Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in Nashville

by  Darren Murph | Jan 15, 2013
Nashville / pabradyphoto/iStock

When you think Tennessee, you think Nashville. And when you think Nashville, you might also think of the city's blooming convention scene (OK, after you think of the music, of course). In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the heart of Music City, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

When it comes to fresh, fine eats that don't require a lot of walking from the halls of the Nashville Convention Center, Merchants is an excellent bet. It's an upscale southern eatery that serves up delicacies like friend green tomatoes, sweet potato fries, and shrimp 'n grits. It'll work well for lunch or dinner, but be aware that the fabled "second floor" only opens after 5:00PM.

If you're yearning for a bit of that honky-tonk flair, but aren't interested in dealing with sub par food in order to get it, point your compass to Past Perfect. It's just a short walk from the convention center, and offers a nice mix of southern entrees and infused vodkas. If you're up for trying something a little more unusual, the bison burger comes highly recommended.

I'm usually not one to recommend a tourist-centric museum visit, but the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an exception. You're in Nashville, which remains the home of all sorts of musical inspirations, but there's no doubt that country still rules the roost. Even if twangy guitars and tunes about long dirt roads aren't your cup of black coffee, anyone that appreciates history will find plenty of gems to gawk at in here. It's also a great place to whiz through if you're tight on time, but still want to take a bit of Nashville back to wherever you call home. (For those with ample time, tours that hit a number of important musical stops around the city generally depart from this here museum.)

If you'd rather wind down after a day of meetings rather visit an attraction that requires any mental effort, the city's core is pleasantly located near quite a few beautiful (and free!) places to see. The Metro Riverfront Park is but a few blocks away from the convention center, and offers great views of the Cumberland River without putting too much strain on your walking shoes. If you're a little more adventurous, I'd recommend sauntering over to the Tennessee State Capitol Building, which is surrounded by Victory Park. Yes, you'll want to drag your camera along as well.

Before saying farewell, you should really head over to Broadway. Think of it as the Beale St. of Nashville, in terms of national significance. You'll find a row of completely corny, over-the-top "honky-tonk" bars, from Legends Corner to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. I'd usually recommend somewhere quiet and peaceful to end a trip, but with the right attitude, hopping over to a few of these on your night off can present a really memorable experience.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

See our Nashville destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

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