Downtown Nashville - Photo by Travel + Leisure

We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to begin a regular monthly section to feature destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips enriching and entertaining.

Driving a little less than six hours Southwest of Charleston brings you to Nashville, Tennessee. Over the past 20 years, Nashville has become one of America’s most sought after destinations. Steeped in Southern traditions, Nashville is full of fun offerings for the whole family. Head to Nashville on a long weekend because this is one lively city! Here are some recommendations to help inspire a weekend traveler getaway in Nashville.

Where to Stay in Nashville

Nashville is divided into neighborhoods, some more popular than others. My favorites are 12 South and West End. The West End is home to a plethora of hotel chains including Lowes, Aloft, Embassy Suites, and Marriott. Consider cashing in your hotel points at one of these locations for a discounted stay. Airbnb fans will definitely want to check out the 12 South Treehouse; a cute two-bedroom apartment with onsite parking and little traffic.

Note: Parking is expensive in Nashville; use Lyft or Uber to get around.

Where to Dine in Nashville

Nashville is home to delicious food, but not all restaurants will break the bank. In the 12 South area, I recommend BarTaco (cauliflower tacos, street corn, and margaritas), Edley’s Bar-B-Que (brunch spot), and Lana’s Copper Kettle (Southern favorites).

Tourists flock in droves to Hillsboro Village for Pancake Pantry’s delicious fare. Try their sweet potato pancakes, a Nashville tradition. Park free behind the Pancake Pantry with a validated ticket. Across the street is Provence, offering crustless quiche, homemade breads, and teas.

The San Antonio Taco Company offers cheap Mexican eats in Midtown while Hattie B’s is home to Nashville’s famous hot chicken. Celebrate a special occasion at Merchants (Downtown, on Broadway) or Tin Angel (West End).

Nashville Unique Offerings

Nashville is the home of country music. Visit the famous Ryman Auditorium or see a show at the Grand Ole Opry, founded in 1925. Tour the Country Music Hall of Fame, a state-of-the-art facility with changing exhibits and cram packed with country legend displays. Although the Hall of Fame is always a great choice, it is a great rainy day activity.

While in Nashville, visiting Opryland is a must. This mammoth hotel is a stellar place to walk around and admire thousands of plants and flowers. Opryland’s cascading waterfalls and dancing water shows are thrilling to watch. There are dozens of shops to check out and great restaurants, too. Opryland is quite an expensive place to stay, but visiting guests are always welcome. Holiday visits are even better when the hotel is all decked out in seasonal decorations.

Minutes way from Opryland is Opry Mills, Nashville’s largest retail and outlet destination with over 200 stores. There is also a 20 screen cinema, IMAX theater, and Dave & Buster’s entertainment complex. Families may want to have a meal (with free fun!) at the Rainforest Cafe.

What to Do on Your Weekend Trip

A trip to Nashville would not be complete without people watching on Lower Broadway and listening to up and coming musicians/bands. Printers Alley, a famous nightclub hotspot in the 1940’s and 50’s, is no longer a must-see, but still an icon.

Nashville is full of boutiques but the Mall at Green Hills is home to top-of-the-line shopping. There are quite a few tours in Nashville, if you want to try some of the area’s local eateries or see the homes of country music stars.

Stroll through Centennial Park, where you can feed the ducks and take pictures of the full-size Parthenon replica, built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Walk the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge and get great pictures of the city. History lovers will want to visit Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage (a National Historic Landmark) and take a tour of his home and plantation. Be sure to swing by the picturesque Tennessee State Capitol.

Weekend Trip to Nashville, Tennessee

Whether you want to indulge in the country music scene or just explore a popular American city (currently listed on the top 15 places to move to list), Nashville will steal your heart. Say “Hi” to Dierks Bentley for me!