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Pack your bags: Country Music Association Festival in Nashville

A few weeks ago I checked Nashville off my Summer Getaways list. My husband and I decided to visit music city during one of the busiest weekends there - the Country Music Association Festival (CMA Fest). Here are a few things we experienced and a few recommendations if you ever get the chance to visit Nashville.

Nashville was a great city and we were lucky to go during such a festive weekend. The music history and culture is rich (many museums, a hall of fame walk and famous performance centers throughout the city, just to name a few) and there's an incredible amount of talent in the city at all times. Even after the festival, there's (free!) live music available at all hours - we spotted very talented artists singing in the bars before lunchtime. It was fun to see a variety of so many talented musicians.

We also found some wonderful restaurants. Here are our top 5:

1. The Pharmacy Burger - a beautiful garden in the back makes for the perfect place to enjoy a gourmet burger and a fizzy delight from their soda shop. They also pour over 60 beers, so go and try something new (whether it's an Egg Cream Soda or a hoppy IPA).

2. Pucketts Grocery & Restaurant - Great service and great food. Check out the Southern Stack breakfast: slow smoked pulled pork, atop sweet potato pancakes and fried apples, topped with a fried egg, served with a side of home fries.

3. Monells - Family-style southern staples: fried chicken, pot roast, biscuits, gravy, cheese grits, pork chops - everything you can imagine! Come hungry because it's all you can eat and it's delicious, and you're sure to meet some wonderful people at the 10-person table setup.

4. Wild Horse Saloon - If you can see a concert here, do it! It's a huge venue with really cool horse structures throughout (photo opp!). They're known for their fried pickles - so be sure to snack on those!

5. Garden Brunch Cafe - this little gem was tucked away very close to where we stayed and we ate there the first morning. It was so good that we went back on our last day, Tuesday - but beware, it's closed Monday-Thursday! We were thankful we got to try it once. Great brunch cocktail list and the pecan pancakes looked amazingggg!

Where to stay: We used the room rental site Airbnb to find a place to stay. Renting a room this way usually makes any trip more affordable and many hosts can even give great insider recommendations on things to do in the city. Ours definitely was a big help and awesome to stay with.

Headed to a music festival this summer? I recommend walking shoes, sunscreen and gaining a previous knowledge of the host city's public transportation system. Share other festival tips with us here.

And if you need any recommendations for next year and happen to like country music - get to Nashville! In fact, we already bought our tickets, so see you there! :)

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