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MEM, BNA Or?  
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2226 times:
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Hi everyone

Hoping to get some advice here. A mate and I are heading over to the US in October (my first time there). We're heading to LA, Seattle, NYC and we want to go somewhere in the South.

So far it's between Memphis & Nashville. Flights to/from BNA seem to be cheaper than MEM, but I think Memphis has more to offer from what I can gather (although Nashville is close to the JD distillery!)

Any suggestions, preferences, fave places anyone can recommend? We want to visit somewhere in the TN/MS/LA/AL/GA area for about 3 days that's relatively inexpensive to get to and has plenty to offer tourists. Must have soul food & iced tea.

Thanks in advance.

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 680 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2198 times:
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I'd select BNA over MEM. Good food, entertainment (home of Country Music) options in addition to being a moderate sized city that will offer you unique neighborhoods, city parks (including a full-size replica of the Parthenon) a large lake reservoir area and lots of good ole Southern food (order sweet tea). Definitely order up some deep-fried Catfish filets, cheese grits and hush puppies. No doubt MEM offers great food (Rendezous Bar-B-Que) and Beale Street for music entertainment, I still feel BNA will give you a bit more tourist/visit options than MEM.
So that kind of covers TN for a 3 day visit.
MS, LA and AL are all lumped near each other but still some distance to cover in just 3 days. Maybe consider starting out in New Orleans and visit the Gulf Coast areas of MS and AL. You will likely find New Orleans to be more expensive than your BNA options. New Orleans (MSY) is a great destination in its own right so you'll not want to leave New Orleans with just 3 days so you can explore this city renowned for history and incredible food.
GA of course would have to include ATL and nearby mountains and coastal areas are somewhat doable in 3 days, but ATL again (like MSY) offers a lot to do in a big city environment. Varied neighborhoods, and world class dining from grits to French cuisine at your choosing. Obviously ATL airline service will provide you many flight options for convenience to/from the West Coast and on to New York.
In all these areas you will find friendly people willing to make your trip helpful and memorable, and you will come away with a distinct feeling of Southern hospitality and the lifestyle.
Thomas
P.S. I'm trading places with you. I am headed to Australia and New Zealand next month for 2 weeks and I am considering a day trip to BNE from SYD.



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2191 times:

Are you planning to rent a car in your destination? If not, ATL would be an easier destination than BNA or MEM since ATL has a basic subway system. Unlike in some areas of the U.S., taxi cabs are not very easy to find (aside from at airports) in the South.

User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2177 times:

Memphis surely has the advantage of having Graceland, if you are into Elvis. And the riverfront can be nice.
But as PI4EVER pointed out, Nashville has quite some options to offer.

If you have a car at hand, consider to make a daytrip on Natchez Trace Parkway. But to really see the gradual change in landscape, one should, at least, drive as far as Tupelo, MS. But this is quite some distance for a daytrip.

All in all, Tennessee warrants a trip of its own with Memphis, Nashivlle, Chattanooga being places to stay & explore before heading into the mountains.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
October (my first time there). We're heading to LA, Seattle, NYC and we want to go somewhere in the South.

October is still hurricane season. In case this is an important factor for you, you might want to stay away from the south coast. In Memphis or Nashville you should be pretty sure, although airtravel still may be affected.
Outside this season, New Orleans will be a good option. But, again, there are many more points to visit along the coast, warranting to make it a trip of its own.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineteaminthesky From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 535 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2165 times:

Both are strong choices. As for the cities themselves, Nashville will easily give you more of a complete three day trip.

Memphis however is fun for a day to a day and a half. There is great BBQ (even though dry rub is not my favorite). There is also some great entertainment that rolls through (not as heavy in the country category as Nashville). Memphis also offers quick trips to the casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, and a true taste of the deep south in Oxford, Mississippi.

Oxford is one of the great college towns with plenty of amazing restaurants (City Grocery and 208). The town is still formed around the Square and has several boutique shops.

So if you want a place where you can stay in one place for three days, Nashville is the better stop. If you want to be able to make trips into more "deep south" areas, Memphis is the better option IMO.



Since 2010: DL, KL, AF, WX, IG, FR , FL, U2, AK, BA, OK, UX, VS, VN, K6
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2160 times:
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Thanks everyone, heaps of great ideas there. We weren't planning on doing the whole South in 3 days, just wanted to pick 1 area that would offer us the best experience to spend our time in. Sounds like Nashville is a winner!

I have a friend who lives in Knoxville so was trying to find somewhere that wasn't too far away as we're going to catch up. I had thought of Nashville before Memphis so that's fine with me! I did like the idea that within an hour from Memphis I could have been in 3 different states (just to say so), and to see the Mississippi River would probably be awesome, but we like Jack Daniels more than Elvis, so Nashville works out great!

Also WN and F9 fly to BNA, so the airfares are cheaper than MEM. Our itinerary is looking like BNE-LAX-SEA-BNA-NYC/JFK-LAX-BNE.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 1):
P.S. I'm trading places with you. I am headed to Australia and New Zealand next month for 2 weeks and I am considering a day trip to BNE from SYD.

Definitely consider a day trip up to Brisbane! A lot of people from overseas will go to Sydney and just stay in that area, but there is so much more to Australia than just Sydney. The weather is starting to get a bit cooler too, so probably from Brisbane south you'll feel it!


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 680 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2145 times:
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I would recommend WN for service from SEA to BNA as they do offer a nonstop service.....about a 4 hour flight at $199USD plus tax per person. Buy the "Early Bird" boarding pass option for $10 per person/per flight to insure you get an "A" boarding assignment to get a better shot at your choice of seats.
Plan to rent (hire) a car for your visit to BNA. Nashville-to-Knoxville is a 5 hour drive on Interstate Highway 40 unless your contact will meet you half way (say in Crossville TN) or just drive to BNA to meet up with you.
BNA has a wide choice of hotel accomodations and with convenient access to the highway system in the city you can be to various locales and attractions in 30 minutes or less. I lived in BNA for 10 years, so please feel free to PM me for any further info or suggestions on the area you might need. I'll be happy to assist you.
Welcome to the US and I hope you enjoy your trip.
Thomas
P.S. If time permits, try to schedule a day trip from SEA to Victoria, BC. Victoria is easy to reach from SEA by high speed ferry (Victoria Clipper) for a great walk around day trip.
P.S.#2. On my trip, I am in SYD for 6 nights, on to AKL for 5 nights and back to SYD for 2 before flight back to LAX. I plan on a trip to the Blue Mountains, Canberra and if I can fit it in, the trip to BNE in addition to all that SYD offers for a first-time visit.



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2126 times:
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Hi Thomas, thanks heaps for all your info.

I have been researching flights and we really want to give WN a try, but we'll probably take a flight via DEN or MDW. The prices seem to be pretty reasonable, and with the Aussie $ the way it is, it's actually cheaper for us for once!

We're happy to get a car for a day or two if needed, but public transport is fine for us. One day we'll be going to Lynchburg to visit JD so that'll be a no driving day for sure.

We had planned on getting a train from Seattle to Vancouver and staying overnight. Do you think Victoria would be better? We were also going to hire a car so we could do our own spotting tour of SEA, PAE and BFI.

Your Australian trip sounds great, 8 days in Sydney is a lot though, but if you haven't been there before you will probably find things to keep you busy. Auckland for 5 nights is also a fair amount but there are lots of opportunities for day trips around Auckland, I'd suggest a day trip to Wellington too. Only an hours flight and cheap fares. What are you planning on doing in Canberra? I'm guessing you'll be there for a day only? As much as I love Brisbane, I mean I've lived here for most of my life and it's just awesome as a hometown, I'd say you should visit Melbourne. If I didn't live here I'd live there. It's such a wonderful city. Great food, culture, bars, shopping, everything just looks picture perfect and you could go to an AFL game.


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 680 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2113 times:
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Vancouver is also one of my favorite cities and the train is a scenic alternative to flying or driving a car. Beautiful city on the water and near the mountains. Keep in mind you could easily include Victoria to or from the trip to Vancouver. Early morning on the ferry to Victoria, walk around and tour to the afternoon, then the bus and ferry option using B.C.Ferries to get to Vancouver....allow about 3.5 hours. Consider also the floatplane option to fly one-way but ttickets to fly price at about $150+CAD. Return to SEA on the train or do this trip in reverse but you'll likely need 2 nights to accomplish all this instead of just 1 night in Vancouver with the roundtrip train. Victoria is Canada's equivalent to London and is a beautiful city on the water. If you go, eat Fish and Chips at the Black Fin restaurant at the floatplane docks. Vancouver is of course famous for Stanley Park, Chinatown and offers diverse attractions, bars and restaurants and lots of things to see and do in a big city.
Now back to Nashville. The Jack Daniels Distillery is 65 miles from BNA and Gray Line Tours offers a day bus tour from April through October. Reasonable cost and no driving worries if you do any tasting. Lynchburg is a small town with a laid back country feel with good restaurants so you can enjoy some of that authentic Southern cooking, with glasses of cold "sweet tea" to wash it all down. A fun day to get out of the city and enjoy seeing some of the countryside.
Keep me posted as your plans develop and I'll offer tips or help as you need it.
Thomas
P.S. I will definitely look into the MEL option and Canberra was recommended because of Parliament and the Australian National Musuem....kind of like visiting Washington, DC here in the US.



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7545 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2104 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
JD distillery!)

Just so you know Jack Daniels plant is in a dry county and so you can't drink or buy anything from them.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23021 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2094 times:

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 6):
Nashville-to-Knoxville is a 5 hour drive on Interstate Highway 40 unless your contact will meet you half way (say in Crossville TN) or just drive to BNA to meet up with you.

More like 3. It's 190 miles.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 7):
We're happy to get a car for a day or two if needed, but public transport is fine for us.

Public transport is fine in downtown Nashville, but if you want to do anything at all outside of downtown, you need a car.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently onlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2090 times:

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 9):
Just so you know Jack Daniels plant is in a dry county and so you can't drink or buy anything from them.

oh, you can drink it. The distillery offers "souvenier" bottles at the gift shop, which you can buy and drink. The local shops however, do not sell alcohol.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 680 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2087 times:
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Cubsrule,reply=10]More like 3. It's 190 miles.[/quote]

You're right. Oops. I was thinking of the drive from BNA to AVL.



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 2059 times:

I would echo the suggestion of going to ATL instead of BNA or MEM. ATL has way more to do than BNA or MEM (based upon my experience much of Memphis outside Beale St/Graceland/Civil Rights Museum is a crime-ridden, blighted hellhole, Nashville is OK) and ATL to TYS is only a 3.5 hour drive.

User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2052 times:
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Thanks PI4EVER and everyone else for your tips and suggestions. I think Nashville is where we're going to go from what you all are saying. I only know of 1 person that has been there before (and she's a country music singer) so it'll be somewhere unique and different and by the sounds of it there's plenty to keep us occupied for a couple of days.

I checked out Gray Line and they do JD tours, city tours and a showboat cruise which, while being very touristy, sound quite good. Only being there for 3-4 days we want to maximise our time so touristy stuff is ok with us!

I had considered ATL however besides Coca Cola and probably the Olympic park, I don't know of anything to do there. And WN don't fly to ATL so it's kinda out for my mate and I.

Hopefully my friend can make it over from Knoxville, otherwise we might hire a car and meet somewhere. Does anyone know if College Football will be on in October? My friend said that college is probably better to see than NFL, and he's UT alumni so it'd be awesome to see a game if possible!

Regarding Seattle, we're happy to do an overnight trip to Vancouver on the train, although we could hire a car. But neither my mate or I have ever driven on the 'wrong' side of the road before.

Must say even though its a few months away I'm getting very excited! Really looking forward to the flights too, VA/VX/WN/DL will be our airlines. Can't wait!


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23021 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 14):
Does anyone know if College Football will be on in October?

Yes. During October, Vanderbilt has home games (in Nashville) on the 15th, 22nd and 29th and Tennessee has home games on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2026 times:
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Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 15):
Yes. During October, Vanderbilt has home games (in Nashville) on the 15th, 22nd and 29th and Tennessee has home games on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th.

Shut the front door. We could be there on the 8th or 15th! UT is based in Knoxville if I remember correctly. We're gonna have to go to a Tennessee game! I so wanna tailgate.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23021 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 16):
UT is based in Knoxville if I remember correctly

Yes indeed. I'd recommend the game on the 8th for a better rivalry, but it'll be a harder ticket.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2008 times:
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Either will be good to see for my mate and I. I have probably collectively seen about 5-10 minutes of American football in my whole life so it will be an experience for sure. I'll make sure I get myself a Tennessee Vols shirt & cap though!

User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1993 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 18):
I'll make sure I get myself a Tennessee Vols shirt & cap though!

Make sure you learn the words to Rocky Top as well.


User currently offlineteaminthesky From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 535 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1973 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 18):
I'll make sure I get myself a Tennessee Vols shirt & cap though!

I wouldn't waste my hard earned aussie dollar on that tacky orange crap! LOL kidding vol fans!



Since 2010: DL, KL, AF, WX, IG, FR , FL, U2, AK, BA, OK, UX, VS, VN, K6
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1950 times:
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Well if the dollar stayes at AUD$1=USD$1.07, it'll be a bargain!

User currently offlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1943 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 18):
I have probably collectively seen about 5-10 minutes of American football in my whole life

Wow. You have far more football watching experience than my wife (a lifelong American). On a more serious note, a warning - once you are exposed to our football, the rest of the world's football (soccer) will seem quite boring by comparison.


User currently offlinepwm2txlhopper From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1932 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
Any suggestions, preferences, fave places anyone can recommend? We want to visit somewhere in the TN/MS/LA/AL/GA area for about 3 days that's relatively inexpensive to get to and has plenty to offer tourists. Must have soul food & iced tea.

Thanks in advance.

I think it's good that you want to go to the south, because most international visitors only go to the big cities on the two coasts.


I'd recommend flying to MEM, then renting a car and driving south through Mississippi to MSY, and then spending a few days there. New Orleans is great fun, with a lot of jazz and cajun culture history, Memphis is smaller, but also has it's own roots in blues history.... As well as offering great BBQ! Then, of course there''s Elvis and the massive Fedex hub at MEM (for the airline buff. Although I wouldn't recommend spotting around MEM late at night) There is also a large casino resort just south of Memphis at Tunica, Mississippi. And a whole strip of them on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at Biloxi. Gulf coast MS is actually the third most popular gambling destination in the USA after Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

The drive from MEM to MSY is about six hours, and will take your through the heart of the deep south's Mississippi delta. As well as through the swamps and bayous. A lot of the famous blues musicians were raised here, and there's a blues museum, too. You'll also get a look a lot of smaller, rural southern towns most foreigners never see. Let alone a fair amount of Americans.

Amtrak's daily Chicago to New Orleans train stops in Memphis, and continues south to New Orleans, stopping in small Mississippi towns along the way. It would probably be cheaper and easier then driving the route? It is good if you're a tourist and just want to sit back and take in the scenery of the rural swampy deep south.

For cheap flights I'd look at Air Tran to MEM, MSY, or GPT. Air Tran even flies to Tunica, MS from ATL now. Kind of an odd route, being so close to MEM. But I guess it's for the casino's there?


Keep in mind that both Memphis and New Orleans are rated the most violent cities in America every year. They're a hell of a lot smaller than the likes of NYC or L.A., but a lot more dangerous. I go to MEM fairly often, and I feel lot more safety conscious there than when I'm somewhere like New York! You should be ok in well lit tourist areas with a lot of people, but you still need to be cautious about where you go. Especially at nigh! Even going two blocks off Beale street late at night could find you trouble. Locals in Memphis like to joke that you need to get your gas early, because it's not safe to stop at the gas station late at night. People get gunned down and car jacked in Memphis on a regular basis. New Orleans is pretty violent as well, but if you stay in the tourist areas and don't venture uptown, or east or west into the residential areas, you should be o.k.?

[Edited 2011-04-21 19:04:29]

[Edited 2011-04-21 19:06:47]

User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1908 times:
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Hi pwm2txlhopper, and thanks for that terrifying suggestion lol. I think we'll end up going to Nashville. We're happy with that and can fly LAX-BNA on WN non-stop and it's easy to get to NYC from there too.

I had no idea Memphis or New Orleans were so dangerous. I'm usually careful and try to keep safe, and I'm a big guy so if I just look mean or like I know what I'm doing I figure people will leave me alone. However I haven't been to a country yet with so many guns, or people, so to hear that if you take a wrong turn or go somewhere at night and could get killed is pretty confronting. And the fact that you said I should be ok, with a question mark, is not giving me happy thoughts...

But I do know a few people who have been to the US (including 1 who's been to Nashville) and they have all come back home alive. So I think the odds are in my favour!

When we start planning accomodation I'll have to get some insider tips too. We don't want to be in a dodgy part of town or an even dodgier hotel.


25 Cubsrule : It would take significant effort to get to a part of Nashville or New Orleans that is that dangerous. The difference between those cities and Memphis
26 BNEFlyer : Ok, thank you Cubsrule. That's really good to know. I like to go on a bit of a wander sometimes when I go away, and if I went to Memphis I'd hate to
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