Nashville's Visitor Information Center (5th and Broadway; 615-259-4747), in the glass tower of the Gaylord Entertainment Center, has rotating exhibits and a stunning array of Nashville bric-a-brac. Helpful docents can assist with directions, discounted tickets, and information on the city. -
Downtown is the place to be, and The Hermitage (231 6th Ave. N; 615-244-3121), downtown's premier hotel, is a beaux-arts fantasy of chandeliers, leaded glass, gilded plasterwork, and carved cherubs and caryatids. The hotel's 120 two-room suites were completely renovated in 1994.
The Wyndham Historic Hotel (1001 Broadway; 615-726-1001) in Nashville's former Romanesque-Revival train station, Union Station, has a 65-foot-high Tiffany-styled stained-glass ceiling over the lobby - and freight trains still rumble under the hotel.
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown (170 4th Ave. N; 615-256-0900), located in a 1903 insurance and bank building, is within walking distance of the entertainment and dining areas of the District and Printer's Alley.
Pancake Pantry (1796 21st Ave. S; 615-383-9333) is where Tennesseans have gone for breakfast for 40 years; the line waiting for a table can be daunting but moves quickly. Bring your morning newspaper and pour yourself a complimentary cup of coffee.
Other local favorites:
Provence (1705 21st Ave. S; 615-386-0363), a French-inspired bakery and cafe, is a favored lunch spot.
The Trace (2000 Belcourt Ave.; 615-385-2200)
Bound'ry (911 20th Ave. S; 615-321-3043)
Sasso (1400 Woodland St.; 615-226-7942)
Capitol Grill (231 6th Ave. N, in the ground floor of The Hermitage hotel; 615-244-3121)
FIDO (1812 21st Ave. S; 615-385-7959) serves an array of bagels, soups, salads, and sandwiches, with a distinct leaning toward vegan.
Radio Cafe (1313 Woodland St.; 615-262-1766) is the perfect place to get an after-dinner coffee (they have 45 different kinds) while a singer-songwriter performs.
The 12th & Porter Playroom (114 12th Ave. N; 615-254-7236),
3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill (818 3rd Ave. S; 615-259-9891),
328 Performance Hall (328 4th Ave. S; 615-259-3288), and
Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar (Printer's Alley; 615-242-5837) are other good places for non-country music.
Jody's Bar Car (209 10th Ave. S; 615-259-4875) hosts Johny Jackson's DJ nights and other types of music.
The Hermitage (4580 Rachel's Lane; 615-889-2941) has permanent and changing exhibits illustrating President Jackson's life and times.
Cheekwood (1200 Forrest Park Dr.; 615-356-8000) is in the faux Old South environs of Belle Meade, where early 20th-century nabobs built lavish homes.
The Carl Van Vechten Gallery (D.B. Todd Blvd. and Jackston St.; 615-329-8720) is located on the Fisk University campus.
The Parthenon (Centennial Park; 615-862-8431) and surrounding park is a good spot for a picnic.