Whether it was Willie Nelson jotting notes as he scrounged for beer money in the 1960s, or Steve Earle scrawling on a napkin as he contemplated love, life and death, the singer-songwriters who payed their dues in Nashville have shaped country music into one of the most indelible musical forms.
For country music fans all over the world, a trip to Nashville is the ultimate homage, a nod to the musicians that taught us how to bleed through our hearts, see the beauty in the simple, and how to create a song out of an empty bottle of booze. Consider a rivier cruise to Nashville where you can enjoy the history and music of the Mississippi river as you soak in the ambiance.
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This landmark resort offers an impressive lineup of amenities a stone's throw from the convention center and Nashville's most popular attractions.
What To Do
Within Nashville, Centennial Park is the city's most popular spot for urban recreation. The Centennial Park Sportsplex offers a swimming pool, tennis courts and an ice-skating rink. Riverfront Park is a favorite with walkers and joggers, or you can rent in-line skates and bicycles downtown.
Consider a Rivier Cruise to Nashville to enjoy the history and music of the Mississippi river.
It's no surprise that most of Nashville's festivities center on music. Each Thursday evening from May through September, the city hosts free concerts at Riverfront Park. From May through mid-August, the Tennessee Jazz & Blues concert series enlivens Belle Meade Plantation and the Hermitage.
Among the short-term shindigs is a commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans at the Hermitage in early January, with a ceremony at Andrew Jackson's tomb. Music City Blues Celebration is held downtown in late February to March. On March 15, Andrew Jackson's birthday is remembered with a wreath laying ceremony at the Hermitage. In March the Tin Pan South music festival showcases songwriters. Early May brings more than 150 artisans to Centennial Park for the Tennessee Crafts Fair.
Late May's Summer Lights in Music City is a downtown outdoor festival of arts, music, dance and theatre. The Celtic Music & Summer Solstice Celebration revels in Scottish and Irish music, dance and culture, generally on Father's Day. The CMA Music Festival (Fan Fair) at LP Field and around the city draws 24,000 fans to more than 35 hours of stage shows and concerts by 100 artists mid-month. On July 4, the Independence Day celebration at Riverfront Park is a family event (no alcohol) of food and fireworks. In mid-August, the Music City Pig Fest at the National Guard Armory features a BBQ cook-off, Tennessee wine tasting, hog-calling and pony rides. In August, East Nashville celebrates tomatoes with the Tomato ART Fest. In early September, Travelers Rest Plantation offers a tour of the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga site. In late September, the African Street Festival at the TSU campus features poetry, rap, reggae, blues, jazz and gospel music along with ethnic foods and fashions.
In mid-October there is Oktoberfest and in late October, a Pow Wow at Long Hunter State Park brings Native Americans from many different nations together for traditional dances and cultural arts.
When to Go
Most of Nashville's main music festivals and other public celebrations take place during the swelteringly hot season, from May through September, when daytime temperatures edge towards 33°C (90°F) and humidity can climb to 80%. Taking the good with the bad, this is an excellent time to get a real taste for life in Music City. In terms of climate alone, you may be happier visiting in October and November, when temperatures fall to around 20°C (70°F) and the humidity drops by half. Rainfall is fairly evenly spread out over the year, with August through October being the driest months. Snowfall is heaviest in January and February, but even then it's more an occasion for snowball fights than blizzard scares.
From May through September, daytime temperatures in Nashville hover around 30°C (86°F) and humidity can reach a claustrophobic 80%. It is wet in Nashville throughout the year, though August to October has less rain than average. The coolest months are October and November, when the humidity drops and the average temperature is around 20°C (70°F).