Nashville, Tennessee, is widely known as the city of music, and for good reason. Pinball down Broadway, the Southern town’s touristy yet charming main drag, and you’ll hear live music pouring out of every bar. But while we love a good ol’ honky tonk, we can’t help but be distracted by the food, culture and history that Nashville has to offer as well.
The RCA Studio B tour provides an intimate and knowledge-packed experience that any music lover — not just country fans — can appreciate. Your tour guide will be an energetic wealth of stories, taking you through the years of the famous recording studio, which still operates today.
Hear tell of the time Dolly Parton refused to let Elvis cover “I Will Always Love You” because he would own half of the publishing rights. Listen to clips from the Everly Brothers and Waylon Jennings while getting a behind-the-scenes look at where they recorded — in fact, depending on when you go, you might get to see an artist recording. If the studio is unoccupied, step inside and take a seat at the piano Elvis used.
The tour leaves from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Factor in time for a self-guided tour there before or after your Studio B stop.
222 Fifth Ave., 615-416-2001, www.studiob.org
Go to Husk for rustic regional fare served in a gorgeous building outfitted like a sprawling Southern mansion. If you’re with a big group, consider private dining in the stables.
You can’t go wrong with the fall-off-the-bone ribs that look like they may have come from a dinosaur, or tangy, buttery shrimp and grits, but it’s the fried chicken skins with Alabama white barbecue sauce that will shut the entire table up for a while.
Run by Sean Brock, a James Beard Award winner, Husk uses locally sourced ingredients and works with community farmers.
37 Rutledge St., 615-256-6565, www.husknashville.com
A trip to Nashville isn’t complete without hot chicken. We’re talking incredibly spicy fried chicken, served up no-frills style on wax paper with pickle chips. If you’re ending your night on this Nashvillian note, we commend you and your iron stomach. And we suggest Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack . It might not look like much, but it doesn’t have to. They’re open late and they’re serving some of the hottest, juiciest meals in the city. If you hit it up late night, just be patient, as orders can take longer than you might expect.
123 Ewing Dr. #3, 615-226-9442
Options for live music and dancing abound on Broadway, but we’re putting Robert’s Western World at the top of our recommendation list. Grab a beer and find a good spot to plant yourself because it’s about to get crowded.
The bar packs in folks each night who are there in part for the great atmosphere, aided by a mural of country stars, neon beer signs and for-sale cowboy boots. But what truly draws the crowd are the bands.
416 Broadway, 615-244-9552, www.robertswest ernworld.com
Take a scenic 80-minute drive outside the city limits to Lynchburg, a sleepy town of roughly 6,000 people and reminiscent of a sound stage for an old Western film. It’s also, despite being in a dry county, home to the Jack Daniel Distillery.
After taking the distillery tour, treat yourself to lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House for a taste of true Southern comfort.
Opened in 1908, the restaurant features nine dining rooms. Lunch is served family style at 1 p.m., with a Lynchburg hostess at the helm of the table. She’ll tell you all about the town’s background and usually has an anecdote or two about Miss Mary Bobo and some of the visitors she’s served. Feast on meatloaf, fried chicken, okra, baked apples with Jack, mac and cheese and biscuits.
295 Main St., Lynchburg, 931-759-7394, www.jackdaniels.com