Creativity and authentic meeting venues continue to expand and delight in Nashville, a city infused with music.
“Nashville‘s brand is music, all kinds of music, and its food scene is exploding as well,” says Mike Owen, president of Event Genuity, an event management company that specializes in helping groups experience the true essence of Nashville. “We can offer amazing experiences. From Honky Tonk row where musicians perform for just tips to venues like the Ryman Auditorium, where performers such as Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw have performed—it’s all part of the city’s 150 live music venues.” Here are some of our top picks for creative and musically-charged Nashville venues.
Our group was given an authentic Nashville experience via an evening event at Tequila Cowboy, located in the heart of Honky Tonk row. Live music bellowed from the 1st floor music stage and the 2nd floor space was dedicated to our group, with free flowing food and drink such as barbecue chicken, pulled pork, tacos plus shrimp and grits…all while we attempted to ride the mechanical bull, explored a VIP moonshine tasting room and other distractions. The venue hosts groups from 30 to 1,800.
Gaylord Opryland Resort
With 2,882 rooms and 700,000-sf of convention and meeting space this resort sprawls over 9 acres “under air.” The large dome lets natural light filter in; lush landscaped gardens and waterways meander between accommodation buildings, meeting space and dining options. The hotel layout and size allowed for these multiple conferences without congestion while maintaining high levels of service.
We loved their spacious Garden Conservatory rooms, which were well-appointed and fresh with good internet service for the business traveler. All 483 of these rooms were renovated in 2015, and the 795-room Cascade section will also be completed in the same sleek and stylish look this November. The Delta rooms are currently being updated in the same style. The property also recently renovated the Delta, Governor’s and Presidential ballrooms as well as the roughly 18,300-sf Tennessee. Randy Miller, director of sales and marketing, says Gaylord is all about meetings. “We have 50,000 room nights a year and high volume, high service is what we are about. This service focus helps us to achieve our 46 percent repeat business throughout the Gaylord brand.”
Omni Nashville Hotel
Located downtown next to the Music City Center convention center and connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the hotel offers 800 rooms and 80,000 sf of meeting space, including a delightful rooftop deck that can host events. “The hotel exemplifies the essence of the city,” says Tod Roadarmel, area director sales and marketing. “Our mantra is local color, which you can find at our Biscuit Bar at Kitchen Restaurant, offering shrimp and grits and other local foods, including the best burger in Nashville.” The lobby is shaped like a guitar and 50 percent of the hotel’s art comes from Nashville.
Music City Center
The convention center aligns beautifully with the city’s music brand, boasting 60 meeting rooms, 353,000 sf of exhibit space and the largest ballroom in Tennessee. It was opened in 2013 and has hosted national and international shows that are spurring the city’s meetings destination growth. A Gold LEED certified facility, it has a 4-acre green roof, four beehives, a solar farm and a storage tank for rainwater that is used for bathrooms and irrigation to reduce water consumption. The convention center also houses the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, a great attraction for convention attendees.
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
This venue doubled in size in 2014 to 350,000 sf of special event space with a beautiful downtown view. The expansion included an 800-seat CMA Theatre. Using natural light, the acoustically excellent Schermerhorn Symphony Center can also be used for receptions and conferences from 10 to 2,000 attendees.
A 19th century National Historic Landmark, the auditorium had a $14 million expansion in 2015, including a new state-of-the-art theatre experience and five new exhibits. Known for its exceptional acoustics, artists from Patsy Cline to Bruce Springsteen have performed here.
Just outside of the downtown area is a creative eatery with a vintage bowling alley and an outdoor garden and seating area, all available for group buyouts. Its restaurant can accommodate 250 to 300 attendees, and if you include the outdoor area that number grows to 400. The bowling area can hold 40 for smaller groups. Food is creative, locally sourced and adapted to events for daytime or evening.
Coming to the city in the next two years are approximately 3,000 more rooms, starting with the 27-story Westin, opening this month with 454 rooms and 20,000 sf of meeting space. The 35-story JW Marriott, is scheduled to open in 2018 with 532 rooms and 50,000 sf of meeting space.
Nashville is a very accessible, served by 12 airlines, with over 440 daily flights to 50 destinations nonstop. Plans have been announced to expand the airport over the next 5 to 7 years, adding more opportunity for increased airline service.