What to do in Nashville this Saturday?
March 20, 2007 7:50 AM   Subscribe

My wife will be in Nashville for a conference and has Saturday free. Staying at the "Gaylord Opryland" (!), no car. Have never been in that part of the country, would appreciate suggestions for things to do, places to eat. She likes parks, museums, culture (including , but not limited to , traditional & alternative country music). Any local events of interest? What kind of weather can be expected?
posted by canoehead to Travel & Transportation around Nashville, TN (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I found myself without a car and a day to kill in Nashville several years ago. I was staying downtown, so I did a walking of the downtown area. I found some of the old country music stores (guitar shops, records stores, etc.) quite interesting. I'd been to the Ryman before, so I didn't spend much time there. I REALLY enjoyed my walk around the Tennessee state capital, for some reason. It's a beautiful builiding and the grounds are quite nice.
posted by unclejeffy at 8:08 AM on March 20, 2007

posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:36 AM on March 20, 2007

Can she get a car for a day? If she's staying at the hotel there's not *too* much to do in that area, save walking to the Opry for a show or the mall nearby. She can definitely spend a couple hours exploring the hotel if she doesn't get the chance to before her day off.

If she can get a cab downtown there are plenty of things to see walking around for the day.

What does she like to do?
posted by PFL at 8:49 AM on March 20, 2007

The hotel might offer shuttle service to the downtown area. Failing that, a cab ride would suffice. Things to do downtown include the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the (new) symphony hall, plus all the touristy places on and off of 2nd ave.
posted by bach at 9:00 AM on March 20, 2007

I hear the Pancake Pantry is stellar...this from The Splendid Table:

"Expect to wait in line when you go to Pancake Pantry. But, then, it's simply one of the best pancake houses in the country and folks say it's worth the wait. The Sterns say the must-haves are the buckwheat cakes with ginger cream on the side, the sweet potato pancakes, and the Swedish cakes. The hash browns are first rate, too."

1796 21st Avenue South, Nashville
posted by diastematic at 9:27 AM on March 20, 2007

By the way, you gotta listen to that Pancake Pantry review...Real Audio link...sounds like a remarkable place.
posted by diastematic at 9:31 AM on March 20, 2007

Agreed on the above re: Pancake Pantry. Around the Opryland hotel there will be little to do that doesn't revolve around touring the hotel itself (it is lovely, in its own way), and the Opryland mall which isn't attached but is adjoining the hotel. If she's a shopper, that will probably do her..it's an enormous mall, with lots of shops you won't find anywhere else (witness the Gibson guitar shop).

If she can get downtown via cab, the Broadway area is full of touristy stuff. I'll suggest an alternate to that is to hit the west side of town near Vanderbilt University...cool little college area, lots of neat shops and used bookstores.
posted by griffey at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2007

If she can make it downtown to 2nd Ave, there's a ton of neat little bars and restaurants. My favorite is Jack's Barbeque. My god the food is fabulous and...okay, now I'm hungry.

A cab ride to Centennial Park would be a nice thing as well. The Parthenon is pretty neat and the art museum inside is always nice.

Sadly most of Nashville is based on the car, so seeing different attractions without a vehicle is problematic. Cause, ya know, here in the south we don't believe in public transportation. ;)

As to weather, right now it's warmish and rainy.
posted by teleri025 at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2007

I'm going to disagree with the Pancake Pantry craze. It is a Nashville institution, but prepared to wait in a long line for good (not great) breakfast food and TERRIBLE service. In my experience, and I've been several times, they're a little too concerned with turning tables and it really hurts the service.
posted by PFL at 11:18 AM on March 20, 2007

take a cab to downtown (Broadway) and get loaded at Tootsies
posted by mrmarley at 11:22 AM on March 20, 2007

Without a car? You're kinda fucked.
But— You should get ahold of Limo Larry for your ferryin' needs. He's pretty cheap (dollar a minute, which was cheaper than the cabs), has amazing stories, and is a pretty great guy all around.
Ask around at the desk, they should know him.
The other couple of things that I'd recommend would be The Blue Bird, where people like Kris Kristopherson just kinda sit in randomly (even better is the Songwriter Showcase, but you'll miss that), or see if the MuzikMafia folks are still doing Saturday shows (their main one was on Tuesdays). Say what you will about Big and Rich, the MuzikMafia stuff is fun as hell.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2007

Again, no car, not much you can do around here. Opryland is pretty far from the downtown area also, which would make a cabride to and from probably as, if not more, expensive than renting a car for the day.

And I'll also disagree with the Pancake Pantry raves. It's good, but it's overpriced and always packed. If she can get to the Hillsboro Village area (where it is, about 20 blocks from downtown) it's worth stopping in, but not otherwise. And if she does decide to go, make sure it's either very early (before 9am) or very late (after 1pm or 2pm) otherwise the line will be an hour long.

There's plenty to do in the city, but Opryland is a ways away so she's more or less stuck with the Opryland crap if she can't get transportation...
posted by jckll at 2:43 PM on March 20, 2007

Last time I was trapped at the Gaylord, I found there are city buses that go downtown, but I didn't actually try them. Mostly, I walked around between the hotel and the mall, spinning. The mall itself is...a typical mall, but if she is on a per diem, it is a far less expensive place to eat than the hotel.

The gardens inside the hotel are beautiful, and worth walking around a bit, but the hotel in general gives me the creeps.

I'd recommend taking a few good books. I've spent more than two weeks in that hotel at one conference or another, and after you finish admiring the atriums, there is bupkiss to do.
posted by QIbHom at 3:30 PM on March 20, 2007

It might be worth renting a car for the day, because the places I think she would enjoy are spread out. Or, build a taxi-friendly itinerary out of some of these items:

Forecast is calling for partly cloudy and 83. It will be humid. Check later in the week; the rain forecast isn't particularly reliable in the spring.

Radnor Lake
Beautiful park, great walks along the lake or up in the hills.

Drive through Green Hills and scope out the Blue Bird on the way to the Frist for a museum cafe lunch. Or eat lunch in Green Hills at Bread & Company or Wild Oats grocery. (Wild Oats was recently bought by Whole Foods)

Frist Center for the Visual Arts (in an enormous restored Deco Post Office)

Down West End to visit the Pathenon (City Art Museum and full size replica of Greek Building) . http://www.nashville.gov/parthenon/

Leave the car at Centennial park and stroll along Elliston to the Soda Shop. http://nashville.citysearch.com/profile/9319102

The Blue Bird Cafe was an excellent suggestion. But check out the Nashville Scene for other music venues
http://www.nashvillescene.com. I am not aware of any events this weekend, but the Scene will have the scoop.

Hope she has a great time!
posted by egk at 7:54 PM on March 20, 2007

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