The Nashville Guide
When most people think of Nashville, they zoom in on the country music scene, the Grand Ole Opry, and maybe even the TV show that bears its name.
But, Nashville is so much more. It's a city filled with prominent universities, nearly 100 parks, the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators, and so many food options that it would take years for you to sample them all.
Christmas Eve Birth
Nashville was founded on Christmas Eve in 1779 and was named after Francis Nash. Nash was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.
In 1800, only 345 residents called Nashville home. But, these days, that number is closer to two million. Nashville is the 24th biggest city in the United States and is continuously growing in size and stature.
Top Five and Hotter
Post-millennial Nashville shows up on many lists of "best places" in the United States.
In 2012, a Gallup poll determined Music City as one of the top five cities in the country for job growth. The next year, Nashville was popping up in articles in the New York Times, GQ Magazine, and Forbes with designations like "Nowville" and "It City."
Freddie Mac Realtors declared the area to have the hottest housing market. So, with job opportunities, desirable neighborhoods, and a booming housing market, it's easy to see why more than a quarter-million people moved in within just seven years.
Government Jobs Rule
While the music industry employs nearly 20,000 people in the area, the government dominates the top employer list in middle Tennessee.
The top current top five:
1. Vanderbilt University and Medical Center
2. Nashville-Davidson Country Government and Public Schools
3. State Government
4. Federal Government
5. Nissan North America
Nashville Guide to Arts and Entertainment
There's no doubt that music reigns supreme in Music City, as country music is everywhere. Music production is second in size only to New York. It's a $6.4 billion music industry that employs over 19,000 Nashvillians.
Performers flock to venues large and small including the Ryman Auditorium, the Bluebird Cafe, Mercy Lounge, The Blue Room, and, of course, the Grand Ole Opry.
But, the Nashville arts and entertainment community extends well beyond the country music genre.
Other Music Venues
Believe it or not, everyone who lives in Nashville isn't a country music fan, whether they admit it or not. But, they're not without options because Tennessee embraces music whether it involves a guitar or not.
The Nashville Symphony performs at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Downtown Nashville. Schermerhorn was inaugurated in 2006 and hosts a series of classic symphonies as well as a wide range of guest performers. IN 2013, the Symphony nearly lost the Schermerhorn after operating in the red for several years. But, a local philanthropist, Martha Ingram, bailed the symphony out and the music continues on at the Center.
The Nashville Ballet emerged in 1986 and is the largest in the state. Performances are held at both the Martin Center and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center from September through June. The ballet is known for classics like the Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Theater in Music City
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center hosts theater as well as ballet. It's the place to go for Broadway without the need for Times Square. The Phantom of the Opera and The Book of Mormon are just a few of the hot tickets that have graced the stage at TPAC.
Nashville has its home-grown theater companies as well. Nashville Repertory Theatre and the Theatre and Dance department at Belmont University are just a few that present plays and music of varying genres.
There's Always Time for a Laugh
Ballet, symphony, and even some of the dramatic plays can mesmerize you and take you to another place and time. But, sometimes, you just need a good belly laugh.
Nashville offers you your choice of comedy clubs so you can catch some local funny men and women as well as enjoy sets from some of the biggest names in the comedy world.
Zanies, Third Coast Comedy, and Nashville Improv are a few of your choices. When's the last time you went to a comedy club? If you can't remember, it's been too long. Grab some friends and then decide if you're brave enough to sit in the front or if you'd rather be entertained at someone else's expense.
Nashville Area Sports
The Titans began as the Houston Oilers in 1960 in the AFL (American Football League) and made the cut during the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. While the Oilers were a two-time AFL Championship team, the Titans/Oilers are anxiously awaiting their first Super Bowl trophy despite 17 playoff appearances and a 1999 trip to the Big Game.
The Titans have been in Nashville since 1999 and call Nissan Stadium their home turf. Nissan happens to be the fifth biggest employer in Nashville and signed a 20-year naming rights deal to LP Field (formerly Adelphia Coliseum) in 2005.
The Nashville Predators joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1998. They've played at Bridgestone Arena since their first game. Like the Titans, the Predators are vying for their first league championship and came close in 2017 but lost the finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-4 series.
Collegiate and minor league sports are also part of the Nashville sports culture and have devoted fan bases.
Nashville Parks and Recreation
The Nashville Parks and Recreation Department owns and manages 99 parks in the area. While Nashville summers are hot and humid, winters are mild with average temperatures in December and January hovering around the 48-degree mark.
Such a temperate climate allows Nashvillians to take advantage of the great outdoors and there are plenty of places to hike, bike, and watch the leaves change.
Less than ten miles from downtown, Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park are adjacently located and have been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. The parks include sports fields and a golf course. Visitors will also find equestrian trails and a steeplechase course which is the home of the Iroquois Steeplechase each May.
Dining in Nashville
Nashville is no different than any other location as there have been restaurants that have survived for decades and others come and go, with replacements not far behind.
The city is known for barbeque and southern cuisine, but the menu doesn't stop there. There are places known for breakfast, fine dining options, unique fast food, the list goes on and covers the gamut.
Speaking of that Southern Food, the Loveless Cafe has been famous for its biscuits since 1951. It has specials like Watermelon Ribs, Honey-fired BBQ chicken, and Chicken 'n Dumplings.
Patrons can opt to take a bit of Loveless home as its store sells some of the things that make the restaurant such a draw like its biscuit mix and sweet potato pecan butter.
Rolf and Daughters
Rolf and Daughters is a dinner-only establishment with a relatively small list of food items. But, sometimes, less is more and that's the case here.
The entrees offer unique flavor combinations. The menu features beef short rib/heirloom tomato/ricotta vecchio for two and sea trout/yuzu/green olive/habanada. How about banana, cardamom, and chocolate ice cream to finish out the experience?
The Nashville Miscellaneous
The Hermitage Homage
The Hermitage is an homage to Music City. The home of Andrew Jackson also has a guitar-shaped driveway.
Goo Goo Yum!
The Goo Goo Cluster was invented by Nashville's Standard Candy Company in 1912 and was the first candy bar to combine more than two ingredients. Goo Goo Clusters are still a favorite of Nashvillians and feature caramel, peanuts, and marshmallow nougat.
Oh yeah, Oprah!
Oprah Winfrey lived in Nashville as a teenager, starting at WTFV-TV when she was 19 and becoming the city's first African American news anchor.
It's Greek to me (and you)
The city's art museum in Centennial Park is located within a full scale replica of The Parthenon. It also has a statue of Athena inside that extends 42 feet high.