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 June 27, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Nashville?

    If you're looking for designer clothes in Nashville... it's best to go straight to the designers themselves.

    For American-made jeans, look no further than Imogene + Willie. The retail store, located on 12th Avenue South, is housed in a refurbished gas station where it opened in 2009. This year, Imogene (pronounced eye-m-jean) expanded into a warehouse/workshop space in Marathon Village, where a majority of their jeans are stitched with some of the nation's highest quality denim. There are only a few styles to choose from: The Imogene, Jesse, or Elizabeth for women; and The Barton or Willie for the gentlemen. Tailored on site and within minutes, you can walk out of the store with a brand new pair of jeans—made to last a lifetime.

    And speaking of Marathon Village, head on over to Nashville's former automobile manufacturing plant to see Otis James or Emil Erwin. There, Otis and his team sew handmade ties, bowties, and hats made with fabric that will make you swoon for herringbone. Emil (whose last name is Cogdon, not Erwin) is known across the South for his fine leather goods—wallets, luggage, belts and more. 

    To get a feel for Nashville's underground fashion scene, check out Local Honey on Belmont Avenue. It's filled to the brim with up-and-coming designer goods as well as vintage finds.

    For higher-end threads, don't miss H. Audrey in Green Hills. Singer-songwriter Holly Williams and her sister, Hilary (both great-granddaughters of Hank Williams), line the racks with the kind of merchandise that draws celebrities and musicians like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, and Kelly Clarkson. Plus, with their shared musical heritage, you can also walk out of H. Audrey with rare music posters, photography, and recordings. 

    Happy Shopping!
  • On June 26, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best yoga studios in Nashville?

    Nashville might be a little late to the "yoga" craze—but the last year has seen a definite uptick in downward facing dog. From hot yoga to power yoga, from the paddle version to the wee hours of the morning version, there's something for every seasoned yogi stopping through town. 

    1. Shakti Yoga. Located just off of music row, Shakti yoga offers many different classes to suit different levels—but all are hot, hot, hot. With temperatures always above 95 degrees, it's lucky that their bathroom/shower facilities are top notch. Owned and operated by two sisters, Kelly and Lauren Farina, Shakti Yoga offers a beautiful studio in the heart of one of the fastest-paced parts of town. Where better to unwind? 

    2. Sanctuary Yoga. With two studios (one in Green Hills and one in the Gulch), Sanctuary Yoga has quickly become one of the go-to places for expert yoga instruction. Twenty-one different teachers with different specialties offer a wide variety of practices for beginners to seasoned veterans. For nearly 10 years, Sanctuary Yoga has been a pioneer in the movement to bring more yoga to Nashville.

    3. Steadfast and True Yoga. Every year, Steadfast and True Yoga facilitates countless workshops, trips, and instructional weekends, with some of the best yogis around the nation. From a 2014 Ashtanga Yoga workshop with David Swenson, to a Yoga Retreat to Nicaragua, Steadfast and True is a place to recharge, or amp up your yoga flow.

    Happy Practicing!
  • On June 25, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best antique shops in Nashville?

    Thankfully, Nashville has no shortage of great antique shops. Most are located just south of downtown, on 8th Avenue South. Start driving south, and you'll find shop after curated shop of interesting vintage treasures just waiting to be picked. Here are a few of my favorites:

    1. Downtown Antique Mall - Located just next to the train tracks, don't let the grafitti or gravel fool you. This unairconditioned warehouse space can occupy you for hours in a maze of interesting century-old wares, furniture and decor. Each cubby within the large warehouse is operated by different antiquers, so if you see a price—know that you're still allowed to haggle. The Market owners will call the operator of that cubby and present your offer. [612 8th Ave S. Nashville, TN 37203]

    2. Gas Lamp Antiques (and Gas Lamp II). Though slightly more pricey, Gas Lamp Antiques offer a wide range of ecclectic antiques in two large facilities located within walking distance of one another. Gas Lamp and Gas Lamp II (it's younger, and much larger sister store) both boast fine vintage jewelry, furniture, light fixtures, art, and more. Again - plan to spend several hours perusing the various taxidermy, instruments, books, and treasures. 

    3. Antique Archaeology. Though its' become something of a tourist trap, Antique Archaeology, is Mike Wolfe's (of History Channel's American Pickers) Nashville outpost. Though the line often stretches around the block on weekends, inside, you'll find a host of goodies once lost, now found, thanks to careful nation-wide dumpster and garage diving. After you peruse the pickings - make sure to stop in at Bang Candy Company for some homemade marshmellows. 

    Happy Hunting!
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  • On June 24, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best golf courses in Nashville?

    Nashville is home to countless golf courses for the novice and seasoned golfer. With its pristine hills and valleys, what Middle Tennessee lacks in golf history, it more than makes up for with challenging terrain and beautiful greens. 

    1. Gaylord Springs Golf LinksLocated in northeast Nashville, near the Gaylord-Opryland Hotel, this course offers all the perks of a resort, with reasonable rates and availablity for those staying in other parts of the city. This 7,007-yard course was named one of Tennessee’s Top Public Courses by GolfWeek Magazine. 
    [18 Springhouse Ln. Nashville, TN 37214. (615) 458-1730]

    2. Harpeth Hills. For over almost 50 years, Harpeth Hills Golf Course ranks among the top public courses in the state. The clubhouse looks out over Nashville, and the surrounding rolling hills of Percy Warner Park. 
    [2424 Old Hickory Blvd. Nashville, TN 37221. (615) 862-8493]

    3. Belle Meade Country Club. Belle Meade Country Club offers a private, award-winning course to members and their guests. 18 holes across 6,732 yards of green one of the cities finest greens, along the magnificent residences on Belle Meade Boulevard. 
    [815 Belle Meade Blvd. Nashville, TN 37205-4599. (615) 298-5744]

    Happy Golfing!
  • On June 21, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best art galleries in Nashville?

    If you're interested in the visual arts, there's nothing better than Nashville's Downtown Art Crawl. Free to the public, the crawl takes place the first Saturday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and includes over 15 separate galleries. 

    Most of the galleries are located along the Fifth Avenue corridor in the Downtown Arts District. The Rymer Gallery is one of the largest contemporary galleries in Nashville, and The COOP also exhibits contemporary work by local and national artists, in an effort to bridge the divide between Nashville and the art community around the world. The O Gallery features the work of Russian artist, Olga Alexeeva, and one featured artist per month.  The Arts Company, a gallery also located on Fifth Avenue, pioneered the development of Nashville's Fifth Avenue as an art destination. 

    For more galleries in Nashville's Art District, check out the complete list here


  • On June 19, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best farmers markets in Nashville?

    Nashville has plenty of great farmers' markets to choose from with some of the best local produce and products. At this point, there are farmers markets almost every day of the week! Here are three local favorites:

    Nashville Farmers Market. Open daily from 8am-6pm, Nashville Farmers' Market has a wide variety of producers and purveyors to choose from. Also, the market offers 15 restaurants and shops like gourmet pizza by Bella Nashville, and small plates and specialties at AM@FM by Bravo "Top Chef" and local restaurateur, Chef Arnold Myint. Nashville Farmers' Market is by far the largest market in the city, and since it's open year round, this market never fails. 

    East Nashville Market. Managed by Delvin Farms, the East Nashville Farmers' Market takes place every Wednesday from May through October from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. Here, there is a strong feeling of community fostered by a producers-only market at the center of one of Nashville's fastest growing neighborhoods. The market is located near new shopping areas and restaurants, and is always full of families stopping in for a week's worth of produce. This smaller-scale market includes great treasures like Noble Springs' goat cheese, Johnson's local honey, and organic meat and dairy from Peaceful Pastures. 

    12 South Farmers Market. Although the 12 South market hosts many of the same vendors as the East Nashville Market, it has a flair all its own. Often flanked by food trucks, filled with live music, and plenty of dogs-on-leashes in Sevier Park, the 12 South market feels almost like a fair, and happens every Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 pm from May to October. Since it's located on the other side of town, this market can be a little easier to get to, depending on where you're staying. The 12 South Farmers Market is managed Mary Crimmins of Conscious Kitchen, who maintains a long (and growing) list of vendors with delicious produce and treats. 

    Happy Shopping!
  • On June 19, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best farmers markets in Nashville?

    Nashville has plenty of great farmers' markets to choose from with some of the best local produce and products. At this point, there are farmers markets almost every day of the week! Here are three local favorites:

    Nashville Farmers Market. Open daily from 8am-6pm, Nashville Farmers' Market has a wide variety of producers and purveyors to choose from. Also, the market offers 15 restaurants and shops to choose from like gourmet pizza by Bella Nashville, and small plates and specialties at AM@FM by Bravo "Top Chef" and local restaurateur, Chef Arnold Myint. Nashville Farmers' Market is by far the largest market in the city. Since it's open year round, this market never fails. 

    East Nashville Market. Managed by Delvin Farms, the East Nashville Farmers' Market takes place every Wednesday from May through October from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. Here, there is a strong feeling of community fostered by a producers-only market at the center of one of Nashville's fastest growing neighborhoods. The market is located near new shopping areas and restaurants, and is always full of families stopping in for a week's worth of produce. This smaller-scale market includes great treasures like Noble Springs' goat cheese, Johnson's local honey, and organic meat and dairy from Peaceful Pastures. 

    12 South Farmers Market. Although the 12 South market hosts many of the same vendors as the East Nashville Market, it has a flair all its own. Often flanked by food trucks, filled with live music, and plenty of dogs-on-leashes in Sevier Park, the 12 South market feels almost like a fair, and happens every Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 pm from May to October. Since it's located on the other side of town, this market can be a little easier to get to, depending on where you're staying.The 12 South Farmers Market is managed Mary Crimmins of Conscious Kitchen, who maintains a long (and growing) list of vendors with delicious produce and treats. 

    Happy Shopping!
  • On June 15, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What new museum exhibits are in Nashville?

    While known most for music, Nashville has plenty to offer when it comes to museums. From the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, to the Country Music Hall of Fame, there's always something new to look forward to and learn from. And this summer, there are several new museum exhibits worthy of your time (and ticket money).

    Thought it only opened April 26, 2013, the new Johnny Cash Museum is already abuzz. Located at 119 Third Ave South, the museum is full of Cash paraphernalia including clothing worn by Johnny and June, custom guitars, recordings organized by decade, awards, photos, handwritten lyrics, and more. In its short life, the Johnny Cash Museum has already become a must-see on any trip to Nashville. 

    From June - September, 2013, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is hosting a rare exhibit curated by Ken Gross called Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles. With 18 cars and 2 motorcycles that range from 1929 to 1941 models, the exhibit displays the extravagence of an era of luxury and sumptuousness far removed from our culture of efficiency. Each car looks like it could have been used on the set of The Great Gatsby or Boardwalk Empire, and was created with sleek lines, bold colors, and high-end materials characteristic of the "Art Deco" delineation. Visitors should stop in to see the exhibit before it rolls out of town!
  • On June 10, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best bookstores in Nashville?

    Bookstores are not dead—especially not in Nashvile, when in the last few years, not one but two local bookstores have emerged to wide acclaim. 

    First—check out Parnassus Books in Green Hills, located just across Hillsboro Road from the Green Hills Mall. Established by New York Times Best Selling author, Ann Pachett, and co-owner Karen Hayes, Parnassus offers the best that books have to offer, highlighting national and local authors alike. Take a look at their calendar of events, too, as Parnassus has been known to bring to Nashville some heavy-literary-hitters like David Sedaris, John Meacham and Chris Cleave. 

    On the opposite side of the Cumberland River, East Side Story offers a smaller, more locally-focused niche. Started by author Chuck Beard, East Side Story occupies a small space located on Woodland Avenue in East Nashville, where weekly readings, writers' events, and book signings keep the door swinging. 

    Happy reading!
  • On June 5, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best boutique hotels in Nashville?

    Just like every other city, Nashville has its fair share of airport-convenient, style-neutral hotels. But if you're looking for something with a little more flair, there are plenty of boutique hotels to choose from, too. 

    The Hermitage Hotel, Tennessee's only Forbes Travel Guidee Five-Star hotel, offers guests a high-end, southern experience right in the heart of downtown. Over 100 years old, the Hermitage hotel underwent a 2003 renovation that nearly doubled suite sizes, while hotel staff maintained the same level of friendly professionalism that has made this the premier hotel in Tennessee for several generations past, and will surely be for generations to come. 

    Hutton Hotel is located at 1808 West End Avenue, hence the name of its adjacent restaurant, 1808 Grille. With modern decor and some of the best vews of the city skyline, Hutton Hotel offers a boutique hotel experience with pet friendly rooms, on-site spa services, and 24-hour valet parking. It also holds the title of Nashville's greenest hotel. 

    Loews Vanderbilt Hotel is leading the pack of boutique hotels by embracing the "new" in Nashville with a recent $17 million renovation. Rather than focusing solely on the city's country music heritage, Loews has recently renovated the main lobby, restaurant, bar, and hotel suites to reflect a more vibrant scene. Today, the hotel is full of Nashville's new cosmopolitan culture: there's a regular soundtrack of local rock music (think Jack White, not Reba McIntire), high-end food (think crab fritters, not hamburgers), and locally sourced art (like an entire wall mural made of old vinyl record images). Chef Brandon Frohne leads the way at Loews' newly opened Southern Brasserie, Masons.   

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