As a woman traveling around the world there are some things that I search for that never cross “the man’s mind.” A great art museum, women-owned clothing boutiques, outdoor cafes and unusual desserts are always on my bucket list.
For example, if you find yourself traveling through the city of Nashville, Tennessee look forward to more than just honky-tonk bars and cowboy boots. This major country music city has more to it then, well country music. Nashville has a thriving cultural arts community, eclectic boutique and eco-friendly shopping, and a selection of restaurants that rival any on either coast. A little southern history rounds out a trip to Nashville that makes for a great weekend getaway with your girlfriends or just the family.
Visit the Visual Arts
First Center for the Visual Arts, 919 Broadway
A 24,000-square foot visual art exhibition center successfully launched in the former U.S. Post Office building and has an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions from local, regional, national and international sources.
Kids 18 and under are always free.
Downtown Art Galleries including TAG Art Gallery, The Arts Company, Estel Gallery, Rymer gallery, the eclectic Arcade and expanding 5th Street art district.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, 1200 Forrest Park Drive (37205)
The private estate of the Cheek family (Maxwell House coffee fame), Cheekwood is now home to 55 acres of botanical gardens, a sculpture trail, museum of art and more.
The Carl Van Vechten Gallery, 1000 175h Ave. N., includes works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Auguste-Pierre Renoir, Henri deToulouse-Lautrec, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove.
The Parthenon, Centennial Park
The world’s only full-sized reproduction of the Greek Parthenon that houses Athena, the tallest indoor structure in the Western world.
Belle Meade Plantation, 5025 Harding Road
Once a renowned thoroughbred horse farm, Belle Meade Plantation was one of Nashville’s largest and wealthiest private estates encompassing 5400 acres. The guided tour of the Mansion, with an abundance of original furnishings, encompasses both the first and second floor of the Antebellum home.
The Hermitage, 4580 Rachel’s Lane, Hermitage
Home of President Andrew Jackson, this National Historic Landmark features the Hermitage mansion, tombs of Andrew and Rachel Jackson and Rachel’s garden as well as special exhibits.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center, One Symphony Place
Neoclassical revivalist concert hall that opened September 2006, it is Music City’s newest musical gem and one of the only major concert halls in North America to utilize natural light. Perfect for the classical music enthusiasts.
Enjoy the Culinary Arts
Nashville Farmer’s Market, 900 Rosa Parks Blvd.
An indoor and outdoor public market, featuring locally grown produce, ethnic food, restaurants, specialty items and live music ranging from bluegrass to jazz and country it is sure to have something for everyone’s tastebuds.
Capitol Grill, 231 Sixth Ave N
With a distinguished take on Southern dishes, Chef Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille uses vegetables from the period garden he created at the Farm at Glen Leven. The heritage breed beef that grazes there has created one of the best examples of sustainable Southern Cuisine in the state of Tennessee.
SloCo , 290512th Ave.
Located in the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville, this sandwich shop serves local and sustainable sandwiches at affordable prices and they also list how far your food has traveled, so it really is local. They only use organic, ’real’ food bought from farmers growing without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics and genetic modification.
1808 Grille Restaurant, 1808 West End Ave.
Local farm-freshness is the order of the day, and their ingredients include prime meat and sustainable seafood entrees enhanced with chutneys, aiolis and vinaigrettes to create a delectable array of flavors and textures
Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles, 2907 12th Avenue S Street
Whatever you do, make sure that one stop is a visit to Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles. Who would have thought hot chocolate with peppers or pineapple chili would go so good together? Only in a popsicle, and not just for dessert.
So popular no website even. Go figure!
The Green Wagon: East Nashville, 1100 Forest Ave.
All the products hold up a rigorous set of standards based on all natural ingredients, sustainable production practices, being produced in the United States, and being produced as locally as possible.
MODA, 2511 12th Street South
A quaint shop to indulge yourself, Moda stands for modern, original, distinctive apparel and does not disappoint. A pleasure to graze over their jewelry, pretty candles and seasonal dresses.
Imogene + Willie, 2601 12th Avenue
If you really want to bring home a token of Nashville, forgo the country cowboy boots and purchase yourself a pair of custom made blue jeans that fit like a glove. It is where the stars of country music shop too. A very cool shop indeed.
BookManBookWoman, 1713 21st Street
Ok, I know that you are reading this on-line, but every once in a while, help the little guy out and go visit a used bookstore. Just gliding down the tiny aisle of stacked books will be a trip down memory lane. A book from my childhood, a college novel, and my favorite chic lit. Pick something up. You will not regret it.
Grace Anne Belangia took her first plane ride at six months old to Bogota, Columbia and her feet have not touched the ground since. She spent her childhood and college summers crisscrossing the world; by train, plane, ship and automobile. After graduate school in communications, she settled down but her sense of adventure and travel never waned from her career or motherhood. Every weekend, vacation and holiday break was an excuse to travel and explore. Three passports later, her family and kids in tow have been to France, Greece, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Monaco, Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, England, Netherlands, Scotland, Japan, Belgium, and most states in the continental USA. She has 20 years experience in the public relations, event planning and journalism field. 5 years ago she forgo a full time corporate career and combined her love of travel and writing. She chronicles her latest travel adventures writing for magazines, travel websites, and private clients. Try and keep up with her at www.goGABgo.com.