By Susan Raridon Lambreth
While I grew up in east Tennessee, I spent many years in Philadelphia until I moved to Nashville about 20 years ago. Because I was in NYC almost weekly for work and working with law firms in most major cities, I had many clients who thought I was crazy moving to Nashville – which they thought was the “middle of nowhere.” One client even sent me an article from their local paper about how the next to last Fortune 500 company was leaving their city to go to Nashville – which none of the locals could understand.
Fast forward to 2013 when the New York Times named Nashville the “it” city in its January 8th article as they described the city’s well-known music community (hence the name “Music City”), with the vibrant young population arriving for jobs here and numerous businesses relocating here for the tax advantages (no state income tax), great weather and low cost of living (at least compared to most major US cities). The city is about 700,000 but with the larger metro area, we are almost 2 million.
This year, Nashville was named to three best-of lists in the United Kingdom.
Nashville was named one of The World's Greatest Cities for Music Lovers by The Telegraph (UK). (January 2021)
Nashville was included on the Independent's (UK) Five of the Best U.S Destinations to Visit in 2021. (January 2021)
The Telegraph (UK) named Nashville as one of the 50 Wonderful Reasons to Rediscover America. (January 2021)
There are live music venues on almost every block downtown (not just country but R&B, jazz, pop and more). The historic Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame (a great museum even if you are not a huge country music fan as I am not) and Frist Art Museum are all within walking distance of the Convention hotel and well worth seeing. If you like country music, the Johnny Cash Museum and Wild Horse Saloon (which teaches free line dancing) are big hits. One of the hot neighborhoods with great little bars and restaurants, East Nashville, also hosts a local chocolate factory where you can do a tour (Olive & Sinclair – but make a reservation). East Nashville is just a 10 minute drive/ride from downtown.
Another distinction we are now known for (not my personal favorite) is as the top city in the US for bachelorette parties (Vegas still is tops for bachelor parties). You will see the Pedal Taverns up and down all the streets downtown, as well as buses with people dancing on the top level of them. The Hop-on/hop-off Trolley Tour is a great way to tour the city – though some prefer the raucous Nash Trash tour.
A short ride from downtown is the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, the largest non-gaming hotel in the US and a sight worth seeing (it is full of beautiful landscaping, restaurants and music venues) and the Grand Ole Opry.
There are great food selections ranging from local specialties like “hot chicken” and other southern favorites to all types of ethnic restaurants of almost any kind you could want. Biscuit Love, Pancake Pantry (if you want a long wait) or Five Daughters bakery are wonderful breakfast choices – but if you have a car or a group to split a Uber with, visiting the famous Loveless Café about 30 mins from downtown is great and some of the best southern food you can find.
Fall is a celebrated time throughout Tennessee. Visitors come from all over to see the annual changing of the leaves in mid-October. Days are warm and pleasant. Evenings require a sweater or light jacket. Since the weather is changeable, layered clothing is a good idea to accommodate sunny days and cooler nights.
Anyone planning to stay for the weekend after the conference should plan some packed days with tours around town or maybe even a little bit south to the Jack Daniels’ distillery. Some of it needs updating but a friend from law school put together a “four days in Nashville” itinerary I have provided to many friends and am happy to share with anyone interested. Slambreth@lawvision.com