Did you check out Part 1 of my Nashville City Guide? It includes tips for where to stay, where to eat, and where to shop. And below I’m sharing my tips on What to Do and What to Hear including making your own letterpress print at the Hatch Show Print tour and your own record at Third Man Records. Not to mention my favorite music venues. There’s a lot to do and hear in Nashville, so let’s get started!What to Do:
There is so much to do in Nashville! It’s a huge music town, but there is more than just listening to music. If you’re a Country Music fan, I recommend checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame! If you like to sing karaoke to Ring of Fire, then maybe the Johnny Cash Museum is for you. Typography nerd? Check out the Hatch Show Print, take the tour and make your own letterpress sign. If you like making your own things, maybe you’d like making your own record at Third Man Records. History buff? Check out the full-scale replica of the Parthenon. Or simply go bowling at hipster-central Pinewood Social or taste some chocolately goodness samples at Goo Goo Cluster.
Country Music Hall of Fame: When we were on our cross country trip last year, we stopped in Nashville on our way up to Chicago to start the Route 66 portion of the trip. And if you’re only in Nashville for one day, I totally recommend a stop to the Country Music Hall of Fame! It really gives you an overview of country music and some history of Nashville. Don’t like country music? I don’t really either! But there are enough rhinestone covered jumpsuits, tricked out cars, and awesome old signs to keep everyone entertained.Hatch Show Print: In the same building as the Country Music Hall of Fame is Hatch Show Print, a letterpress shop/museum. Hatch was founded in the late 1800’s and has been cranking out letterpress sign goodness ever since. You can visit the museum shop and purchase an awesome sign, or you can pay $15 and take the tour, which I highly recommend. We took the tour on our latest trip to Nashville and got to go behind the scenes of Hatch and learn about their history, their current work process (no email customer orders, WHAT?!?), and we even got to make our own little letterpress signs.
Third Man Records: After making our own letterpress signs, we were in the making mood, so we walked over to the Third Man Records storefront because I had heard about their “Record Booth” where you can go inside a booth about the size of a phone booth and record your own record. So neat! It’s a bit pricey at $15, but a totally awesome souvenir. Because my singing voice is … terrible! … the Mister and I decided to simply tell the story of how we met, and well, the story is a bit different from each of our points of view. His story involves me yelling. I think I was just using my outdoor voice.Johnny Cash Museum: If you’re not museum-ed out after the Country Music Hall of Fame, I recommend the Johnny Cash Museum. I’m not even a big Johnny Cash fan. In fact, I turn off Ring of Fire whenever it comes on the radio. I hate that song. But after visiting the museum, I had a new appreciation of the man and of country, rock-a-billy music in general.Goo Goo Cluster Shop: Just across the street from the Johnny Cash Museum is the Goo Goo Cluster shop. What’s a Goo Goo Cluster? That’s what we wanted to know. I guess it’s a chocolate candy that originated in Nashville, Tennessee! It’s made of caramel, marshmallow nougat, peanuts, and milk chocolate. We weren’t going to go inside because a gaggle of old grandmas had just walked across the street from the Cash Museum and went into Goo Goo and I was out of old lady patience, but a passerby on the street told us we HAD TO TRY THEM! So I braved the gaggle of grandmas at Goo Goo and went inside. And I recommend you do the same.Parthenon: So if you’re totally into Greek history, go and see the full-scale replica of the Parthenon. I’m not and I couldn’t care less. But once I was there, I learned that it was built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition which is basically a HUGE FAIR. And I love fairs! And I loved seeing the old photos of the Exposition including the Giant See-Saw, the Chute ride, and the Cafe of Night and Morning where diners sat at tables made from real coffins and under chandeliers made of skulls and bones while watching live-action scenes of Dante’s Inferno. Where can I find that today?Pinewood Social: Want to do some hipster watching? Just head over to Pinewood Social where you can grab a bite to eat, a fancy mixed drink, and do some bowling at the cutest little bowling alley EVER!
What to Hear:
Like I said above, if you’re only in town for 1-2 days, or only one night, go to the Grand Ole Opry! But if you’re in town a few more nights, there are so many places to hear live music! We didn’t get a chance to check them all out, but I’m including the ones I did visit as well as a list of others!
Grand Ole Opry: If you want live music, go to the Opry! On any given night, you can see anywhere from 5-10 different musical acts! All at one concert. Each singer or band plays 2-3 songs and then gives up the stage for the next act. Plus, it’s a live radio show, so you get to watch the announcer read all the advertisements and announce all of the acts. My favorite act? The first band we saw take the stage: Riders in the Sky! They started out singing Rawhide and since the show I’ve learned I’m very good at the whistle and “rawhide!” yell. Plus the Riders in the Sky wears great costumes like furry chaps and they do rope work on stage. It’s pretty awesome. Another great act? The late Little Jimmy Dickens in his tiny rhinestone getup.Nightlife along Broadway and Robert’s Western World: Don’t want to buy tickets to see a show? Simply walk up and down Broadway in Downtown Nashville, duck in and out of the honky-tonks and piano bars and you will hear all kinds of good (and bad) music. Also, be sure to check out Earnest Tubb’s Music Shop.
My favorite honky tonk along Broadway is Robert’s Western World. I feel it is the most authentic, least touristy spot along the strip. Great bands play there, and if you’re hungry, you can get a fried bologna sandwich, chips and a PBR for $5. One of my favorite songs I saw performed at Robert’s Western World was The Auctioneer. What I learned during my visit to Nashville is that I may have either been a cowboy or an auctioneer in a past life.
Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of my Nashville Guide for where to stay, what to eat, and where to shop! Did I miss any of must visits? Let me know in the comments!