If you are considering travelling to Nashville now, here’s what I found during my three days in Nashville. Nashville in 3 days was a perfect girl’s getaway for us. But you must feel comfortable wearing masks and social distancing. Read on to learn what we experienced when it comes to Nashville safety.
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Although I was quite a fan of Hank William’s song, Honky Tonkin’, in high school—the croon was retro even back in the 1970s—I’d never actually been out honky tonkin’ until last month. That’s when I visited Nashville for the first time. When girlfriend, Annette Fallaha, invited me to go to Music City to celebrate her birthday, I said yes! What better person to go to Nashville, Tennessee with than Flagstaff’s very own line dance instructor?
Unfortunately because of COVID, no dancing is allowed in all the Nashville honky-tonks that fringe Broadway Street. Broadway is fondly known as Honky Tonk Highway by the locals. But we were just as happy to stay in our seats (per the city mandates) while listening to the live rock and country music. The Nashville music scene reminded me of New Orleans in that you could wander in and out of various music venues without paying cover charges.
Convenient flights going to Nashville allowed us to pack a lot of fun into the quick girl’s getaway. Read on to learn why you should consider travel to Nashville now.
What’s It Like Travelling to Nashville Now
Many followers asked what’s it like travelling to Nashville now, with COVID restrictions. Here’s what I found while travelling to Nashville two weeks ago.
As I always do while flying in this era of COVID, I wear a mask and stay six-feet away from other passengers during check-in, at the gate and baggage claim. Of course, you have to get closer while on the plane, but that’s why I prefer the smaller planes that fly out of Flagstaff—I believe the limited number of passengers reduces the risk that someone carrying COVID is on the plane. I always wipe down my seat belt, tray table and window pull handle and refrain from using the plane’s toilet.
Three days in Nashville
During my three days in Nashville, I found locals polite, hospitable to visitors and amenable to wearing masks. Perhaps because so many of them are part of the advanced healthcare community—Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the busiest heart transplant center globally—most seem familiar with and happy to comply with health safety protocols. Like in Flagstaff, it seemed to me that most of those non-compliant with the mask ordinance were visitors. Servers at restaurants, shopkeepers and bar employees all seemed educated and concerned about Nashville safety. There were even people dressed in reflective yellow vests on the streets distributing masks. Hand sanitizer stations were conveniently placed at establishments entrances.
As I said earlier, you couldn’t dance in the honky-tonks, but it seemed that the musicians were really excited to perform before live crowds. As excited as we were to listen to live music. The bouncers and bartenders did their best to keep people from standing as we were required to stay in our seats. And the number of patrons was limited, so sometimes lines formed outside.
All the restaurants that we wanted to try were open, with one exception. The iconic Bluebird Café, where Capitol Records discovered Garth Brooks, is currently closed because of COVID. In all public spaces, facial coverings or masks are still required.
Is Nashville safe right now?
If you wonder is Nashville safe right now, get up-to-date Nashville COVID information at www.asafenashville.org. You can also check out CDC Nashville, but it links to the county COVID info, which of course, examines current Nashville safety and risks.
I recommend that you do your own research at these Nashville safety websites before you go to Nashville Tennessee. You can make your own decisions based on the data available and your comfort level. Everyone has different risk-taking levels, and only you can determine whether you would feel comfortable to travel to Nashville now.
As for me, who had her first COVID vaccine two weeks before travelling to Nashville, I felt the locals did an excellent job making me feel safe and educating me on requirements. I felt safe and comfortable and tried to reduce my risks by social distancing, sanitizing my hands at every opportunity and wearing masks. I would go to Nashville Tennessee, again, for sure.
Things to Do in Nashville Right Now
Keeping in mind reducing risks of COVID, here are things to do in Nashville right now:
- Ride a horse-drawn carriage to get a personal introduction to the city. Step aboard your chauffeured carriage on Broadway Street in downtown Nashville to take in the sights. There are party barges, decorated coaches or trailers pulled by tractors to scoot you around hopping Broadway, but even though people were social-distanced on most, I would rather not put myself at risk with the revelers.
- Stroll across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the Cumberland River for incredible views of downtown. As you know, I love to walk, and I’m enamored with through-truss railroad bridges, so this makes a perfect pairing for me.
- If it’s raining, head for Opryland, an indoor venue with waterfalls, food, music and shopping all under one roof. Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center offers steak, Mexican, Italian and Japanese restaurants.
- Just down the road from the resort is the Grand Ole Opry, with behind-the-scenes tours and weekly concerts in Nashville now.
- Reserve your spot at the Nashville Zoo Nashville TN. Capacity is limited to reduce the risks of COVID, but there are plenty of animals to see: almost 3K animals, including the Red River Hog from western and central Africa.
- Go honky tonkin’. Honky tonk bars with live music are open afternoons, evenings and, since March 26, until 2 am.
- If that’s not enough, when going to Nashville, take in one of the many museums, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, Frist Art Museum or the all-new National Museum of African American Music. Check their websites as some limit numbers of museum-goers with reservation systems. Making reservations before you leave is essential when you have only three days in Nashville.
Taste the Place: Nashville Hot Chicken Restaurant Nashville TN
I couldn’t be going to Nashville without sampling a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. Hattie B’s—the most famous Nashville hot chicken restaurant Nashville TN—opened a new location on Broadway just twelve days before we stopped in.
You can order six heat levels in the hot sauce, so I chose #4 ‘Hot!-Feel the Heat.’ When the manager learned that I was a travel writer, he brought over samples of ‘Damn hot!!-Fire Starter’ and ‘Shut the Cluck Up!!!-Burn Notice’ made of ghost peppers. I would def order the ‘Damn hot!!’ next time. BTW, my mouth is watering just writing about this Nashville delicacy. I wish I were in Nashville now!
I bet that all Nashville hot chicken restaurants Nashville TN, are good, but I chose Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. But be forewarned, it was too spicy for Annette!
3-Day Itinerary for Nashville TN Travel
Let me share my itinerary for three days in Nashville TN travel:
Fly into the easy-to-navigate Nashville International Airport. Your hotel won’t be far away—it seems as if everything is within 15 minutes driving distance—so go ahead and check-in.
Take the horse-drawn carriage ride mentioned above. It’s a great way to get a personal introduction to the city. Reserve your ride for a pickup on Broadway Street downtown.
We had dinner at Merchants on Broadway or make reservations at The Listening Room Café, a good alternative for the historic Bluebird Café, which is currently closed because of COVID.
After dinner, go honky tonkin’. Standouts include Second Fiddle, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the rooftop at Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar.
Head to Centennial Park and explore 132 acres of trails, gardens and historical monuments. One of the monuments is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. Built in 1897, Nashville’s Parthenon earned the city its nickname, “Athens of the South.”
Check out one of the Nashville hot chicken restaurants Nashville TN. I chose Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, which just opened a location on Broadway downtown. If it’s cold or raining, drive to Opryland for indoor fun. (See above.)
We recommend a French restaurant owned and operated by French chef Laurent Champonnois and his son. The bistro called Once Upon a Time in France was like taking a trip to France. I ordered the Confit de Canard. Très délicieux et authentique!
After dinner, return to downtown for more honky tonkin’.
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Stretch your legs and stroll across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge over the Cumberland River for incredible urban vistas. Then engage your senses with a Downtown Food & History Walking Tour 10:30 am – 1 pm. globaltoursconnect.com
Take in one of the many museums, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, Frist Art Museum or the all-new National Museum of African American Music. Then head for the airport, it’s only 15 minutes away.
Where to Stay - including the Omni Nashville Hotel Nashville
We stayed with our friends Fadi and Samar during our three days in Nashville. However, if I were to choose a Nashville hotel, I would pick a downtown location. The Omni Nashville Hotel Nashville TN seems perfect as its lobby is adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Hilton Nashville Downtown also has a prime location next door to the Bridgestone Arena. Unfortunately, the Nashville Downtown Hostel Nashville TN is temporarily closed after part of the property was damaged by the December 25, 2020 bombing at the AT&T transmission building downtown. Although Ramada Nashville downtown hotel Nashville TN is 10 miles from downtown, it’s close to the Grand Ole Opry.
Are you ready to book your stay? Check your dates here:
Hopefully, I’ve answered some questions about downtown Nashville safe and given you some ideas to reduce your risk of COVID while traveling to Nashville. Please let me know if this article has been of value to you by leaving a comment below. If it has, I will continue to do similar reports for other destinations.
Get more inside scoop on ‘taste the place’: What To Eat in Memphis TN
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