For parents who need a little break ... kid-free ... there's nothing better than a stay at a luxurious hotel and a day or two to wander the hot spots of the downtown area. So get a sitter and get ready to head to downtown Nashville.
You'll be dreaming of whatever your heart desires when you stay at the Omni Nashville Hotel (250 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville; 615-782-5300). They have something special going on nearly every month. And, if you plan everything just right, the hotel is right in the center of it all in downtown Nashville. Several of the rooms offer a spectacular view of the Music City Center and Bridgestone Arena.
The Omni's rooftop pool, hot tub, fire pit and poolside bar.
Have a little drink while you're there, too. Through Monday, Dec. 31, enjoy a limited menu of Omni Originals Cookie Cocktails in the Lobby Bar featuring six boozy confections inspired by childhood favorite holiday cookies. YUM! Try the Cinnamon Churro, Maple Bourbon Pecan or Orange Spice Amaretto (which was delightful, by the way) cocktails. Pamper yourself a bit. The Mokara Spa has a few specials going on in December, too. The Chai Spice & Vanilla Hot Stone Massage uses a blend of exotic spices including vanilla, ginger, cardamom, black pepper and clove to refresh your mind while you detox. Or, maybe you want the Warming Amber Massage. You'll not want to get up after you've had this full body massage using Ambre Blends organic essence oil. This massage includes a warm stone, focusing on your neck and scalp, too! Fuel up in the morning to give you energy to explore the area! You'll love the breakfast buffet at Kitchen Notes downstairs. Your eyes will surely be bigger than your stomach with one walk through. You can even order up a custom omelet at the breakfast buffet, too. Oh, and don't forget to try all the different biscuits! OK, so maybe you couldn't get a sitter. The kids are with you for the full experience, too. There's the Omni Kids Crew program at Omni Nashville Hotel. Upon check-in, kids receive a backpack filled an activity book with stickers, crayons, 2-in-1 card games, binoculars and a small tabletop game. They also get milk and cookies delivered to their guest room on the first night.
Breakfast at Sun Diner
A quick walk around the block leads us to Sun Diner (105 Third Ave. S., Nashville; 615-742-9099). Harkening back to Elvis, this eatery boasts southern hospitality and gourmet cuisine. Yeah, that picture below is a Krispy Kreme donut with sausage and egg! But, I loved the Bacon Egg bagel with avocado and arugula. The menu is a mix of breakfast, lunch and dinner with all options served all day!
Lunch at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
I know you can smell the pits from the front doors of the Omni, so why hold back? Head on over to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (410 Fourth Ave. S., Nashville; 615-288-0880) for lunch or dinner and you won't regret it. Start it off with some catfish fingers or maybe some smoked wings in one of the house made sauces — uh-hum, Alabama White sauce!
The pits at Martin's.
You MUST try the Redneck Taco, too. It's a cornbread flatbread covered in pulled pork and slaw. Don't forget to add the Jack's Creek Bar-B-Que Sauce — it takes hours to make and there's a bottle on every table!
Another mouth-watering fave is the pork spare ribs covered in dry rub with a potato salad and baked beans. Oh, and, of course, you've gotta try the Sliced Beef Brisket sandwich (which words can't describe how tender and delicious it is) with a broccoli salad. Everything at this restaurant is made fresh daily! So, if they run out, sorry. Better try again the next day!
Oh, and don't worry, there's a kid's menu. A kid approved favorite is the chicken fingers with the BBQ sliders a close second. But, who's to say they won't want what's on your plate?! The two-story building has games to play while you wait for your food like shuffle board, ping pong and darts. Which is great for kids who can't sit still! Plus, there are more than enough TVs playing sports. You'll love the open air feeling of the top floor with luscious plants all around. Right now, because it's winter, the roof is temporarily covered. Once the warmer weather hits, it will be open to allow the sun to produce pools of light around the area.
Hockey Time with the Preds
Go ahead and don that gold shirt and get in on the crowd noise at a Nashville Predators home game at Bridgestone Arena (501 Broadway, Nashville; 615-770-2000) – a six-minute walk from the Omni. The energy from a home game will have you full of excitement by the time the game is over ... win or lose. But first, you must be a true fan for the day and know ALL the chants. When the Nashville Predators make a goal, scream out, “He shoots, he scores, you suck!” Then you call out the opposing goalie's name three times and yell out "You suck! It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” Then there's “We’re gonna beat the hell outta of you, and you, and you.” When a player's name is called at the beginning of the game, call out “He sucks!" When the coach's name is called out, say, "He sucks, too!” Yeah, it's the South and we should all be hospitable and ... nice ... but this is all fun and games. No hard feelings! But, if you want to learn more about the chants and how they all started, check out Section 303 ... they started it! Plus, they have videos of the chants, too. If you wait until game day to purchase tickets, just listen to 107.5 The River at 9 a.m. for a secret code for the Twice Daily "Day of Game" Tickets. Then, at 10 a.m. at ticketmaster.com, you can use that code to purchase $15 tickets! Problem is, you have to be pretty lucky (and FAST!) to get 'em. They only sell 100 tickets like this (you can only get two) and they go so super fast it's unbelievable. But, just to let you know, it does work. I have been able to do this a couple of times now. You can also download the Nashville Predators App and then sign up for Preds Golden Ticket alerts. These texts offer a variety of last-minute ticket offers that vary by game. Some alerts have tickets available for only $39 for the upper section. Not too shabby! However, several alerts are for tickets that are standing room only or some with obstructed view. But, you'll take your chances, right? A hockey game is the perfect outing for sports fans because, if you're staying at Omni Nashville Hotel, it is just a short walk to Bridgestone arena! Thank you, OMNI!
History & More at Country Music Hall of Fame
Of course, you wouldn't make your Nashville day trip complete without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville; 615-416-2001) — because it's connected to the Omni! You actually don't even have to walk outside as the hall just past the check-in counter takes you right to the museum. Your first stop should be a tour of Hatch Show Print, though. Soak in the history of the art of letterpress printing and all the posters and more created there — which are keepsakes each and every time one is created!
During your tour of the print shop, you'll learn how many posters they print a year and how active the shop truly is. The guides are sweet and full of historical information. To learn how some of the blocks were once cut up and used as shelving, tables, etc., was fascinating. The shop has been finding them, piecing them back together and running prints on them again! You'll get a quick rundown of the printing process, too, from setting the type, inking it and more.
The education room at Hatch Show Print is filled with vibrant posters young and old. You've gotta see!
Upon completion of your tour, you head to the education room to get a very interesting bit of history about how Hatch Show Print started and then make a print of your own to take home! After a tour of Hatch, continue the fun with the Country Music Hall of Fame. You'll see an astounding number of stage costumes and historical artifacts all pertaining to country music, the stars and more. Opt for the audio tour, though, so you know what's going on. It's truly an amazing feeling to see all the items in chronological order and seeing how things have changed over time. Of course, if you're not a country music fan, just enjoy the history of the music and how it progressed over the years. You may find yourself skipping over some of the exhibit's sections and that's OK. There's so much to see in there!
On Stage Performances at Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC)
About a 20-minute walk from the Omni, you can experience a wonderful show on the stages of TPAC (505 Deaderick St., Nashville; 615-782-4040). Here's what's coming up: On Your Feet: The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan (Jan. 15 - 20), The Wizard of Oz (Feb. 8 - 10), and A Bronx Tale (Feb. 12 - 17). Ticket prices vary.
Sweet Delights at Goo Goo Shop
A seven-minute walk from the Omni takes you to a place where you can definitely satisfy your sweet tooth! The Goo Goo Shop (116 Third Ave. S., Nashville; 615-490-6685) is home to the Goo Goo Cluster and many more sweets.
The GooGoo wall inside the shop.
Did you know they offer Chocolate Classes? Sign up for one while you're in town. These hour-long chocolate classes give you a bit about the history of Goo Goo, a hands-on “Make Your Own Goo Goo” Experience, you'll learn a secret recipe from our Dessert Bar and indulge in a dessert sampling as well as receive 15 percent off any purchase in store that day! My husband and I had fun taking turns with the mixer combining ingredients. It's fun to make something in the "kitchen" without having a mess to clean up. You can watch them fill your chocolate molds from the window, too. It's a very interesting and fun experience for chocolate lovers.
Your finished Goo Goo Premium is boxed up and ready to go home with you.
Sample a milkshake and their Blondie brownie during your chocolate class, too!
Cost is $40 per person. You've gotta make your reservations 24 hours in advance, too. Don't worry. If you do bring the kids, ages 12 and younger can participate as long as you are, too. The class goes quickly, too. There's really no time to play around. The instructions are so simple and easy, too. Your teacher for the day will tell you all about the sweets your making and tasting as well.
Ice Skating at Smashville Holiday Festival
Just down the street (about a five-minute walk) from the Omni is also Nashville's only outdoor ice rink. Smashville Holiday Festival takes place at Ascend Amphitheater (310 First Ave. S., Nashville). It's open through Jan. 21, 2019 and all ages can ice skate. Hop online to purchase your tickets. Online tickets are $16.48 including skates, $13.73 if you have your own skates. Your ticket is for specific skate times, too. So, take a look at the online calendar and plan accordingly.
Here's a handy map of most of these great places! You'll see how close they are in relation to one another, too.