Friday, August 14, 2015

10 Things To Do In Nashville

With beautiful architecture, plenty to do, and a history dating back to 1779, Nashville in Tennessee has so much to offer its visitors. For many people, it is known as the “Country Music Capital of the World”, and it has that title for good reason. The city has been the launch pad for so much talent that it would take a long time to list them all. Being located in the south of the US means that the weather is good for most of the year. Whether you are looking for culture, a great nightlife, or some live music, then Nashville is where it is at. When visiting the following 10 things to do in Nashville should be on your agenda.

1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum - 10 Things To Do In Nashville

It would be weird for someone to visit Nashville and not go to one of its musical museums. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the most well known of them all and attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. There are many things on show here, including plaques relating to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. You can even view Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac limo and one of Jimmie Rodger’s guitars that he used during live concerts. Studio B is where over 30,000 songs were recorded, some by major artists. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., tickets for adults cost $22, and it is money well spent. It is cheaper for youths, while under 5’s get in for free. Tours are available every day, but they do cost extra.


2. The Johnny Cash Museum 

The Johnny Cash Museum - 10 Things To Do In NashvilleJohnny Cash was known as “The man in black”, the title of one of his hits. He was born in 1932 in Arkansas, and lived till he was 71. Although he was at heart a country and western singer, he did cover other genres, such as gospel and rock’n’roll. The museum is a celebration of his fame and life. There are many exhibits on display that includes 25 costumes that he used during his career, handwritten notes and a lot of other memorabilia. Everything is laid out in an easy to follow manner, which makes it easy to follow his career for those who never really knew his music. The museum is open most days of the year between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the highest admission charge being $14 for adults.


3. Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art 

The great thing about this location is that it provides not just art, but natural beauty in its surroundingCheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art - 10 Things To Do In Nashville grounds. The buildings and gardens are reminiscent of a British stately home. There is a lot of art to be found on the sculpture trail, as well as in the Georgian-style home, which includes a lot of 19th- and 20th-century American art. Plenty of antique furniture is also on show, and some of the exhibits change during the year. Outside there are many wonderful gardens to stroll around, and the greenhouses include many foreign species of plants. Located to the southwest of downtown Nashville, it is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Adults are charged $12, and it is possible to spend most of the day here.


4. The Hermitage


The Hermitage - 10 Things To Do In NashvilleThis is a very historic site for the city. Built by President Andrew Jackson in 1821, it is now listed as a National Historic Landmark. For those who are not well up on US history, this President was in charge during the War of 1812 when the US battled with Britain and Ireland. The building is built with Greek Revival architecture in mind, and the whole estate covers 1,000 hectares. A guided tour of the house and the surrounding property is available, and this makes for an educational day. On the grounds is also a log cabin, a church and the tomb of the President, which is an impressive structure. Prices start at $9 for kids, and $19 for adults. This is money well spent on a piece of history that changed the US forever.


5. Belle Meade Plantation 

Another stunning and historic site in the area is the Belle Meade Plantation. Built in 1853 in the sameBelle Meade Plantation - 10 Things To Do In Nashville Greek Revival style as The Hermitage, it is clearly a building that makes a statement. One notable thing about the mansion is that the supporting columns on the outside have numerous bullet holes in them. This damage occurred during the American Civil War. The tours here are a wonderful experience, as the guides are all dressed in period costumes. Throughout the year there are many events which take place on the grounds, including antique auctions and an egg hunt during the Easter holiday. This is open every day of the year apart from a few holidays such as Christmas. The entry cost is only $16, while the kids get in for half of that.


6. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge 

This venue is also referred to as Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge and is one of the most famousTootsie Honky Tonk bars in the United States. Inside you will find two stages that are host to live acts every night. All of the acts are locals that sing country music. Customers soon find themselves tapping their feet along with the music. Many of the stars of country and western have been here; Kris Kristofferson, Patsy Cline, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings to name a few. As Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is so well known in the city with all the artists who pass through Nashville, it has been mentioned in quite a few songs. Enjoy a bite to eat and a nice drink in this piece of musical history.


7. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack


PrinceOne thing about Nashville is that it has attracted cuisine from all around the world, and this means that there is plenty of choice for the hungry tourist. One place that the locals love is the Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, and that means it is also a place that tourists should visit. This restaurant makes hot chicken its specialty. The business has been around since 1945 when it was opened by James Thornton Prince. Although it changed ownership in 1980, it was to his niece, and she has kept things just the way they were.


8. Bluebird Café

The Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Cafe173 reviews

The Bluebird Cafe on Yelp


Even though this club only opened in 1982, it quickly became Bluebird Cafea favorite with locals and artists. Some of the people who perform here have been well established in Nashville as singers for years. It was here in 1987 where one of the greatest country and western singers was discovered; Garth Brooks. The film “The Thing Called Love” features a lot of this venue, and starred Sandra Bullock and River Phoenix. The Bluebird Café is now as much a part of Nashville as some of the other music bars that have been around for decades.


9. General Jackson Showboat 

For something totally different to do, take a trip on the General Jackson Showboat. This is one of the biggest paddle-General Jackson Showboat - 10 Things To Do In Nashvillewheel boats in the US. There are different cruises available for trips along Nashville’s Cumberland River, and they include lunch or dinner. The cuisine is traditional southern food, and is accompanied by live music, dancers, and sometimes comedy acts. These trips are a great way to view Nashville’s skyline during the day or night. It is also something that can be done regardless of the weather conditions. Prices are around $80 for the lunch, and $110 for the dinner. This includes pick-up and drop-off from a number of hotels. This is an experience that will never be forgotten.


10. Nashville Zoo 

The Nashville Zoo covers an area of about 200 acres, so it takes a while to get around the place. It is also the location of the historic plantation farmhouse, while the Adventure Science Center is next door. Taking in all three will take a whole day. The zoo is relatively new, having only been founded in 1991. It now holds a wide range of amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. The Flamingo’s and Lorikeet’s are a couple of the bird species loved by the visitors. There are also giraffe’s, lions, tigers, primates, kangaroo’s, and a petting zoo for the kids, although adults also this. A couple of the zoos most beautiful mammals are the Clouded Leopard’s and Cougar’s. While the cutest are the Red Panda’s and Lemurs. Prices for the zoo are low; $15 for adults and teens, seniors $13, kids 2-12 just $10. The really young get in free. For those who like to support zoos, annual membership is available which includes admission.


There is a lot going on in Nashville, with many singers performing live every night. It is worth checking online to see which acts are on when you are there. For those who want to see more of the music scene, there are a number of tours available that cover all of the main venues, and the guides cover the local history in detail. Nashville is the root of country and western music and the city also offers so much to see and do.

10 Things To Do In Nashville

Monday, August 10, 2015


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10 Things To Do In Chicago

Thanks to the long history associated with the city, there is a lot of beautiful architecture to see. Even though a lot of buildings were lost during the Great Chicago Fire in 1885, a good number survived and the destruction did lead to a building boom. Today, the old blends in well with the new. Although there are many things to do during the whole year, many tourists tend to stick to the warmer months of May to September. Temperatures during this period can reach 84 F (29C). December to February can see quite a bit of snow, with temperatures dropping enough to freeze the lake.

Listed below are 10 things to do in Chicago:

1. 360 CHICAGO360 Chicago - 10 Things To Do

With 94 floors and the fastest elevators in the US, standing on the open Skywalk at the top makes people realize why Chicago is often referred to as the Windy City. This venue is 1000 feet up and gives amazing views of the city and Lake Michigan. For those who like to live dangerously, they can use the TILT feature which allows up to eight people to lean out of the edge. The observation deck covers 17,000 square feet and this ensures that it is possible to take 360 degree photographs, hence the attraction’s name.


2. Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Millennium Park843 reviews

Millennium Park on Yelp

Millennium Park - 10 Things To Do in ChicagoAlthough relatively new compared to many other places in Chicago, the Millennium Park has fast become a favorite with both locals and tourists. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion offers visitors free stage shows and concerts throughout the year. The garden covers around 5 hectares, and can either be walked, jogged, or for those who are a bit more energetic, a bicycle can be hired. There are a number of touch art sculptures in the park, and the Crown Fountain is an amazing feature.


3. Chicago Lakefront Trail

Lake Michigan is a gem in the Midwest, it contains a lot of Chicago Lakefront Trail - 10 Things To Do in Chicagonatural flora and wild animals. The Lakefront Trail is 18 miles long and offers a variety of beautiful views along its length. The Lakefront Trail is one of the things that makes Chicago stand out from other major cities within the States. There are many other trails splitting off from the main one, as well as beaches, gardens, and picnic areas, and playgrounds for the children. Spring and summer is the best time to visit as the flowers are in full bloom, while the animals are active and are often seen foraging for food.


4. The Field Museum

The Field Museum - 10 Things To Do in ChicagoAlthough the history in Chicago goes back in time quite a bit, this is nothing in comparison to the time span which The Field Museum covers. There are exhibits that date back to the dawn of the planet some 4.5 billion years ago. They have many fossils from the dinosaur period, many of them having been found in the US, notably Utah and its surrounding states. It is the home to the world’s biggest Tyrannosaurus Rex, which has the best preserved skeleton. At 42 feet long, it is an amazing exhibit. Many other periods of history are covered, such as the Egyptian and Roman years from over 2000 years ago.


5. Lincoln Park Zoo

Nearly every big city within the country has a zoo, although some stand out more than others. That is theLincoln Park Zoo - 10 Things To Do in Chicago case in Chicago with the Lincoln Park Zoo. This is actually one of the best zoos for one reason; it is free. Even though it is not large at just 35 acres, they do have over 1,200 animals on show. These include zebras, apes, and a host of others that make wonderful viewing. One of the best parts is the new Regenstein Macaque Forest. Here it is possible to watch different species of primates, such as the snow monkeys. Not only do they have trees to swing in, but also a hot tub to bathe in.


6. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge 

Green Mill

Green Mill

Green Mill596 reviews

Green Mill on Yelp

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge - 10 Things To Do in ChicagoFor a taste of history related to the gangsters of years gone by, grab a drink and something to eat at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. The most famous gangster of all used to visit this abode during the 1920’s; Al Capone himself. The bar has been updated since those days, but there is still a sense of the days when Chicago had a major problem with crime bosses. These days, they serve decent food, but the best thing about it is the live jazz music on offer.


7. North Avenue Beach

Most people enjoy spending a few hours sitting back andNorth Avenue Beach - 10 Things To Do in Chicago relaxing on a nice warm day, and a great place to do just that in the city is at North Avenue Beach. This is very popular with the locals who flock here when the sun shines. The beach house is very noticeable, as it is based upon a beached ocean liner, and stands out from everything else, but not in a way that it should not be there. Restrooms, showers, Jet Ski hire, kayak hire, and other amenities are available.


8. Sweet Maple Café

Sweet Maple Cafe

Sweet Maple Cafe

Sweet Maple Cafe522 reviews

Sweet Maple Cafe on Yelp

Sweet Maple CafĂ© - 10 Things To Do in ChicagoThere are so many places to eat in a city of this size, but for something a little different, try the Sweet Maple Café. Designed to resemble an old time authentic Southern roadside diner, the food is good, and locals enjoy the experience of eating here. The food on offer includes sandwiches, pancakes, cheddar grits, and freshly baked cookies and pies. It is located in the University Village within Little Italy.


9. Art Institute of Chicago

This is a large art gallery, in fact the second biggest in the US,Art Institute of Chicago - 10 Things To Do in Chicago so ensure that at least half a day is set aside for the visit. There is a wide range of art on offer here that comes from all over the world and spans many centuries. Famous artwork by the likes of Picassos and Mirós can be found on the third floor of the building. For those who are not sure what to look at, tours are available at the front desk. Prices are currently $23, but the sculpture garden has free access for those looking to save money.


10. Navy Pier

Navy Pier - 10 Things To Do in ChicagoIt is no surprise that this ½ mile long structure is the number one location for tourists to the city. There are a number of restaurants on the pier, as well as a 150ft Ferris wheel. A beer garden is a great place to have a cold drink on a hot day. The views from the end make for some fantastic photographs. During the summer months, on Wednesday and Saturdays, there is a firework display in the evening. There are two museums on the pier, the Stained Glass Windows Museum and the Smith Museum. For those who like to spend some time on the water, a number of boat tours are available every day.


When it comes to accommodation within the city, there is never a problem finding some. However, during the peak months of the year, it is best to book as early as possible to get the best choice of hotels. Lakeside hotels will cost more due to the views available and the demand for them. All big named hotels are located here, while there are also a lot of bed and breakfasts. A number of hostels also offer beds for those on a budget.

10 Things To Do In Chicago