What is Nashville's cultural scene like?

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While Nashville is best known as Music City, USA, and the home of country music, it has experienced growth in the other area’s of its culture in recent years, too. With the opening of the state-of-the-art Schermerhorn Center in 2006, the Nashville Symphony gained a beautiful permanent home in downtown. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center continues to host traveling Broadway shows as well as performances by the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera and Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

Nashville’s growing arts scene is anchored by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and given energy by art districts like Fifth Avenue of the Arts, where galleries are clustered around downtown Nashville’s Fifth Avenue, and by events like the First Saturday Art Crawl, which has been introducing locals and visitors to new artists for more than five years. Nashville also boasts a growing culinary arts scene, with more and more chef-driven restaurants and a vibrant slow food and local food movement.

  • On December 6
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best restaurants in Nashville?

    From the high-end perspective, The Catbird Seat. The team at The Catbird Seat has trained under some of the best chefs in the world, but they are doing something at what, in my opinion, is a fairly affordable price point relative to the amount of labor and cost of ingredients. They are cooking with detail and you’re eating 10 courses, but it’s tricked out and they’re serving the food and you’re watching them sweat. It takes away the pomp of fine dining.

    City House is obviously a staple for us — Tandy Wilson makes solid food. I love his simple vegetable dishes — recently I had this wonderful arugula and peanut salad. And I love all the pizzas; there isn’t one I love more than the others. Plus, I think City House has some of the best desserts in town. I enjoy going to Husk, I’ve had several good meals there. I love Bella Nashville; they make great pizza in the farmers market. Obviously, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, everybody talks about it and for good reason. It’s just good, down home, warm food that makes you feel good — and sleepy. There’s no pretension at all. Arnold’s makes great southern greens with fried chicken or a pork chop — you can’t go wrong.

    And then there’s Las Americas on Nolensville Pike; it’s a taqueria and pupusería. I like to get a pupusa, which is this moist masa dough that is very thin and flat and filled with some combination of meat, beans and cheese. It’s cooked on a pancake griddle and comes out softer than a tortilla. They serve it with a chopped cabbage condiment. It’s all so good and so cheap.
  • On December 6
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best bars in Nashville?

    I love The Patterson House on Sunday nights because it’s slow and they make great cocktails. I know many of the bartenders at The Patterson House and tend to trust their judgment on choosing my libation. There is one drink, The Clapless Belle, created by our friend Matt Tocco (former Rolf and Daughters bar manager) that is an amazing go-to. It’s not on the menu, but it can be made upon request.

    And I also really like the bar at Merchants Restaurant because I think the room is incredible. It’s a great space and there aren’t a whole lot of places you’d want to hang out downtown. Restaurant folks tend to end up at No. 308 because you can get everything from an ice cold Miller High Life to a well-crafted cocktail. And they are open late, which means a lot of us who don’t get off work until well after midnight, have a place to go.

    I also like Dino’s Bar & Grill because you can get a burger, and it can either be low-key or you can see an instrumental hip-hop show there. And I like The Gold Rush for wings on Saturday night. Nashville is really good at the dive bar thing. And it’s also really good at a more cocktail-oriented bar.
  • On December 6
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    Which Nashville restaurants are best for brunch?

    Husk has a really awesome brunch, we love to eat everything they prepare — [chef de cuisine] Morgan McGlone and his team are amazingly talented. The menu changes frequently and is always delicious. And then there’s always chicken and waffles at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

    Really, my brunch preference is to cook it at home. We’ll make sourdough pancakes or ricotta pancakes, or a frittata and a big salad. Since my mother is Norwegian, I also really like making cured or smoke fish, pickled herring and a boiled egg, vegetables, and dark rye bread. Those are some really good options. Paired with coffee from Crema, we’ll just eat and relax.
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  • On December 6
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best places to stay in Nashville?

    I’ve heard there are some pretty rad Airbnb options. There are a lot of people working on new things, too, such as The 404 Hotel and Kitchen, which opened this fall. The 404 is our first true boutique hotel here in Nashville and also boasts a great new restaurant headed up by our friend chef Matt Bolus.
  • On December 6
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What’s the best time to visit Nashville?

    Spring or fall is the best time to visit Nashville. There’s so much going on in the fall — outdoor concerts at Centennial Park, mountain biking is great this time of year and they just opened a single rail trail in Percy Warner Park. It’s a great time to go out and visit farms — I love to take my family out to Bloomsbury Farm, Bear Creek Farm or Rocky Glade Farm and see what they are growing. The weather is great. The spring is very much the same. Obviously, it’s nice to avoid the humid summer months, too.
  • On November 1, 2013
    Miranda Whitcomb Pontes answered the question: Miranda Whitcomb Pontes

    What are the best Nashville museums?

    There are great art galleries on 5th Avenue. They’re getting better all the time. I like the Tinney Contemporary gallery; Susan Tinney will really take risks, she might have two massive pieces in that space, but it will make a really strong statement. It makes me feel like I’m in a much larger metropolitan city when I’m in there.
  • On November 1, 2013
    Miranda Whitcomb Pontes answered the question: Miranda Whitcomb Pontes

    What are the best bars in Nashville?

    I love ordering a martini at the Oak Bar [at The Hermitage Hotel]. There are people that live here and people that are traveling, too. It’s a great place to people watch, and it’s not pretentious. It looks like the people have worked there forever; they have a little maturity, and it kind of makes me feel like I’m not in Nashville. And I do like the new Rumours wine bar downtown — sitting outside with a big glass of red wine at night is great.
  • On November 1, 2013
    Miranda Whitcomb Pontes answered the question: Miranda Whitcomb Pontes

    What are the best restaurants in Nashville?

    I love to get all of the appetizers at City House — cured meats or whatever they’re doing is always so good. At Rolf and Daughters, I love to order the chicken.
  • On November 1, 2013
    Miranda Whitcomb Pontes answered the question: Miranda Whitcomb Pontes

    What are the best places to stay in Nashville?

    To stay in the 12 South neighborhood, I would say the Linden Manor Bed & Breakfast. I’ve stayed there a good bit, and my family has stayed there, too. The location of Linden Manor is right between 12th Avenue South and Belmont so walking either direction leads to restaurants and cafés. The owner is terrific, and there’s always a full breakfast complete with good conversation, and all at a reasonable rate. There is a separate “apartment” with a living room, separate bedroom and bathroom. There are books and games, plants and flowers, great soap and nice towels. It feels close to home. And then I would say [Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star] The Hermitage Hotel because there is so much history there.
  • On November 1, 2013
    Miranda Whitcomb Pontes answered the question: Miranda Whitcomb Pontes

    What are the best things to do in Nashville?

    1. First, take a bike tour, whether it’s with Thomas [Solinsky] from Sound Forest or someone else. It’s a great way to see the whole city in just half a day — don’t forget to see the capitol building and walk up the steps.

    2. Go see the Nashville Symphony. I went there recently with my son and there’s just something about getting dressed up, walking down the corridor, seeing the violinists’ fingers move so quickly. It was spectacular. I felt so proud of our town that I immediately went home and made a donation.

    3. See live music at The Basement, Ryman Auditorium or Station Inn. They are all icons, but completely different.

    4. I love to see things in contrast. I think it would be cool to drive down Charlotte Avenue to see the diversity and busyness, and then cut over to Belle Meade Boulevard to see the hoity-toity-est part of town. Then get out of your car at Percy Warner Park, walk up the stairs and take a moment to think about what you’ve seen. It’s such a dichotomy, just within a couple of miles of each other.

    5. And then, I would say it’s important to go downtown during the day. See Broadway. You can still go into Tootsie’s [Orchid Lounge], even in the middle of the day.
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