South (Destination)

January 2013

Nashville (2013 Coverage)

by Carolyn Blackburn

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When seeking news about Nashville, it’s a good idea to look to its ever-evolving neighborhoods, which are like individual music boxes that when opened reveal all that is wonderful and happening around the city.

Music via up-and-coming local talent? Check. Filming of the new ABC hit show, Nashville? Check. Great food and intriguing gifts at recently opened eateries and shops? Check. A new convention facility that will change the way “Music City” handles group business? Check!

“Throw in Nashville’s affordability and accessibility and it’s easy to see why this city strikes a chord with meeting executives,” says Kay Witt, chief sales officer at the Nashville CVB.

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Truly experiencing a destination like Nashville means exploring downtown and its other neighborhoods, which Witt says are an essential part of the city’s blueprint.

“They are great places to go to experience the local sights, sounds and tastes that make Nashville unique,” she says. “All these neighborhoods are within 10 minutes of downtown Nashville so it is easy to get away for an afternoon of shopping, a nice dinner or a night out.”

Following is a snapshot of several group-friendly neighborhoods in Nashville.            

Downtown, home of meetings favorites such as The Hermitage, Union Station, Renaissance and Hilton, is the hub of the city and the best place to experience some of Nashville’s history, according to Witt.

“From the famed honky tonks to the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it can all be explored on foot and gives visitors a good sense of why we are ‘Music City,’” she says. “Meeting planners could easily find all the hotel, meeting space and dining and entertainment they could need to accommodate their entire group downtown.”

When the Music City Center debuts in May, the area will become an even bigger draw for groups. Located just a block south of popular Broadway Avenue in an area aptly named SoBro (South of Broadway), the center will more than triple convention space in downtown Nashville.

“What used to be an area made up of warehouse buildings is now seeing new hotels, restaurants, event spaces and greenways, with much more expected to come,” Witt says of SoBro, adding that the Music City Center will allow the CVB the opportunity to market the destination to much larger groups. “Having the space to host larger and more groups will positively impact our hospitality industry, which currently employs more than 60,000 people.”

Aside from the upcoming unveiling of the Music City Center are other notable group options, including attractions such as Schermerhorn Symphony Center and Frist Center for the Visual Arts, both of which double as off-site gathering spots, as well as turnkey event venues such as Aerial and One Eleven.

Opryland/Music Valley
In the nearby Music Valley area, groups will find entertainment such as the famous Grand Ole Opry, shopping at Opry Mills Mall and Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, which houses a variety of event space and a bundle of attractions, from varied dining and shopping options to a spa and a golf course.

Also located in the area are the General Jackson Showboat, Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theater and Grand Old Golf, Games and Go Karts, all available for group events, as well as the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and General Store.

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