Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, has plenty to offer visitors. Of course, country music fans will be in seventh heaven in Music City thanks to attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the iconic Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium, and the Johnny Cash Museum. But there's more to Nashville than country. As well as seemingly infinite live music venues, the city offers amazing restaurants, galleries where you can explore the visual arts, the chance to delve into the history of the state at the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Capitol, and a vibrant night scene that rivals any in the country. In fact, there are many unmissable things to do at night in Nashville that you definitely shouldn't neglect on your next trip.
Since the city has so much to offer, your choice of where to stay in Nashville will have a big effect on the kind of trip you have. Obviously, downtown Nashville offers most of the main attractions. But the city is also home to several other vibrant neighborhoods that are worth exploring. And if you want to see another side of Nashville, one that most tourists and even some locals are unaware of, you'll need to do some exploring.
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Where to stay in Downtown Nashville
Downtown Nashville is an obvious choice for where to stay in Nashville, and there is good reason for that. If you want to be within walking distance of everything the city has to offer, this is the best place to do it. Downtown Nashville is home to some of the city's top attractions, including the popular Country Music Hall of Fame, the National Museum of African American Music, the Tennessee State Capitol, and the Tennessee State Museum, among other options.
Plus, staying downtown is one of the best ways to enjoy live music. Lower Broadway in the city center is absolutely packed with bars and honky-tonks where you'll be able to hear endless examples of the city's musical talent and possibly catch the next big artist on their way up in the city. When it comes to nightlife, downtown Nashville is hard to beat. That's even more true if you include The Gulch, a formerly industrial area that has been reinvented as a vibrant neighborhood full of trendy restaurants and microbreweries. If you want to sample some of the best cooking in Nashville, whether it's local favorites like hot chicken and soul food or the latest in international cuisine, this is one of the best places to do it.
Sounds good, right? Well, it is. But downtown Nashville is hardly a hidden gem. Hotels in the downtown area will cost more than they do in any other part of the city. Also, while you'll find plenty of luxury hotels mixed in with budget accommodations, it can be a struggle to locate midrange boutique hotels. If that's what your dream Nashville trip entails, it might be better to look elsewhere.
If money is no object and you like a taste of the highlife when visiting Nashville, the Hermitage Hotel is hard to beat. Offering a great central location close to the State Capitol, this five-star establishment dates back to 1910, and the spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows plus the on-site restaurant and the traditional afternoon tea make it one of the best luxury hotels in the city. This hotel also offers one of the best brunches in Nashville, which is good to know if you overindulge in the endless nightlife options in the area. Of course, all this luxury comes at a price, and not a cheap one. Alternatively, the Fairlane Hotel offers a slightly cheaper alternative less than half a block away. If you'd prefer a more modern hotel, the JW Marriott Nashville offers 24-hour room service from three different on-site restaurants and is within walking distance of the area's top attractions. There's also an on-site spa and an outdoor pool, making this a hotel that has everything you need in a desirable location.
Where to stay in East Nashville
If you're wondering where to stay in Nashville that will put you in one of the most creative districts of the city, East Nashville is a place you should seriously consider. Located on the other side of the Cumberland River from downtown, this neighborhood is where you'll find some of the most creative up-and-coming restaurants, coffee shops, and bars in the whole city. It's also a fantastic place to go shopping, thanks to the seemingly endless supply of fashion boutiques and vintage stores that make this area their home. Plus, if you're looking for brewpubs that eschew Nashville's traditional country esthetic in favor of something more modern, East Nashville is where you'll find them.
Located just a little outside the city's built-up core, East Nashville's location next to the Cumberland River means it also has some enticing outdoor activities to offer. Shelby Bottoms Park is a great place to rent a bike and take a cruise along the water before heading to Eastland Avenue to check out vintage stores and eateries. It all makes East Nashville the perfect place to explore the cutting edge of the city's creative spirit. This trendy neighborhood full of hip restaurants isn't the cheapest in the city by any means, but it does offer some cheaper options than downtown Nashville.
Where to stay in Germantown
This neighborhood, located north of downtown, owes its name to German immigration to Nashville in the mid-19th century. Although you won't find too many traces of this European ancestry in the neighborhood today, it's still a great place to stay in the city outside of the downtown core. The Tennessee State Museum lies just to the south of the neighborhood, and Germantown is known as one of the best places in Nashville to shop and eat. Many of the city's top restaurants are located here, making it the perfect place to stay for foodies. You'll also find plenty of boutique hotels in this historic area that ooze old-school charm.
As you get beyond Germantown and head into North Nashville, you'll be able to explore the African American history of the city. This area played a big role in the civil rights movement in Nashville, and is home to the historic Fisk University. You'll also find great soul food restaurants here, including popular local favorites Monell's and City House. Best of all, this area remains relatively undiscovered by tourists, so it's the ideal place to get a better sense of the real life of locals in Nashville. You'll find that hotel prices are much cheaper here than in downtown, and it's very easy to reach all the city's main attractions from here. If you're wondering how to get around Nashville, check out our guide to the city's public transportation system.
Where to stay in Green Hills
Wondering where to stay in Nashville where you can be close to the more natural side of Tennessee? The aptly-named Green Hills is the first place you should look. This area is home to the beloved Warner Parks, which offer some of the best hiking in the city. The demanding trails through the Tennessee forest are the perfect introduction to the backcountry of the state, and will make you feel like you've traveled a long way from the bustling city even though you really haven't.
For more natural splendor, check out Cheekwood Botanical Garden and the vast Natchez Trace Parkway which is accessible in this area. You'll also find plenty of hotels in the surrounding neighborhood that make ideal places to stay if you want to be away from the noise and bustle of downtown. Most of the major hotel chains have a foothold in the area, including Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton, and Hampton Inn.
Where to stay in Midtown
Located right next to downtown Nashville, Midtown is home to some of the city's top attractions, including Centennial Park and its impressive Parthenon. It also borders Music Row, which is one of the best places in the city to explore the history of music in Nashville and also enjoy live music in the many bars and venues you'll find here. If you're wondering where to stay in Nashville that lets you enjoy what downtown has to offer at a slightly slower pace and a potentially cheaper price, Midtown is your answer.
Centennial Park is the centerpiece of this neighborhood, and it's no wonder why. As well as its ample green space and lake, along with the replica Parthenon that recalls ancient Greece, this park hosts Musicians Corner, a free music festival that will remind you why Nashville is known as Music City - as if it was possible to forget.
Midtown is a great place to stay where you'll be close to everything you want to see without paying the premium you will to stay downtown. For example, check out the Hayes Street Hotel, which offers modern rooms and complimentary breakfast plus an on-site fitness center close to Vanderbilt University. Homewood Suites by Hilton offers pet-friendly rooms right on Centennial Park, but if cheap hotels are more your thing, places like the Best Western Music Row offer unpretentious accommodation in a great area for nightlife.
Where to stay in Music Valley
In a city with as much to do as there is in Nashville, it's tempting to want to stay as close to downtown as possible. However, depending on your tastes, you may find that the Donelson area and Music Valley work out better for you. For one thing, Donelson is bordered to the south by Nashville International Airport, making it easy to reach from the moment you get into town. But also, Music Valley is home to some of Nashville's top attractions.
One of those is the Grand Ole Opry. While in Nashville, you should make it your mission to catch this legendary radio show performed live at the Opry House, which is about as Nashville an experience as you could possibly have. Plus, Music Valley is also home to Gaylord Opryland Resort. This sprawling complex is one of the top attractions in Nashville, offering a waterpark complete with artificial beaches, shopping, restaurants, and music venues. The resort is operated by Marriott and has an on-site hotel, but you can access many of the facilities without being a guest. Although Donelson lies outside the city center, it is connected to Riverfront Station by the Music City Star commuter rail line, so if you choose to stay in this area, you won't find it difficult to get into central Nashville to enjoy everything it has to offer.
Part of the appeal of Nashville for tourists is that many of the city's top attractions are within walking distance of one another in Nashville's charming city center. However, the city has more to offer than the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Tennessee State Museum. The eclectic and vital neighborhoods of Nashville offer hiking trails, amusement parks, historical attractions, incredible restaurants, and just about everything else you need to give you a spectacular vacation. So drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and open yourself up to exploring other parts of the city. When you see everything there is to do in Nashville, you'll be glad you did.