TL;DR Must see for a wonderful feast for the eyes, taste buds and the mind. Great sights to see, awesome cuisine and a history that has echoes into our experiences to this day
My first impression of Nashville was that how green the landscape looked. As the plane came in to land at the Nashville Airport I could see that the whole environment was luscious green, even in the middle of summer. Getting to town from the airport was fairly easy. Lets jump into the best part of bring in the south - food, and especially BBQ! If you are in Nashville you must go to Martin's BBQ in downtown. Is a touristy? For sure. But that place was just fantastic! We had some sliced beef brisket and also tried their smoked sausage dog - both were excellent. And the best part was talking to the people working there. They were very friendly and welcoming. I was walking around amazed at the gigantic broilers the use and one of the employees gave me a very nice tour on how they cook the meat and how long it stays in the wood-burning pit. I picked up some of their sauces to try at home and as gifts for friends & neighbors back in California. In the downtown area can visit the beautiful Vanderbilt campus. Be sure to check out the large Vanderbilt Stadium. Clearly they take a lot of pride in the college football team. The old-style building and peaceful streets make for a lovely afternoon walk around on the best colleges in the country. Nashville has definitely grown, as I saw from visiting friends in the suburbs. Also has a very cosmopolitan feel. One of the best places to visit in Nashville is the Tennessee State Museum. It's free and and an absolute treasure trove for those of us who love history. One of the nice things they have built is in the park leading up to the museum. Laid out as a walk through historical events it guides visitors through pivotal moments in Tennessee history through quotes and historical high points. One of the most poignant points on this walk of history is a little break in the adjoining wall to indicate when the Civil War took place. The museum itself starts by giving an overview of the history of the Native American people and how they interacted with settlers. There is a small movie theater where you can watch a nice documentary starting from the founding of the state and then all the way through present times. The history of this area is inexorably linked to the history of the abominable institution of slavery. There are a number of artifacts that go back to those times and many of them are gut-wrenching. It’s hard to look at and not be emotionally moved by auction notices for the sale of slaves or the iron shackles that were used to keep them tied up. After spending time at the museum, you can check out the area around the Tennessee capitol with lots of government buildings. Then it might be the perfect time to head over for lunch to an area of town called the Dogpatch. In particular a place called Biscuit Love - really the best of Southern taste in a modern setting. Close to Nashville is the capital of country music - the Grand Ole Opry. If you are a fan of country music or don't know much about it (as in my case), you should go visit the Grand Ole Opry. Its a great place to catch the vibe of country music. The whole atmosphere is very interesting. The show itself is set up like an old-time vaudeville live radio show. A MC comes on entertain the audience before the music kicks in. From the first sounds of the country fiddle and the mandolin you are transported into a fascinating world of country music. The whole performance goes on for a few hours and you're thoroughly entertained throughout. OK, now time to go back to food - another wonderful place that you must try in Nashville is Hattie BBQ. They are know for spicy southern style chicken - it was very tasty. After some good, spicy fried chicken, head over to music row which is packed with number of bars featuring live music and lots of fun food and drinks. When in Nashville do visit the Parthenon. The original Greek Parthenon in Athens has been recreated down to the Last detail. It's a lovely park to walk around. Use Nashville as a starting point to explore the wonderful culture and history of the south.