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From Honky-Tonks to the Parthenon – Nashville has it All!

Nashville skyline

Nashville skyline, as seen from the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. (All photography in this article by David Anderson.)

Nashville certainly lives up to its nickname as the “Music City”. With tons of bars, concert venues, and honky-tonks all over town, you can find live music nearly any time of the day or night. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a place where the music isn’t top-notch. Even the airport bars feature musicians. But, Nashville offers a lot more than just musical entertainment, including world-class resorts, art galleries, and an eclectic variety of shops and boutiques. The city is easy to navigate, and even if you only have a few hours as I did recently, you can see and do a lot, including visiting the only full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon. That’s right – the Parthenon. (See photos of the Parthenon later in this article.)


The Gaylord Opryland Resort where I recently stayed for several days days, is just 15 minutes from downtown. This huge hotel complex features over 2700 rooms and suites, more than a dozen restaurants and bars, and a large convention center.  Once inside this sprawling complex, and after you’ve somewhat figured out how to get from Point A to Point B, you’ll find park-like settings complete with palm trees, water falls, and even a quarter-mile indoor river that offers boat rides. It’s almost like being in a tropical forest at times, and although you can be indoors during an entire stay, the gardens and wide-open glass rooftops can make you feel as though you are outdoors. Like most resorts, the place is a bit pricey – a hamburger can cost $19 (but, that does include fries!). The reason for my visit this week was to attend Imaging USA, which is an annual convention produced by the Professional Photographers of America. Imaging is held at various locations around the country … I was in Phoenix for it last year. With over 11,000 photographers attending this year to take part in the multitude of classes and the huge Expo, even this giant hotel was sold out.


Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland. Tropical forests and waterfalls abound.

Lower Broadway

One of Nashville’s best-known thoroughfares is Broadway. The area from 1st Ave. to about 5th Ave. is known as “Lower Broadway’, and is where most tourists wind up because it’s the location of the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman is the famous original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which is now located outside of downtown beside the Gaylord. The Country Music Hall of Fame is also near the Ryman, and also attracts lots of country fans. But, probably the biggest draw to the area on a daily basis is the multitude of bars (honky-tonks) that feature live country music and bluegrass nearly round the clock, and every day of the week. Many famous stars were discovered in some of these places, and in other locations around the City as well.

The Ryman Auditorium and honkey-tonks feature live music on Lower Broadway.

The Ryman Auditorium and honky-tonks feature live music on Lower Broadway.

More than just Honky-Tonks

Lower Broadway and the nearby streets offer a lot more than just honky-tonks, and New York City isn’t the only place you can enjoy the “neon lights on Broadway”. Just like New York, on Nashville’s Broadway you can enjoy a fun ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or you can just walk the area to marvel at the neon lights, candy shops, and unique boutiques. You’ll also find that the food in most of the establishments is very good, and is reasonably priced. That’s an especially nice treat if you’ve had to pay the prices at Opryland’s establishments.


Fried pickles are a favorite around Nashville. It’s fun to enjoy a good band while having lunch!


Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is one of most popular and unique candy shops in Nashville.

Take a carriage ride, window shop, or enjoy the neon lights on Broadway.

Take a carriage ride, window shop, or enjoy the neon lights on Broadway.

Elliston Place Restaurant is a cool little diner in West Nashville.

Elliston Place Soda Shop t is a cool little diner in the less touristy west side of Nashville. Having been a soda shop since 1939, it claims to be “Nashville’s oldest continuously operating restaurant in its original location”.  We just saw it and decided to have lunch here, but this place is often used to film music videos and commercials, and is frequented by local and national celebrities and politicians.

The Shelby Street Bridge  spans Nashville

The Shelby Street Bridge spans Nashville’s Cumberland River and is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. The Nashville skyline is just across the river, and a park and “spray ground” are at the other end.

Yes, the Parthenon is in Nashville!

A trip to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without seeing the world’s only full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon. Nashville’s version was first built as a temporary structure in 1897 to celebrate Tennessee’s Centennial, but due to its popularity, the City decided to keep it. The original structure stood until 1921 when the worn structure was torn down and rebuilt with permanent materials. The construction took 10 years, and Nashville is now known as “the Athens of the South”.

The Parthenon, with my friends Al and Jackie.

The Parthenon, with my friends Al and Jackie who graciously drove me around town.


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Chuck MacDonald - February 10, 2015 - 9:33 pm

Great photos. Was there some kind of filter to give the shots a different feel?

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