During the weekend of May 1, hard-hitting thunderstorms caused Tennessee’s Cumberland River to overflow into the streets of Nashville and surrounding areas. Water levels peaked at 51.8 feet, shuttering downtown businesses and displacing thousands of residents and visitors. While businesses along First and Second avenues have reopened their doors, many residential areas face long-term recovery efforts.
Here is an update on what to expect when visiting Nashville in the upcoming weeks, plus ways to help.
Many popular tourist destinations are up and running, and downtown echoes with the twangs of honky-tonk bars. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has an updated list (visitmusiccity.com/visitors/floodinformation) of attraction and restaurant information, and here are some longtime favorites:
- The Bluebird Café: Check out the nightly performances at this 100-seat songwriters’ venue, which has launched the careers of stars like Garth Brooks and Kathy Mattea. bluebirdcafe.com
- Cheekwood: The historic 55-acre Cheek estate encompasses a botanical garden and art museum. Coming May 25: “Chihuly at Cheekwood,” a bounty of handblown glass sculptures throughout the garden and museum (on display until November). cheekwood.org
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Walk through the new “Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music” exhibit (opening May 14) or take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B, which churned out more than 35,000 songs, including 150 Elvis Presley recordings. countrymusichalloffame.org
- Nashville Farmers Market: The daily market offers the best local produce from area merchants who sell everything from homegrown watermelons to traditional Southern pies. nashvillefarmersmarket.org
- Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: The legendary honky-tonk celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The walls are lined with photos and memorabilia of the musicians (think Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson) who’ve passed through the doors of this can’t-be-missed purple building. tootsies.net
- Grand Ole Opry House: Although temporarily displaced from its current home, the Grand Ole Opry’s “the show must go on” spirit prevails. There are no tours, but Opry shows are still scheduled for every weekend of this year and are currently taking up residence in various Nashville venues. opry.com
- Opryland Hotel: Floodwaters reached 10 feet inside this iconic hotel, which has closed its doors indefinitely as damage is assessed. Guests who had reservations within the next three months have been contacted, and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has a list (visitmusiccity.com/visitors/floodinformation) of available hotels. gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland
- Opry Mills: The landmark shopping mall and its surrounding service roads are closed until further notice. Bit by the shopping bug? Check out the The Mall at Green Hills (themallatgreenhills.com) and the boutiques and restaurants in Hillsboro Village (hillsborovillage.com).
- Schermerhorn Symphony Center: While the center will be closed at least through September, the Nashville Symphony’s concerts have found alternative venues. nashvillesymphony.org
- Music City Keep on Playin’, May 16: This nationally televised benefit concert will air live at 8 p.m. Eastern time from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (ryman.com). Tickets for the live performance are available, and viewers can call in donations. All proceeds will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to aid flood relief efforts. Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, and more are scheduled to perform. gactv.com
- CMA Music Festival, June 10-13: Celebrating its 39th year, the festival will go on as scheduled. More than 50,000 people are expected to swarm LP Field and Riverfront Park to hear artists like the Zac Brown Band, Chris Young, Carrie Underwood, and Trace Adkins. cmafest.com
- Nashville Rising, June 22: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are spearheading this benefit concert and have recruited artists like Taylor Swift, Brooks & Dunn, and Martina McBride to perform at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets go on sale May 14. nashvillerising.org
For More Information
- Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau: Find up-to-date information on hotel availability, as well as restaurant and attraction hours and general area information. visitmusiccity.com or 800/657-6910
- Red Cross: Find details about ongoing relief efforts and what you can do to help. middletennredcross.org or 615/250-4300
- Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee: The Community Foundation provides philanthropic services to the Middle Tennessee area. The organization has set up two flood relief funds and provides disaster-assistance information. cfmt.org or 615/862-8574
This information in this article was update May 13, 2010.