Nashville City Guide


Suggested Itineraries for Visiting Nashville

©2006 Donnie Beauchamp Bring your dancing shoes -- or boots -- to the Wildhorse Saloon.

Don't become overwhelmed by all the things to do in Nashville. With some help from the suggested itineraries on this page, you'll be able to cover tons of ground and see the very best of the city.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Special Events & Attractions in Nashville

Whether country music, Civil War lore, race cars, or something else is the primary focus of your trip, Nashville will deliver. See the suggested itineraries below to help you fit it in the must-see attractions.

1 day: Start your day on a tour of the Ryman Auditorium (116 Fifth Ave N), the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Stand on the stage where dozens of legends, like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, started their careers.

Then head over to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 Fifth Ave S) to look at memorabilia that once belonged to country music legends. This is a good spot to view gold and platinum records of your favorite artists, too.

Complete the country music theme day by stopping at the Music Valley Wax Museum of the Stars (2515 McGavock Pkwy, 615-883-3612), which has dozens of lifelike wax figures of country music legends dressed in authentic costumes.

Stop in at the Delta Atrium of the Mobil Three-Star Gaylord Opryland Resort (2800 Opryland Dr). This is the largest of three atriums at the hotel. The Delta covers 4-1/2 acres and has a quarter-mile-long river, a 110-foot-wide waterfall, an 85-foot-tall fountain, and an island modeled after the French Quarter in New Orleans. On this island are shops and restaurants to stop and take a rest.

In the evening, drop by the Wildhorse Saloon (120 2nd Ave), which is considered Nashville's hottest country dance hall. You can even receive free dance lessons to keep your scootin' boots in step with the music.

2 days: Visit the Belle Meade Plantation (5025 Harding Rd), which has a Greek Revival mansion surrounded by 30 acres of manicured lawns and shade trees. Costumed guides can give visitors a three-hour tour of the grounds to show them what life was like in the mid-1800s. You'll see a log cabin, a smokehouse, and a creamery, as well as a large carriage house and stable built in 1890.

To keep with the post-Civil War theme, head over to the Jack Daniel's Distillery (Interstate 55, about 26 miles southwest of Lynchburg). Founded in 1866, this is the oldest registered distillery in the United States. You can tour the facility and see how Jack Daniel's whiskey is made, including water from a pure, iron-free Cave Spring.

Make time for the Stones River National Battlefield (3501 Old Nashville Hwy, Interstate 24 south from Nashville about 30 miles), where one of the bloodiest Civil War battles was fought on New Year's Eve 1862. The site features 351 acres of preserved battlefield that includes a national cemetery and the Hazen Brigade Monument, one of the oldest Civil War memorials in the United States.    

3 days: Spend the day listening to the roar of the engines and watching cars make laps at the Nashville Superspeedway (4847-F McCrary Rd in Lebanon).

Continue with the race car theme by visiting the alternative fuel vehicles and micro-cars at the Lane Motor Museum (702 Murfreesboro Pike). Some of the 150 on display are prototypes, making this a one-of-a-kind experience.

After all that roar of the engines, enjoy some quiet time checking out the 250-plus toy and model locomotives in the train room at the Nashville Toy Museum (161 8th Ave N, 615-742-5678). Two train layouts depict Tennessee in the 1930s and Britain at the turn of the century

End your day with a nice steak or blackened catfish and cornbread at Jimmy Kelly's (217 Louise Ave).

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Arts & Culture in Nashville

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Arts & Culture in Nashville

There's no shortage of arts and culture in Nashville. Take a look at these itineraries, which highlight the best of the best.

1 day: Over coffee and a cinnamon bun, solve Nashville's most infamous art heist at Bongo Java (2009 Belmont Blvd). The NunBunTM, a pastry that resembles the late Mother Teresa, has been missing since Christmas Day 2005.

Next, examine the distinguished Alfred Stieglitz Collection at Fisk University's Carl Van Vechten Gallery (1000 17th Ave N) for the works of Pablo Picasso to Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Then, view the modern and contemporary pieces of Africans and black Americans on the third floor Aaron Douglas Gallery at the nearby Fisk University Library (Jackson St at 17th Ave N).

In the Gulch District, enjoy the tortilla soup or serrano chicken caesar salad at the Sambuca Restaurant (601 12th Ave S).

Spend the rest of the afternoon at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts (919 Broadway), viewing the temporary exhibits or exploring the hands-on ArtQuest room.

2 days: For a morning in the Mediterranean in middle Tennessee, have the Eggs Florentine with feta at the Athens Family Restaurant (2526 Franklin Rd).

Then, visit The Parthenon (2600 West End Ave), the world's only full-scale reproduction of the temple in Greece. You can admire the classic beauty of the gilded Athena Parthenos, which at 42 feet in height makes it one of the tallest indoor sculptures anywhere. In the basement of The Parthenon, the sea and landscape oil paintings by American artists hang in the galleries, along with photos and watercolor prints.

©2006 Gary Layda If you can't get to Greece, be sure to visit the full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.

Go from palette to palate in Germantown, with the Reuben at the Mobil Two-Star Mad Platter Restaurant (1239 6th Ave N). The menu not only changes often, but so does the local art on the walls. Instead of viewing a velvet picture of Elvis, you can sample a chocolate one for dessert.

Head over to the Hartzler-Towner Cultural Museum at Scarritt Bennett Center (1104 19th Ave S) to view masks, textile designs, and pottery in the Laskey Building or religious art like a wood carving of the Last Supper at the nearby Upper Room Chapel and Museum (1908 Grand Ave).

Make time to stop by Vanderbilt University to see its international collection at its Fine Arts Gallery (23rd and West End Ave).

3 days: Enjoy a special breakfast request of panini with cheese, egg, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms at Bread & Co (6051 Hwy 100).

Take a stroll at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (1200 Forest Park Dr) on the mile-long Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, where artists have interpreted nature in wire, stone, and metal. In the forest, you'll happen upon a giant rabbit and turtles and go through a glass-covered bridge. Next, walk through Cheekwood's other flower-lined paths, which include daylilies to daffodils.

The wealthy family that once owned Cheekwood was also responsible for Maxwell House Coffee, and the Georgian-style mansion has a decorative arts collection of Worcester porcelain and American 18th-century-and-older silver. However, Cheekwood has since amassed 600 paintings by such notables as William Bradford and 5,000 prints, including some by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, for its galleries.

Take your fruit tea in Cheekwood's Pineapple Room with the creamed roasted chicken on cornbread or the pineapple boat with chicken salad. You will notice items such as unique tableware and yard ornaments in its gift shops.

Later, take in the contemporary crafts on display at The American Artisan (4321 Harding Rd). The owner searches the country for fine handcrafted collector's items to feature at the gallery.

When you get hungry, head to the Mobil Two-Star Bound'ry (911 20th Ave S), where Tennessee ostrich is laced with pomegranate molasses, or have the country ham and black-eyed pea salad with romaine and endive.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Architecture & Landmarks in Nashville

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Architecture & Landmarks in Nashville

From Civil War landmarks to Tennesse state buildings, the architecture and landmarks in Nashville are varied. Use these itineraries to help you plan your days.

1 day: Begin your Nashville Heritage Day at one of its institutions: The Pancake Pantry (1796 21st Ave S), which has 35 kinds of flapjacks in Hillsboro Village. The sweet potato pancakes are so delicious that you'll have to go during mid-week to avoid the long lines.

Walk off breakfast at Riverfront Park (First Ave and Broadway), where you can also sit and ponder about how the founders, including the young Rachel Donelson, later the wife of President Andrew Jackson, landed on Christmas Day 1779 along the Cumberland River.

Discover the replica of Fort Nashborough (170 First Ave N, 615-862-8400), which is about one-fourth the size of the original on the actual grounds, which were settled by the North Carolinians led by James Robertson and John Donelson (father of Rachel).

Revisit more of the past at Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum (636 Farrell Pkwy), the oldest mansion in Nashville. The honorable Judge John Overton spent more than 50 years building it. A genteel Southern gentleman, Overton allowed the weary wanderers to stay at his 2,300-acre cotton plantation. The building reflects the history and development of early Tennessee.

Just as hospitable is The Yellow Porch (734 Thompson Ln) for soups, salads (try the one with dried figs), or sandwiches in the nearby Berry Hill neighborhood. It has the welcoming atmosphere of a dress-up tea room, but without the frilly hats and gloves.

Spend the remainder of the afternoon at The Hermitage (4580 Rachel's Ln) learning about the seventh U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, at his esteemed Ante-bellum estate. It has authentic 1800s-era furnishings, nearly all of which are original to the family.

For dinner, have a sizzling aged steak inside a remodeled log cabin at the nearby Hermitage Steakhouse (4342 Lebanon Pike). Or go toward midtown to Jimmy Kelly's (217 Louise Ave), a landmark since 1934 in Nashville. Their corn cakes are from a recipe not unlike that of The Jacksonian Era.

2 days: Have flaky pastries and coffee at Java Jane's House of Gourmet opening about 9 am inside Farmers Market (900 8th Ave N), where you can get a glimpse of  Tennessee's agriculture. Before the move in 1995, vendors sold their wares around the Davidson County Courthouse.

Take a walk through nearby Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park (James Robertson Pkwy), which honored Tennessee's 200th anniversary in 1996 on the symbolic site. The Wall of History has milestones, including a break in its rock around the Civil War for the "Great Divide" in the state when it left the Union. The Court of 3 Stars is another must-see in patriotic red, white, and blue granite for the East, Middle, and West regions of Tennessee. As one of the world's largest, its carillon is impressive when the 95 bells toll for the state's musical heritage.

©2006 Robin Hood The Hermitage Hotel saw much activity during the women's suffrage movement.

Next, you should head for "The Hill." At the Tennessee State Capitol (600 Charlotte), bills pass or fail (with much lobbying in between) on Capitol Hill under the golden dome.

For the best skyline view of Nashville, have lunch at the Mobil Two-Star Germantown Cafe (1200 Fifth Ave N) in the Germantown District. You can't go wrong with the salmon with coconut milk and curry on risotto.

Save the afternoon for the Tennessee State Museum (5th & Deaderick sts, on the lower level of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center), where President George Washington's autograph is on the 1796 proclamation making Tennessee the 16th state. You'll also find Andrew Jackson's hat from his inaugural, a quill pen of James K. Polk's used in signing the treaty in 1848 with Mexico, and the piano of nearly impeached Andrew Johnson.

Stroll up to the Mobil Five-Star Hermitage Hotel (231 6th Ave N) for a pink cosmopolitan in its Oak Bar. For years ladies had to order drinks from its window because they weren't allowed to socialize inside with the men. Then, women were given the right to vote after Tennessee became the deciding state in 1920 to pass the 19th Amendment. Much campaigning went on at the Hermitage Hotel.

Eat in elegance at Mobil Four-Star Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel, beginning with the corn bisque with smoked peach relish, pork with mustard greens, and truffle macaroni and cheese.

3 days: Explore the stone Fort Negley (475 Humphreys St), so deemed for the provost Marshall and Commander General James Scott Negley of the Federal Troops. Many African-Americans built the 600-foot-long and 400-foot-wide outpost.

Next, see how the Nashville's other half -- the wealthiest woman in Tennessee -- lived during the Civil War at Belmont Mansion (1900 Belmont Blvd, on the campus of Belmont University). No blushing Southern belle, Adelicia Acklen talked both the Union and Confederate armies into transporting her cotton on the Mississippi River to the port of New Orleans.

For lunch, you can't get more sophisticatedly Southern than Martha's at the Plantation (5025 Harding Rd at Belle Meade Plantation). Along with her buttermilk fried chicken, Martha makes elegant chicken croquettes with a lemon mushroom sauce.

Spend the afternoon at the Belle Meade Plantation (5025 Harding Rd) looking at where cannonballs aimed in 1862 by the Union at the front porch still leave an imprint from the Civil War. The owner, "General" William Giles Harding, was sent to a Federal jail for six months at Fort Mackinaw Island.

If you have two extra days, consider taking a tour of the Stones River National Battlefield & Cemetery (3501 Old Nashville Hwy) in Murfreesboro. On New Year's Eve 1862, the exchange began through January 3 on the now 600 acres. By 1865, some 6,000 soldiers had been buried there, where the Hazen Brigade Monument may be the oldest intact obelisk from the Civil War.

The Battle of Franklin sealed the fate of the Confederacy, beginning November 30, 1864, around the Carter House (1140 Columbia Ave, Franklin) and Historic Carnton Plantation (1345 Carnton Lane). The independence of the South became a lost cause after the bloodiest battle below the Mason-Dixon Line. Within five hours, carnage was left all over the town. As the "Gettysburg of the West," Franklin was vividly depicted by author Robert Hicks in the New York Times best-selling novel, Widow of the South.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Shopping in Nashville

From antiques to discount duds, the shopping venues in Nashville will suit all budgets. Here are suggestions on how to plan your shopping trip:

1 day: Take your espresso on this Designer Shopping Day with the signature apricot pecan ring coffee cake at the original Provence Breads & Cafe (1705 21st Ave S). Then wander through Hillsboro Village for jewelry to pottery made by local artists at A Thousand Faces (1720 21st Ave S).

Go for the power purchases at The Mall at Green Hills (2126 Abbott Martin Rd), where you can buy at Sigrid Olsen, Cole Haan, White House/Black Market, and Janie and Jack. The anchors are Hechts and Dillard's, but there's also a Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, and Restoration Hardware.

Do lunch at Mobil Two-Star Green Hills Grille (3805 Green Hills Village Dr) with the Adobo barbecue chicken salad.

Still looking for sophisticated Nashville style? Get it off the rack at Jamie (4317 Harding Rd), Coco (4239 Harding Pike), Grace's (4005 Hillsboro Pike), The French Shoppe (2817 West End Ave), or the Boutique Bella (2817 West End Ave).

    

2 days: Begin your Bargain Hunter's Shopping Day by eating peanut butter and banana on a cinnamon raisin bagel at Fido (1812 21st Ave S) in Hillsboro Village. Then, rummage through sale paperbacks among the 100,000 volumes at the adjoining gender-titled Bookman and Bookwoman Rare and Used Bookstore (1713 21st Ave S).

Thousands of old 45s to 33-1/3 LPs at The Great Escape (1925 Broadway) are affordable along with movies, comic books, and video games.

As for clothing, think retro rhinestone at Katy K Designs Ranch Dressing (2407 12th Ave S) for a strappy dress or an original Nudie suit that goes for $1,000 and more. And for that 1970s or '80s hippie look, Venus & Mars Silvery Moon (2830 Bransford Ave) is where you can find eclectic fashions at frugal prices.

In the shabbiest of chic, have meat loaf for lunch at The White Trash Cafe (1914 Bransford Ave). Then, look for more knick-knacks at The Downtown Antique Mall (612 Eighth Ave S). It's worth the drive to nearby Goodlettsville, with eight malls to plunder through. Two of the best are the Rare Bird Antique Mall (212 S Main St) for the unusual and Goodlettsville Antique Mall (213 N Main St) for the more traditional.

3 days: Wake up early on your "Outlet Shopping Day" and head to Opry Mills (433 Opry Mills Drive), a 200-plus-store mall that has an information booth to get complimentary discount coupons for shopping within the mall. Take a mall map, and point yourself in the direction of Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet (Suite 247), Tommy Hilfiger Company Store (Suite 222), Liz Claiborne Outlet (Suite 168), Nautica (Suite 252), and Banana Republic Factory Stores (Suite 240), among other retailers.

For lunch, grab a table at the Aquarium Restaurant (516 Opry Mills Dr), where you will sit around a 200,000-gallon aquarium centerpiece filled with more than 100 species of colorful, tropical fish. Get back into the mall and make the loop to Blacklion (Suite 261) for home decor to accessories, college jerseys at Tennessee Sports Fan (Suite 379), and shirts to skirts at RCC's Western Store (Suite 384).

For a snack, have the apple fritters, cider, and apple butter at the Apple Barn (Suite 109) or ice cream in a waffle cone at Carvel in the mall's food court. Since Opry Mills is all about "shopper-tainment," you can also bowl a strike at Dave & Busters (Suite 540) or even pet a live stingray at Sting Ray Reef (Suite 514).

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Nightlife & Entertainment in Nashville

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Nightlife & Entertainment in Nashville

While music is often the center of Nashville's nightlife and entertainment, there are a few other options to check out. See the following itineraries.

1 day: For a Classic Country Day, have the fried eggs, pork sausage, biscuits, and gravy at the Elliston Place Soda Shop (211 Elliston Place). Many a Grand Ole Opry member has sat on its red barstools and booths since the eatery opened in 1939.

Make the pilgrimage to the Ryman Auditorium (116 Fifth Ave N) for a front and backstage tour of the shrine known as the Mother Church of Country Music. If these walls could sing, you would hear such voices as Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline in the 1892-era tabernacle. Take a moment to reflect on the artifacts in the glass cases on the lower level and the view from the upstairs balcony.

©2006 Donnie Beauchamp Ryman Auditorium is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Stop in at Hatch Show Print (316 Broadway) to look at vintage Grand Ole Opry billposters at one of the oldest letterpress operations in the United States begun in 1879.

Take a peek inside the purple-painted Tootsie's Orchid Lounge (422 Broadway), patronized by everyone from Willie Nelson to Roger Miller years ago. Next, flip through CDs at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop (417 Broadway), where record racks were scooted back for dancing by the 1940s for the Midnite Jamboree. Today, the Texas Troubadour Theatre hosts the live weekly broadcast near Opry Mills on Saturday nights.

Drive to the Nashville Palace (2611 McGavock Pike) for a Legendary Lunch of catfish to white beans and cornbread and occasional visits from Opry stars since the restaurant is across from the Gaylord Opryland Resort. At the Palace, Ricky Van Shelton and Randy Travis were introduced to Nashville.

Afterward, take in the history of the world's longest-running radio show at the Grand Ole Opry Museum (2802 Opryland Dr). You'll see how the former WSM Barn Dance was founded, along with shiny costumes and instruments from the likes of Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff.

 

Then, listen to the real deal at The Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Dr) on Fridays and Saturdays from March through early October. (In the winter, the performances move to the Ryman Auditorium.)

2 days: Start with breakfast on an All Music Day at Cafe Coco (211 Louise Ave) with the struggling musicians on the "Rock Block" of nightclubs at Elliston Place. Groupies can have the Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach, or the green eggs (with pesto) and ham with mozzarella.

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum (222 Fifth Ave S), which has had an unmistakable influence on folk, classical, jazz, rock 'n' roll, blues, and gospel. Some of the most popular artifacts on the three floors are by talent "crossing over" in the genre, such as Elvis' "Solid Gold Cadillac" with the 45 rpms in the roof.

Even country cooking goes pop at the SoBro Grill (222 Fifth Ave S) in the lobby, where you can order the fried green tomato and mozzarella BLT. Have the sweet tea and cornbread with honey butter. Then, explore one of the top gift shops in Nashville, known for its always-anticipated Country Music Hall of Fame Wall Calendar to its coffee-table books.

Take the guided headset tour of Historic RCA Studio B (30 Music Square W), where the Everly Brothers to Eddy Arnold recorded songs for the mainstream. At the "Home of 1,000 Hits," in the 1960s, Dolly Parton accidentally ran her car into the side of Studio B. You must purchase your ticket at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

Afterward, go from fiddles to violins at the new $120 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center (One Symphony Pl) just a bow's throw from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Even the 30 windows are soundproofed, so it's pitch-perfect for the 100 concerts annually. Have a drink at its bistro, or take home a Nashville Symphony Orchestra CD at its retail store.

In the evening, dine at Mobil Three-Star F. Scott's Restaurant & Jazz Bar (2210 Crestmoor Rd) with its changing seasonal menu. It's also one of the most romantic Nashville restaurants.

3 days: Spend a Guitar Town Day among the songwriters and session musicians of Nashville. Get up by noon (like they do) to have your java at Caffeine Cafe & Bar on Music Row (1516 Demonbreun) with the vegetarian eggs, avocado, and tomato plate.

If you drive around 16th to 18th avenues, you'll recognize some titles on buildings on "The Row" of many of the 180 studios, 130 publishers, and 80 labels. Yet, the "row houses" -- which give Music Row its name -- are often leased by independents.

Visitors can't expect to walk inside without an appointment, so get your behind-the-scenes look at the "players" at the new Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum (301 6th Ave S), which opened in June 2006. They even invite you to "Come See What You've Heard" at their major recording studio and the 5,000-square-foot live concert hall.

Have an executive power lunch at the Mobil Two-Star Sunset Grill (2001 Belcourt Ave), where movers and shakers on The Row have closed many deals.

Take a more in-depth look at "Guitar Town" with the experts at Gruhn Guitars (400 Broadway, 615-256-2033), who also know all about banjos, mandolins, and ukeleles. Some of the priceless possessions sold here include one of the late Johnny Cash's guitars. If you have no rhythm, you can still buy a miniature on a key chain here.

Finely-tuned instruments are made in Nashville, and also presented at the Gibson Bluegrass Showcase (161 Opry Mills Dr) inside Opry Mills Mall. The guitar is the star here, so expect some jammin' to be going on day and night while you examine the latest models. Then, catch some bluegrass at The Station Inn (402 12th Ave), where Alison Krauss to Bela Fleck have appeared.

Songwriters are so low-key in Music City USA that they often go undetected. That is until the evening, when the best regularly perform at the Bluebird Cafe (4104 Hillsboro Rd). The Bluebird is virtually a 25-year institution in Nashville, after assisting in launching the careers of such notables as Garth Brooks and Faith Hill.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing & Unwinding in Nashville

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing & Unwinding in Nashville

From leisurely lunches to spa treatments galore, Nashville has some of the most inviting relaxation options around. Here are some of the best:

1 day: No need to hurry to the Mobil Two-Star Loveless Cafe (8400 Hwy 100), where a full country breakfast is served all day. Where else can you get pit-barbecued pork with your eggs? Watch the buttermilk biscuits being made in the kitchens, which can be topped with blackberry preserves.

The former motel rooms behind the Loveless Cafe have been converted into boutiques, so stroll through the Shimai for whimsical pottery, Curious Heart Emporium for anything quirky, and Atelier for the fanciful jewelry.

At the Loveless Cafe Shops, you can rent a 10-speed at Trace Bikes (8400 Highway 100) to cycle for the afternoon along the Natchez Trace Parkway since 24 miles of it is on the northern end toward Leipers Fork and Franklin. Take a sack lunch and drinks, since restaurants are off-the-beaten path on the parkway.

Or, pedal through The Warner Parks -- the twin Edwin and Percy Warner Parks -- (7311 Hwy 100) on 2,864 total acres, besides hiking, golfing, or riding at the equestrian stables. Stop for a moment to go through the Warner Park Nature Center, which has an organic vegetable and herb garden, beehives, and flowers.   

2 days: When it's hot in Nashville, some places can never be too cool like Mobil Three-Star Gaylord Opryland Resort (2800 Opryland Dr). Here you'll find indoor and outdoor swimming pools and Nashville Shores and Wave Country aqua parks.

©2006 Donnie Beauchamp The Opryland Resort offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a great spa, and so much more for its guests.

Listen to the soothing waterfalls as you enjoy your praline chocolate chip pancakes during brunch at Cascades at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Dip your toes into the pools. Then, immerse yourself at the Relache Spa for a drenching "Cacades Moisturizing Facial" or a body scrub with a Vichy showers.

For lakeside lounging, make it Nashville Shores (4001 Bell Rd) where jet skis, pontoons, and other boats can be rented at its marina. Inside the water park, slither down seven slides such as the inflatable three-story-tall Hippo. Or, keep dry on a cruise aboard the Nashville Shoreliner around Percy Priest Lake.

The only wave pool in Nashville is elsewhere at Wave Country (2320 Two Rivers Pkwy), which has three chutes along with a volleyball court and a playground. For those on a budget, it's about one-sixth the price of admission to Nashville Shores.

3 days: You'll feel oblivious to the clock at the Nashville Zoo (3777 Nolensville Rd). While away the day at the new Giraffe Savannah and Alligator Cove, with the rhinoceros hornbills and the red pandas on the Bamboo Trail or the Saki monkeys at the Critter Encounters. Spear a kabob or a frozen fruit bar at the Zoofari Cafe.

Linger at Grassmere Historic Farm, around which the Nashville Zoo was constructed. Two late sisters, Margaret and Elise Croft, donated property for use as a historic farm. Meet on the front porch of their 1810 Croft Home on Wednesdays through Sundays to go through the house with a guide, as well as the outside kitchen, heirloom vegetable gardens, smokehouse, orchard, chicken coop, and barn.

Most visitors expect Nashville to be a city of honky tonks and Southern comfort food. But it has so much more to offer -- from incredible visual arts and architecture to Civil War history sites and a variety of museums. Simply put, Nashville has developed into the perfect destination for a vacation.

©Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A lifelong Nashvillian, Patricia Bates has written about travel for many national magazines, such as Cooking Light, FamilyFun, and Coastal Living. For more than a decade, she was an editor at Billboard, the international music weekly, and a reporter at Amusement Business, an international entertainment weekly, in the Nashville office. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

Related Links

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Carter House

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

Fort Negley

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Hartzler-Towner Cultural Museum at Scarritt Bennett Center

The Hermitage Hotel

Historic Carnton Plantation

Lane Motor Museum

Nashville Farmers Market

Nashville Metro Transit Authority

Nashville Symphony Orchestra

Nashville Zoo

National Weather Service

The Parthenon

Radnor Lake State Natural Area

Scarritt Bennett Center

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Stones River National Battlefield

Ted Rhodes Golf Course

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Tennessee State Capitol

Tennessee State Museum

Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum

The Upper Room Chapel

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery

The Warner Parks

Wave Country