Looking for Something Different to Do?

Crave something different to do this weekend? Want to break out of the dinner-and-a-movie rut? It’s time to introduce a few fresh and fun alternatives. 

Arrington Vineyards

It’s not Napa Valley but absolutely picturesque in a Tennessee kind of way. Buy a bottle of wine, bring a picnic lunch, sit on their inviting wrap-around porch and watch grapes grow. Often there’s live music too. (pictured above)

Warner Model Airplane Field

Yes, we have one. Watch landlocked daredevils send their radio-controlled planes to infinity and beyond. Pack a picnic, then mosey over to Warner Park and do a little creek-walking. Take Rover too–the dog park is right across the street.

Plaza Mariachi 

Something different with a Mexican flavor--visit the food vendors and shops of Plaza Mariachi
Food court at Plaza Mariachi

You’d never know this very cool Hispanic-flavored mini-mall was once a Kroger. Under one roof, you’ll find a really cool mercado (complete with a bakery, butcher shop and hot food bar). a Cuban restaurant, several walk-up food-court type specialty restaurants, a live entertainment courtyard, a glassed-in radio station studio and more than a dozen shops selling everything from cellphones to insurance.

Concert in a Cave

In the realm of something different, this one is hard to beat: on Monday morning, you can boast, “I saw the Sam Bush Band in a cave Saturday night. What did you do?” Top-notch Americana, neo-folk, roots rock and bluegrass artists perform in Bluegrass Underground Concert Series held at  The Caverns, 80 miles south of Nashville via I-24 at the northern base of Monteagle Mountain. (Note: this is its CURRENT location, replacing Cumberland Caverns.)  If you can’t go, watch the same-titled PBS series that’s been described as “Austin City Limits underground.”

Don’t like their line-up? You have an option back at its original location. Chill out at the Cumberland Caverns Live Concert Series in McMinnville. Beneath a massive chandelier hanging like a manmade stalactite, you can dine and dig music by a variety of artists.

Drive-In Movies

Forgot 3-D glasses, reclining chairs and craft beer. This is real-live nostalgia, y’all. Remember: it’s about the experience, not just the movie that’s showing. The closest to Nashville are around 50 miles away: the twin-screen Stardust Drive-In in Watertown, Franklin Drive-In just across the state line in Kentucky (it’s where I saw “Ode to Billy Joe,” a true drive-in movie) and Hi-Way 50 in Lewisburg.

Something different in Elmington Park: outdoor movies projected on an inflatable screen
Movies in the Park at Elmington Park

Don’t have time to get out of town? Nashville Parks hosts its “Movies in the Park” series each summer with family friendly fare. Bring a blanket or chair and some cash to buy a burger or sno-cone from the food trucks.

Also, neighborhoods and churches are known to host their own free outdoor movies..

Surely you joist

The Society for Creative Anachronisms meets up on weekends in Elmington Park to dress in medieval attire and bludgeon each other with styrofoam weaponry. Although it sometimes looks like a bit like Monty Python, these lords and ladies are quite serious about their battles. Pack a picnic lunch of turkey legs and revel in the faux-carnage. Consult the Barony of Glaedenfeld calendar to find upcoming events.

Something different (and easy) View the Nashville skyline from Love Circle
Eastern skyline from Love Circle

Love Circle overlook

Maybe you’re idea of something different is more laidback. Just west of Vanderbilt University is a tall rounded hill that provides great views in all directions. Photo bomb downtown, brown-bag it or get engaged there (I did). Hundreds show up on July 4th to watch fireworks from afar. For you history buffs, Love Circle (aka Bald Hill) was a key Civil War vantage point that allowed the Union Army to monitor the railroad and two key routes, the Natchez Trace and Harding Pike

Take a cooking class

Whole Foods would like to make you into the next Top Chef. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. However, Salud! Cooking School will entertain and educate you in a way that sitting next to the McDonald’s Playscape won’t. They even offer classes for children and teens.

Perk up in a coffee class

Maybe you’re a coffee lover–but are you a coffee scholar. One of Nashville’s favorite coffeehouse, Crema, hosts classes that build your knowledge so you can brew better than ever. Classes are limited to six participants.

Still looking for that “something different”? 

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