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Holiday Guides for North America - United States

Nashville Holiday

Country music, hazy summers and a laid back attitude dominate the intriguing and beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville, Tennessee, known as the 'Athens of the South', is a laid back city and the global capital of country music.

The state capital is located on the impressive Cumberland River in Davidson County and has a population of more than half a million people.

Founded in 1780 on a natural sulphur spring and salt lick - a prime location in the south eastern United States - Nashville started as a river port, grew rapidly and became a key railroad centre.

Tennessee sided with the Confederacy in the American Civil War and Nashville was the first state capital to fall to the Union troops in 1862. The city bounced back from defeat and became a shipping, trading and manufacturing hub, experiencing a further economic surge in recent decades.

Due to its historical prosperity, Nashville is home to some very grand, traditionally American architecture. The city is pleasant to walk around, with wide streets and classical-style buildings in the downtown area.

The Nashville Public Library is particularly impressive and the city has a strong academic tradition, home to the prestigious Vanderbilt University. The imposing State Capitol is one of the oldest in the nation, with the Bicentennial Mall stretching out in front, while the quirky Bellsouth Tower is the tallest building in Nashville.

No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Nashville's Opry House, the heart of country music in the city. Grand Ole Opry was founded in 1925 and the radio station caused the city's music and publishing industry to boom, winning it the title Music City.

Fans of country music have no shortage of sights in Nashville, with the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, the Music Valley Wax Museum and the world-famous CMA Music Festival in June.

Those interested in state and city history should head for the Tennessee State Museum, the sites of the Civil War Battle of Nashville, Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River, the Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion and Fort Negley.

Some of the best museums and galleries in Nashville include the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Vanderbilt University's Fine Art Gallery and Sarratt Gallery.

There are many family-friendly attractions in and around Nashville, with Fort Nashborough, a reconstruction of the original settlement, the Parthenon, a full-sized replica of the Athens monument, and the Nashville Zoo, some of the favourites.

For keen shoppers, the vast Opry Mills shopping mall, the CoolSprings Galleria and RiverGate Mall provide a dizzying array of retail opportunities, while some of the city's tastiest restaurants, serving hearty southern food, are located in the District downtown area of the city.

The 20,000-seater Gaylor Entertainment Center and the Coliseum are Nashville's two main sporting venues, while the Tennessee Performing Arts Center is home to the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Opera, Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Other evening distractions include Nashville's excellent bars, many with live country or blues music and dancing.

Accommodation in Nashville tends to be comfortable and welcoming, with most major hotel chains represented and a number of places to stay in some of the city's more attractive old buildings.

Summers in Nashville tend to be hot and humid, while winters are much cooler and wetter. Served by Nashville International Airport, the city is increasingly easy to travel to from the UK and easily reached by road from the rest of the US.