I’ve never been a big traveler, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found joy in visiting new places when I can. Luckily, my job allows me to travel now and then, mostly to Las Vegas, but this year our big tradeshow was in Nashville, Tennessee. I had never been to Nashville before, but I was so excited to visit a new place, especially a new place that was so focused on music and the history of music. We were scheduled to be there for a week. This gave us enough time to work as well as get some personal time in to explore the city. We stayed downtown near the convention center – known as Music City Center – since that was where our tradeshow was. Fortunately, this put us within walking distance of the famous Broadway strip which is where we spent most of our free time.
We stayed in the OMNI hotel downtown and it was incredibly nice. Had I not been on a company trip I wouldn’t be able to afford a whole week here by myself. It’s a 5 star hotel with all the amenities you’d expect from a hotel of that caliber. We hardly spent any time in our hotel but it’s worth mentioning since they are basically connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and are walking distance to the Music City Walk of Fame Park and many other cool tourist attractions. One of my favorites was the Hatch Show Print shop which is located inside the hotel. You can see all of the old screen printing supplies and posters from when country music was blowing up in Nashville. They even have a museum dedicated to it, which I didn’t get to check out but would definitely add to my list for the next time I’m able to visit.
The food everywhere was basically amazing. I had cat fish tacos for the first time at a place called Martin’s BBQ Joint. When we arrived there was a line out of the building which was enough to make us second guess going there, but soon realized that the wait (which didn’t end up being too terribly long) was totally worth it. Being a pescatarian was a little tough in Nashville but fortunately not as difficult as being a vegetarian. There is barbecue everywhere and loads of chicken wings. After hours Martin’s turns into a 3 story bar with cornhole, steel tip darts, pool and board games. They even had live music (which most places in Nashville do). Martin’s was definitely one of the best BBQ places we visited.
We also dined at City Tap House. They had a huge selection of beers (seriously, the beer menu alone was like 4 pages) and we had their shrimp and grits, oysters, mussels and their addicting elote street corn dip. Everything was amazing down to the service.
My favorite place ended up being a place that had opened only two weeks before we arrived – Downtown Sporting Club. They had axe throwing, cornhole (indoors and outdoors), and some of the biggest portions of food I’ve ever seen in my life. I ordered their wild mushroom pasta and swear I could’ve done the backstroke in my bowl. The food was absolutely divine and again the service was impeccable. It makes you wonder if there really is a thing to genuine southern hospitality (I’m looking at you California!).
Drinks & Live Music
Most of our free time was spent on the famous strip of Downtown Broadway. There are 3 and 4 story bars lining the strip with live music filling the air everywhere you turn. Most bars have rooftop areas where you can look out over the city or look down and people watch. Every floor of every bar had a different band playing live music, and walking down the street was like walking through different radio stations as you passed by. There are several bars owned by famous country musicians and a few that are famous for being around during the era of the country music boom. The neon lights go on and night and make you feel like you’ve been thrown back in time. Everyone is fairly pleasant and you’d be surprised at how little security there seems to be in most of the bars compared to a place like downtown Sacramento. Most bars sell bar food so you can snack while you drink and people watch, and surprisingly enough most of the rooftop bars even let you smoke – just like the old days! This area was definitely my favorite place to hang out during our trip and I can’t wait to go back and be able to spend even more time here perusing and listening to all the amazing talent that Nashville has to offer.
Before I left for Nashville I had decided that I would reward myself with a souvenir. I hadn’t purchased anything new in 5 months and thought that this trip was the perfect time to buy myself something special. I knew I either wanted a hat or boots and when I went to look at my options, I was not disappointed.
Down on Broadway there are several shops that sell boots, hats, and other western wear. I finally decided I wouldn’t wear boots as often as a hat, so eventually I narrowed my search to places that sold hats. I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted – something a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Finally I found Goorin Bros. Their shop was smaller than the rest but specifically sold hats in different styles and sizes. I knew I had found the right place. I almost immediately found the hat that I wanted, but did decide to do a little more walking around town before settling just in case. After walking around to a couple different stores I knew that I would not find anything else that compared. I went back to Goorin Bros and bought my new hat. It was pricey, sure, but it’s something that I know will last a long time and will get alot of wear. If you’re looking for boots, hats or other western wear Broadway is definitely the place to go.
I absolutely loved the city of Nashville, TN. The people were so friendly, the music was loud and the food was delicious. I can definitely see myself making another trip to visit and go outside of the city a bit to see what else there is to explore. I hear their mountains and lakes are gorgeous, and I can only imagine based on all the greenery and nature I saw just while driving from the airport to our hotel. It’s not necessarily somewhere I thought I would fall in love with, but it really is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. If you ever get a chance, I definitely recommend you make a trip out there.
Until next time,