Nashville: the very word summons visions of singing beauties in plaid shirts and guys in cowboy hats strumming guitar strings. This Tennessee treasure is the country music capital of the world, but first-time visitors are always astonished to discover much, much more in this Mid-South city of the United States of America.
“Music City” sits on the banks of the Cumberland River and does a fine job of entertaining visitors with a lively cultural scene, museums and galleries, family attractions, great parks, and a really affable and welcoming atmosphere that throws its arms around tourists and hugs them tight until they leave. It's a fantastic city to simply wander about in, letting your feet lead the way past fine views, great eateries, swinging nightspots, and river-side walking trails.
Hotels in Nashville attempt to emulate the glamorous and cosmopolitan nature of the city, and most do a grand job. Of course, as with anywhere in the USA, you'll find a glut of road-side hotels and motels on the outskirts of town offering basic facilities and ordinary rooms - though if keeping costs down is essential for you, it's hard to resist these budget options.
If luxury hotels are your holiday bag, then Nashville hotels will not disappoint. Whether it's modern elegance or old-fashioned grandeur, Nashville offers a great choice for travellers looking to splash out on wonderful four- and five-star hotels.
It's easy to find hotels from well-known names in both traditional and motel-style accommodation. Look for La Quinta, Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Best Western, Days Inn, Super8, Wyndham, Ramada, Quality Inn, Radisson, Hampton Inn, DoubleTree, Econo Lodge and Comfort Inn among others.
Beware however; some of Nashville's finest hotels are located on the outskirts of the city. If you want to be where the action is at, a hotel in Downtown is ideal. The city centre is encircled by a ring road, with the river cutting through the eastern half of this inner circle and car hire is available. Downtown is a great location in this area, with plenty going on in terms of nightlife and culture, while nearby Germantown is an historic and pleasant district in which to stay. Just outside of the ring road, and also convenient for Nashville's main attractions, is the neighbourhood of Vanderbilt.
Top five attractions
Grand Old Opry House
Take a tour of this building, the home of country music, or see the world-famous show every Friday and Saturday at the venue between February and October, or at the Ryman Auditorium between November and January. There's also a Tuesday performance from March to December.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Explore the story of country music at this exciting museum on the riverbank.
Located in the southern suburbs of Nashville, more than 2,000 animals call this zoo home and it's a popular family attraction.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Housed in a former post office building, this venue brings an exciting collection of exhibits to Tennessee.
Pack a picnic, take a stroll or see the sights: this park is a beautiful green space in the inner city.
CMA Music Festival; June: Country music rings out of Nashville a little louder than usual during four days of celebratory performances. Book tickets to concerts and secure hotels early to avoid disappointment.
Let Freedom Sing, Independence Day celebration; July: Musical stars stage a free concert and fireworks spectacular to mark the fourth of July, which is a hugely important public holiday in the USA.
Holiday Harmony; November-January: Every year, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, the city of Nashville puts on a fantastic calendar of yuletide events. Get into the holiday spirit with music, storytelling, fireworks, theatre and a host of other events.