This blog post was updated on October 17, 2019.
It’s summer and things are going to heat up in the charming, historic, and colorful city of Nashville, which is getting ready to welcome visitors in droves. But if you’re on a bit of a budget, you’re probably wondering if can you eat, drink, and be merry to your heart’s content in this special city. Never fear! Our brave travel junkies and fearless foodies and have lined up a 2-day tour that won’t drain your wallet on your visit. Pack your bags and get ready for an awesome ride — this is “Music City!”
Hit the Loveless Cafe and Motel for a hearty yet affordable southern meal. Start the day off with biscuits, gravy, ham, and much more. Breakfast platters start at around $10.
After breakfast, take a self-guided tour (around $25 for adults) around the hallowed, church-like Ryman Auditorium for a slice of history, where artists such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young have performed.
If you’re a country music aficionado, then the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the place to visit, where for around $26 you’ll get access to great artifacts that include Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac.
As you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Puckett’s to try some of their famous deep-fried pickles and pulled pork (around $9).
Work off your lunch by strolling through Centennial Park, located a couple of miles southeast of downtown. The serene greenery is also home to another Nashville landmark – The Parthenon – a full-scale replica of the one found in Greece. While the tour inside may not be much, it’s still worth the walk around.
Interesting Nashville fact #1: Nashville was also known as the “Athens of the South” due its many colleges and universities.
As evening draws near, you’re probably a bit weary after a long day of sight-seeing so it’s time to head back to the downtown area for some music and a beer or three. Wander through Honky Tonk Highway, where the streets are lined with great music venues that are almost always free, and where you show your appreciation by slipping a few dollars into the tip jar. Robert’s Western World and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge are classic honkey tonk bars where you can listen to some great music and have a few drinks in a cramped yet lively atmosphere – drop by both institutions and you won’t be disappointed.
By this time, you can crawl over to the Tavern on Broadway for a late night snack (think fried chicken skins and grilled cheese sandwich) and a nightcap before you hit the hay.
Traveler Tip: The Jack Daniel’s Distillery has FREE tours every day from 9am to 4:30pm – first come, first served basis.
Slept in a bit, didn’t you? No problem – saunter on to the Garden Brunch Cafe, where you can help yourself to a $11 original breakfast (eggs, bacon, grits), or try their famous Banana Foster Pancakes ($13).
After breakfast head down to take the Grand Ole Opry day-time tour (around $20 for adults), where a guide will explain the legendary status of this iconic radio show and you MAY get the chance to stand on the stage that has held so many great performers.
Interesting Nashville fact #2: Nashville is home to the world’s longest-running live music radio show, The Grand Ole Opry, which has been broadcasting weekly since 1925.
The Johnny Cash Museum is also a great stop, with many visitors actually preferring it to the much larger and more famous Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Entrance to the homage to the Man in Black will run you about $20.
If your stomach is growling with hunger again, then it’s the perfect time to sample a Nashville classic – the paprika-coated and fried “hot chicken”. Few places serve it up in more rustic fashion than the legendary Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. We can guarantee you’ll be sweating from the spice heat as well as the lack of A/Cs!
Slot in a bit of history time on your tour by visiting The Hermitage, the elaborate mansion that was home to President Andrew Jackson. Walk through the premises of the expansive property, and see history unfold ($22 for adults).
Traveler Tip: The first Saturday of each month art galleries open their doors from 6-9pm to the public.
As it’s once again time for evening debauchery, head back to Music Row – another street lined with amazing live music options, where you can bar hop till you’re ready to drop.
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Once you’ve recovered the next day, it’s time to say goodbye to Nashville – but only until the next time you find cheap plane tickets and make your way back to the wide-open arms of Music City!
Are there any places you enjoyed when you were in Nashville? If there’s anything we may have missed in our lowdown on Music City, please do mention them in the comments below.