Nashville is loaded with hidden gems. Besides being a heralded music mecca (it ranges from punk and hipster honky-tonk to classic country), you can also find cozy dining and an art scene that will inspire the biggest of culture snobs to take a trip to Tennessee.
A rival to Austin
Music and culture is all around in Nashville. The Country Music Hall of Fame (www.
countrymusichalloffame.com) is currently showing the exhibit “Family Tradition,” which examines the personal lives and music of Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. Skip the gift shop and get your souvenir at the legendary print shop Hatch Show Print around the corner. Check out the area known as The District for a taste of the city’s eclectic, vibrant music scene. Or you can pick up your own cowboy boots and dance with locals at Robert’s Honky Tonk.
Hutton has it all
The new, “independent luxury” Hutton Hotel (www.huttonhotel.com) sports hip-yet comfortable rooms and an eclectic decor. An added bonus to out-of-town guests: A free Lexus hybrid SUV is available to transport you to the lively bars only a few minutes away.
The tiny, historically black Fisk University (www.fisk.edu) is home to one of the most important (and surprising) collections of 20th-century art. This is thanks to photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his wife, painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who donated his vast art collection after his death to wide-reaching institutions so that everyone, regardless of race or income, could have access to art.
A dose of culture
If you’re looking for your share of classical culture, then Nashville is the next best thing
to Greece. In 1897, for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, a replica of the original Parthenon in Athens was built. But Nashville’s version includes the statue of Athena in all her 41-foot, 12-ton glory (www.nashville.gov/parthenon).