People are flocking to Nashville, as the recent census shows that Nashville could overtake Memphis as the most populous city in Tennessee. The qualities that are drawing all these new residents to the city- vibrant music, culture and a burgeoning food scene- are also what make Nashville a great place for a company off-site. There is something for everyone here. The friendliness and warmth of the community adds to that appeal.
If you haven’t been in Nashville for a while, the building developments in this city have been vast, with cranes and construction crews strewn across the city. The city is continually being enhanced and new housing developments erected to welcome the influx of people moving to Nashville and surrounding suburbs.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking for the classic resort and convention center for a much larger group events or company off-site, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is your place. Owned by Gaylord Hotels, a division of Ryman Hospitality Properties, and operated by Marriott International, the resort is perfect for those looking for a one stop shop for rooms, dining, and breakaway rooms for group activities. It is the largest non-casino hotel in the US outside of Las Vegas. Other vacationers, concertgoers, bachelor and bachelorette parties will also surround you, but the place is huge, so there is room for everyone. Personally, I prefer some other options as detailed below:
Some great non-hotel event meeting options are both beautiful and historic. Belle Meade Plantation and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Home of the People’s President are great places but are not on the budget side. Because of Nashville and The South’s rich history, if you’re taking your company in from out of town, it’s worth spending more to experience the exquisiteness and history of these historic places.
I can never bring up Nashville without bringing up Pinewood Social. Not only are the food, drinks and service superb, this trendy meeting ground is a one-stop shop for any of your needs. You could meet a friend for coffee, a business associate for lunch, grab an artisanal cocktail, like the “Unconflicted Behavior” (Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Afrohead 7-Year Rum, Creme De Banane, Vanilla) or get a group together for a bowling session.
For off-site purposes, your team could rent out the retro-styled bowling alley in the back for your group activity and stay late for a night cap.
Also with the abundance of musical talent in Nashville, why not get your group to catch a show? This is a wonderful resource created by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to do research on what shows, concerts and experiences are coming up.
Broadway is the touristy part of Nashville where a lot of the bars and honky-tonks are. While I’m never one to suggest a tourist-heavy location for corporate outings, you may want to spend some time on this street, since this major thoroughfare is such a popular and historic entertainment district.
Depending on the days that you’re doing your off-site, The Sutler Saloon has free live music at their venue almost every day of the week and some great options for private events.
Where To Host the Meetings and Activities
Nashville boasts a number of unique venues. Some of my favorite options are City Winery, The Loveless Barn, Marathon Village, and ONE at the Cannery Ballroom. The City Winery is a chain, but a popular one, and what is better to get people talking than with a few glasses of wine in them?
The Escape Games have become very popular in many cities and Nashville is included in that. The Nashville Escape Game consists of a number of themes, including Prison Break, The Heist, Mission:Mars and Gold Rush, and the goal is to “escape” the room through group problem solving clues that unlock more clues. No matter what city you’re in, these games are sure to bond your group and get them thinking critically together as a team.
Lastly you can enlist the help of Ultimate Event Nashville, if you want help organizing a team building experience revolving around writing, recording and performing original music with Nashville pros.
Remember that the whole point of an off-site is to bond with the team so that it can be the most effective when it gets back to work.
For the Foodies
Nashville’s food scene is booming and it doesn’t just feature southern food. If your group is filled with foodies, organize a group dinner at some of these hot spots.
- 404 Kitchen: Located in The Gulch and housed in a former shipping container, 404 features farm-to-table New American fare, like Rabbit Man Farm’s Rabbit with braised greens and ricotta gnudi and Peach and Pork Ragout. Be prepared to buy out the intimate restaurant if you have a larger group with you.
- Rolf & Daughters: With the words “Small, Fun, Focused, Seasonal” splashed across their website, the dishes are increasingly inventive and shareable. Some standouts include the Crostini, chicken liver, rhubarb, celery and bitter almond dish, as well as the Hakurei turnip, date, almond, rye and dandelion. And you can forget to get a few of their clever cocktails either.
- Husk: And now for some delicious Southern dishes. Housed in a historic mansion, diners enjoy food that has been prepared on a ember-fired grill, and decadent smell of that permeates through the entire space. Husk also features a separate private dining area called The Stables which can be rented out for your group dinner.
- Loveless Cafe: A popular tourist spot that is farther out from the heart of the city, this haunt is known for their delicious biscuits and southern brunch cuisine.
Other Great Locations
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame has an affordable rental fee rate, and are very easy to work with. This could be a great location for the activities portion.
You can take your group on a short excursion outside of Nashville proper too and visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. With a brand and beverage so universally known, your group can experience a tour and tasting at the historic distillery.
Hopefully you choose Nashville for your next company off-site, as your team building experience would be filled with delicious food, music and the soul of the city.