Top 11 Best Things to Do While in Nashville for the 2023 HSPA Conference

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Are you attending the HSPA 2023 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from May 6-10? Check out this list to see the best things to do while you’re in town.

Nashville, Tennessee  (Adobe Stock 269713468 by Kevin Ruck)

Nashville, Tennessee

(Adobe Stock 269713468 by Kevin Ruck)

Welcome to Nashville, the Country Music Capital of the World! You're attending the HSPA 2023 Conference from May 6-10. But after the conference ends for the day, what else is there to do?

Plenty! Let me tell you. Because it is my grandmother’s hometown, I grew up going nearly every year. She showed me her favorite places from growing up to returning as an adult.

Day or night, the capital of Tennessee has something for everyone. It is famed for being the home of country music, but the music is only the beginning. Don’t miss the sights while you are in town!

  • The location of the 2023 HSPA Conference, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, will take your breath away, no matter how often you return. Once the largest hotel in the world, the flora and fauna make you feel like you are going into a rainforest. With plenty of shopping, restaurants, and luxurious hotel rooms, you won’t want to leave.
  • The Grand Old Opry stage at the Ryman Auditorium. I recommend the Backstage Tour. You will get to see the dressing rooms. Even learn about the ghosts still humming…. When my family and I went, we even got to stand on the stage. It is smaller than you might think!
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame is fun even if you aren’t a Country Music fan.
  • Downtown Nashville, with its clubs and bars, reminds me of both Beale Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Music galore—and not just country music!
  • National Museum of African American Music in Nashville is brand new. Looking forward to checking it out!
  • The Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery and the Belmont Mansion are perfect if you love history. (Note: Belmont University Graduation Weekend is the weekend of the HSPA Conference. Parking access will be limited to the Belmont Mansion.)
  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage reminds its visitors of both the good and bad of history. Well worth the visit!
  • Are you hungry, but want history too? Try the General Jackson Showboat for a dinner cruise. The food is divine, and watching Nashville pass by as you hear the paddle of the paddleboat is impressive. They have daytime and evening cruises.
  • If you like the nightlife and history, one form is the many Haunted Tours of Nashville. Learn the history and get a little shiver down your spine. Highly recommended!
The author and her 89-year-old grandmother at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on their last trip together to Nashville.  (Photo courtesy of the author)

The author and her 89-year-old grandmother at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on their last trip together to Nashville.

(Photo courtesy of the author)

  • Just want some munchies? Be sure to visit The Peanut Shop in The Arcade. The Shop opened in 1927, and from 1942-1945, during WWII, my grandmother worked there, selling peanuts to the soldiers. She said it doesn’t look or feel much different, except the air conditioning!
  • My favorite thing to do in Nashville? Prepare to go back nearly 1600 years and visit The Parthenon in Centennial Park. This full-size exquisite replica of the historic structure in Greece is perfectly preserved for visitors to appreciate. Nashville is recognized as the “Athens of the South,” and having this magnificent building here is a true testament to that. The Parthenon was erected in 1897 and has stood the test of time. My grandmother, who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s, often visited the park and marveled at the incredible architecture. She believed that it never lost its grandeur.
Greek goddess Athena inside the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.  (AdobeStock_494085893 by steheap)

Greek goddess Athena inside the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.

(AdobeStock_494085893 by steheap)

Now the Parthenon is an art museum that is just as remarkable as ever. You will enter the basement, in the museum part of the building. Upstairs, you will marvel at the replicas of the Parthenon Marbles, the same ones that decorated the original Greek Parthenon!

However, the highlight of the museum is undoubtedly the statue of Athena. Standing at an impressive 42 feet and gilded with over 8 pounds of gold leaf, it is truly awe-inspiring to witness. And in her right palm, she holds a six-foot-tall statue of Nike. While you are in Nashville, take the time to visit the Parthenon–you will not be disappointed!

Enjoy your time at the HSPA 2023 Conference and the Athens of the South, Nashville, Tennessee!

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