nashville tips

VISITING THE UNITED STATES CAN DEFINITELY PROVIDE A PROPER CULTURAL SHOCK TO OUR INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS. NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE IF NO EXCEPTION. FROM NEIGHBORHOODS AND TIPPING TO EATING AND DRINKING- WE HAVE ALL THE TIPS AND TRICKS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEFORE VISITING MUSIC CITY. 

Image by Hari Nandakumar
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nashville & politics

LIKE MOST THE UNITED STATES CURRENTLY, POLITICS AND POLITICAL OPINIONS ARE VERY POLARIZED. CONVERSATIONS ABOUT POLITICS, WHILE THEY DO COME UP AND ARE EVEN ENCOURAGED BY SOME, ARE NOT CUSTOMARILY TALKED ABOUT WITHOUT PROMPTING. YOU MAY FIND THAT SOME INDIVIDUALS SHY AWAY FROM THE SUBJECT OR EVEN EXCUSE THEMSELVES WHILE OTHERS WILL OPENLY AND OFTEN PASSIONATELY ENGAGE IN POLITICAL DISCUSSION. NASHVILLIAN'S (NASHVILLE RESIDENTS) ARE GENERALLY NOT OFFENDED BY POLITICS BEING BROUGHT UP AS MUCH AS THEY MAY BE THE SIDE BY WHICH YOU TAKE. 

NASHVILLE CURRENTLY IS CONSIDERED A MORE "LIBERAL" OR "DEMOCRATIC" CITY, WHILE TENNESSEE IN GENERAL IS CONSIDERED A MORE "CONSERVATIVE" STATE. THE CURRENT MAYOR OF NASHVILLE, JOHN COOPER,  IDENTIFIES AS A DEMOCRAT WHILE THE GOVERNOR (HEAD OF THE STATE), BILL LEE, IDENTIFIES AS A REPUBLICAN

NASHVILLE HOUSES THE CITY, COUNTY, STATE, AND LOCAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES.

 

SPEAKING, TOUCHING & LOOKING

NASHVILLE, LIKE MUCH OF THE SOUTH, IS KNOWN FOR THEIR "SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY." IT IS VERY CUSTOMARY FOR NASHVILLIANS TO LOOK, SPEAK, AND ENGAGE WITH STRANGERS. WHETHER IT BE IN LINE AT A STORE OR WHILE CASUALLY CROSSING THE STREETS- NASHVILLE CITIZENS ARE SOME OF THE FRIENDLY FOLKS AROUND. 

NASHVILLIAN'S FIND IT NORMAL TO GREET EACH OTHER WITH A HANDSHAKE, HIGH FIVE, WAVE, OR EVEN A HUG AMONG FRIENDS. KISSING AND OTHER KINDS OF INTIMATE AFFECTION MIGHT BE SHOWN BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS IN A RELATIONSHIP, BUT RARELY WITH FRIENDS. NASHVILLE TENDS TO BE A VERY POPULAR AND CROWDED PLACE. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR INDIVIDUALS TO BUMP INTO EACH OTHER OR CROWD SMALL PLACES. YOU MAY ALSO FIND THAT SOME INDIVIDUALS WILL PHYSICALLY ENGAGE WITH YOU TO PASS BY IN CROWDED AREAS. OTHER FORMS OF TOUCHING WITHOUT CONSENT IS STRICTLY LOOKED DOWN UPON. 

Image by Hari Nandakumar
 
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POLICE PRESENCE & ENGAGEMENT 

ONE OF THE MOST STARTLING REALIZATIONS VISITORS HAVE WHEN VISITING THE UNITED STATES IS THE OVERWHELMING PRESENCE OF POLICE AND MILITARY PERSONNEL. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE MANY POLICE OFFICERS, SHERIFFS, AND STATE TROOPERS ON THE STREETS OF NASHVILLE. MANY UNIFORMED OFFICERS WILL DIRECT PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC DOWNTOWN AND POLICE VEHICLES ARE GENERALLY SEEN AT MANY INTERSECTIONS ON LOWER BROADWAY, MIDTOWN, AND IN THE GULCH. THERE IS NO NEED TO BE ALARMED IF YOU SEE THIS, OR A NUMBER OF POLICE VEHICLES CONGREGATING IN ONE AREA. 

OFTEN WITH HIGH-TRAFFICKED EVENTS SUCH AS SPORTS MATCHES, FESTIVALS, AND CONCERTS, UNIFORMED POLICE WILL CARRY LARGE, MILITARY STYLE GUNS OR HELMETS. IF IS ALSO NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE ACTUAL MILITARY MEMBERS , VEHICLES, OR MACHINES DURING POLITICAL EVENTS, OR VERY LARGE GATHERINGS.

WHILE IT IS COMMON TO ENGAGE AND TALK WITH POLICE, IT IS GENERALLY NOT ENCOURAGED WHILE THEY ARE PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES. THOUGH CUSTOMARY IN SOME COUNTRIES, IT IS STRICTLY AGAINST U.S. AND TENNESSEE THE LAW TO ATTEMPT TO BRIBE A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. 

 

GUNS AND OTHER WEAPONS

AS MOST VISITORS HAVE COME TO LEARN- THE UNITED STATES IN GENERAL IS VERY GUN-FRIENDLY. ON AVERAGE, 43% OF AMERICANS LIVE IN A HOME WITH A GUN PRESENT. IN NASHVILLE AND THROUGHOUT TENNESSEE, IT IS EXTREMELY COMMON TO SEE CIVILIANS WITH FIREARMS AND OTHER SORT OF WEAPONS, INCLUDING KNIVES AND MULTI-TOOLS, PERSONAL MACE (OR PEPPER SPRAY), AND PERSONAL STUN GUNS.  

WHILE IT IS NORMAL TO SEE INDIVIDUALS "OPEN CARRY" IN NASHVILLE, MANY PRIVATE BUSINESSES AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS PROHIBIT FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS ON THEIR PROPERTY. INDIVIDUALS CARRYING AN OPEN FIREARM IN A PROHIBITED PLACE SHOULD BE REPORTED TO EITHER A PROPERTY MANAGER OR THE LOCAL POLICE. 

IN NASHVILLE, NON-EMERGENCY POLICE REPORTS AND COMPLAINTS CAN BE MADE BY CALLING 1-615-862-8600.

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE IMMEDIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT OR MEDICAL PERSONNEL SHOULD BE MADE BY CALLING 911.

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT FIREARMS LAWS IN TENNESSEE HERE.

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Image by RHUM Phan

SMOKING, DRINKING, & DRUGS

AS WITH MANY COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD- SMOKING IN THE UNITED STATES IN CONSIDERED A MAJOR HEALTH CRISIS. ALONG WITH OTHER STATES, TENNESSEE HAS TAKEN NUMEROUS STEPS TO LIMIT SMOKING IN PUBLIC AND PREVENT SECOND-HAND SMOKE WHEN POSSIBLE. 

IN NASHVILLE, TN YOU MUST BE 18 YEARS OLD TO PURCHASE, CARRY, AND USE TOBACCO PRODUCTS- THIS INCLUDES VAPORIZERS CONTAINING ADDICTIVE NICOTINE PRODUCTS. THE USE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. YOU WILL FIND VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS TO THIS- SUCH AS IN PRIVATE CLUBS, SMOKING-PERMITTED BARS, AND CIGAR LOUNGES. SMOKING IS PERMITTED IN SOME HOTELS AND MOTELS AROUND NASHVILLE- WE ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO CHECK TO SEE IF THEIR HOTEL PERMITS SMOKING PRIOR TO BOOKING THEIR ROOM.

ALCOHOL MAKES UP A LARGE PART OF THE TOURISM CULTURE OF NASHVILLE. WHILE THERE IS PLENTY TO DO IN NASHVILLE THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE DRINKING- VISITORS CAN EXPECT TO SEE ALCOHOL AND ALCOHOL PARAPHERNALIA ALMOST EVERYWHERE IN NASHVILLE. INDIVIDUALS MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OLD TO LEGALLY PURCHASE, CARRY, AND CONSUME ALCOHOL IN THE UNITED STATES. MANY BARS IN NASHVILLE LIMIT THEIR AUDIENCE TO EITHER 18 YEARS OLD OR 21 YEARS OLD AND OLDER TO ENTER. PLEASE VERIFY THE MINIMUM ENTRY AGE PRIOR TO PLANNING ON VISITING BARS AND RESTAURANTS. 

RECREATION DRUG USE IS ILLEGAL IN NASHVILLE, TN. WHILE THE USE OF CBD PRODUCTS HAS BEEN LEGALIZED IN TENNESSEE SINCE 2015- THE USE OF MARIJUANA AND OTHER CANNABIS RELATED PRODUCTS IS STILL PROHIBITED. THIS IS NOT TRUE THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. IF YOU PLAN ON VISITING OTHER DESTINATIONS WHILE IN THE COUNTRY, WE RECOMMEND YOU CHECK THEIR LOCAL LAWS PRIOR TO VISITING.

 

TIPPING & TAXES

IN THE UNITED STATES, MANY EMPLOYEES AND SERVICE INDUSTRY WORKERS ARE PAID PARTIALLY BY THEIR EMPLOYER AND PARTIALLY BY THEIR CUSTOMERS BY MEANS OF "TIPS." COMMON "TIPPED EMPLOYEES" INCLUDE SERVERS AND BARTENDERS AT RESTAURANTS, BARISTAS AND FAST-CASUAL PERSONNEL, DELIVERY DRIVERS, VALET/PARKING ATTENDANTS, SALON AND SPA WORKERS, HOTEL WORKERS, TAXI/RIDESHARE DRIVERS, AND HOTEL PERSONNEL (DOORMEN, CONCIERGE, HOUSEKEEPERS, AND FRONT DESK AGENTS.) WE KNOW IT MAY SEEM LIKE AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST- BUT IT DOES MAKE UP AN MAJORITY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS INCOMES AND IS GREATLY APPRECIATED- AND AT TIMES NECESSARY. IT IS CUSTOMARY TO TIP BASED ON THE QUALITY OF SERVICE YOU RECEIVE, RANGING FROM 15% OF YOUR PRE-TAX TOTAL FOR AVERAGE SERVICE AND UP TO 22% FOR EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE. UNLIKE OTHER COUNTRIES, IT IS GENERALLY CONSIDERED RUDE OR OFFENSIVE TO TIP USING LOOSE COINS. 

IN NASHVILLE, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO TIP MUSICIANS AND STREET PERFORMERS. MANY OF THE GREAT SUPERSTARS OF TODAY, INCLUDING TAYLOR SWIFT, BLAKE SHELTON, AND LUKE BRYAN GOT THEIR STARTS PERFORMING FOR TIPS IN THE HONKY TONKS AND BARS OF NASHVILLE. THE RULE OF THUMB IS: IF YOU LISTEN TO MORE THAN 10 MINUTES OF MUSIC, YOU SHOULD TIP THE BAND OR PERFORMER. THE STANDARD FOR TIPPING MUSICIANS IN NASHVILLE IS COMPARABLE TO THE TIP YOU LEAVE YOUR BARTENDER OR SERVER. FOR EXAMPLE, IF WHILE AT A BAR, YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE CONSUMING $20 IN ALCOHOL- A $4 TIP FOR EACH THE BARTENDER AND THE PERFORMER WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. YOU WILL GENERALLY FIND A "TIP JAR" OR "PICKLE JAR" AT THE FRONT OF THE STAGE OR BY THE ENTRANCE OF MOST BARS TO SUPPORT THE MUSICIANS. 

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR MUSICIANS IN NASHVILLE TO ASK FOR TIPS. YOU MAY FIND DURING THE MUSICAL SET THAT A MEMBER OF THE BAND OR BAR STAFF WILL COME AROUND WITH A JAR SEEKING TIPS FOR THE PERFORMER. THIS IS NOT CONSIDER RUDE OR OFFENSIVE IN NASHVILLE (OR MEMPHIS.) MUSICIANS WILL HAPPILY TAKE REQUESTS FOR SPECIFIC SONGS OR ARTISTS IN EXCHANGE FOR A TIP. THE STANDARD IN NASHVILLE IS AT LEAST $5 PER SONG REQUEST. 

THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, IT IS SAFE TO ASSUME THAT THE ADVERTISED PRICES FOR A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ARE LISTED WITHOUT TAX. CALCULATING TAXES IN NASHVILLE CAN BE VERY COMPLICATED. A GENERAL SALES TAX OF 9.5% IS APPLIED TO MOST PURCHASES. THERE ARE ALSO TAXES ON POURED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, BOTTLED LIQUOR, WINE AND BEER PURCHASES, HOTELS AND LODGING, AMUSEMENT AND TOURISM, OIL AND FUEL, AND TOBACCO.

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Image by Hari Nandakumar

NASHVILLE AT NIGHT

NASHVILLE IN THE EVENING CAN BE A VERY DIFFERENT, AND EVEN STARLING, THAN IN THE DAY. 

BECAUSE A MAJORITY OF MUSIC CITY'S TOURISM IS GENERATED BY HONKY TONKS, BARS, NIGHTCLUBS, AND MUSIC VENUES, IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT THE CITY TAKES ON A VERY ACTIVE AND BUSTLING NIGHTLIFE SCENE. LARGE CROWDS AND HEAVILY INTOXICATED INDIVIDUALS ARE COMMONPLACE STARTING AS EARLY AS 5:00PM. MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS AND VENUES BECOME 18 OR 21 YEARS OLD AND UP AFTER A CERTAIN HOURS (BETWEEN 7:00 AND 8:00PM.) 

NASHVILLE METROPOLITAN CURRENTLY HAS A MINOR CURFEW IN PLACE FOR INDIVIDUALS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR MINORS TO BE IN PUBLIC PLACES OR ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE OWNER OR OPERATOR BETWEEN 11:00PM-5:00AM SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY AND 12:00 MIDNIGHT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 1ST AND MAY 31ST AND 12:00 MIDNIGHT BETWEEN JUNE 1ST AND AUGUST 31ST.

WE ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO USE A GROUP OR "BUDDY" SYSTEM WHEN TRAVELLING AROUND NASHVILLE AT NIGHT. AS WITH ANY METROPOLITAN CITY, IT IS BEST PRACTICE TO AVOID DIMLY LIT AREAS, PLACES WITH LITTLE OR NO FOOT TRAFFIC, AND SPOTS THAT ARE UNMONITORED/INACCESSIBLE TO CAMERAS, SURVEILLANCE, AND POLICE PRESENCE. 

IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR INDIVIDUALS TO GIVE, SOLICIT, OR ACCEPT RIDES FROM PERSONS THAT DO NOT POSSESS THE PROPER TAXI OR RIDE SHARE CREDENTIALS AND ARE FOUND USING VERIFIABLE MEANS (SUCH AS A CALL CENTER DISPATCHER OR PHONE APP.) DO NOT ACCEPT RIDES, DRINKS, GOODS, OR SERVICES FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO SOLICIT OR APPROACH YOU FROM THE STREET.

NASHVILLE DOES HAVE A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF HOMELESS AND AT-RISK INDIVIDUALS THROUGHOUT DOWNTOWN NEIGHBORHOODS. PANHANDLING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED IN NASHVILLE. IT IS CUSTOMARY, HOWEVER, FOR GENEROUS PERSONS TO SHARE MEAL LEFTOVERS, UNUSED CIGARETTES, ARTICLES OF CLOTHING, AND OTHER SMALL GIFTS WITH HOMELESS AND AT-RISK INDIVIDUALS. IT IS NOT ADVISABLE TO GIFT MONETARY DONATIONS, ALCOHOL, OR OTHER SUBSTANCES TO THESE PERSONS. UNSOLICITED, UNCOMFORTABLE, AND  AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLING BEHAVIOR SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. 

 

WHERE TO GO FOR HELP

 

TICKETS

TRUSTED VENDORS SHOULD BE USED TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO ATTRACTIONS, TOURS, MUSEUMS, SPORTING EVENTS AND SHOWS. WANDER RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING:

EMERGENCY

EMERGENCY: 911 (ANYWHERE IN USA)

NON-EMERGENCY POLICE: 1-615-862-8600

DOWNTOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT:

601 KOREAN VETERANS BLVD (AND 6TH AVE)

AIRPORT SECURITY: 1-615-275-1703

DOWNTOWN HOSPITALS:

NASHVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL (CLOSEST)

ST. THOMAS CENTENNIAL (MIDTOWN)

ST. THOMAS WEST (NORTH/WEST NASHVILLE)

TRI-STAR SOUTHERN HILLS (SOUTH NASHVILLE)

LEARN MORE ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS' HEALTH AND WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN VISITING THE UNITED STATES HERE.

VISITOR SERVICES

NASHVILLE VISITORS CENTER:

CURRENCY EXCHANGE:

ATM: LOCATE THE CLOSEST ATM HERE

TRANSPORTATION SERVICES:

TRANSLATION SERVICES:

RELIGIOUS

CATHOLIC: CATHEDRAL OF THE INCARNATION

  • WEEKDAYS- 7:00AM & 12:10PM

  • SAT- 5:00PM, SUN-  8:30AM, 11AM, 5PM

EPISCOPAL: CHRIST CHURCH DOWNTOWN

  • SUN- HOLY EUCHARIST (RITE II)- 10AM

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF NASHVILLE

  • SUNDAY SERVICE- 10AM

FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH NASHVILLE

  • SUNDAY WORSHIP-9:30AM

ISLAMIC CENTER OF NASHVILLE

  • JUMUA'H (FRIDAY PRAYER)- NOON & 1PM

HINDU SRI GANESHA TEMPLE

PADMASAMBHAVA BUDDHIST CENTER OF TN

WEST END SYNAGOGUE (SHABBAT SERVICES)

PUBLIC RESTROOMS

PUBLIC RESTROOMS AND PAID RESTROOMS ARE NOT COMMON IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS A BRIEF LIST OF PLACES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A PURCHASE TO USE THEIR RESTROOM:

PUBLIC WIFI

METRO NASHVILLE NOW OFFERS FREE PUBLIC WIFI THROUGHOUT THE CITY. TO FIND THE NEAREST LOCATION, CLICK HERE.

NEWS & MEDIA

travel planner

DISCOVER SOME OF OUR FAVORITE SPOTS AROUND TOWN TO EAT, DRINK AND VISIT WHILE IN MUSIC CITY.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

MUSIC CITY IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. PREPARE YOURSELF WITH OUR NIFTY GUIDE ON WHAT TO EXPECT.

UPCOMING EVENTS

FROM BASEMENT CONCERTS & WORLD TOURS, TO WINE FESTIVALS AND MORE, SEE ALL THAT'S GOING ON HERE. 

FACTS & FIGURES

LEARN MORE ABOUT CITY STATISTICS, NUMBERS, AND MORE, COURTESY OF OUR FRIENDS AT THE NCVC. 

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WANDER NASHVILLE

SEE THE BEST OF MUSIC CITY FROM THE GROUND UP. RESERVE YOUR SPOT ON OUR $10 WALKING TOUR TODAY.