Before I started college at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green KY, I had only been to Nashville a small handful of times. But Music City was a great pastime on a Saturday, and we took advantage of it.

I have frequented Nashville several times since then and know it pretty well. But familiarity breeds contempt, as they say. And while I'm not contemptuous of the entire town, I do have a list of reasons for my love/hate relationship with Music City.

HATE - Nashville Traffic

Google Street View
Google Street View

It doesn't feel like the drivers are as aggressive as they are in, say, Louisville; it's just that there is so MUCH of it...everywhere. And sometimes I get the sense that Nashvillians are nervous about driving in their own city. Nervous drivers can be just as big a problem as aggressive ones.

HATE - Nashville Parking


Parking downtown? Forget about it. And IF you can find a lot--they ALL charge you--you'll end up paying the same amount of money you would at a nice Nashville restaurant. That's a BIG "if", by the way.

LOVE - Centennial Park and the Parthenon

Park at the park instead of on or near Broadway. Pick a beautiful day like we did the other day, and enjoy throwing a frisbee, tossing the football, riding your bike, flying a kite, or visiting the Parthenon. I'd never done it before two weeks ago and was blown away by the tallest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere. Say hello to the goddess Athena.

Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media; Canva
Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media; Canva

Somewhere Between LOVE and HATE - Nashville Hot Chicken

Now, don't come after me. I don't hate Nashville hot chicken, Music City's culinary trademark. But I'm not blown away by it like so many are. And that's fine. You do you.

LOVE -- McDougal's Chicken Fingers & Wings

Oh my goodness. The wings, the fries, those SAUCES, that cole slaw, and the unparalleled Tennessee toast. I've actually just listed 95% of the menu right here, and it is all outstanding. Plus, you will get more fries with your order than you can shake a stick at, but that's okay. Dip them in as many sauces as you can put on your table.

HATE -- Nashville Verticality

If you don't go to Nashville every other week, for example, it will always surprise you how vertical it's getting. It reminds me of Tokyo. Skyscrapers have spread away from downtown. Oh they're still downtown; there are just so many more of them. But here's my big beef with the high-rise killed off one of my all-time favorite restaurants ANYWHERE. We showed up at South Street near the Vanderbilt campus back in 2018 only discover it had permanently closed. And yes, there was a very tall building where its parking lot used to be. I still miss it.

LOVE - Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

There are several Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream locations in Nashville, and they all feature unusual flavors. I discovered Jeni's a decade ago and have been spoiled rotten--regarding ice cream--ever since.

Yeah, I thought I'd end the piece with a little love. Enjoy your trip to Nashville. Plan accordingly. I know its close, and it's easy to just jump in the car and drive down. But yes, plan it out. Make the most of your road trip. And enjoy all that McDougal's chicken.

Bring me back some. And some ice cream. (You know what kind.)

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