No matter what the reason is for a holiday in Tennessee’s capital city, travelers who visit will leave whistling the tunes of mountain music. Home to the Grand Ole Opry and the birthplace of gospel music, the city continues to croon country sounds from the top of the charts. Whether you’re heading to Nashville for a tour of Music City USA, or you’re an aspiring country artist hoping to get a break in the town that’s been the birthplace of many legends, a flight to Nashville can be a ticket to the big time.
There is also plenty to do in Nashville away from the banjo. The city is populated with museums, major-league sports teams, fine dining, and a hot clubbing scene. If all the entertainment is too much, rest and relax in one of the city’s open parks.
Nashville has a moderate climate without major extremes of temperature characterizing its distinct seasons. An ample annual rainfall keeps things green and clean, but there are enough sunny days in between to keep everyone happy. Summers can be very humid, which can cause discomfort even if temperatures do not hit major highs.
The best time to take flights to Nashville is late spring, through summer, to early autumn (April to October). During this period temperatures start at 70 degrees, rising to 90 degrees in July and back down to 70 in October, however, weather conditions can vary so it’s best to pack for all eventualities. The summer months are the height of the peak season and are packed full of travelers. From June through September, the streets are full, the hotels are booked and the city is in full swing. This means that flights to Nashville and hotel accommodations for summer travel need to be booked in advance or you’re likely to pay higher prices.
Winter (November to March) is low tourist season in Nashville, when the cold creeps in and the city stays indoors. If you don’t mind the chilly weather, with temperatures on average around 21 degrees to 40 degrees, it’s possible to find cheap flights to Nashville and good hotel rates during these months. Do keep in mind prices may see a slight increase over the holiday period.
Book your flight to Nashville about one to four months ahead of your trip to find the best prices and choices. If you end up having to book one or two weeks out, you can still find good deals. Don’t go in the opposite direction on your timeline though; you have nothing to gain by booking more than four months ahead.
If you’re flying in from Los Angeles to Nashville, count on about 3.5 hours for a nonstop flight. From New York, you’ll be in Nashville in just under two hours. Don’t forget to compensate for the time change if you’re crossing into the Central Time Zone, where Nashville is located.
Southwest Airlines, Delta and American Airlines are among the most popular major carriers flying to Nashville, but you have plenty of choices to connect you from all over the country. Look for flights on Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Frontier Airlines and United to find just the right time and connection.
Pull out your blue jeans and cowboy boots for your trip to Nashville, the country music capital of the world. Evening weather can be chilly, even in the summer, so bring a light jacket, and upgrade that to a heavy coat during the winter, when you might even meet up with some snow. Shoes you can walk in are a must, since downtown Nashville is a bit hilly. Some of the nicer restaurants and clubs in Nashville don’t admit you in jeans, so bring a slightly dressier outfit for your evening fun.
Nashville International Airport (BNA) offers a range of ground transportation options. You can get to the city by catching a bus, a shuttle, airport express, limousine, taxi or by renting a car and driving yourself.
Between the buses and trolleys running through the streets of Nashville, you won’t have trouble getting around without a car. Buses run by the Metropolitan Transit Authority rumble over the streets from early morning to midnight every day. The Music Valley Express will take you to Opryland from the city center. There is a free trolley route that runs on a loop through the city between Second Broadway and Sixth Avenue. A two-hour tour will take you around the city’s main attractions. There are also several taxi and car rental companies working in the city, but you really only need a car if you’re getting out of town.
Everywhere you go in Nashville, you’re surrounded by amazing music, so go with the flow. You could be hearing the next big star playing at any dive bar, but check out the prime venues — the Bluebird Cafe, the Station Inn, Ryman Auditorium and the like — to find the best in country music. As one of the top music recording venues in the country, it’s not surprising that Nashville also hosts some of the best record stores in the country. Head to Grimey’s New and Pre-loved Music, The Groove, The Great Escape, or Jack White’s record store, Third Man Records, to pick up some rarities to take home.
Paired with the amazing entertainment here in Music City is some of the country’s best barbecue. You’ll find amazing choices all over the city, but Puckett’s in Franklin is worth the short drive, or stop at the Loveless Cafe when you’re driving through the beauty of the Old Natchez Trail, and make sure you order some red-eye biscuits. Sunday brunch is a huge event in Nashville, with most folks heading to this weekly treat after spending the morning in one of the city’s 700 churches, all of which feature outstanding music. Check out the Pancake Pantry for Sunday morning bliss, but don’t be surprised if there’s a line.
When locals in Nashville aren’t making music, they’re following sports. During the fall, head to a Tennessee Titans game, or watch the Sunday game at Brewhouse Midtown, where the house drink is a Kahlua and rum concoction that goes down smooth. You can also tap into Nashville’s rich history when you visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, or head to the Belle Meade plantation, now turned into a museum, to understand pre-Civil War life here.
You can fly nonstop from Nashville to almost every major airport in the country, including New York, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas and Boston. Nashville also serves as a jumping-off point for international destinations, including vacation spots in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Getting to Nashville International Airport is especially easy if you’re staying at one of the many hotels or motels that offers a free airport shuttle. If you have to make your own arrangements, the city bus system can get you there. Taxis are readily available by phone, and Nashville also offers a wide range of limousine services that get you to the airport privately and smoothly. Many visitors to Nashville like to rent cars to help them get around the sprawling city; add an extra half hour to your travel time to return your rental car before you check in for your flight.