Rooftop rivieras and friends in low places

A weekend in Nashville


Gracie Wilson

Views from The Valentine on Broadway in Nashville.

Gracie Wilson, Collegian Managing Editor

Music City. The Athens of the South. The capital of Christ and Country. Nashville, Tennessee. 

A weekend in Nashville was certainly the cure for the no spring break blues and a perfect way to get off campus for a minute and enjoy some time away (and celebrate my twenty-first birthday). 

Not only was the trip a perfect weekend getaway, but it also happened to be relatively affordable on a college student budget. 

At about six and a half hours away from Ashland and pretty much a straight shot down interstate-71 lies the Music City, Nashville, Tennessee which is a haven for country music lovers, big city explorers and its perfect for the college aged crowd. 

My trip started on a Friday afternoon when I left campus and headed south. I arrived in the city around 8 p.m., plenty of time to get settled and check out the nightlife in the city. 

Hotel rates were not as pricy as I expected, sitting at about 120-dollars per night before the cost of parking is included. Since the cost was split between multiple parties, it was relatively affordable. 

After getting settled, we headed down to Broadway, the one street strip of honky-tonk bars that promise good times, good music and good drinks to all who walk through the door. Music and the sounds of people singing along flooded the streets as we walked past each open door. 

While Nashville is full of families during the day taking in the sights, history and live music, the nightlife scene is geared for adults as most places will not allow anyone under 21 years of age after a certain hour. If this sounds like the trip for you, remember to drink responsibly and never underage. 

View of Nashville city lights from the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River. (Gracie Wilson)

After exploring the night life and getting some much-needed shut eye after the drive, the next morning promised warm weather and a day of adventure ahead. 

We began our day at the Hermitage Café, a classic greasy spoon diner downtown that served your typical breakfast as well as southern biscuits and gravy. It promised a hearty start to a day of exploring. 

The next stop was at the Greyline Tennessee bus station where we embarked on a double decker bus tour of the city. This is perfect for getting a sense of what the city has to offer, especially if it’s a nice day because then passengers get an open-air tour of the city with the best photo opportunities. 

The tour takes visitors through a variety of notable places in the city such as The Gultch–home to artists such as Kenny Chesney and Taylor swift—Vanderbilt University, Printers Alley and of course, Broadway. If you are looking for a way to get the most out of your sightseeing experience, a bus tour such as this is the best way to do it. 

Sitting on the top of a double decker bus on a tour around the city. (Gracie Wilson)

The bus tour dropped us back in the heart of Broadway and ready for more of that live music experience that I’ve been craving with the cancelation of so many concerts, and The Valentine was just the cure.

The Valentine is a bar on Broadway that offers three stories of drinks, music and views of the city, including a rooftop bar as well. Between sing-a-longs to Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like a Woman and Maroon 5’s Harder to Breathe, this bar offers something for everyone in terms of music.

The interior is decked out in floral decorations, neon lights and a disco ball; and to top it all off, drinks offerings such as the 5 o’ clock somewhere that add to the atmosphere.

After taking that afternoon break, we headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame, perfect for country music fans of all ages. Admission to the museum costs around 25 dollars per person for an adult and allows visitors to explore exhibits such as modern country music stars, early country music and special rotating exhibits. 

Anyone who is even remotely interested in country music will find something fascinating to look at. Whether it is original manuscripts of songs by Luke Combs, outfits worn onstage by Shania Twain or Taylor Swift’s bedazzled guitar, there is country music history at every turn. 

While Nashville is known primarily for its music background, it does not mess around when it comes to food. For dinner, I took a visit to Jack’s BBQ, a locally famous restaurant known for its smoked meats, flavorful sauces and creamy mac and cheese. After ordering a brisket sandwich and some mac and cheese, we ate on a rooftop patio with a view of the world-famous Ryman Auditorium. 

Despite the fact that this restaurant is so locally famous, it is affordable for people on a budget with two meals of large portions were just about 20 dollars. 

After dinner, it was back to Broadway (with cowboy hats in tow) to check out the live music scene. This took us to Tequila Cowboy with singers trying to make it big doing covers by request of everyone’s favorite songs. 

On the hunt for more music and good times, our next stop brought us to the Redneck Riviera where we sat on the rooftop and got views as far as the eye can see of Broadway, the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland river and Nissan Stadium. 

Sitting rooftop at the Redneck Riviera with views over the city. (Gracie Wilson)

Back inside, the atmosphere did not disappoint as people were cheering and singing along to every song that the performers had to offer. Shouts of Friends in Low Places and Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy echoed around the room as heads adorned with cowboy hats bobbed and beers were raised in the air toasting to whatever occasion brought each person to the city. 

My trip was topped off on Sunday morning with a visit to Centennial Park where a replica of the Greek Parthenon stands and offers tours through its museum. While the museum was closed, it was still cool to walk the grounds and take in the magnitude of the structure on a sunny day. 

The replica Greek Parthenon in Centennial Park. (Gracie Wilson)

As far as budget goes, the trip was cost effective with my part being just over 150 dollars. This sounds like a lot, but it is worth saving up for because you can get a lot of out of 150 dollars for three days in this city. 

Country music fans everywhere are sure to love this city and it is perfect for a weekend getaway or even a full vacation. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a memorable way to celebrate their twenty-first birthday or is looking for a little bit of fun a reasonable car ride away.

Be warned though, once you get there, it is incredibly hard to leave and I assure you, you will be itching to get back the first opportunity you get!