Nashville has many nicknames - Music City, The Athens of the South (because of the many colleges here), and Nashvegas (my personal favorite), just to name a few.
Country Music is probably the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Nashville - and for good reason - but it's a beautifully eclectic city with so much more going on than just that. So much art, history, independent restaurants, and culture - and two professional sports teams, too (the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators). This city is not lacking in activity, that's for sure!
I've been fortunate enough to call Nashville 'home' for almost nine years now - here are a few of my favorite things about living here!
1. The Parthenon
Since we are the "Athens of the South," a full-scale replica of the Parthenon was built in Centennial Park near downtown in 1897 for the purpose of what was basically a fair. From what I understand, that building was not built to be permanent and was moved to the nearby town of Franklin. I am not sure if it is still there or not. A permanent Parthenon was built where the original stood around 1920. Inside is an art museum, and just about any time you go to Centennial Park you'll find people having family/engagement/wedding pictures taken there, picnicking, playing frisbee, enjoying the view, or even just sitting on the steps playing guitar.
My husband also wants me to mention that the Parthenon has the largest hinged doors in the World. I'm not sure if this is an actual fact or not, but there you have it!
We couldn't resist indulging in a little photo-op in front of one of the pillars ourselves!
2. Hillsboro Village
Hillsboro Village is just chock-full of good stuff, so much so that I can't even mention it all here. It's near Vanderbilt University, which of course means it's got all the cool little shops and stuff that you would expect in any major college area, plus some upscale stuff, too.
It's home to the Belcourt Theater...
... And great places to eat like the Pancake Pantry and Fido.
If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd do my laundry here (or drop off my dry cleaning, whatever) just because I love the sign!
Down the street from this dragon mural...
...is what I refer to as "Dragon Park"... I am not sure what the proper name is, but the park contains one enormous mosaic dragon that's full of little nooks and crannies for little (or big!) kids to play around in.
And of course, this is a photogenic city, so both the dragon mural and the dragon are perfect backdrops for photos!
But my absolute favorite part of Hillsboro Village is a little store called Pangaea.
They have everything there - clothing, home decor, books, pillows, aprons, oilcloth, jewelry, Dia De Los Muertos stuff ... even coozies with celebrity mugshots on them. See what I mean by 'everything'? It's not a large store, but every square inch of it is used, and it's nearly impssible to see it all, no matter how often you go. And it smells wonderful in there, too!
Broadway is where tourists tend to congregate, but it's still a fun place for the locals. Here is where you'll find the honky-tonks, street musicians and lots of people in cowboy hats (and unless they're the street musicians, you can bet your last dollar they are the tourists)!
The most noticable building in our skyline is affectionately referred to as the "Batman Building," or just the "Bat Building."
It's technical name used to be The BellSouth Tower, but it's since been bought by AT&T. I've never heard anyone call it the AT&T Tower. It's the Batman Building, plain and simple.
A view down Broadway...
Hatch Show Print is always a great place to stop... they sell everything from copies of old prints, to postcards, to thank you notes. They make concert posters for national and local acts, and until recently, they did wedding invitations, too (unfortunately they stopped shortly before I planned to buy some)!
Every time I go to Hatch Show Print, I am reminded of the prints from there I already have that I still haven't bought frames for!
Here's the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, rumored to be Haunted by Hank Williams (Sr., obviously, since the other two are still living).
I do not consider myself a fan of country music (although I love the older stuff - George Jones, Loretta Lynn and such), but I absolutely love to go Honky Tonkin' once in a while. My go-to place for this is Legend's.
The walls and bars inside are lined with records and memorabilia, and my favorite thing to do there is get a Honky Tonk Lemonade (looks and tastes like windex but packs a powerful punch), find a good seat and just listen to the cover bands.
Of course, I can't talk about downtown Nashville without mentioning the Ryman Auditorium - the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.
The Opry is not here anymore (although when the city flooded in May 2010, some shows were moved here since the newer Opryhouse was damaged), but I have had the pleasure of seeing some concerts here, and it is an absolutely amazing place to see a show. The seating is basically pews (not surprising in such a churchlike looking structure), and the acousitics are nearly perfect... any show you see here is bound to feel like a religious experience!
4. The Pedestrian Bridge
This is technically part of Downtown, but deserves a little mention of it's own. It goes from Second Avenue across the Cumberland River and ends at LP field, where the Titans play. This is another place where you always find people getting their photos taken - it's a beautiful spot, with amazing views of the skyline.
Again, we couldn't resist a photo-op!
5. The Farmer's Market
I've been going here nearly every weekend lately! Not only are the prices so much more reasonable than the grocery store, I cannot resist all the locally-grown beauty! The vendors are beyond friendly, and very generous with samples (never a bad thing, right?). Thanks to the Farmer's Market, I've been inspired to do tons of canning lately, not to mention I've discovered the best goat cheese ever - and it's made locally! It's also kind of a place of zen for me... it's beautiful and I love taking my time wandering and seeing everything there is to see.
I hope you enjoyed the visual tour of this beautiful place I call home... this is only the tip of the iceberg! There is so much more to do and see... come visit! And feel free to leave your hat at home! ;)