Planning a summer weekend in Nashville, Tennessee? Here’s all you need to get you started for a fantastic weekend getaway!
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Nashville has to be one of my favorite cities right now. There are tons of good restaurants and never-ending live music. The options are fantastic year round, but there’s something a little extra special about doing those same things in the summer. Sitting in the sun, sipping something delicious and listening to live music has to be one of the best feelings ever! If you’re planning a weekend getaway soon, here are some of my favorite ways to spend a summer weekend in Nashville!
Watch the Nashville Sounds play baseball
I’ll be honest: sometimes, I find baseball boring. But going to a Sounds game is anything but! There’s a ton of entertainment in between innings – hello, giant Johnny Cash head racing other famous heads around the bases – and the crowd gets into it enough that I happily follow along.
Much of the seating is shaded, which makes a HUGE difference in my enjoyment level to begin with. How anyone likes watching other people play sports in 100° weather while sweat drips down your own back is beyond me. Plus, the world of baseball stadium food & drink has stepped it up since my childhood – local beers and barbecue hit just the right note. (See what I did there? Note? Sounds? Ohhhkay I’ll stop.)
What is more weekend-y than going to a farmer’s market? Nashville’s is enormous, complete with a market-style food court of every kind of food imaginable. It reminded me a little of Union Market in DC, a haven for trying new foods or the latest trend in coffee drinks. There’s also outdoor stalls selling fresh veggies and farm goods, as well as a huge nursery and greenhouse setup at one end! If I lived here, I’d be here every weekend of the summer.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Practically across the street from the Farmer’s Market is a beautiful park, with the perfect mix of manicured lawn, shade trees, and art. One end has a semicircle of bell towers, with each tower holding a few bells. The result is a beautiful and a bit unearthly sound that echoes around the courtyard. Old school surround sound?
Bicentennial Capitol Mall is the perfect spot to bring a picnic and your dog (or just grab some treats from the farmer’s market!) for an afternoon of lounging around in the sunshine. It also details the history of Tennessee on plaques throughout the park, and abuts the capitol building on the opposite end of the bell towers.
Grab a beer at The Filling Station
Lounging in the grass not really your thing? Why not grab a beer at The Filling Station and enjoy the sunshine without so much… outdoorsy-ness. The tiny hole in the wall is both a beer shop and taps, so it’s the perfect place to try a new beer you’re on the fence about and drink it right there on the patio.
It’s located in 12 South, so there’s a ton of other food and drink options right there if you need more sustenance. But I love this spot for its simplicity and sheer variety in beers! Plus, the staff can always steer you in the right direction if you don’t know what you want.
Explore the Opryland Resort
The Gaylord Opryland Resort is the perfect respite from the weather, either rain or heat! Parking is expensive, but if you look around there are cheap or free places to park if you’re willing to walk a little.
Inside the hotel is unlike anything else I’ve seen in the US. The hotel is laid out in a series of covered atriums, bigger than a football field and full of plants, trees, restaurants, and event venues. The biggest even has a river running through it, complete with a waterfall and boat tours. The restaurants vary from ultra elegant to casual pizza spots, so you can find whatever you may want. My friends and I kept comparing it to a cruise ship, only bigger than any cruise ship possible. On a rainy day, this is the perfect place to explore and people watch. I’ll be honest, even if I could afford to stay there (spoiler alert: there’s no way), it’s a little too sanitized for my vacation style. But whether or not you’re into that kind of vacation, it’s fun to check out for an hour or two!
Show at the Ryman Auditorium, preferably a taping of Live From Here
When in Nashville, you’ve got to see a show, right??? Let’s do one better: see a show at the Ryman auditorium.
There are never-ending shows there, so you can’t go wrong. However, if you’re looking for a more unique experience, I highly recommend seeing a recording of Live From Here. Chris Thile (of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek) hosts the weekly NPR show recorded in the Ryman Auditorium, and it’s one of the most fun shows I’ve ever seen! I don’t even listen to the program unless I’m on a road trip with my parents and I still loved it. Chris Thile’s love of music comes through even as he sits on the stage while the musical guest performs, bouncing to the beat and grinning the whole time.
If you’re jonesing for a weekend getaway, head for Tennessee! There’s so much to cram into a summer weekend in Nashville that you may even have to go twice.
Are you planning a weekend getaway this summer? Where are you headed??