Hotspots in Nashville, TN

Cumberland Caverns

You've already seen Tennessee's natural wonders, in the form of magnificent mountains, rivers and lush forests. But there's more to the Volunteer State than meets the eye. The rolling hills hide miles of caves, formed over millennia as the acid in groundwater eats away limestone. Cumberland Caverns is one of the state's longest caves, and holds fascinating and eerie displays of underground beauty. Like the spectacular flowstone “Cathedral” -- a huge chamber formed of liquid-looking calcium deposits, the Crystal Palace with “flowers” of sparkling gypsum, the narrow tunnels known as the Devil's Backbone, and the enormous Hall of the Mountain King (one of the country's largest cave rooms). Scenic walking tours are held multiple times a day, and for the non-claustrophobic, try an overnight spelunking trip. Or attend one of their weekly "Bluegrass Underground" concerts.

Music City July Fourth

The City of Nashville's annual half-hour show at Riverfront Park regularly makes lists of the top 10 fireworks displays in the nation. It shoots over 13,000 pounds of pyrotechnics for an audience of over 100,000. The show begins around 9:30, and is choreographed to live music by the Nashville Symphony. (There's also live music and a sneak preview on the 3rd.) A variety of concession stands are open in the area, so come early for good seats. If you're trying to beat downtown crowds, other popular locations for viewing include the Belmont Parking Garage, downtown Hilton balcony, East Park in East Nashville, and First Church of the Nazarine's parking lot (they host a yearly block party).

Fleet Street Pub

When faced with the tourist crowds and loud music of downtown Nashville, anyone might long for a quiet pub to relax in. At Fleet Street, that wish can come true. This new Printer’s Alley establishment has everything you might expect of a pub, like a nice beer selection, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, and an warm, unpretentious atmosphere. But they’re not wed to tradition; some of their menu choices are surprising, like fries served with house-made mustard aioli, or “devils on horseback” (spiced dates stuffed with Stilton and wrapped in bacon).

Lucy Pop Salon

“Nashville’s premier blowdry headquarters”: Make a claim that serious, and you’d better be prepared to back it up. And Lucy Pop is. Their blowdry bar takes up its own room, and caters to your preferences, whether you want your hair big and bouncy, sleek and super-straight, or in beachy waves. Their “monthly bar tab” saves hair divas money on multiple blowouts. Their team of elite stylists devote equal attention to haircuts, color, makeup, and innovate looks like feather hair extensions. Lucy Pop is the rare business that succeeds in being more than just another hair salon. Their welcoming service makes visits fun, and their punchy retro-inspired décor that may inspire you to rethink your apartment as well as your ‘do.

Shine the Salon

This winner of the Nashville Scene readers’ poll is known for going the extra mile for their clients – they won’t just give you a fabulous cut, color or blowout, they’ll take the time to educate you about the best products for your hair and on how to re-create the look at home. As a result, it’s hard to find a negative review. Tucked away in a small space in Green Hills, it offers proximity to luxury shopping. It’s operated by Suzanne Shepherd, a top Nashville stylist for the past 12 years. Her team knows how to cope with Nashville humidity – so if you need a keratin treatment or other extra to keep your hair looking smooth, they’ve got you covered.

Legacy Farms

After the hard work of planning a wedding, most couples will be ready for some much-needed rest. Legacy Farms is the perfect place to get it, since this 22-acre estate offers weekend getaway packages for couples who marry there. But the natural splendor and elegance of this venue is equally suited to weddings and receptions of any size. Located just half an hour from the airport, the space features an 1800s log cabin, courtyards, an historic inn and a rustic covered pier (the perfect ceremony spot). Multiple spaces on the grounds offer options for ceremonies and receptions with up to 400 guests. This venue can handle anything, including catering, planning and a contingency plan in case you get rained out.

Hutton Hotel

A look at the Hutton’s décor should make any Mad Men fan weak in the knees. Its glamorous furnishings conjures up the best of midcentury modern style. But the hotel, which made Conde Nast traveler’s 2010 Hot List, has more than looks going for it. The 1808 Grille, serving classic American cuisine with a twist, is a destination for locals. Bamboo flooring and furnishings look great, but they’re also environmentally friendly. (Other green touches include sensors that turn the power off when you leave the room, and a hybrid car to shuttle guests to downtown nightlife). At the Hutton, “pet friendly” doesn’t just mean dogs are allowed—they’ll also provide a dog bed with turndown service. And its midtown location puts visitors close to most city destinations.

Nashville Pole Party

Pole dancing often serves as the punchline of a joke. But watch a performance by a pole artiste, and you'll see it's a form of dance that calls for amazing strength and skill – nothing to laugh at. Unleash your own Jenyne Butterfly at Pole Party, which offers an incredible array of classes – from pole basics, to pole dance fitness, chair dance, “sexy flexy stretch,” and advanced classes that teach an entire dance routine. At the beginner level, you'll get an amazing workout, and feel hot doing it. Progress to advanced, and you'll learn cool tricks and inversions. The studio is also available for private parties.

Birdsong Resort

Thinking of pearls might conjure up visions of oceans and tropical waters. But if you can't make it quite that far, you might want to plan a trip to Tennessee's own pearl farm (the only such culturing operation in the country). Located by the shores of 160,000-acre Kentucky Lake, the resort is a great low-cost getaway – come in an RV, or stay in one of their cabins, where can save by cooking your own food. The lake locale is gorgeous, and perfect for fishing and boating. Tour the pearl museum and shop for souvenirs at their gift shop -- pearl prices start at $15.

Shelby Dog Park

The idea of a dog run is simple: A grassy fenced-in off-leash area where dogs can burn calories, work off spare energy, and make doggy friends. So it’s the details that matter. And Shelby Park’s two-acre enclosure has the features you'd ask for. A meeting spot for friendly east Nashvillians, it attracts many regulars and fosters an atmosphere in which everyone’s encouraged to mind their dog’s manners. It’s right next to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park, along the Cumberland River, with 12 miles of trails. Next door a community center with a playground, so families with kids can have a day out together. And drinks are on the house -- there's even a ground-level water fountain to keep hounds hydrated.