36 Hours in Nashville – The New York Times

While much of Nashville is still asleep (or in church), see what all the hoopla is about downtown and on Broadway without the frenzy or the hangover. Your 9 a.m. Joyride appointment with a “driver ambassador” will take you to places of your choice. Swing by Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the other honky-tonks on lower Broadway. Learn the full history of the Ryman Auditorium and take a long look at The Country Music Hall of Fame; every curve of that structure has built-in significance, including a section that suggests the tail fin of a 1959 Cadillac. And let’s face it, running around in a golf cart is fun (cost: $45 per person).

The Sutler Saloon opened in 1976 and became a prominent watering hole for Nashville’s music business community as well as famous, and infamous, players. It reopened in its original spot in 2014 as part of an urban revival of the Melrose neighborhood. The Sutler’s longstanding bluegrass brunch, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., has live music to go along with that provenance. The brunch offers two kinds of sangria ($16 for a pitcher; $8 for a lass) and bottomless mimosas for $17. The sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon bourbon syrup ($10.95) are just like they sound: Southern and delicious.

Let onscreen characters take the wheel for a while and decompress at Nashville’s oldest and newest art house, The Belcourt Theater. It opened in 1925, underwent a monumental sleek overhaul in 2016 and is now the pride of Nashville’s film community, as well as the city. With three screens, it runs new indie releases and repertory classics, and there is usually a noon Sunday showing. The theater stocks a full bar and locally made edibles. The Belcourt is in the middle of Hillsboro Village, some of the best gift-shopping, coffee-sipping and eating in town.

Nashville has embraced a number of short-term rental platforms, including Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. They come in handy in trendy neighborhoods such as East Nashville where hotels are few. Short-term accommodations in that neighborhood for a night can cost anywhere from around $60 for a single bed to roughly $400 for an entire house.

Formerly a 19th-century train station, the downtown Union Station Hotel was built in 1900 and was updated with $16 million worth of upgrades in 2007. The hotel is Southern, traditional and opulent, but with contemporary amenities and close to everything downtown. Rates start at $229.

The Bobby Hotel, a boutique hotel newly opened in the heart of downtown, offers rooms designed around pieces found in cities around Europe, 24-hour room service, a fitness center, a rooftop bar and an original kind of branding: “Bobby” is the spirit of a traveler who brings back treasures from faraway lands. Rooms start at $259 a night.

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