CMA Fest is here. In less than 24 hours, the streets of downtown Nashville will make way for towering stages and thousands of country music fans flocking from all over the world to country music’s capital for the four-day music festival event.
If you’re one of the thousands getting ready to strap on your cowboy boots and hit Broadway for the live entertainment, autograph signings, meet + greets and more, then we have a few pointers for you from the locals:
Stay hydrated! Nashville’s in for a hot and humid weekend and we don’t want anyone missing out on the fun due to dehydration. Carry a water bottle with you at all times to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Wear sunscreen. Second worse to dehydration, a good sunburn is a quick way to ruin a weekend, and it makes for an unattractive following few weeks full of peeling and blisters.
Enjoy Nashville’s fantastic local food scene, because hey—that’s what we’re here for, right? Just walking distance from the CMA stages are three Nashville favorites:
- Fleet Street Pub is a hidden gem located off historic Printers Alley where the locals go for a perfect pint and English-inspired fare. Modeled after a traditional pub, Fleet Street offers a menu with everything from fish and chips, bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie to Cornish hen served Nashville-style (hint: it’s hot!), as well as a range of imported beers and ciders. You won’t find live music at this pub though—just great food, beer and friendly folks watching the day’s futbol match.
- Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant at 5th & Church is where you’ll want to go to satisfy that meat + three craving. We suggest the award-winning barbecue smoked low and slow over cherry wood, but they also have a menu full of Southern favorites like fried chicken, burgers, steak, smoked bologna, fried green tomatoes, catfish and so much more. It’d also be crime if we didn’t mention that they have one helluva good brunch! And hang around to catch a free show every afternoon and night from some great local talent.
- For something a little more upscale, march yourself up 3rd Avenue South to Sole Mio for an Italian-inspired meal. Nashvillians have been frequenting the little restaurant nestled in downtown for more than 20 years to fill up on classic Northern Italian cuisine. And you can bet everything’s made fresh, from homemade pastas and sauces to delicious desserts—don’t you dare leave without getting the tiramisu!
Lastly, show the city some love. Please treat your fellow festival-goers with respect and Southern hospitality, don’t litter and don’t forget to appreciate the sites, sounds…smells?…and beauty around you! As you stand outside of historic Ryman Auditorium taking in the sunshine after stuffing yourself full of Puckett’s barbecue while listening to an incredible (and FREE) live performance, remember this is what Nashville’s all about, y’all.