Roughly 80 to 90 people per day are moving to Nashville, according to recent statistics, and it’s no wonder. Nicknamed “Music City,” this Tennessee melody maker has long tugged at the heart strings of those into country and every other musical genre—from rockabilly and jazz to pop and hip-hop.
Today, visitors, including meeting attendees, as well as new residents, are drawn to this city for the endless tunes and then some—a hotel boom, a burgeoning culinary scene that is adding hundreds of restaurants and an ever-creative vibe that has further expanded the musical offerings and led to a flourishing fashion scene.
“At the base of what is making Nashville so hot right now is music—it always has been and always will be,” said Adrienne Siemers, senior vice president of sales for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., adding that over the past few years, the city has witnessed a perfect storm of infrastructure expansion, media exposure and economic growth, giving the destination even greater allure.
The opening of Music City Center, Nashville’s slick convention center, in 2013 and its adjacent Omni Hotel Nashville in 2014 was a turning point for the growth of the city, Siemers said, in addition to the national exposure from the successful television series Nashville. Meanwhile, the city has attracted several corporate relocations, including Nissan North America a few years ago and Amazon, which just announced a new logistics headquarters with 5,000 employees to be developed in the city.
Lower Broadway, Nashville
Grand Hyatt Nashville, currently under construction, will be the core hotel of the new Amazon headquarters development. It’s just one of the many hotels popping up around town to meet major demand.
Hot on the Hotel Scene
“We have about 11 new hotels that have opened this year with around 1,700 rooms and over 3,000 rooms scheduled for next year, so there has been a significant hotel boom,” Siemers said. “With those hotels, we have great new product coming into the market.
“While we’ve been experiencing record-breaking convention attendance and such a high volume coming into the city from both a tourism and convention aspect, we now have additional inventory coming online to accommodate those folks,” she added.
The main message for planners? If you’ve tried to check date availability in Nashville in recent years and come up short due to high demand, look again. The city is fresh with new offerings to accommodate convention attendees, corporate meetings and, increasingly, incentives.
“We just opened a beautiful JW Marriott next to the convention center, which is perfect for incentives, as well as other groups,” she said. “In addition, Dream and Virgin hotels opened last month, and one of the largest projects that’s about to open is a tri-brand Marriott, which is just over 400 rooms total. It’s a Residence Inn, SpringHill and AC Hotel project, which we’re really excited about.”
Another hot new Nashville property is the boutique Fairlane Hotel.
Meanwhile, Gaylord Opryland, one of the city’s longtime standbys, opened the first phase of Sound Waves in December, an innovative new waterpark.
“It’s a really cool premier water and music attraction with an adults-only bar, cabana rentals, a lazy river and an outdoor portion that opens next summer,” Siemers said.
Geist | Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
And the Beat Goes On
As if Nashville’s thriving music scene wasn’t enough—from its famous honky-tonks, songwriter dens and top-name performances to Tennessee treasures such as the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Opry House, there’s even more for groups to check out for downtime entertainment or private events.
“There’s been a big movement in Nashville with the celebrity community putting their names on new honky-tonks and live music venues on Lower Broadway,” Siemers said, citing Blake Shelton, Kid Rock and Bentley Caldwell. “So there are a lot of great new options for more of an upscale honky-tonk experience that still keeps that authentic feel of Nashville.”
Among those that resonate with groups for private events are Old Red—Blake Shelton and Ryman Hospitality’s new venue—and FGL House, a newer bar in downtown Nashville by Florida Georgia Line that can accommodate more than 1,000 people for events.
The old off-site event favorites are also changing their tune a bit, including the famous Wild Horse Saloon, which underwent a major multimillion-dollar renovation a couple of years ago. It can accommodate up to 2,000 people and be used as part of a block party in the area.
Additionally, the city unveiled a new riverfront amphitheater for musical performances and other events a couple of years ago with roughly 6,000 seats and a massive lawn, and the Grand Hyatt project will encompass a new venue that will be very similar to an L.A. Live-style music offering.
To say that Nashville has been over the moon about the accolades it has received from media outlets in recent years is an understatement. Bon Appetit called it the “Tastiest City in the South” a couple of years ago, and its list of James Beard Award winners and nominees keeps growing.
Established as well as up-and-coming chefs are digging roots here, giving attendees a slew of eclectic culinary offerings for an authentic taste of the “new” Nashville as well as the good old standbys.
JW Marriott Nashville | Lisa Diederich Photography JW Marriott
“Last year, 113 new restaurants opened in Nashville, and about 125 new restaurants opened this year already,” Siemers said, adding that at press time 14 additional dining establishments were slated to open their doors in December.
With the huge new influx, the city has significantly elevated the culinary experience with celebrity chefs such as Michael Mina, Tandy Wilson and Sean Brock.
“We’ve seen a significant number of higher-end restaurants opening in the last few years, primarily because of that higher-end convention draw as well as the influx of residents also moving into the downtown core, demanding higher-end options,” Siemers said, citing the district of SoBro (South of Broadway, where the newer convention district has blossomed) as a prime example.
Among the most notable new options, all able to accommodate small group dinners or buyouts in some cases, according to Siemers and her staff at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., are Tailor Nashville, The Green Pheasant, Chaatable, Liberty Common, Mop/Broom Mess Hall, Stay Golden, Ellington’s Mid Way Bar & Grill, Geist and FOLK.
Meanwhile, Fifth & Broad, a new project under construction at the site of the city’s old convention center, will have a major culinary component. An innovative food hall will include several dining options with up-and-coming chefs looking to launch restaurants. Fifth & Broad, set to open in 2020, will feature the National Museum of African American Music as well as retail shopping.
Nashville CVB Contact Information
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.