On Friday afternoons, groups of bachelors, bachelorettes or other groups seeking a fun-filled weekend, emerge on the BNA airport terminal, as well as the crossroads of interstates that empty into Music City. Within hours, they walk out of their hotels and attack the honky tonks of Broadway.
Nashville, TN has become a hot spot for bachelor and bachelorette parties, as well as girls’ weekends, guys’ weekends, 21st and 30th birthday celebrations. The groups are not too hard to recognize, as they embrace the neon, live music, and bottomless kegs down “Honky Tonk Row”, the nickname for Broadway. Some wander around in amazement, not knowing where to start. Others jump in with blind hunger.
The bachelorette parties are a little more flamboyant, often donning tiaras, boas, matching shirts and naughty accessories. Determining why Nashville is the #1 destination for these groups, is not difficult.
The city has unlimited bars, blasting the nation’s best musical talent. Starting at 11:00 AM every morning, seven days a week, the bars downtown feature local musicians playing their hearts out for tips, exposure, and fulfillment of their love for music. Because musicians play for free, there is rarely a cover at a bar. For every bar charging a cover charge, there are 20 that don’t, so keep on strolling. This makes for a fun, affordable evening all.
Most of the groups like to include one structured activity in their weekend, although most groups don’t want to give up precious arty time for a show at the Grand Ole Opry. They usually opt out for things like pub crawls, cycle bars, pole dancing lessons, line dance classes or lingerie shows.
And if the downtown scene gets a little congested and tiring, parties can move over one mile to Midtown for more local, music scene. The Midtown area includes Music Row, Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, three hospitals, oodles of local eateries, and the hip Hillsboro Village and West End neighborhoods. Midtown is a younger crowd than downtown, which makes bachelorette and bachelor parties mighty happy!
Another reason Nashville is such a popular destination for wedding parties and other groups is that warm southern charm. Everyone in Nashville is so friendly and helpful. Guests always ask why everyone is so nice? it’s because they live in Nashville. Nashville is unique in that it has people from all backgrounds, most of whom were born in another part of the country or world; however, everyone is polite and welcoming of tourists. The city embraces everyone and exudes a sense of laid-back contentment not found in most cities of its size.
In addition to music and plenty of “people watching”, guests can also shop for a great pair of boots, a fun new outfit, or just meander through the souvenir and candy shops.
If you are considering Nashville for a special celebration party or just a weekend getaway, here are a few tips to make your stay more enjoyable:
1) Try to stay in downtown or midtown, so you don’t have to drive back and forth to your hotel or pay for expensive cabs. Downtown hotels are pricey but if you can put 4 people to a room, it won’t be that costly. The convenience will be worth it
2) Flying in? Take the MTA bus from the airport to downtown for only $1.70 per person. A cab will cost about $30. Save that dough for drinks.
3) Try to plan ahead and make reservations early for activities. Many downtown restaurants do not take reservations, so arrive early.
4) Don’t just stick to downtown bars. Midtown offers a whole different vibe and a more local crowd. Most of the restaurants downtown are national chains, with the exception of Past Perfect, Puckett;s Grocery, City Grille, Merchants Restaurant, and Jack’s Barbeque.
5) Dress comfortably. Nashville is a casual town and you may have to do a lot of walking. And dress for the climate. Summers are warm and humid so wear loose clothing that breathes.
6) Be sure to tip the musicians. The thing that makes Nashville special is the accessibility of fantastic music, all day long, seven days a week.. Support the musicians by tossing a couple bucks in their buckets. They will really appreciate it!
7) Pace yourself. If you start partying hard at 11:00 AM, you’ll give out by 5:00. Always drink plenty of water. It’s not a bad idea to alternate an alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic one.
Enjoy the city, the southern hospitality, and mostly enjoy the music!