That neon glow on Broadway in downtown Nashville

Can you get a good taste of what Nashville is all about in a couple days?  You sure can!  Let’s see just how easy it is to make a quick trip to Music City to see if it’s worth coming back to.

With Hurricane Nicole bearing down on the southeast coast of Florida, it might have seemed like we were running from her, but we had planned this trip back in the spring and we we had been looking forward to exploring Nashville for some time.  On top of that, until the week before, we didn’t even know that the Country Music Awards were taking place on the first night of our trip.  Thankfully there were seats left and we scored three tickets (more about that below).  This whole trip was meant to be a bit of an exploratory mission to see how we’d like the city and we had a couple of road trips planned which meant some adventuring outside of Nashville was coming.  Joining my wife and I on this trip was our 22 year old son who met us at Orlando International Airport for the flight up.  FYI, it’s a good idea to have kiddos that are able to go into the bars to have some fun with you.

Not knowing what to expect by staying in downtown and after looking at the prices of the hotels, we opted to stay at an Embassy Suites out by the airport.  Now this is an older Embassy Suites which means the foyer is HUGE and there’s plenty of seating if you actually have some spare time to relax at the hotel.  Oh yes, and free breakfast along with a couple of free happy hour drinks (if you happen to be at the hotel at that time) are always nice benefits for staying at an Embassy Suites.

We checked in and went right back out to do a little bit of exploring for lunch before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the CMAs.  Lunch wasn’t anything special since we were going to grab a bite at the closest Whataburger to the hotel (no judgement zone here, I was outvoted 2-1) and both my wife and our son wanted to visit the only Dutch Bros. Coffee in the Nashville area (we’ll just skip the fact that they went back every day we were there).  We also visited a Publix because our son works at their corporate office in accounting and if there’s a Publix on our travels that he has worked with, he is sure to stop by.

Dutch Bros coffee

Then we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit and to get ready for the CMAs.  Now, we had researched a little about what is proper to wear to the event and it seemed like it was a bit of a free for all.  As long as you’ve got a shirt, pants and shoes on, you’re good to go.  We all went with jeans, shirts and boots.  Then we took an Uber into downtown as we had zero idea what to expect for parking with the CMAs going on and the driver let us out directly in front of Tootsies, which is one of the most iconic honky tonks along Broadway.  Literally as I took my first steps out of the car, heard the band playing right at the entrance of Tootsies and then looked up Broadway at all of the other bars that lined the street, I knew this was a town that we were going to love.

Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa

We did walk right into Tootsies for a drink and then headed over to Hattie B’s for our first taste of a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.  It was one of a couple restuarants we were told to try a hot chicken sandwich from and we’ll be exploring the other options on trips in the future.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Sandwich

Then it was time to walk across the street to the Bridgestone Arena to attend the 2022 Country Music Awards!

Many people have asked how we were able to purchase tickets to the CMAs and it was simply as easy as going to the website, picking the seats and paying for them.  No biggie at all.

Remember how I stated that the dress code was pretty open to whatever you wanted to wear?  They weren’t kidding.  While many were like us, dressed in jeans, boots and a casual shirt, there were suits, tuxedos and dresses with price tags in the thousands and everyone mingled together.  As far as the event itself, it was shot live so there were breaks for commericals and it was basically a concert of country music all stars.  You can see clips from the event below and we’ll be there in November of 2023 to see it again.

After the CMAs concluded, we went right back out to check out the scene on Broadway and what a place it gets to be at night!  Here’s a few clips of musicians from different bars lining Broadway.  You could come here over and over and over and never get tired of going into the bars to listen to the music.

The next morning we took a trip up into southern Kentucky to visit a Menards (if you don’t know what Menards is, do yourself a favor and find one), but made several stops for coffee, doughnuts, lunch at Triplet’s BBQ and to see some bison at the Elk & Bison Prairie which is inside Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky (the entrance into the gated prairie area is $5 per vehicle) and no you don’t want to leave that vehicle whenever you are near the elk or bison.  They’re faster than you are.

Black Rifle Coffee Co. in Clarksville, TN

Munal’s Donuts in Paducah, Kentucky

Red’s Donut Shop in Paducah, Kentucky

The Cardiac Stack at Triplet’s BBQ in Cadiz, Kentucky

Part of the bison herd inside the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area’s Elk & Bison Prairie.

We also paid a visit to Old Glory Distilling Co. in Clarksville, Tennessee on the way back to Nashville.

A moonshine flight at Old Glory Distilling Co.

That finished up our second day on this trip and we had some more exploring of local breweries the next day with a visit to the Grand Ole Opry that night.

Jackalope Brewing Company

Donut Distillery

We had not planned on going to the Grand Ole Opry for a show, but when we saw that there were tickets available for that night and that Tyler Hubbard was headlining, we kinda had to grab three seats.

Outside of the Grand Ole Opry

Here are some clips from the performances that night at the Grand Ole Opry and yes we’ll be visiting it again on our next trip.

Our final day in Nashville was spent at Cooter’s Garage and visiting more of the bars lining Broadway in downtown as well as one final lunch which consisted of a visit to Rise Biscuits, Donuts and Righteous Chicken (holy amazing food!) as well as a couple stops at Assembly Food Hall (equally impressive) before heading to the airport to come back home.

Cooter’s Garage is a museum to all things Duke’s of Hazard

Rise Biscuits, Donuts and Righteous Chicken

Assembly Food Hall in downtown Nashville

That pretty much wraps up our first (but definitely not last) trip to Nashville, we’ve already got a hotel booked for the CMAs this fall AND it’s in downtown so that we can focus more on the food scene, which is pretty extensive.

Next up, a weekend trip to Tampa on New Years Eve for some exploring, a Tampa Bay Lightning game and to ring in the new year!