When the weather warms in Nashville, everyone goes outside. The city abounds with rocky trails for runners and water-side retreats for relaxation. New restaurants are flourishing, many with outdoor patio seating, perfect for a breezy day. And best of all, Music City doesn’t disappoint when it comes to outdoor concert series, either. Even if you missed the Bonnaroo music festival, the rest of the summer has plenty of reasons to hop on a plane to Nashville.
Have Dinner at 5th & Taylor
Nestled in the heart of Nashville’s artful and historic Germantown, 5th & Taylor is the fresh kid on the block. The self-proclaimed “American restaurant” opened in April, serving chef Daniel Lindley’s Sunday-supper inspired small plates (bacon-wrapped quail with dates and sorghum) and entrees (beef cheek pot roast, grilled barbecue chicken). Lindley was highly involved in every decision at the eatery, from the restaurant’s residential-style layout to the horse-back sculpture tribute to General Francis Nash, the city’s namesake, so expect to be as blown away by the sleek décor as you are by the dishes.
Stop By New Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater
If you’ve been to Nashville anytime in the last year, you may have noticed a construction zone obstructing downtown near the Cumberland River’s south bank. Good news: Riverfront Park is finally complete and one of its main attractions, the new Ascend Amphitheater, is more than ready for your visit. The venue recently announced a summer lineup that makes anyone born prior to 1990 extremely happy. Eric Church (July 30-31), Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire (August 1), The Counting Crows (August 7) and Smashing Pumpkins (August 9) make up some of the first acts to take the stage this summer. Combine all of that musical excitement with more than 10 acres of riverfront park, one mile of multi-use greenway, trails, ornamental gardens and Nashville’s first downtown dog park. Oh, and did we mention all of the Facebook fun you can have thanks to the free Wi-Fi access?
Take Yourself Out to the Ball Field
The highly anticipated opening of the Nashville Sounds’ new minor-league stadium, First Tennessee Park, sent the city into a baseball-loving frenzy earlier this summer. Now in full swing (sorry, bad pun), the venue features a new concept by Strategic Hospitality called The Band Box, an area serving high-end fare in the right-field concourse area. The restaurant is open to non-ticketholders and game attendees alike, dishing out a concise menu of newly imagined old favorites, including a Korean fried-chicken sandwich served with sorghum tabasco glaze, pickles and buttermilk dill dressing; and carrot-and-cumin-slaw-topped kielbasa from Nashville’s Porter Road Butcher. Either way you go, upcoming games versus New Orleans (July 24-27) and Memphis (August 5-9) promise to taste great — no matter what the scoreboard says.
Sip on a Drink at Union Station
It doesn’t matter where you stay, take time to ogle at the beauty of the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection, Nashville’s 19th-century-railroad-station-turned-boutique hotel. Beyond the grand entryway — be sure to take a long look at Italian marble floors and the original train schedule behind the reception desk — you can venture over to the romantic Lounge at Prime 108, adjacent to the Four-Star Prime 108 restaurant. Once you’re there, try the hotel’s signature classic martini or request a wine suggestion from the on-site sommelier. Getting a drink in the dimly lit parlor will take you back to a grander time, and provide much-needed refreshment from the heat outdoors.
Lightning 100’s Live on the Green Concert Series
Nashville’s best independent radio station, Lightning 100, introduces listeners to top new musicians from around the nation. This August through mid-September, the station translates that education from the airwaves to Nashville’s Public Square Park for a free concert series, Live on the Green. The park includes plenty of green space for pick-up games of frisbee, soccer or flag football. On concert days, though, the lush area fills up quickly with a family-friendly crowd. And with the likes of Cold War Kids (August 27), Passion Pit (September 11) and Ben Folds (September 12) taking the stage this year, we expect the grass to overflow with guests.