Tailgating in Nashville for the Vanderbilt Game
GatorTailgating.com is doing a series of articles on where and how to tailgate at all of the Gator Football away games. This is the fifth part of our series detailing where and what to look out for in Nashville, Tennessee. Go Gators!
1. Where are the good and bad areas of town for motels to stay in the night before/after the big game?
The best place to stay is on West End Ave and Hillsborough Pike, which go right by the University.
Also, if you don't mind paying an arm and a leg, Opryland Hotel is very nice, but a long way from Vanderbilt.
You will want to avoid the East Nashville area, as it can be pretty rough in certain areas. Also avoid the Trinity Lane-Brick Church Pike area.
2. What are some attractions in Nashville that a visitor shouldn't miss?
Check out downtown, lower Broadway from 2nd to 5th streets, Printers Alley is also down there as is the Ryman, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. There are a number of bars on Broadway that have live bands that are fun places to go on Friday or Saturday night (Tootsies, Second Fiddle, the Stage, etc). One of the favoorite bars to see in this area of Nashville is always the Paradise Trailer Park Bar. It's a once in a lifetime experience that you'll only find in Tennessee.
Demonbreun Street has some good bars as well and is a good place for Friday/Sat nights (Tin Roof, Dan McGuiness (Irish... if you can't tell), and 21st Ave. has good places to watch the game for those who don't have tickets.
As far as tourist attractions, two that I would recommend are The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home, that is just east of Nashville and Belle Meade Plantation which is on the west side of town. Also check out the Country Music Hall of Fame, and there are some other landmarks around the area (Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Bicentennial Mall, Parthenon, etc.)
3. Where should a visiting fan go to eat before leaving Nashville?
There are lots of great places to eat in Nashville Rotiers on Elliston is very, very casual and fun and has the best hamburgers and milkshakes in town, and there are countless other good, original places around Vandy/21st Ave. and in the Gulch (12th Ave.). Swetts (Southern Food Cafeteria Style) is a good local "meat and three" restaurant, which is not a long drive from Vanderbilt
* Check out this list of restaurants compiled by Vandy fans on Scout.com: http://vanderbilt.scout.com/2/734651.html
4. Is there an area or a part of Nashville that the visiting fans usually tailgate?
Tailgating at Vanderbilt is not something that most people would consider easy or simple. Due to the very urban location of Vanderbilt, the strictness on alcohol in the local city parks, and the fact that most of the parking is in parking garages rather than lots; tailgating has never been harder for Vanderbilt football games. The parking lots close to the stadium are for booster club members with permits, and many of the green spaces on campus close to the stadium are used for special tailgates by various Vanderbilt groups.
The hot spot for visiting fans used to be the grounds of the Harris-Hillman School, but they changed their rules in 2008 to only allow parking and strictly prohibit pre-game activities.
Your only option if you choose to tailgate is in the residential neighborhoods a couple blocks away from the stadium. (see map below)
Friday night in Nashville, there has always been a Pre-Game Pep Rally hosted by the Music City Gator Club at the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville, but this year it has been moved to the Hard Rock Cafe. It is a family-friendly event and the Gator band, cheerleaders, and the infamous Albert (and Alberta) will be there from 5-8pm. It's always the way to start out Vandy weekend.
5. Are there any special rules we should know about tailgating on or off campus, open-container policies we should be forewarned about, or anything of the sort?
Vanderbilt is a wet university. No worries on this subject.
6. Any gameday traditions we should not miss while in Nashville?
The only gameday tradition is the Star Walk when the players walk across the street from the McGugin Center and down the tunnel into the stadium.
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