Downtown Nashville has much to offer in the way of history, music, entertainment, dining, and specialty shopping. It's also undergoing many changes. Music City Center, a new convention center complex, offers spruced up museums and streetscapes, with new attractions and hotels to follow.
To get a more complete feeling for the city, you'll want to explore the area beyond downtown, too. Among the offerings are historic plantations, a variety of museums covering everything from art to cars to science, and some great places for kids, including the Nashville Zoo—not to mention the Grand Ole Opry.
The Cumberland River horizontally bisects Nashville's central city. Numbered avenues, running north-south, are west of and parallel to the river; numbered streets are east of the river and parallel to it as well.
In East Nashville, across the river from downtown, small shops and galleries are popping up among the restored Victorian houses. Micro-neighborhoods with shopping, dining, and new living spaces are developing all over the city, including 12South and the Gulch.