SEC Women's Tourney Visitor's Guide

As a service to our fellow SEC Women's Hoops fans VandyMania is providing an extensive guide for visitors to Nashville.

VandyMania Guide to Nashville

Nashville's a popular tourist location, loaded with restaurants and bars. But where do the locals go? In light of the upcoming women's SEC Basketball Tournament in Nashville, we asked for recommendations for out-of-towners for places to eat and drink.

Here's what we found out. There are lots of other places to go around Nashville, but since you're here for a basketball tournament (right?), we are focusing on the downtown area within walking distance of the Gaylord Entertainment Center ("the GEC") and on the Vanderbilt/Music Row area, located within easy driving distance.

First, a little advice.

1. When you first arrive in Nashville, stop by the Visitors' Center in the lobby of the GEC. You can enter the building to go to the Visitors' Center and Gift Shop without a ticket. Pick up a Nashville map. While you're there, pick up brochures of activities to help you decide what to do while you're here.

2. Spend a little time getting used to navigating around the area. Nashville is notoriously confusing. Streets change names without warning for no apparent reason or stop abruptly only to resume later on. In some places the streets are perpendicular and parallel to each other, then gradually change so that streets you think should be parallel turn out to intersect each other, defying everything you learned in high school geometry. Stick with the tried and true. If you try to improvise, you will get lost.

Here's a simplified map to help you get oriented. Broadway (shown in red on the map) is the main drag. In the downtown area, numbered avenues cross Broadway. 1st Avenue runs along the Cumberland River, and the numbers get bigger as you leave downtown.

As you head away from downtown on Broadway, the avenue numbers get bigger. Around 16th Avenue, there's a major split in the road with two lanes veering to the left, and two lanes going more or less straight ahead.

If you take the right hand fork, you're now on West End Avenue. Keep going, and you'll pass through one of the major restaurant rows in Nashville, with the Vanderbilt campus to your left. To get to Elliston Place (shown in purple), a funky area of bars, restaurants and other interesting shops, turn right at 20th Avenue, drive two blocks, then turn left at the Krispy Kreme.

If you take the left hand fork, you'll end up on 21st Avenue (shown in blue). For a short distance, the street name is still "Broadway", but it's continuous with 21st Avenue. 21st Avenue runs along the eastern side of the Vanderbilt campus. The area near the south end of the Vanderbilt campus is known as "Hillsboro Village." Besides restaurants and bars, there are some interesting shops for poking around.

Since traffic along Broadway and through Hillsboro Village is often congested, the locals often use Demonbreun Street and Music Row (shown in green) as a bypass. Demonbreun runs parallel to Broadway behind the arena. Demonbreun ends in a roundabout. Enter the roundabout, then look for the signs to 17th Avenue South, which also goes by the name of "Music Square West". 16th Avenue is "Music Square East." The three streets with traffic lights -- Grand, Edgehill, and Wedgewood -- connect directly to 21st Avenue.

Now, on to business. The recommendations are divided into four parts.

Downtown Basics makes suggestions within easy walking distance of the GEC. Most of these places are open from 11 a.m. till after midnight, so they're appropriate before, during, or after the games.

2. Between Sessions gives alternate ideas for things to do within walking distance during the break between the afternoon and evening sessions.

3. Vanderbilt/Music Row gives suggestions for the Vandy/Music Row area, including both the West End/Elliston Place area and the 21st Avenue/Hillsboro Village area.

4. Miscellaneous is a list of assorted suggestions of activities other than eating/drinking as well as restaurants or bars located outside the areas covered.

5. Tournament Brackets/schedule So you don't miss a game! Top Stories