By: Sammy Ochoa
I LOVE NASHVILLE! I love everything about this state. The people, the places, the sights and the sounds. I own Nashville apparel, books about Tennessee and even a Nashville snow globe and I don’t live in Tennessee nor’ do I live even relatively close. My friends think I’m crazy for loving somewhere I’ve never been and in a way maybe I am but I believe that somethings you become to love and somethings you are born to love.
I await the day where I land in Tennessee, when I step off the plane smelling the sweet air. When I can walk down Broadway hearing bluegrass, country, and folk out of bars that line the street and maybe catch a glimpse of a country star or two (a girl can only dream.)
If you’re like me and never been to Nashville but have a lifelong dream to go then it means you probably have a bucket list of all the things you want to see when you’re there. Down below I’ve written, ‘Top Ten Things to Do/See in Nashville.’
Photos: @stageonbroadway + @wildhorsesaloon
Walk the street of Honky Tonk Highway!
Honestly this one is #1 and why wouldn’t it be? When you google Nashville the Honky Tonks on Broadway always come up. I tend to think of this as the heart and soul of Nashville, (and locals correct me if I’m wrong) but maybe even Tennessee. Just this street alone can take a day if you want to soak up all the History and southern charm it has it offer. With places like; Wild horse Saloon, Paradise Park Trailer Resort, and The Stage you will want to bring an empty stomach and some cash.
Experience a live show like no other at the Grand Ole Opry.
It began as a little old radio show and now it’s a show you’ll never forget. Their purpose and drive is to honor country music and those who sing, breathe, and live it. Opry Members include artists such as; Dolly Parton, Reba Mcentire, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks Joe Diffie, Vince Gill and Little Big Town. Guest artists include: Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Love & Theft, Kip Moore, Maren Morris and Kelli Pickler. I bet every little piece of history hits you when you walk through the doors honoring the ones who came before and the ones who will take the stage that night.
Learning about country music’s finest at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
If you’re a country music junkie (like me) and want to dig deeper into the songs, the bands, and the history of country music this place is the place for you. Having exhibits like; American Currents, (featuring artists of the now; Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Brett Eldredge, Miranda Lambert and plenty more.) A New Music City, Sing Me Back Home and now open Tim & Faith. This place will bring you closer to country music than you ever thought possible. Not to mention this is where you can find Taylor Swift’s award winning Education Center which gives students a chance to be themselves and be creative.
Visit history at Nashville’s replica of The Parthenon!
I’m a huge fan of movies and tv shows and learning about the behind the scenes. Nashville’s Parthenon 42 feet high and is actually a very popular filming location for movies some of those including; Robert Altman’s 1975 film, Nashville, the 2010 fantasy Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and a 2000 PBS history series Greeks: Crucible of Civilization. This is a must see for me when I arrive in Nashville!
Soak up the nostalgia by walking in the Blue Bird Café.
Sure, there are many places in Nashville to hear live music and maybe you’ll get lucky and see an act before their discovered and get signed to a record deal but let’s be real the Blue Bird Café is the place to go - that is if you can grab a seat. Artists like Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Faith Hill and many more have been discovered in this place no wonder it’s so busy. Not to mention this is vital part of ABC now CMT’S hit show, Nashville where (like their slogan says) “Where all the performers are your favorites and all the songs are hits!”
See a live show at none other than the Bridgestone Arena.
This is easiest the largest venue in Nashville hosting more than 13 million guests. Whether the show is watching pop artists like Ed Sheeran (October 7th) take the stage, sing along with country band Lady Antebellum (September 9th) or even rooting for the Nashville Predators at a game. You’ll be sure to experience something like no other.
Take a ride down Music Row.
Music is a huge part of who I am, more so country music and if there is something that’s on my list for the first day when I come to Nashville it's to take a tour down music row. It’s where Elvis (the king himself) recorded over 200 songs and where legends like Dolly Parton recorded record breaking hits.
Go to the Mother of Church of Country Music (Aka The Ryman)
There are many names for this place of music but a lot of people just know it as The Ryman. This place was built to be a place of Worship back in the year 1885 when two men by the names of Sam Jones and Thomas Ryman created this Union Gospel Tabernacle for the city of Nashville. Now, it’s a place for country and other artist alike to perform on the legendary stage. Whether you would rather take a guided tour or see a show you can be sure you’ll be blow away. One of the Ryman’s longest members is Little Big Town. Their performance at the Ryman will take up a large portion of their touring plans in 2017 so grab your tickets!
Walk on your favorite country artist’s stars on the Music City Walk of Fame!
I’ve been to the one in Hollywood more times than I can count, I’ve seen Garth Brookes, Dolly Parton's, Brookes & Dunn but I always thought it would be a better experience to see their stars in a place where they thrived. This walk holds stars like; Reba Mcentire, Wynonna Judd, Vince Gill, Trace Adkins, Elvis Presley, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and the legendary Johnny Cash. (If you don’t seem to see your favorite country star here nominate them on their website.)
Close out the trip by capturing a perfect picture of Nashville.
There are many great lookout points in Nashville, I mean the whole city is beautiful but to close in the trip I want a picture of Nashville to put in the back of my “I Love Nashville” scrapbook. I’ll be going to Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge where the Batman Building rises into the sky and the river front takes the melodies of songs down the river and where another day in Nashville is coming to a close and another day is starting.
I’m no Nashville expert in fact you may see from reading this post I really probably only know Nashville from the things that are in the spotlight but all I know is I love this city and when I finally get to go I won’t want to leave but I do know that before I go home I will grab some biscuits from Loveless Café and be carrying back a bunch of souvenirs to California.
Sammy Ochoa is a eighteen year old who is passionate about writing, singing, and everything Nashville. When she is not hanging out with her friends & family, working on her latest novel or playing with her dogs she will probably be saving up to buy a plane ticket to Nashville.
Instagram: @Sammy_rae98 + @Nashville_Pride1602
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