience and is fondly remembered. Ben Jones, who played Cooter, has opened Dukes of Hazzard Museum and Gift shop for all things Duke. You can take photos with the General Lee (YEEE HAWWWW) or with Cooter's tow truck for FREE - you can take a photo seated inside either for a nominal fee.

    The Nashville location is in Music Valley, just across the street from the Opryland Hotel. Check the website for the schedule, as periodically, cast members make personal appearances!

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    Home Of The Blues Music

    by elenparker Written Aug 10, 2009

    Our group wanted different kinds of travel in this years, a long search got best cities for travel, which is located in Tennessee state, which were Nashville (the capitol of Tennessee state), Memphis. These cities carrying of music, and well-known ‘country of music’, the Memphis city know as home of the blues music. All most in our group were music lover so not doubt to anybody to visit there. Our group has three boys and three girls, all of them happy about that trip and so exited about these cities trip.
    We planned to stay first at Nashville and then Memphis, according to our planned we reserved rooms for stay both stay places, but it was not too easy, all of them were college student and save to pockets money then we go there, so wanted all of them cheap stay as well as cheap travel. After long search we got it cheap hotels in Memphis, also cheap hotels In Nashville. In my home, all of them gathered in early morning, our flight take off near about 10 O, clock, it was first time when all guys visited to any place. I knew one think, college time is best time for any body. So we were traveling to Tennessee state city.
    In evening time we reached to Nashville, very beautiful city, everywhere all things looking so good, because it’s a capitol of Tennessee.
    First we hired two taxi and went our reserved room near downtown of Nashville. In the way, lightning and music was coming in our ears, I love lightning. Just half minute we reached to our reserved hotel, which called ‘Knight Inn Nashville tn hotels. In out side area, his look was superb as well as. We booked three rooms at $40. And we managed them. Not too more nighttime, it was only 7 O’clock and we got ready for surfing market. Girls always love pizza and burger, and other fast-food to anyplace. In street market restaurants we bought few pizza’s and ate them, more delicious it was.
    Took some coffee also. Walked hotel nearest street near about 10’clock. During walking we ate also ice cream near ice-cream restaurants. Nighttime, we heard lots of music in street area, because it was home of music city. After long walk we went to our rooms.
    We also planned next day travel and went to sleep.
    Early morning we gathered after refreshment to one room, took continental breakfast, it was free from hotel. We made to plan for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Musica. First we reached to county music hall of fame and museum, where we took lots of enjoyment, at after noon. Left that place 2pm and moved to near restaurants for lunch. In lunch including, some sandwich, pizza(again), coffee and ice-cream, also shake loved by all. After 3:30 we got again taxi and reached to Musica. Where we spend our half day full and near about 10 O’clock we came back to our hotel room after got long and memorable enjoyment to there.
    Next day we saw lots of place, which were--Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion, The Hermitage, Tennessee State Museum. We left Tennessee state museum in 4:45 pm. This time was not for traveling because after 5pm all place to be closed. So came back to our hotel room, fresh it himself, went to near bar area, took few drinks and dancing all guys to there, very awesome time that day, near about 10 pm we came back to our room. Next two day, we saw lots of place, purchased some items to shopping place, watched also few show in near famous theater and left that city and went to Memphis city.
    In Memphis city, we enjoyed lot of, watched downtown Memphis (In night time it was looking to awesome). We enjoyed to beale street area, because there located home of the blues music. It was very interesting time for us. Mississippi river located to that city, recreational point was located there more, and we spend to our full day to there. Also watched famous museum to Memphis city. I wanted to watch panda so visit at Memphis zoo. Where located more panda and other animals.
    Totally we enjoyed lots of time at music places, hiking also we did it. And some best well-known play we did there. And came back to our hometown after 11 days journey. Memphis city and Nashville city is very famous for travel.

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    Art and Gardens -- Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

    by aphrodyte Written Jul 16, 2009

    Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum. There is at least 11 different styles and periods of horticultural design. We felt some of the highlights are the garden grounds were the Japanese Garden, Shomu-en, Robinson Family Water Garden, and the Howe Wildflower Garden.

    Cheekwood’s American art collection includes 600 paintings and 5,000 prints, drawings and photographs. Permanent artworks include sculptures of William Edmondson, photographs of Louise Dahl-Wolfe, and a vast variety of post WWII prints. Contemporary Art collection include paintings by Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol, Robert Ryman, and Red Grooms. (no pictures were allowed inside the mansion where the art collection is viewed.)

    Cheekwood offers The Pineapple Room for light, healthy meals.

    $10 - Adults
    $8 - Seniors (65 +)
    $5 - Youth (6 - 17), College Students w/ ID and Active Military Personnel w/ID
    Free - 5 and Under
    $30 - Household Cap

    VISITING HOURS:
    Tuesday - Saturday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
    Sunday 11:00 am - 4:30 pm

    CLOSED MONDAY, except for Memorial Day and Labor Day
    CLOSED Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day

    **More pictures of the botanical gardens in my travelogues**

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    Lorikeet Landing at the Nashville Zoo

    by TravellerMel Written Jun 21, 2009

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    One of the things I loved best about my visit to the Nashville Zoo was Lorikeet Landing. A netted enclosure, after washing your hands with anti-bacterial gel, you go inside and see the lorikeets flying around from tree to tree. They are very beautiful and colorful, and as you can see from the photos, friendly! If you stand still, they will land on your head or shoulders. Be careful not to startle them, as they may nip.

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    You ~ Belong in the zoo ~ The Nashville Zoo!

    by TravellerMel Written Jun 21, 2009

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    Not the largest zoo I've ever been to (Los Angeles, San Diego, and New Orleans zoos are much larger), but definitely one of the prettiest. Lots of foliage and vegetation - you feel like you are walking thru a garden, or very-well-kept jungle! Also, in addition to your expected animals (giraffe, elephant, tiger), they had two animals I had never seen before - the red panda and the clouded leopard. When I was there, there were two baby white tigers - too cute!

    Easily walkable, which might make this the perfect zoo for younger kids. Plus, zoo workers were stationed all around with "touchy-feely" displays about the animals. The kids seemed fascinated by the metal water bowl which had been crushed by the jaws of one of the tigers...

    Very enjoyable way to spend a summer day!

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    Other historic sites in Nashville

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jun 11, 2009

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    The plaque in front of Andrew Jackson's Law Office reads:

    "Andrew Jackson settled in Nashville in 1788 and served as Atty Gen until 1796. Lawyer John Overton owned a building here (1791-96) and shared office space with his friend Jackson. Jackson was Tennessee's first Rep to Congress (1796) and State Superior Court judge (1798-1804). He led U.S. troops to victory at the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and was elected President in 1828.


    The Founding of Nashville statue is located at Riverfront Park. It features larger than life statues of James Robertson and John Donelson shaking hands, one with an axe and one with a rifle. A plaque below the figures describes the history of the founding of Nashville with the names of the signers of the Cumberland Pact on May 13, 1780.

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    Vanderbilt University

    by Ewingjr98 Written Jun 5, 2009

    Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 with an endowment by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who hoped this gift would help heal the wounds from the Civil War. The University now has 7,000 undergraduate students and 5,000 graduate students. Vanderbilt is one of America's highest rated University, ranking among the top 20 in the country in the USA Today annual report.

    In ots early years Vanderbilt was associated with the Methodist Church, but when the Tennessee State Supreme Court ruled that the school could choose to limit Methodist leadership, the Methodist Church founded Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

    Vanderbilt's 330 acre campus is just over a mile from central Nashville. Some of the original campus buildings, from as far back as the 1870s, exist today.

    Famous graduates include former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander; former Vice President Al Gore's wife Tipper Gore; former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; country singers Amy Grant, Roseanne Cash, and Dierks Bentley; NFL quarterback Jay Cutler; future Pittsburgh Pirates star Pedro Alvarez.

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    Printers' Alley

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jun 5, 2009

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    Printers' Alley is located between Third and Fourth Avenues stretching from Union to Church Streets. This location originally gained fame as the home of Nashville's early Publishing Companies. This industry attracted numerous cafes, saloons, and gambling halls to support the workers. When the twin influences of country music and prohibition arrived in Nashville in the 1920s and 1930s, Printers' Alley became the hotbed for both. Luckily local politicians liked both booze and music, so the bars and clubs remained in operation. By the 1960s the alley became seedy and run down, but was cleaned up in 1997. Today Printers' Alley retains it seedy side with strip clubs, but also flaunts its country music background with a few live music joints.

    Hotspots include the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Lonnie's Western Room, Fiddle And Steel, and the Brass Stables.

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    TPAC for Theatre-lovers

    by TravellerMel Written Apr 24, 2009

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    The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) consists of several theatres in one building; Andrew Jackson Hall (which hosts the Broadway Series as well as other theatrical performances and concerts, including the Nashville Ballet), James K. Polk Theater, Andrew Johnson Theater (home of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre), and War Memorial Auditorium.

    Spacious and modern, this is a lovely venue for the theatre arts. Tickets to the performances are very reasonable (especially when compared with Los Angeles and New York), and performances are top quality.

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    Duckbutt!

    by TravellerMel Written Mar 8, 2009

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    I was walking around the lake in Centennial Park today, and noticed a group of 5 children pointing at the ducks and shouting "duckbutt!". I thought they must be foreign tourists, so I moved closer to see what they were so excited about, and to learn a new word in their language.

    Turns out, they were just fascinated by the ducks who were diving under the water for food, displaying their... wait for it... duck butt!!

    Not really a tip I guess, but I thought it was a cute story.

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    Centennial Park

    by TravellerMel Written Mar 8, 2009

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    Centennial Park is a large urban park close to downtown Nashville. Beautiful park - has a 1-mile loop for walking/jogging around the man-made lake. Centennial Park hosts many events throughout the year including festivals and concerts, and is a nice place to get away from the concrete and steel of downtown.

    132-acre park was originally farmland which was turned into the state fairgrounds after the Civil War. From 1884 to 1895, the site served as a racetrack. In 1897, it was the site of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition and was renamed Centennial Park. After the exposition ended, most of the building and exhibits (with the exception of a full-scale model of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece) were dismantled, leaving in its place a landscaped open area with a small artificial lake.

    Centennial Park is the site of the climactic scene in Robert Altman's Nashville, a picture beloved of many film critics.

    On November 11, 2005, Centennial Park became Nashville's first wireless internet park by offering free Wi-Fi internet access to park patrons.

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