What’s New in Nashville

Nashville may be best known for its neon-lit honky-tonk bars and open-air buses that host bachelor parties, but Music City has so much more to offer visitors.

While the rest of the world was shut down for the pandemic, Nashville continued to build. According to Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.197 new restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as 23 hotels were added in 2020 and 2021. And based on the cranes that dot the city’s downtown, it continues to grow at an impressive rate.

One of the most exciting additions to the Nashville music scene: the National Museum of African American Musicwhich opened in January 2021. In the 56,000 square foot institution, visitors can walk through six galleries and view interactive exhibits that chronicle how African Americans shaped and created more than 50 genres of music.

Nashville’s food scene is experiencing its own renaissance. Boqueria, a Barcelona-style tapas bar, opened in Nashville last February. The menu is the same as its New York counterpart and includes paella, pan con tomate, patas bravas and grilled octopus.

In Germantown, James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Copper has opened Aquaa forward-thinking restaurant inspired by marine life and its second restaurant in the neighborhood, after Saint Etienne. Acqua offers a 12-16 class experience, focused on the Italian coasts.

Lou, which opened before the pandemic, is also worth a visit. The seasonal menu – featuring innovative versions of indigo cherry tomatoes, celery and fennel and fermented cabbage – is paired with an all-natural wine list. The menu is a fusion of chef Mailea Weger’s Southern Californian roots and her French culinary training, following her first cooking experience in a Parisian restaurant.

With over 4,000 new hotel rooms added in the past two years, visitors have plenty of accommodation options, including hip Moxy Nashville Vanderbilt, which opened in January. The six-story hotel is the first in Hillsboro Village and has a contemporary vibe, with vinyl records as wall decor.

If your preferences lean more towards Old World charm, check out The Hermitage Hotela favorite gathering place in Nashville since 1910. The latest restaurant from famed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Drusie and Darr, opened its doors there last November and offers regional products, some of which come from the hotel’s garden. A new cafe, The pink hermit, also opened at the hotel in February. And the historic hotel has partnered with Reese Witherspoon’s The Clothier James lifestyle brand to create a new staff wardrobe, one more way for the hotel to continue to reinvent itself.

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