What To Do in Nashville During IGEL Disrupt
Are you going to IGEL Disrupt in Nashville January 27th-29th? Nashville is a great southern city with lots of history, music and food. This guide will show you some of my favorite places to eat in a couple categories. Along with some things to do and some tips on how to get around.
If you haven’t signed up, then make sure head here https://disrupteuc.com/nashville/
The Venue for IGEL Disrupt
The event is at the Opryland Gaylord Hotel, but don’t let the name fool you. It is much more than just a hotel. It’s a self-enclosed resort, filled with restaurants, walking paths through huge atriums, and even it’s own indoor water park!
Things to Do At Opryland Gaylord Hotel
The Delta Atrium is central to the hotel and has many walking paths through the vegetation and water ways. It’s completely enclosed, so no matter what the weather is like outside, you will be completely comfortable in the atrium. You can take a ride on a boat through the water ways running in the atrium, take a stroll looking at the different trees and flowers, shop through the different stores, or enjoy a drink or meal in the various restaurants. You could easily spend a couple of hours exploring everything in the atrium. It’s also a popular place in Nashville for marriage proposals, so you might even catch one in action!
One recent (and awesome!) addition to Opryland Gaylord Hotel is the indoor waterpark called Sound Waves : . https://www.soundwavesgo.com You can only go if you are staying at this hotel. It means that even Nashville locals have to book a room at the hotel if they want to enjoy the waterpark. It keeps the attendance to a reasonable level so you can have a ton of fun without waiting in line. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to stay somewhere else, make sure you take this into account. If you plan on staying a couple extra days, this may help steer you to staying at the Opryland Hotel.
Where to Eat at Opryland Gaylord Hotel
Opryland Gaylord Hotel is filled with restaurants of almost every genre you could want. They span from expensive, reservation only dinners at Old Hickory Steakhouse to casual pubs and even sushi restaurants. While you might want to explore Nashville for a great meal one night, staying in and enjoying a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants is also a great bet.
Opryland Gaylord Restaurants
- Old Hickory Steakhouse – Steakhouse (Bone-in, Tomahawk) – Dinner (Reservations Required)
- Cascades American Café – American Casual Food – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Fuse Sports Bar – Bar Food and Drinks – Lunch and Dinner
- Delta Marketplace – Snacks – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Conservatory Café – Snacks – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Jack Daniel’s – Southern – Lunch and Dinner
- Ravello – Italian – Dinner
- Paisano’s Pizzaria & Vino – American Casual Food – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
- Stax – Burgers – Lunch and Dinner
- Solario Cantina – Mexican – Dinner
- Wasabi’s Sushi – Sushi– Lunch and Dinner
- Library Lounge at Old Hickory Steakhouse – Steak – Dinner
Pubs at Opryland Gaylord Hotel
- Findley’s – Pub – Dinner
- The Falls Bar & Lounge – Tapas, Beer and Wine – Lunch and Dinner
- Conservatory Wine Bar – Wine Bar – Dinner
- American Craft Tavern – Beer, Wine & Whiskey – Dinner
Snack Options at Opryland Gaylord Hotel
- Cocoa Bean – Coffee and Snacks – Breakfast and Lunch
- Delta Delight Frozen Yogurt – Yogurt
- Bravo Gelato – Gelato
Where to Stay for IGEL Distrupt
I would vote staying at the Opryland hotel if possible. There are a couple places around the area that could be walkable or just a short ride share over. It will be chilly in Nashville in January if you’re planning on walking.
Opryland Gaylord Hotel
Opryland Gaylord Hotel is also located a little to the east and north of downtown Nashville. It is very convenient to the airport as it is located on the same side of town.
Other Opryland Hotels
Price ranges are comparable to the Convention hotel so I think it could be worth staying there.
Downtown Nashville Hotels
If you plan on coming in early and staying late and you want to do the downtown experience then you may want to stay downtown. During the conference, traffic will be significant. Even though it is less than 10 miles away, you should plan on 30’ish minutes or more to get back to the hotel or conference center.
Downtown hotels are generally expensive, but can’t be beat if you want to crawl the bars, honky tonks and cowboy shopping. There are also lots of good places to eat within walking distance downtown. There are also some Airbnb and VRBOs located in downtown as another option especially for larger groups and to have the more local feel too. It is very walkable to many places which is nice and ride shares are plentiful downtown.
Everything right now is around 40-100 dollars more, but these prices will get into the 300-500s in the next couple months when you are around 30-60 days before the event. Depending on what concerts and other events are going on downtown.
Hotels Near the Airport
The venue is located near the airport, so airport hotels can be a good option if you are not staying too long. Most of these hotels are in the “OK” range with Opryland Gaylord being the nicest hotel near the airport and higher quality being downtown.
Hotels South of Nashville
Staying south of town is a great way to see that part of town. It is much more chill and local, but with local-feel comes local problems like traffic. A lot of Nashville residents live south of town, so morning and afternoon traffic can be hectic. There are nice hotels in Brentwood and further south on I65 in Franklin & Cool Springs.
- I40 – Main Highway through the middle of town East to West
- I440 – South inner beltway that goes to Green Hills and West End (Parthenon) and bypasses the center of Nashville.
- 155 Briley Parkway – A Northern Bypass to go toward Opry Mills and Opry Land Hotel or to head to the Corvette Museum or if want to get to one side of town to the other without going into the belly of the beast.
- I65 – Main Highway through the middle of town North to South, goes through downtown, this is used to go South to Brentwood and Franklin and North to Louisville\Bowling Green.
- I24 – Another NW to SW route that goes to South to Murfreesboro and then to Chattanooga or North towards Clarkesville and Kentucky.
- I840 – Main Southern Bypass of the whole City, easy way to go around downtown if coming from the East or West side of Nashville. It is longer, but you may not touch your brakes and get to see some of Horse Country and a Castle on the way.
Things to Do Near IGEL Disrupt
There is always going to be someone playing in Nashville and or a Shindig going on. There are lots of events in Nashville the week of the IGEL Disrupt conference. I’ve linked several below for easy booking!
Events and Concerts in Nashville
- Nashville Symphony – Voctave: The Corner of Broadway and Main Street
- Bridgestone Arena – Concert – Miranda Lambert
- Ryman – Opry at the Ryman
- 1/24/202 through 1/26/2020
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Play – Turning of the Screw
- Ryman – Opry at the Ryman
- Bridgestone Arena – Sports – Harlem Globetrotters
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Comedy – Gary Gulman: Peace of Mind
- 1/25/202 through 1/26/2020
- Bringing the kids? – Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Play – PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue
- Bridgestone Arena – Sports – Nashville Predators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Concert – Mandy Patinkin In Concert: Diaries
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Comedy – Piff The Magic Dragon
You can also check out Nashville tickets and events for a good list of options.
For a real “Music City” experience, the different venues you may want to check out are:
- Ryman – Classic and great acoustics with all the wood and lots of great people there.
- Grand Ol Opry – Near the Opryland hotel which is a cool place to stay one night. Great spot to shop and hang out with the whole area.
- Ascend Theater – Super Cool Venue, Great Acoustics and Chill with kids with lawn seating and good food.
- Bridgestone – All the big names come here, and you will have the Predators depending on when you are here.
Exit Inn – Smaller Venue lots of famous people have been there, good rotation of local bands.
- Bluebird Café – Is a small dive but has a lot of music history with lots of famous people playing there.
- Nashville Symphony – All kinds of things all the time, tickets are cheap, and it is a great evening when paired with a dinner.
Tours in Nashville
- Country Music Hall of Fame – If you like country music, it is the place for you. (5 Mins)
- Johnny Cash Museum – THe place to visit if you want to learn more about the man in black. (5 min)
- The Parthenon – Full size replica of the Parthenon in Greece and it has a replica of Athena and Nike and some Nashville History. Nice chill stop. Lots of park areas to run around and some trains and other things on the property to roam around to. It’s a must do if you are traveling to Nashville with kids. (5 Mins)
- If you are interested in the Civil War there are a lot of battlefields and historical sites to go to. (10-45Mins) http://www.bonps.org/tour/tour.htm
- General Jackson Steamboat Dinner Cruise – Cool thing to go from Opry Mills\Opryland Hotel into downtown and eat and see parts of Nashville from a different angle. (15 Mins) https://www.generaljackson.com
- Music City Indoor Karting – Fun time, close to the Titans Stadium downtown. Electric Carts. (5 Mins) https://musiccityindoorkarting.com
Shopping in Nashville
- Downtown Franklin – High End to many local spots from shopping to places to eat and watch movies in a historic theater. Civil War sites around it. (30 Mins) http://downtownfranklintn.com
- The Factory Franklin – Local Non-Chain Stores, couple places to eat and have treats from Ice Cream to a Croughnut (Best Doughnut Variation Ever! 100 Layer Croissant turned into a doughnut) Very Chill and not crowded and there can be music events there too. (30 Mins) https://factoryatfranklin.com
- Opry Mills – Tons of name brand stores from budget to some luxury items. Lots of food options from Bier Garden, Mexican, Southern and a couple others. Biggest mall in our area. Can be crowded depending if it is near the holiday season. Has a Bass Pro Shop which may be an attraction itself to see all the things in it. (15 Mins) https://www.simon.com/mall/opry-mills
- American Pickers If you’re a fan of their show then you will like looking around. It can be pretty pricey but is neat to connect the dots from a TV show. http://www.antiquearchaeology.com/locations.php
- Cool Springs Galleria – Cool mall with a good blend of normal and luxury. There are lots of things around it from a place called Kings Lane to go bowling and restaurants and all the major shopping options. Not usually crowded. (25 Mins) http://www.coolspringsgalleria.com
- Green Hills – The high end mall of the Nashville Area, cool to see the cars and shops there. Apple Store is there. (15 Mins) https://www.shopgreenhills.com
- Farmers Market – Lots of cool little shopping to do here especially on the weekends when many more shops are open. (5 Mins)
Places to Visit Outside Nashville
- Andrew Jackson Hermitage – Great History and a cool way to step back in time. (30 Minutes) https://thehermitage.com
- Belle Mead Plantation and Cheekwood – Each one is cool; one has a lot of history and a beautiful building and the Cheekwod is the same with lots of gardens and areas around it. If you go to one, head to both. (20 Minutes) https://cheekwood.org https://bellemeadeplantation.com
- Belmont Mansion – Cool short tour that relates to the Civil War and it is neat to hear about. https://www.belmontmansion.com/tour-options
- Jack Daniels Distillery – Lynchburg TN 1.5 Hours away, there are bus tours that take you there and bring you back. Cool to go because it is a Dry county and that you can only get Special Edition boxed drinks. Cool Food and Tours available. If you are fan of Whiskey, then you want to go. https://www.jackdaniels.com/en-us/visit-distillery
- Corvette Museum – If you a fan of Corvettes or GM this is the place for you, it is worth the day trip. If you time it right, you can get on their Race Track for certain events. (1.25 Hours) https://www.corvettemuseum.org
- Chattanooga – This is a fun day trip and worth staying downtown also. If you’re doing more than one or two things stay for another night.
- Lookout Mountain (Multi-State View)
- TN Aquarium (Great Aquarium, Salt and Fresh)
- TN Choo Choo (Cool train ride)
- TN Valley Railway Museum (Cool Tour Rides)
- Ruby Falls (Cool underground waterfall)
- Rock City (Cool Rock formations)
- Memphis as a day trip if you want, staying on the East side is recommended for all the amenities vs downtown. If you are fan of Elvis it is worth it but otherwise many things are a clone of Nashville. Central BBQ is a good local joint.
- Mammoth Caves – Worth a Day trip if you like Caves it is huge and has town of tours and options and other things around it. https://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm
- Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge – Tons of things to do from Alpine Coaster, Museums, Shopping, Go-Karts, Laser Tag, Arcades, Gem Panning and even a theme park named Dolly Wood. Lots of people make weekend trips out of it and rent a cabin somewhere around in the area. This is a big vacation spot for a lot of people in the south and can be a great time. https://www.gatlinburg.com/to-do/attractions/ https://www.dollywood.com
- Lots of great Parks and Lakes that you could rent a boat and have fun at.
Nashville Weather in January
Late January in Tennessee is normally full winter mode for us. It should be around 28-47 F (-2-8.3c) with a slight chance of snow. Our city doesn’t handle snow well, so when it happens schools and roads will close pretty quickly. I would bring warm clothes and be ready for snow just in case.
Below will walk you through some of places you to eat at and maybe a couple of the big attractions you should go to while in town. There are also lots of breweries here also that you can also go to and of course lots of music everywhere. Many of the places listed below I have eaten at for 5-20 years, but there are some news ones on the list too. All the travel times are referenced from downtown Nashville to each of the places below.
Where to Eat in Nashville
Through the years, I have eaten at almost every place in Nashville, and these are my top in each category. There are lots of other places not on this list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad. They just didn’t make my top favorites. There are lots of things downtown that you will not see, because I’ve grown out of the Honkey Tonk scene. Most places are the busiest on Fridays, especially at Lunch and Dinner.
Top Local Favorites in Nashville
Famous Meat and Three, rotating menu daily for the meats and the sides. If you go you have to try the Bread Pudding (Not on Menu, it is amazing). If you like collard greens, they have the best in Nashville. It is downtown and can get busy with lines and trying to find a place to eat at peak times. The line can head out the door, but it is worth the wait. Award Winning. It was featured on a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives episode a few years ago, and I had my TV debut singing the praises of their bread pudding. (5 Mins)
It has handmade sodas like an old pharmacy and some great burgers too. Great local town vibe, this is a couple minutes from downtown. It’s located in East Nashville, which is a cool/hip section of Nashville with lots of independent restaurants. They have a huge beer selection along with an outside seating in their Bier Garden area which is great when the weather is nice. Root Beer Float, Farm Burger is a great combo. Parking can be exciting when busy. you might have to park on the street around the block, just do a lap. (15 Mins)
The best Pizza in Nashville in my opinion. It is outside of downtown near the industrial area of Nashville. It is an order at the line, New Yorkstyle by the slice place. Get there early as it can get very busy. I suggest if two people are going, getting a slice of the Gladiator to share (Meat and Cheese and Meat and Cheese) and a normal slice and/or Calzone is a good way to go. Their cannoli’s are great too if you need the sugar rush. It is just open at lunch and opens at 11 so I recommend arriving at 1045 or even 1030 if it is a Friday. Getting there early will usually ensure you get the first pies and you don’t have to wait for anything to be cooked since it is by the slice. (10 Mins)
This is the best small-town good Italian place in Nashville. It has a great market inside to buy ingredients if you want to cook your own food if you want. They have great meatballs and other Italian dishes. They are great for desert because they have lots of house made Gelato, but the best dessert has to be their cheesecake called Chocolate Eruptions (Picture a Chocolate mousse cake with chunks of Cheesecake in it and then more chocolate on it). Coco’s kid-friendly dining in Nashville is another reason to visit as they have a play area for them and then Bocce Ball for all ages too. (10 Mins)
Local only kind of joint, not a skinny jean burger place like many others in Nashville. Amazing big steak cut fries in regular and Sweet potato. Wasabi Mayo and Kickin’ Ketchup are great for dipping and/or added to your burger. Great small-town place downtown. Grass Feed Goodness! (5 Mins)
FarRight on the edge of downtown. This is one of my favorite places to go and eat for years and is a very local spot. The main thing that is has over many other places is that it has almost every genre of food. Great for kids because there is always a place they will want to eat and there are enough treats for all. If you go at lunch time it can be crowded, watch for school buses because it is a pretty normal field trip spot. (5 Mins)
- Ice Cream
- Bubble Tea
- Pub and Wine Spot
- All kinds of desserts and many other pop up restaurants and local shopping too
Great Local Burger Place with Shakes. The smoked Bologna Sandwich is my favorite. It’s a 50s dinner vibe with great service. It even has a drive through if you need to get some good food and roll. We eat there a lot and it is a hit with the family with an outside play area for the kids. (10 Mins)
Top High End Restuarants in Nashville
There are many other places in Nashville that are more expensive, but I don’t think they are that much better than these are for the money. Jeff Ruby’s, Bobs, Catbird Seat are great places to eat but more of an anniversary dinner instead of what I would consider a normal dinner for the money. Most of the fancy places involve steak here in Nashville.
Small Steak house that has great food and a great ambiance. They have an amazing Salad Bar with a huge bucket of bacon at the end. If you go, you want to get the Bananas Foster’s because they make it table-side. Nothing quite like caramelized bananas on fire! I recommend the Belle Meade Location to see that side of Nashville and getting a reservation online. (15 Mins)
This is one of the best Steak Houses in Nashville because of the steak varieties and its hip contemporary atmosphere. If you like something more than the normal aged meats then I would recommend this place. They off American Prime and Australian Wagyu cuts BMS 8+. The have some great sides also. As part of the “M Street” restaurants, Kayne Prime sits at the literal end of McGavok street where you can find restaurants of every genre. Every M Street Restaurant is great for each of its food genres: Mexican, Italian, Japanese and American. If you drive to one, they have Valet too. OpenTable is your friend here too. (5 Mins)
Very good contemporary southern place with all kinds of food and a contemporary atmosphere. Good Services and very creative dishes. I have eaten most of their menu and suggest if you have never tried Venison to give it a try here, they do it very well. (5 Mins)
Top Nashville Experience Restaurants
These are places that may have good to amazing food, but there are staples of Nashville that have the coolest ambience and setting that sets them apart from the others.
This is an old local motel outside of Nashville, but it is worth the drive for the great food. Biscuits with homemade jellies are usually the star of the meal. They have all kinds of great southern food options. It can get crowded Thursday through Sunday (up to 3 hour waits on the weekend). If you go in the middle of the week you can get in and out without a reservation usually. OpenTable is your friend if you get close to weekend. They have amazing pie selection, so if you are pie person, you will be in a southern pie heaven. (30 Mins)
First off there is more than one location. I would recommend the one by the airport on Murfreesboro Road most often since it is in a period mansion and usually is the least crowded. This is a Family style restaurant meaning will be seated at a table with other guests/strangers and the hope is that you become some friends after sharing a meal together. They are staunch about their rules : Pass to the Left and No Cell Phones at the table. They are famous for their fried chicken and peach preserves which are usually very dark looking, but it is worth trying and you may have to buy a jar on the way out. (15 Mins)
One of Nashville’s oldest restaurants. It is like time traveling back into a plantation house in the 1800’s. Great food, but even better service. Everyone is dressed in white while serving you and people also have their favorite waiters that they go there just to eat with. They have some great steaks and other southern inspired meals. This is a downtown restaurant. (5 Mins)
Pretty Good Italian, but it you’re a spaghetti fan you will want to go over here. I have been going here since I was a kid and when you check in, I think it is worth the extra wait to get to eat in a Train Car depending on your party size. They have some ice cream included in their meals which is fun treat when your done eating. (5 Mins)
Best BBQ in Nashville
Trendy and best downtown vibe. Great BBQ and Sauces, and they are getting ready to open another location soon. Not really any parking to speak of. Lyft there and or you will have to hunt for a spot in a couple lots around it. If you go you must get a fried pie (Chocolate, Peach and Apple). Good Ribs and Sausage. BBQ Nachos are great thing to get and share along with their Pimento Cheese and Kool-Aid Pickles. Can get crowded sometimes. (5 Mins)
These are the top two competing BBQ chains in Nashville. Martin’s has the better wings (make sure to order the dry rub!) with their white sauce. If you are planning on sharing with other, the Big Poppa Sampler has plenty for food for four people. Edley’s has amazing fried pickels and serves banana pudding as a side which pairs with everything nicely. (10-15 Mins)
Small place in the old area of Nashville. It’s a nice buffet with typical meat and three options. If you like BBQ, just come in and say you want the “Combo.” You will have two choices : Regular and Sweet Hot (not that hot). It’s a very local and small place. Smoked Bologna and Sausage are great, sometimes I get just those two. (10 Mins)
Good little local joint with multiple locations, one is downtown on Broadyway with a nice roof deck and two others throughout Nashville. The location on Charlotte Ave has the best parking. The barbeque and sides are all pretty solid. (10-15 Mins)
The furthest drive, but if you are heading west for any of the other attractions it is worth the stop! These are literally the best ribs I have ever had. They only make them on Friday\Saturday. Amazing Brisket and Pork (Burnt Ends Mixed in). Small town family owned place in Dickson outside of Nashville, but their BBQ is my favorite. This is off the town square of Dickson and it is a snapshot back in time of a small town. You will feel welcome as soon as you walk in. You can’t leave without trying the peach cobbler! (40 Min)
Nashville Hot Chicken Tour
Nashville “Hot Chicken” has dominated food blogs and TV shows for a while now. These are the main three restaurants in Nashville, but there are other places that have “good” hot chicken as an offering with their regular menu. Loveless Cafe has it as a special occasionally, and it’s worth trying. There are some restaurants that are off the beaten path that have some great chicken so don’t be afraid of trying other places.
This is the original Nashville hot chicken joint. It’s even featured as the bucket list food for Tennessee. Prince’s has amazing chicken with great sides. They focus on Whole to Quarter Chicken instead of tenders like Hattie B’s. Hot is a great nose drainer, not painful. Anything past Hot gets crazy and burns. (10 Mins)
Tenders are most commonly ordered here with other cuts of available too. I suggest their Banana Pudding and Pimento Mac and Cheese. The Hot or Damn Hot are good flavors. Only try Shut The Cluck Up if you are ready to feel the pain. As the day goes on, the Hot tends to get hotter as they continue to add to the mix. (10 Mins)
Is a great place to go to that not only has Hot Chicken but Hot Fish too. They have two locations depending on where you’re staying.
Other Nashville Restaurants
Best Indian food in Nashville. Parking lot across the street, heavy construction in the area but super worth it. (5 Mins)
Virago – Best Fancy Sushi part of the M Street restaurants chain. (5 Mins)
Saint Anejo – Best Fancy Mexican with a huge tequila selection. The Guacamole and Salsas are great and fresh, and they change it up. (5 Mins)
Puckett’s is a great place with six locations in Nashville and Franklin and around the other ends of TN too. It’s very close to Loveless and Monel’s on the type of food and ambiance. (5-30 Mins)
Best Breakfast in Nashville
You can get breakfast at any time. Those Biscuits and Homemade Jellies and Pancakes with bacon make a great breakfast. (30 Mins)
Family Style Breakfast, come hungry. I suggest getting there early to get the freshest food and you won’t need lunch that day. (15 Mins)
If you are already downtown and near the Gulch this is a great place, super trendy so it gets very crowded very quickly and can have long lines. I think they have cool breakfast options with southern flare with hot chicken and waffles. I still think Loveless is the biscuit King\Queen of Nashville, but this is good too. (5 Mins )
A lot of people go crazy for this place, but the lines are long and I don’t think their food is that much better than any of these other three. If you love breakfast then you may want to try it.
Places to Grab a Drink in Nashville
So many places. Great from Honky Tonks, to pure bars and everything in between. These are all the Downtowns
- Tootsies – Is a staple to go to. http://www.tootsies.net
- Buffalo Billiards – If you like billiard games and to hang out this is a great spot. https://www.buffalosnashville.net
- Acme Feed and Seed – Very cool vibe at the end of the down town. https://www.theacmenashville.com
- HQ Beercade – If you want to drink and play some arcades and pinball, not to big but some fun. http://www.hq-nashville.com
- Whiskey Kitchen – Drink and Eat Combo. Lots of Whiskey’s and Bourbons. (5 Mins). https://www.mstreetnashville.com/whiskey-kitchen
- The Pour House – Local Downtown drinking with tons of options on tap.
- There are all Pub Crawls and Pedal carts to do to.
Breweries in Nashville
- Jackalope Brewing Company – My favorite for a couple years with the best brews there and varieties and it is in a cool location and vibe. (5 Mins) https://jackalopebrew.com
- TN Brew Works – Lots of different local beers plus their special brews. (5 Mins) https://www.tnbrew.com
- Yazoo – Big Name brand here in Nashville for Tours and some cool special brews, in the Gulch so easy to get to also. (5 Mins) https://yazoobrew.com
- Many more but these three are a good start.