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Welcome to our Nashville meeting planning guide – a city guide for meeting planning in Nashville. Visitors flock to Nashville to experience its laid-back atmosphere, celebrate its deep musical roots and simply enjoy the city's graceful setting comprised of Southern mansions, stately gardens and historic music and performance locations scattered amongst gleaming skyscrapers. Situated within 600 miles of 50 percent of the U.S. population, visitors will find traveling to this Southern City convenient and painless. Nashville's glowing reputation as an entertainment and business destination attracts more than 14 million visitors each year to a number of Nashville event venues.
Nashville is home to two award-winning convention centers, including The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, the largest non-gaming convention center in the United States, and the Nashville Convention Center, which is located in the heart of Music City's downtown. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center offers more than 600,000 square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, as well as nine acres of indoor gardens and waterfalls, an impressive spa, pools and on-site shopping and dining. The Nashville Convention Center, a modern, gleaming facility, offers 180,000 square feet of exhibit space and countless amenities, including an in-house catering service that creates themed carts and cafes tailored to event needs.
Nashville is home to several prominent facilities that have become city landmarks and icons, which lend an authentic and one-of-a-kind air to any meeting or event. Attendees are sure to enjoy a meeting at the historic Grand Ole Opry House, capable of seating over 4,000 guests. The 300-foot-long, four-deck General Jackson Showboat offers private dining and entertainment along with unbeatable views of downtown Nashville and the Cumberland River. For authentic Southern cuisine, B.B. King's Blues Club and Restaurant is ready to serve up comfort food and live music for 30 to 800 guests in its two-level, 25,000-square-foot location.
Nashville is often regarded as the Athens of the South, thanks to its 22 four-year undergraduate and post-graduate schools, four community colleges and 11 vocational-technical schools, including Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Belmont University and Tennessee State University. Notable businesses headquartered in Nashville include Gibson Guitar Corporation/Baldwin Pianos, Bridgestone/Firestone Americas, Caterpillar Financial and CAN Insurance.
As the capital city of Tennessee, Nashville enjoys a reputation as both an entertainment mecca and a center of economic and industrial growth. First settled on December 25, 1779, Nashville was originally known as Nashborough, named after Revolutionary War hero General Francis Nash, and later became Nashville in 1789. During the Civil War, Nashville was the first city to succumb to the Union troops. Late 19th century Nashville was a prosperous city, firmly establishing itself as shipping and trading port on the Cumberland River. Many of the opulent, classical-style buildings that line the city streets today were built during this time of elegance.
Today, Nashville's economy continues to thrive, with a population reaching about 1.5 million people in 2006. The majority of Nashville residents are white, African American and Latino, with a smaller percentage of American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander residents. Located on the Cumberland River in the north-central region of Tennessee, Nashville encompasses 526 square miles.
Known as Music City, Nashville is home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry broadcast. Still staged live every week, the Opry is America's longest-running radio show, having been on the air for more than 80 years. Though it's often noted for its role in the development of country and bluegrass, Nashville has become a hub for all musical genres. Notable artists such as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffett have all written, recorded and produced music in this illustrious city.
Music makes up an integral part of the city's culture and attractions. Nearly 80 record labels, 130 music publishers and 180 recording studios have made Nashville home. Explore artifacts, photographs and original recordings from country music's past at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. See the outfits and instruments of country greats such as Roy Acuff and Patsy Cline, along with Marty Robbins' restored office, at the Grand Ole Opry Museum. Stroll star-studded Music City Walk of Fame, recognizing big name inductees such as Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd and Hank Williams, on your way to one of the cities many "honky tonk" bars and nightspots, each marked by a Nashville Live Music Venue sign. Or, grab a bite to eat at any of Nashville's authentic barbecue spots.
Despite being known as the city that "music calls home," the sounds of country and bluegrass have not drowned out Nashville's rich and colorful past. Many other key fixtures in Nashville are closely knit together by history. Visit the Hermitage, once home to former President Andrew Jackson and the most authentic presidential home in the United States, or tour the region's history from prehistoric Indian cultures to the early 1900s at the Tennessee State Museum. Ascend the grand staircase of the Belmont Mansion, regarded as one of the most elaborate homes of antebellum Tennessee. Or, experience a civilization from across the seas at the Parthenon, located in Nashville's Centennial Park and the world's only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Nashville experiences four distinct, yet mild seasons with abundant warmth and sunshine. The year-round average temperature is a high of 70°F and a low of 48°F. Spring and fall bring mild temperatures, while summer months tend to be humid, with average temperatures in the high 80s. Winter temperatures are cool, ranging from 30°F to 49°F with little snowfall.
Average annual rainfall is 48 inches, with most rain falling in the late winter and early spring. The ideal time to visit Nashville is during the late spring and fall seasons, when days are warm and pleasant and evenings are cool.
Music City Center
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Located on the banks of the Cumberland River and just minutes from the Nashville International Airport, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center is the largest non-gaming convention center in the continental United States. Offering 600,000 square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space, the center features six ballrooms, more than 100 meeting and breakout rooms and the 263,000-square-foot Ryman Exhibition Hall. Its lush, elaborate nine acres of indoor gardens and waterfalls are complemented by its own indoor river and Delta flatboat within a breathtaking 4.5-acre glass dome atrium.
The resort offers 2,881 luxury guest rooms, a 20,000-square-foot spa, salon and fitness center, two outdoor and one indoor swimming pools, on-site shopping and more than 15 on-site restaurants and lounges. Meeting services include a full-service business center with shipping, copying, printing, binding, document reproduction and fax capabilities, cutting-edge technology services and award-wining in-house Gaylord Opryland catering. The entire facility is wired with a high-speed Ethernet network, and complimentary wireless Internet access is also available.
Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center is the recipient of several meetings-related awards, including the Gold Key Elite Award, Gold Platter Elite Award and Gold Key Hall of Fame by Meetings and Conventions magazine and Award of Excellence by Corporate & Incentive Travel, among others. The center has hosted events for such high-profile guests as the Health Occupants Students of America, the National Middle School Association, the School Nutrition Association and the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.
Nashville International Airport (BNA)
Approximate taxi fare: $30 USD
The Nashville International Airport is located just eight miles east of downtown Nashville. Serving nearly 10 million passengers each year, Nashville International operates approximately 400 daily arrivals and departures through its 820,000-square-foot terminal, four runways and 47 gates. Nashville International operates numerous non-stop flights to coast-to-coast domestic locations, as well as the international cities of Frankfurt, London, Montreal, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.
Airport amenities include two massage bars, full-service restaurants, concession stands, retail shops, a nail salon, full-service business center and terminal-wide wi-fi access. Nashville International's Arts at the Airport program features an ever-changing collection of original works, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and mixed medium pieces. In October 2006, the airport started a five-year, three-phase Terminal Transformation project. The project includes an aesthetic terminal update, including the installation of skylights, mosaic tiles and water walls, as well as a consolidated security checkpoint.
Airline carriers serving the Nashville International Airport
Nashville's Metropolitan Transit Authority operates more than 40 bus routes servicing the Nashville metropolitan area. The Route 18 Airport/Elm Hill Pike bus runs 11 daily trips between the Nashville International Airport and downtown Nashville. One-way passes are $0.80 for youths ages 19 and under and $1.85 for adults on express service and $1.35 on local service. All-day passes are $2.50 for youths and $4 for adults. Children under 4 ride for free.
Operated by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), the Music City Star commuter rail began service in the fall of 2006. The rail operates at six stations, including the downtown Riverfront Park station, Monday through Friday from 5:45 AM to 6:35 PM. The rail operates late each Friday, with trains running until 10:20 PM. One-way tickets range from $4 to $5 and ten-ride tickets range from $36 to $45.
Nashville has several rental car companies. Rental car companies at Nashville International Airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.
Nashville has numerous taxi companies, all of which service the Nashville International Airport. Taxi meters start at $3 and each additional mile is $2. The flat fare triangle between the airport, downtown Nashville and Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center is $25 between any two points for up to four passengers. For areas outside the triangle, the meter starts at $7 from the airport and adds $2 each additional mile.
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