This is Music City and Nashville’s lively downtown doesn’t disappoint. Sounds resonate from popular pit stops like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium venue and so-called “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Johnny Cash Museum, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center to countless small venues tucked in the over 200 bars and restaurants of downtown Nashville.
Buzzing with creative-types, Nashville’s heart is also a hub for art galleries and studios, theater and museums including the lauded Frist Center for the Visual Arts. A downtown Art Walk spanning a 10-block by 10-block maze of sidewalks along the western shores of the Cumberland River lists over 75 stops, and the first Saturday of each month residents and visitors come out in droves to explore the city’s art scene after hours.
The arty trend continues in downtown’s SoBro (South of Broadway), where a bevvy of boutique hotels and quirky foodie eateries such as City Winery, a 300,000 square foot warehouse that is one-part winery and one-part restaurant and music venue, have opened in recent years.
Downtown tours take in highlights based on interest by foot, trolley, bus, scooter or even horse-drawn carriage.
The Riverfront Station commuter train and the Music City Central bus station stops are right in the thick of downtown for those without their own transpiration. Popular hop-on, hop-off trolleys allow for guided sightseeing with some independence, while private and traditional city tours afford a good overview of highlights before exploring further on your own.