347 miles 8+ hours (because of bad traffic)

For country-music fans, Nashville is the ultimate destination. But Nashville isn’t just about country music. It's overflowing with energy pouring out of cool restaurants, boutique stores, museums and more! Every corner you turn you'll see laughter and smiles from groups of people enjoying the energy of this vibrant city. When I visited, I also found myself fascinated with the clothes people wore there. Nashville fashion is casual, but oh so trendy!

Nashville, the vibrant heartbeat of Tennessee, is a city that resonates with an unmistakable harmony of music, culture, and Southern charm. At the core of Nashville's identity is its undeniable connection to music. From the iconic honky-tonks on Broadway to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, every street corner seems to echo with the melodies that have shaped country music.

Man and a young boy stood in front of a mural in Nashville TN.  Mural is painted with words, looking pretty music city

We stayed in the Vanderbilt area at the Courtyard Nashville Vanderbilt/West End. Centennial Park and the Parthenon are within walking distance of the hotel. It is a lively area, with many bars and restaurants nearby, but equally not too lively for families to stay.

We spent a lovely afternoon exploring 12 South, a trendy neighborhood popular with locals and tourists alike. Nashville's 12 South neighborhood is a vibrant and eclectic district known for its trendy boutiques, diverse dining scene, and colorful street art. You'll find a bright and bustling street full of restaurants, coffee houses, bakeries and boutiques featuring local designers, with many murals (including the famous I Believe in Nashville mural) decorating the neighborhood. Situated just south of downtown, this bustling area beckons locals and tourists alike to explore its unique charm and dynamic atmosphere.

In the past, my travels to Nashville led me to stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, a sprawling resort nestled next to the iconic Grand Ole Opry. Stepping into the grand entrance lobby, I was immediately struck by the opulence and scale of the place. It truly offers a unique and impressive experience, with its lavish amenities and all-encompassing luxury. However, despite its grandeur, I couldn't shake the feeling of being somewhat disconnected from the heart and soul of Nashville.

While the Gaylord Opryland Hotel provides everything one could possibly need under one roof, from upscale dining options to cozy coffee shops and lively bars, I couldn't help but find the prices to be steep. It's undeniably a haven for those seeking convenience and indulgence, but for me, the real essence of Nashville lies in its vibrant downtown scene.

Downtown Nashville, with its eclectic mix of honky-tonks, live music venues, and bustling streets, offers a more authentic and immersive experience of the city's culture and charm. From the iconic neon lights of Broadway to the hidden gems tucked away in quaint alleyways, there's an energy and excitement in downtown Nashville that simply can't be replicated elsewhere.

While my stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was a memorable one, filled with luxury and comfort, I found myself longing for the lively streets and infectious energy of downtown Nashville. It's been three years since my visit, and I can only imagine how the city has continued to evolve and grow since then. Whether you choose to indulge in the lavish amenities of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel or immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of downtown Nashville, one thing is for certain – the Music City never fails to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.


129 miles - 2 hours

As a child I would listen to Elvis and Johnny Cash with my Nana. She was a huge fan! The song "Jackson" has long been a favorite, yet the thought of visiting the very place immortalized in lyrics felt like a dream. Little did I anticipate that one day, I would stand amidst the streets of Jackson, retracing the footsteps of the musical legends who had left an indelible mark on my memories.

Our pitstop led us to the original International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame on North Church Street. Although the hall is now closed, the vibrant murals and the preserved stage stand as a testament to the rich musical history that once thrived within its walls. The exterior exudes a nostalgic charm, adorned with artistic tributes to the genre's luminaries. Parking right in front made it an accessible and engaging detour, perfect for those with limited time yet an appetite for cultural exploration.

Jackson, Tennessee, became more than just a geographical midpoint; it became a pilgrimage to the heart of rock 'n' roll history. The melodies that once danced through my Nana's living room found a tangible connection in the streets of Jackson. In the rhythm of the murals and the silent notes of the preserved stage, I discovered a slice of musical heritage that will forever be etched in my travel diaries.