Out Destination - Nashville

By Joey Amato

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Creative, diverse, friendly and welcoming are words often used to describe Nashville. It has long been a destination rich in culture, music and food and is quickly becoming one of the premier LGBT destinations in the country.  

As the largest city in Tennessee, Nashville is home to dozens of arts organizations, historical landmarks, James Beard award-winning restaurants and fabulous entertainment and nightlife venues.  

Nashville is also the headquarters of the state’s largest HIV/AIDS organization, Nashville CARES, numerous gay sports leagues, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce and the Oasis Center, an organization designed to support and educate LGBT youth.  

While in Nashville be sure to visit some of the city’s premier LGBT-friendly cultural attractions, most notably the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.  In the past year, the Warhol Live exhibit as well as To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum have all exhibited at the Frist.  This summer, the museum will premier “Creation Story: Gees Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial.”

Parthenon and Tulip Garden

History buffs should head straight to the Parthenon in Centennial Park.  This exact replica of the Athens original, also houses a 42-foot tall statue of goddess Athena, the tallest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere.  

If you desire, try to catch a performance by the Nashville Ballet. Since its founding in 1986, the group has grown to become the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee, presenting a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works.  The company is now comprised of 22 professional dancers from around the world.  

Another LGBT-friendly highlight is the glorious Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum, a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Enjoy a brisk Nashville morning strolling with your partner through Cheekwood’s beautifully manicured gardens and admiring the culture and heritage of one of Nashville’s most prominent families.

Country Music Hall of Fame

Those yearning for music history should head to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum located in the heart of downtown Nashville.  The $37 million facility features more than 40,000 square feet of country music artifacts and archives in addition to a full service restaurant.  The Hall of Fame is currently exhibiting The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country which tells the story of the stars, sidemen and songwriters who created and popularized a new kind of country music in mid-20th century America.   

Just a short walk away is the famous Ryman AuditoriumReferred to as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman is a National Historic Landmark and has hosted musicians from Chris Isaak and James Brown to Patsy Cline and Bruce Springsteen.  The Ryman recently received Pollstar Magazine’s coveted “Theater of the Year” award again for the fourth time in the past decade.  

A vacation to Nashville would not be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, country music’s longest running show. The show brings together an incredible mix of talent to a live audience three times per week. Superstars including Vince Gill, Keith Urban, and Reba McEntire as well as new acts such as The Band Perry and Luke Bryan have all graced the Opry stage.   

Touring the city is sure to make you hungry and luckily there are new culinary hotspots popping up everywhere in Nashville.  Favorites among gay locals include Virago, Kayne Prime, Watermark and City House, owned by James Beard award-winning chef Tandy Wilson.  In addition, GQ Magazine recently voted The Catbird Seat, one of the best new restaurants in America.   

Don’t forget to say hello to Top Chef Arnold Myint at one of his wonderful dining establishments which include PM, Cha Chah, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, the latter conveniently located on Church Street, adjacent to one of Nashville hippest gay bars, Tribe.  

In recent years, Church Street has become Nashville’s gay mecca.  In addition to Tribe and Suzy Wong’s, the street is also home to Play Dance Bar, Canvas and Blue Gene’s as well as Out Central, Nashville’s LGBT community center.

Just across the bridge from downtown, the neighborhood of East Nashville has been known as “the gayborhood” and offers tons of dining and nightlife venues to fit every taste.  Two of the most popular LGBT destinations are Lipstick Lounge and Mad Donna’s.  Mad Donna’s is the best place in town to play a game of drag bingo while dining on wonderful cuisine, while Lipstick Lounge offers karaoke and live entertainment throughout the week and is a favorite among the ladies.  

After a long day of sightseeing, check into the beautiful Hutton Hotel.   Located in Midtown, this swanky property features an urban-chic sophistication not seen at many hotels in the city.  Rooms are lavishly appointed with luxurious linens, flat-screen televisions and granite flooring.  A state-of-the-art fitness facility and in-room spa services are available to all guests.  

Nashville is truly a magical place that people can’t comprehend until they see it for themselves.  So put on your favorite pair of cowboy boots and head on down to Music City USA.

For more information, go to www.visitmusiccity.com

OUT Destinations is part of OUTreach Public Relations, a Nashville-based company specializing in LGBT marketing.  Founded by Joey Amato in 2012, OUTreach PR has quickly become one of the most sought after companies for firms looking to target the ever growing and affluent LGBT consumer.  For more information, please visit www.outreachpublicrelations.com.

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