You don't have to be a fan of country music to enjoy Nashville (although it sure helps). Music City houses the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry (above) -- two must-sees. And if that's not your scene, indulge in the scrumptious southern cuisine and check out the local bar scene. The trip is long, but the memories will last longer. Distance from Baltimore: 703 miles Summer events/activities: Country music lovers will find haven at Summer NAMM (Music City Center; 150 4th Ave. N #250G; namm.org ; $10 in advance, $20 at the door), one of the biggest events on the music industry calendar, where newcomers get the chance to mingle with country legends July 11-13; those passionate about animals should check out Glitter & Glam on July 28 at the Hutton Hotel (1808 West End Ave.; glitterandglam.org ; $70), where Agape Animal Rescue is hosting a fashion show, silent and live auction and wine tasting to raise money for animals in need; Old Crow Medicine Show performs at the Fontanel on Aug. 3 (4225 Whites Creek Pike; fontanelmansion.com or 615-724-1600). Cool lodging: With a great location and tons of amenities, the Renaissance Nashville Hotel (611 Commerce St.; marriott.com or 615-255-8400) is the perfect way to visit Nashville in style. For those on a budget, try the Baymont Inn and Suites Nashville Airport/Briley (2350 Elm Hill Pike; baymontinns.com or 615-871-0222), known for its hometown charm and Southern hospitality. Eat here: It's not hard to find good Southern cuisine in Nashville. The menu at the Watermark Restaurant (501 12th Ave. S.; watermark-restaurant.com or 615-254-2000) is filled with authentic Southern-influenced delicacies and a large wine selection. For great service and mac n' cheese, among other Southern favorites, visit Urban Grub (2506 12th Ave. S.; urbangrub.net or 615-679-9342). Don't miss: Art and cars merge at "Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles," a summer exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (919 Broadway; fristcenter.org or 615-244-3340; $10 tickets).
Ellen Creager / MCT