What's new in Nashville
By Peter Ellegard
America’s Music City is adding major new attractions to its line-up of great music experiences. We highlight why Tennessee’s capital is more popular than ever.
It’s almost 150 years since Nashville gained its famous nickname – supposedly after Queen Victoria watched a private performance by African American cappella choir the Fisk Jubilee Singers during a tour of England in 1873 and exclaimed that they must come from the “Music City”.
Victoria never set foot in Tennessee’s capital but its popularity with UK visitors has soared in recent years, helped by British Airways’ non-stop flights from Heathrow.
Nashville lives up to its moniker: the numerous bars on Honky Tonk Highway play host to numerous bands until early morning while the Bluebird Café, a favourite for 37 years, combines dinner with live music.
Take in the new Soul of Nashville theatre experience at historic landmark Ryman Auditorium, which brings to life over a century of shows by music legends. And visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, with its recordings, photographs, stage costumes and musical instruments.
Fifth + Broadway
Nashville continues to evolve and grow, adding more for visitors to see and do.
This March saw the opening of the Fifth + Broadway retail, dining and entertainment complex, right in the heart of Music City on the six-acre site of the former Nashville Convention Centre.
It includes the National Museum of African American Music, the only museum of its kind in the U.S., showcasing the influences and impact that African Americans have had on over 50 music genres from classical, blues and jazz to hip-hop.
There are also upscale shops, the Assembly Food Hall – with indoor/outdoor artisanal eateries that include Thai, Chinese and Mediterranean street food – and a rooftop terrace with three concert stages.
More than 4,200 new hotel rooms were added during 2019 and 2020 in Nashville and the trend is continuing.
Construction is under way for another 3,500 hotel rooms with openings over the next two to three years, while properties with well over 6,000 more rooms are also planned.
Nashville is gaining more higher-end hotels, too; the new 346-room W Nashville opened this spring with the 236-room Four Seasons and 237-room Conrad both opening in 2022. A $540 million Ritz-Carlton project is also planned. Construction starts in 2022 for a 2025 opening. Meanwhile, the luxury Renaissance Nashville attached to Fifth + Broadway has been renovated.
Among new attractions, Once Upon a Spring at Gaylord Opryland includes a live story time show, art activities, a scavenger hunt and boat rides.
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Vacations to America
An 11-day Rhythms of the South fly/drive, starting from New Orleans and ending in Atlanta, with three nights in Nashville, costs from £2,295, including car hire, flights and hotel.