Blackbaud’s bbCon, premier tech gathering for social good, is less than two months away. To quote our friends at Blackbaud, we’re ready to hit a high note in Music City! We’ve assembled a top-notch list of sights, eats, and adventures to help guide the bbCon crowd through the city. From cultural landmarks, outdoor spaces, to local favorites for food and drink, we’ve got you covered on every front.
1. Explore the Rich History of Vernacular Music at the Country Music Hall of Fame
We had to start out with a classic! The Country Music Hall of Fame offers a signature self-guided tour, Sing Me Back Home, through its permanent exhibition that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history of country music from its pre-commercial roots in the 19th century to its present day dynamism. Visitors can also enjoy a special exhibition that tells the story of the best-selling country duo of all time, Country Music Hall of Fame members-elect Brooks & Dunn.
2. Enjoy Southern Comfort Food Bliss at Loveless Cafe
If you’re only going to make one food stop in Nashville, it has to be Loveless Cafe. Famous for Southern-style biscuits, homemade preserves, and freshly cured country ham, Loveless Cafe has transformed from a Highway 100 pitstop for hungry travelers to the pinnacle of Southern hospitality and comfort. Don’t believe us? Loveless has been featured in USA Today, Southern Living, and Frommer’s!
3. Explore the Winding Paths and Idyllics Sights of Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Looking for a tranquil experience to wind down from conference frenzy? Check out Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. October means that the autumnal season is in full swing at Cheekwood, so you can wander through the spectacular botanical gardens and admire the fall colors of oaks, maples, dogwoods, and other trees. If that’s not enough, Cheekwood also features a sculpture garden and art museum on site!
4. Taste Signature Nashville Cuisine at Hattie B's Hot Chicken
Not full yet from Loveless Cafe? Check out Nashville’s signature dish, hot chicken. There’s nowhere more authentic than Hattie B’s. If you can handle the heat, Hattie’s B’s offers a Shut the Cluck Up level spice that’s sure to be a game-changer for your taste buds.
5. Catch a Film at the Historic Belcourt Theatre
The Belcourt Theatre is a unique Nashville treasure. As a nonprofit film center and community mainstay with a rich history, Belcourt is all about social good! You can seek out independent, documentary, world, repertory and classic films to suit your tastes, and feel good about supporting one of Nashville’s most vibrant nonprofit arts organizations.
6. Experience the “Athens of the South” at the Nashville Parthenon
If you’re ready to be impressed, check out this full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the heart of Nashville, complete with an Athena statue. The Parthenon stands at the center of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, the Parthenon is packed with history and has undergone numerous preservation and restoration efforts.
7. Check Out the “Murals of Nashville Now” at the Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum is another local cultural site and it exemplifies creative reuse of historic space. Located in the historic U.S. Post Office building, the Frist is a magnet for Nashville’s vibrant visual arts scene. In October, you can swing through to check out the “Murals of Nashville Now” exhibition. Inspired by the city’s street art scene, the exhibition features commissioned murals which explore issues of urban transformation, identity, and belonging in Nashville.
8. Take a Tour (or enjoy Cocktails in the Oakroom) at Nelson's Green Brier Distillery
Channel your inner Chris Stapleton and stay “as smooth as Tennessee whiskey” with a trip to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. Located in Nashville proper, a visit to Nelson’s doesn’t require a long road trip like many other Tennessee distilleries. A tour through Nelson’s takes you through the past, present and future of this storied site, which dates back to the nineteenth century!
9. Breathe in the Fall Foliage with a Walk around Radnor Lake
If you haven’t gotten your fill of fall foliage at Cheekwood, Radnor Lake is your next stop. A leisurely two-and-a-half mile trail winds around the lake, and the surrounding woods feature a range of hiking opportunities. If you’re a nature enthusiast, this is the place for you. Radnor Lake, is home to owls, herons, and waterfowl as well as many species of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals such as mink and otter. That’s not to mention the hundreds of species of wildflowers, ferns, and, of course, trees!
10. Feel the Local Vibes at The Pharmacy
This list wouldn’t be complete without a favorite local watering hole - and that’s The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden. Enjoy a sunny fall day on their outdoor patio while you feast on German-inspired fare, awesome veggie options (hello falafel burger!), and order a shake from their old-school soda fountain!
Are you all about plant-based food? Nashville has you covered. Check out The Wild Cow for the best vegetarian and vegan eats around.
Looking to explore Nashville in a new way? Sign up for a 24 hour or week-long pass with Nashville B-cycle bike share program and to cruise around smoothly.
If you’re a history buff, you can’t miss the Ryman Auditorium. Originally called the Union Gospel Tabernacle when it opened in 1892, the Ryman Auditorium is known today as the “Mother Church” of country music.
All in all, these are the plans for one awesome trip to Nashville! Have a great time at bbCon!