Visit Gaylord Opryland (Really. Do It)

During a previous trip to Nashville a few weeks after moving to the US (which was more business than pleasure – yet again providing fingerprints to prove I am who I say I am) I got a chance to visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel. My mother in law had suggested it and made an attempt to describe the place. It sounded nice.

It was incredible.

Visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville

So during a proper, non-fingerprinting trip to Nashville more recently, I was eager to visit Gaylord Opryland again with my husband who has a slight obsession with waterfalls and water features, and without my kids, who have a slight obsession with throwing themselves into waterfalls and water features.

Visit Gaylord Opryland

Yep

 

It is a huge hotel, with a total of 2881 rooms and suites, and stunning indoor gardens and waterfalls. We didn’t stay at the hotel, opting to stay at a place downtown instead, but you can certainly visit it even if you aren’t a guest. We were there in winter, so didn’t really get a chance to see what the outside grounds of the hotel might offer. It didn’t matter, though. The inside was enough.

Visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville

The parking is expensive – close to $30. I’d decided after my last look at the place that it was completely worth it, but we were pleasantly surprised while dining at a restaurant in the Cascades area called Cascades American Cafe that they could validate our parking and it would be free! So if you intend to eat there it would be worthwhile asking about parking. And the Cascades is a beautiful area in the hotel, among several.

Visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville

A boat ride around an artificial river sounds pretty tacky, but it was wonderful-tacky and I highly recommend. The info the guide provides is interesting enough, and even if it had not been, spotting the large fish including catfish and just taking in the sights was very enjoyable. It cost us about $9 per person from memory.

Visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville

Visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville

It was great feeling like we were stepping into a tropical paradise after freezing our butts off outside, but regardless of the weather I would have stopped by. So much work has been and continues to be put into this place – there were gardeners and others concerned with maintenance of the gardens and water features all over the place.

And it was especially great to visit Gaylord Opryland with someone who didn’t try to throw themselves in the water. Not even once!

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8 Comments

  1. It’s really an amazing place and I think they should have validated your parking and given you a free lunch for this blog post. The hotel really is nice and not at all tacky, unlike Opry Mills, the mall that sits on what used to be the theme park Opryland.
    It’s been many years since I was last there–so long, in fact, that the last time I went they didn’t have a boat ride around the waterfall. I must go back and maybe sit at the front of the boat and do Willy Wonka’s boat ride monologue–the one that starts with “There’s no earthly way of knowing/Which direction they are going.”
    With any luck I’ll get somebody to jump in.

    • My son didn’t need encouragement to try and jump in the first time we were there. We were proudly told that the river contains water from bodies of water all over the world, and that they got people from all sorts of places to send in individual bottles of water to fill it. Seems like way too much effort to me!

  2. That looks amazing. I can only imagine that the hotel rooms are on the pricey side, but if I ever find myself in Nashville (maybe to visit Chris) I’ll check and see. Even if I can’t afford it I’d love to have a meal there and check out the scenery.

    • I guess the price of the rooms would depend on whether you got one overlooking the gardens. I’d love to sit on a balcony in my pajamas watching tourists and ruining their photos with my terrible fleece pants 😉

  3. Ahhhh! I totally need to do a proper Nashville run. My husband and I have done two weekends there — one for a seminar where I was presenting research, and the other to talk to the dean of a grad program I was considering. But we didn’t do any of the FUN stuff while we were there, and I’m super disappointed!
    I SUPER DUPER want to do Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage. I’m a hardcore nerd when it comes to Presidential stuff. Can’t get enough of that crap. And now I want to do the Grand Ol’ Opry, which, for the record, I would never have imagined in a million years I’d want to see.
    So, THANKS, Mrs. Fancy Pants. My wallet DOES NOT thank you!
    (P.S. For real, if you ever go back, you HAVE to eat at Prince’s Hot Chicken, which is apparently this Nashville staple. It’s this shoddy hole-in-the-wall dump that serves the most amazing f’ing chicken I’ve ever had in my life. That being said, order the mild, which is still hella spicy. They’re not shitting you when they say this stuff is HOT. Like, my husband ordered the medium, and he started crying, it was so hot. It’s not hot wing hot, but more peppery hot. It’s SO GOOD. So, yeah, he’s sitting there, crying, but he can’t stop putting it in his face! And other people are at other tables doing the same thing! The only downside? My cousin was living with us that year for his “Find Himself” journey in the big city, so we didn’t have a lot of privacy, and this was a hotel weekend, if you get my drift, and I was so excited for adult activities, BUT my man ate this chicken, and, to make a super gross story short, he basically lit the toilet on fire. I realize that this story might not entice you to go, but you totally should. Also, come to Atlanta. I’ll show you around. We’ll have a blast!)

    • We’re about to be sharing a room with my 2 kids for a few weeks, so I hear you on the “adult activities” thing! I hope your cousin found himself! We went to the Parthenon as well which we expected to be tacky as fuck, but it was actually quite good!

  4. I think I spent too many years trying to escape North Carolina. I have never had any interest at all in Nashville or the sites it contains. Thanks for offering up pics inside that fabulous hotel; like you, I would only want to stay there so I could photobomb tourists!

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