1. Live Music
12th & Porter Playroom
114 12th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37203 · 615-254-7236
A mainstay on the Nashville nightlife scene for well over a decade, this downtown dinner and music club has helped open the door for many local musicians. The snazzy 12th & Porter Playroom lets guests enjoy an upscale dinner and excellent live entertainment each night, and acts range from local bands to national recording artists. The music varies but is always upbeat and festive. Reservations are a must.
Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar
220 Printers Alley, Nashville, TN 37201-1403 · 615-242-5857
Located in Nashville's famous Printers Alley, this Big Easy-style restaurant is famous for great music and laid-back, Bourbon Street style. Expect to hear terrific live blues when you stop by, and make sure to bring your appetite because the Cajun menu boasts too many temptations to ignore! $5 cover most nights, depending on event.
Grand Ole Opry
2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214 · 615-889-3060
If you're a country music fan, you have just found heaven. Watch history in the making as you enjoy the nation's longest running radio program, "The Grand Ole Opry." See some of country music's up-and-coming stars perform nightly. You might get a surprise as well, as some of country music's greats pop in and out without being scheduled ahead of time. If you have the chance, visit the museum located in the Opry Plaza. Here, you'll find several interactive exhibits that detail the Opry's 70-plus year history, from the incomparable Minnie Pearl to mega-superstar Garth Brooks. In addition to regular Fri-Sat night shows, the Opry offers Tuesday night shows from Apr-Dec. Other shows are scheduled for the Ryman Auditorium.
1313 Woodland Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 · 615-262-1766
One of the best (and least touristy) places to check out great local music is the Radio Café, located in East Nashville. This intimate bar hosts live music nightly, including everything from folk and bluegrass to jazz and blues. If you get the chance, show up early and order a treat or two from their menu, which features tasty sandwiches, soups, and pasta dishes, as well as coffees and hot teas.
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge
422 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203-3931 · 615-726-0463
One of the District's best-known nightclubs, Tootsie's dates back to the 1960s, when Hattie Louise Tatum (aka "Tootsie") opened this downtown honky tonk and gave stars-in-the-making like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson a place to play. Today, the lounge has lost little of its original "dive" atmosphere, except for maybe a few added pictures here and there that trace the bar's history. If this is your first trip to Nashville, eschew everything else and head here first.
501 Donelson Pike, Nashville, TN 37214 · 615-872-0207
You want history? Bar-B-Cutie dates from 1950 and was one of the city's first drive-in barbecue joints. Still serving terrific pork after all these years, the restaurant has become an object of civic pride. After all, with a name like that how can you possibly resist? Reservations not accepted.
100 Franklin Rd, Brentwood, TN 37201-2333 · 615-373-1020
Corky's Bar-B-Q brings the sweet flavor of Memphis-style BBQ to the Music City. The diner-like atmosphere is made complete with classic rock and roll and sharp-tongued waitresses, and you get the feeling that the clocks here are permanently stuck on 1959. The menu is impressive for a barbecue joint, including everything from pork sandwiches and coleslaw to tamales and a half chicken dinner. If the traditional fare doesn’t tempt your taste buds, have a go at one of their massive baked potatoes, which comes disguised as a heaping pile of toppings. Reservations are not accepted.
416 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203-3931 · 615-254-5715
Conveniently located in the downtown area, Jack's Bar-B-Que has gained a fair amount of regional and national attention for its excellent hickory-smoked barbecue. Their St. Louis Ribs and Tennessee pork shoulder are among the specialties, and both go down best with sides of coleslaw and "Mac Cheese." Jack's "Special Meals" include the family-sized chicken and ribs packs - either of which could feed a platoon of hungry soldiers! To prove to your friends that you sampled some of Jack's barbecue, be sure to pick up one his popular "Pigs Over Nashville" tees - you'll be the envy of everybody back home.
1800 Antioch Pike, Antioch, TN 37013 · 615-331-5936
Many consider the fare from Whitt's to be among the best barbecue in Nashville, and with the size of the lunch crowd that pulls in here daily, it's easy to see why. The joint specializes in pork, but also serves up tasty (and smothered) helpings of beef, chicken and turkey. Warning: "hot" means "very hot."
Country Music Hall of Fame
222 Fifth Ave S, at Demonbreun, Nashville, TN 37203 · 615-416-2015
Come here to examine the roots of country music and see how it all began, and find out who the real pioneers of country music were. If you're a country music trivia-buff, you will get your fill here. The permanent exhibit traces the history of country music from its very beginnings, with memorabilia, audio and video clips, interactive displays, and finally, the Hall of Fame Rotunda. Special exhibits focus on different people, styles, or periods of history. Gift shop and restaurant onsite.
Grand Ole Opry Museum
2802 Opryland Dr, Opry Plaza, Nashville, TN 37214 · 615-889-6611
The museum pays tribute to the Grand Ole Opry; known for being the longest running radio show to date. There are hands-on displays to keep little hands busy. The museum houses exhibits which reveal the appearance of the Opry at various stages in the building's history. A video of the Opry documents its significance to the history of the music industry.
Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick St, Nashville, TN 37243 · 615-741-2692
Everything you ever wanted to know about Tennessee, and more! The complete history if the state is traced, from the original Native American inhabitants, through the first European settlers, on through the Civil War and Antebellum period, culminating with displays of contemporary art and artifacts. Highlights include a collection of over 200 quilts, from 1808 to the present, a collection of over 500 flags and banners, and prehistoric artifacts from around the state.
Dancin' in the District
116 S 1st St, Adelphia Coliseum, Nashville, TN 37213 · 404-577-8686
Having outgrown it original digs at Riverfront Park, this concert series moved to the Coliseum. Past performers have included Hootie and the Blowfish, Everclear, Indigo Girls, George Clinton and Parliament, Black-Eyed Peas, and Blues Traveler, plus a slew of regional acts. Mad Booking organizes the concert series - for more information call them at 404-577-8686.