Where to Go, What to Do for Bluegrass in Nashville

Monday, July 13, 2009; 3:10 PM


1 hour 50 minutes


TOTAL $580

Flight: $340 | Lodging: $140 | Food: $100


If you're up for a road trip, Nashville is a 10 1/2 -hour drive from Washington by the most direct route: Interstate 66 west to I-81 south to I-40 west. US Airways has direct flights to Nashville International Airport from Reagan National, while United offers direct service from Dulles.


Between downtown Nashville and the nearby Vanderbilt University area, there is an abundance of hotels. The Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University (2555 West End Ave., 615-321-1300) has rooms starting at $149 and offers a free shuttle to downtown.


If you have patience in the morning, endure the long line down the sidewalk to get into the Pancake Pantry (1796 21st Ave. S., 615-383-9333). The breakfast hot spot in Hillsboro Village is worth the wait for its extensive variety of flapjacks. Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Later in the day, head to South Street (907 20th Ave. S., 615-320-5555), a lively smokehouse and crab shack with a range of tasty Southern fare, from Gulf oysters to pulled barbecue pork. Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight.


Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman (116 Fifth Ave. N., 615-889-3060) take place every Thursday through July and start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.50. The Ryman is also open for tours daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., when the last tour departs ($12.50-$16.25). The Station Inn (402 12th Ave. S., 615-255-3307) doesn't sell advance tickets. Shows start every night at 9, with doors opening at 7. For popular acts, get there early. Bluegrass Underground takes over the Volcano Room at Cumberland Caverns, which is in McMinnville, Tenn., about 80 miles southeast of Nashville. Monthly shows take place on select Saturdays.

Between shows, dig into the roots of country music with a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 Fifth Ave. S., 615-416-2001), open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($19.99). A few blocks away, Hatch Show Print (316 Broadway, 615-256-2805, closed Sunday) has been making iconic music posters since 1879. Vinyl fanatics shouldn't skip a stop at Grimey's (1604 Eighth Ave. S., 615-254-4801), an independent music shop with a huge stash of "pre-loved" records.


Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-657-6910, http://www.visitmusiccity.com.

-- J.F.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company