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NASHVILLE NOW

Nashville's Mayor Barry

By Mayor Megan Barry


After you visit Nashville, you might go home and write a song. You might decide, before your plane lands, what your next restaurant opening or clothing line will be. Or you might just realize that you need to buy a house and move here.

It’s an extraordinary time in Nashville, and there’s plenty of inspiration to go around. The creativity that has long made “Music City” more than just a marketing slogan is now invigorating our rapidly expanding food, film and fashion industries. People are moving here every day, and jobs are following them. New restaurants, hotels, corporate offices and other kinds of developments are announced so often that it’s hard for many people to keep up.

When you visit, you’ll find a dynamic blend of historic sites, new attractions and unique neighborhoods spread across a city that easily mixes urban, suburban and rural settings. Check out President Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, and pay a visit to the Parthenon. Yes, we have a gorgeous, full-scale replica of the ancient Greek temple in the middle of our Centennial Park.

Go visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Civil Rights Room at Nashville Public Library, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk University. Watch the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators as they take on rival teams in the NFL and NHL, or catch a baseball game at the Nashville Sounds’ new First Tennessee Park.

And listen to live music at one of 150 venues, including historic spots like the Station Inn, Bluebird Cafe and Ryman Auditorium, or between the skyline and the Cumberland River at the new Ascend Amphitheater.

The people here are a wonderful mix, too. New Americans, millennials, entrepreneurs, artists and others are changing the face of Nashville. I’m an example of that as the city’s first female mayor.

There’s never been a better time to come to Nashville. I hope we’ll see you soon.

—To reach Mayor Barry, call 615.862.6000 or email mayor@nashville.gov.


STORY

CULTURE

The must-sees in Nashville range from its bounty of music to historic architecture, wide-ranging art collections, an iconic print shop—and even a replica of the Parthenon.

Nashville is rightly known as Music City for its rich musical heritage and thriving popular music scene. But the city’s cultural offerings don’t stop there. From Andrew Jackson’s home to one of the finest symphonies in the country to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville is as exciting during the day as it is at night.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE

Three Nashville estates offer a window into bygone eras. Belle Meade exemplifies a classic Southern plantation, with a twist: It was also an equestrian center. Cheekwood was the 55-acre estate of businessman Leslie Cheek and his family; it now houses an outstanding collection of American and British art. Perhaps most remarkable is The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s 1,000-acre plantation. Thanks to the current debate over the face of the $20 bill, a visit to the Hermitage is especially timely.

HATCH SHOW PRINT

First opened in 1879, this print shop helped define the look of Southern music and culture with its powerful and evocative posters. Visitors today can see a press in operation and check out the shop’s historic poster gallery. hatchshowprint.com

THE HERMITAGE HOTEL

The Hermitage is one of Nashville’s finest hotels, notes general manager Dee Patel, and its most historic. Opened in 1910, the Hermitage has headquartered the women’s suffrage movement and hosted presidents like FDR and JFK.

NASHVILLE SYMPHONY

Housed in the magnificent Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Nashville Symphony is as ambitious as you might expect from a music town. It gives 140 performances a year in styles ranging from classical to jazz and pop. Its classical recordings have won eight Grammy awards.

FRIST CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS

Just 15 years old, the Frist has become a center for Nashville’s quickly growing visual arts scene. Current and upcoming exhibits include Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945-1975, and Harmony Korine: Shadows and Loops, featuring the paintings of the Nashville-based filmmaker.

PARTHENON

Built in 1897 to celebrate the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, this replica of Greece’s Parthenon was an homage to Nashville’s status as the “Athens of the South.” Today it houses 19th and 20th century American art. parthenon.org

DINING

No matter what your choice of cuisine, Nashville restaurants offer fantastic cooking, authentic ambience and a warm welcome.

Nashville has long been known for Southern food—barbecue, biscuits and gravy, hot chicken—and you can find those dishes, both classic and updated, at restaurants throughout the city.

But in recent years Nashville has become home to a food scene that both embraces and transcends regional cuisine. For foodies who would think nothing of traveling to New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco to sample a hot new restaurant, Nashville has become an essential pilgrimage.

An entrepreneurial culture, relatively low rents and the city’s welcoming atmosphere make Nashville an appealing option for chefs who want to prepare world-class food but aren’t interested in the hypercompetitive, ultra-expensive restaurant scene of a Manhattan or San Francisco. In Nashville, chefs have the ability to hone their menus and skills over time, rather than confronting the possibility of failure because of one early, adversarial critic.

For visitors, all of this means an abundance of choices in cuisine, atmosphere and price. You (along with just 21 others a night) can have dinner at The Catbird Seat Seat, where executive chef Ryan Poli makes an inventive, multicourse meal based on fresh ingredients and the food he feels like making that day. Or try brisket meatballs with a side of Jerusalem artichokes at farm-to-table Butcher & Bee. For the thirsty, there are a multitude of craft distilleries and breweries, including Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and Tennessee Brew Works.

This is incredible cuisine made with the passion and excitement of a food town that is really hitting its stride.

MAX AND BENJAMIN GOLDBERG | LE SEL

The Goldberg brothers—pictured here at Le Sel, their fresh take on French cuisine—have helped reshape the city’s hospitality scene, opening bars such as Paradise Park, a Broadway honky tonk, and restaurants like Pinewood Social, which is also part bowling alley.

MANET CHAUHAN | CHAUHAN ALE & MASALA HOUSE

She’s famous for appearing on the Food Network show Chopped, but her genius really comes out in Chauhan Ale & Masala House, which combines Indian fare with traditional Southern dishes to glorious results.

PHILIP KRAJECK | ROLF AND DAUGHTERS

In its four years of existence, Rolf and Daughters has won raves from critics across the country, thanks largely to the creative cooking of chef/owner Philip Krajeck. The pasta—like ricotta cavatelli with tree-nut ragout—is a particular standout.

KARL AND SARAH WORLEY | BISCUIT LOVE

The Worleys founded Biscuit Love in 2012 as a food truck, offering Southern food sourced from local purveyors and farms. In 2015, they turned it into a restaurant with expertly done staples such as biscuits, grits and fried chicken.

PAT MARTIN | MARTIN’S BAR-B-QUE JOINT

Martin has been making barbecue for 25 years, and you can experience his passion for smoked meat at three Nashville-area joints. Many of Martin’s side dishes and desserts are made from Martin family recipes.

MUSIC

You can hear music in Nashville in venues that are both iconic and intimate, from drinking craft beer at a honky tonk or rocking at the Ryman.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of music on the daily life of Nashville. It’s not just the dozens of honky tonks, where you can hear live music free every night of the week, or the abundance of clubs and arenas. It’s how that music shapes the way people live and work here. Just as Nashville bands and musicians—some of them famous, some of them not—collaborate on songwriting and performing, that spirit of partnership and common purpose pervades the life of the city.

Of course, Music City is best known for country music, dating back to Nashville radio station WSM’s landmark show, the Grand Ole Opry, the longest-running radio program in history. But Nashville’s music has long been as diverse as the city itself. Rhythm & Blues came to the fore in the 1960s, amplified by two popular Nashville-based TV shows, Night Train and The !!!! Beat. That same decade saw the recording of some of the greatest music in American history, from artists like The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley. And throughout there were the contributions of the largest community of songwriters in the world and Nashville’s famed session musicians, known as the Nashville Cats.

Today, Nashville’s country tradition lives on in popular singers like Sturgill Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and others. But whether it’s those artists or Jack White, Kings of Leon and the Black Keys, Nashville’s music defies categorization. If it’s played in America, it’s made in Nashville.

HONKY TONKS

Nashville’s honky tonks are the starting point for visitors to the local music scene. Primarily set in the Broadway historic district, they are the descendants of rugged, anything-goes frontier saloons. The modern-day honky tonks are more civilized, but they’re still great places to relax, grab a drink, and hear some music. And the wonderful thing is the element of spontaneity—since the caliber of music is so high, you can stop into any honky tonk, or several, and you’ll hear great music wherever you go. visitmusiccity.com

RYMAN AUDITORIUM

A temple of American music, the Ryman opened in 1892 as a revival tabernacle. In the early 20th century, it became a center for community events, and in 1943 it became the home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Since then the Ryman’s musical tradition, amazing acoustics and architectural beauty have made it a must-play for musicians from all over the world.

THE BLUEBIRD CAFE

The Bluebird is an intimate listening room where several dozen lucky guests can hear songwriters play the type of small, personal shows they usually play for friends and family. The atmosphere is casual, but the music is serious and the connection between performer and listener is undeniable.

SHOP

Whether you’re in the mood for fashion or food, Nashville stores carry distinctive goods with a Southern heritage and a local flavor.

Shopping in Nashville offers an incredible diversity of choices, from fashion to food, music and memorabilia—and many of them come from local stores inspired by the city’s rich history. At Cavanagh Baker’s design studio, you can find beautiful, statement-making women’s clothing; Ceri Hoover creates distinctive bags and shoes; Judith Bright crafts striking handmade jewelry. And at Two Son in East Nashville, you can find casual but stylish clothing for both men and women from designers you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of before—including Two Son’s own line. If all that shopping makes you hungry, check out Olive & Sinclair, a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker that’s earned a national reputation. You’ll want to try concoctions like Bourbon Nib Brittle and the Buttermilk White Chocolate Bar. Or visit the Goo Goo Shop to try this classic Southern confection, first made in 1912.

HOLLY WILLIAMS | WHITE’S MERCANTILE

The daughter of Hank Williams Jr., Holly Williams is not only a singer/songwriter in her own right, she’s also the proprietor of a modern-day general store, White’s Mercantile, as well as a boutique called H. Audrey.

CAVANAGH BAKER

Nashville-based designer Cavanagh Baker invites clients into her private design studio for made-to-order garments and fittings for her limited-edition collections. A small selection of on-trend ready-to-wear items are also available.

GOO GOO CLUSTERS

Hailed as the first candy bar to combine multiple elements, Goo Goo Clusters—originally comprised of caramel, marshmallow nougat, roasted peanut, and milk chocolate—have been a central part of Nashville’s southern tradition for more than 100 years.

GOO GOO CLUSTERS

This Southern artisan chocolate is slow-roasted and ground in small batches from single-origin cacao bean to create a smooth unique flavor. By aging cacao beans in bourbon barrels and then smoking the beans in a smokehouse, Olive and Sinclair bring out the best of southern flavors.

CERI HOOVER

Simple but never plain, Ceri Hoover bags and shoes are sourced from the world’s finest leather purveyors and created by American artisans.

JUDITH BRIGHT

Judith Bright made jewelry as hobby before launching her own business 10 years ago. Handcrafted by artisans in her Nashville studio, her unique and delicate pieces combine precious metals and hand-picked gemstones.

TWO SON

Founded by two couples, who each have Two Son, Two Son boutique offers a curated selection of womenswear, menswear, accessories and home goods, along with its own, exclusive, namesake clothing line for women and men.

PETER NAPPI

After discovering that his grandfather Peter was an Italian shoemaker, Nashville resident Phillip Nappi was inspired to launch a store dedicated to his grandfather’s craftsmanship. Now five years old, that store, named Peter Nappi, sells handmade leather shoes and boots for men and women in an inspired post-industrial setting.
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