Visiting Nashville for CMA Fest
Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been slightly MIA, life has been crazy busy! A few weeks ago I came back from an awesome first trip to Nashville and I’ll give you guys my thoughts on attending the Country Music Awards Festival, as well as some spots you can’t miss while visiting Nashville!
CMA Fest 2017
Each year, Nashville hosts the Country Music Awards, as well as a 4 day concert (CMA Festival) at Nissan Stadium following the awards show. Pretty much every major artist in country music is there. This year included Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, the list goes on. There was even two surprise appearances – Jason Aldean, and Garth Brooks.
The concerts are in the evening, and during the day, downtown Nashville is basically converted into CMA World. There’s multiple stages, food trucks, bars, and events everywhere to keep you busy. It was so much fun! If you’re interested, tickets sell out super fast. We bought ours a year in advance. Get them here.
What I liked about CMA Fest in comparison to Stagecoach and other country music concerts, was that it was very organized, didn’t take long to get out of the parking lot, and we had assigned seating. The crowd was full of all age ranges. There’s a snack bar and lots of different alcoholic beverages to purchase here.
I wish we had longer than a week to stay in Nashville. There were so many places to see and just not enough time! Here’s some of the restaurants we discovered while we were there.
Edley’s BBQ – There was a long line to get food, but we wanted to try it out as it had great reviews. This definitely wasn’t the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but their banana pudding was amazing! This one is on 12 South. I loved the atmosphere of 12 South. Reese Witherspoon’s store is right next door to this BBQ shop, as well as the famous “I Believe in Nashville Mural,” so just plug in Edley’s on your GPS so you can take your picture here.
The Stillery– small restaurant downtown with an awesome menu. I’m not a hot chicken fan but if you are, they have lots of dishes serving this Nashville specialty. I tried the Cheesesteak pizza on pretzel crust and it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had! Like, cheesesteak and grilled onions and white American cheese on pretzel crust what?!
FGL House – Obviously we had to go to Florida Georgia Line’s brand new restaurant. It had opened that week, and its a 4 story bar and grill featuring a piano AND rooftop bar. The food was okay, and the menu was limited as it was brand new. But the environment is super fun and there’s a different vibe on each level. We got to try their own Old Camp Whiskey and it was actually really good! We found it at Vons when we got back to California.
The Grand Ol Opry – We did a guided tour here and it was actually very cool. I believe the backstage tour was around $25 and less than an hour. We got to look behind the scenes of where the famous country artists enter the building and check in, as well as an array of different themed dressing rooms. We then got to go on stage and get our picture taken on the wooden Opry circle (wood flooring taken from the original stage at the Ryman Auditorium). I would have loved to see a show here but we didn’t have enough time.
The Bluebird Cafe – A MUST SEE when you visit Nashville! It’s a super small bar with live music nightly. Famous country artists started off playing at the Bluebird, such as Taylor Swift. There are only 20 tables inside, so a reservation here is a must. Look up the show you are interested in going to that month, and the website will list when those reservations go on sale. We got our tickets the second they were available and they sold out within minutes after. 6 person max for reservations. The music here was amazing, there is so much talent in all the artists that performed.
Lastly, you could spend all day on Broadway. We spent a day after CMA Fest just going in and out of each bar and listening to all the amazing artists Nashville has to offer. Drinks aren’t too expensive and most of them are air-conditioned ( it is HOT in the summer). I definitely plan on returning to Nashville not only for CMA Fest, but for more exploring. Maybe a bachelorette party one day… HAHA one day Marissa.
Have you been to Nashville? What did I miss?!