Nashville is gearing up for its busiest week of every year next week: CMA Fest (or as I’ll probably refer to it, Fan Fair). We’re all already bracing for the on-slaught of country music fans and tourists.
WE LOVE YOU! Don’t take the grumbling the wrong way. We know that this city flourishes thanks to country music fans, and this coming week pretty much keeps this city going year-to-year. Most of us are here now, because we were tourists ourselves at some point.
We grumble because all too often. tourists make every-day things very difficult. So let me help you not be one of those tourists we all hate with three simple tips.
1. Keep it moving. Nothing is more frustrating that trying to get to work and have the car in front of you come to a stop and someone hang out the window with a camera to take a picture. Either pull over, keep moving and come back later, or park and walk around. Just remember that this city has thousands of people who LIVE HERE who need to go to work, to the store, to the doctor, etc. Stopping traffic to take a picture is a quick way to be hated.
2. Pay attention to signs or map your route ahead of time. I heard this city once described as a spider web of Interstates. We have loops and then interstates that expand out from/though the loops. Its not THAT hard to get around, but you do need to pay attention. If you need I-40, and the lane you are in splits off to go onto I-24… start planning to move over when you see the sign that the split is a x-mile away. Nothing is more frustrating that someone wanting to move over last second, or the very second they see the sign that their split is approaching. Think about it… you have a mile to move over. Use that distance wisely and act like you know what you’re doing. Don’t be that tourist that backs up the interstate because you’re not paying attention and/or thinking.
3. Watch the locals or ask the locals. The best example I can give you for this isn’t about Nashville, but about when I visit Oregon. My husband told me the first time I visited with him, “Don’t carry an umbrella, you’ll stand out as a tourist.” I started to look around and he was right. Locals didn’t bother with umbrellas, but the tourists sure did! Now I’m not saying to not be yourself! Guess what, people in Nashville don’t wear boots every day. But… I do. That’s just who I am. I’ve been a cowboy-boot-wearin’ girl all my life, and I’m not going to change that. But if you go buy a pair of boots to wear in Nashville thinking it’ll help you “fit in” — you’ll be throwing your money away. (That’s just an example!)
As for asking the locals… don’t go by some tour guide and commercialization about where to go here. Ask a local where they suggest you go eat or visit. You’ll often find some major gems along the way AND you’ll avoid all the other tourists giving yourself a much more unique experience.
Welcome to Nashville and we hope you enjoy your stay! Now please help US enjoy your stay. Ha!