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Nashville may be the face, heart, and soul of the country music industry, but it hasn’t let the rhinestones go to its head. This is still Music City, of course, but there’s something for everyone here—from country to bluegrass to alt rock to punkabilly, from the biggest names in the biz performing the famed Grand Ole Opry to the no-name area musicians who’ll rock your world for the cost of a beer (a local Yazoo, we hope). It’s where tourists and locals and Hollywood starlets may very well wind up on the same dance floor (true story!), and no one really cares: It’s only natural here that great music is so readily available and enjoyed by all. So it goes with the city’s food: Getting down and dirty with the legendarily fiery hot chicken at Prince’s, you might rub elbows with an internationally famous chef passing through, while at some of the more refined restaurants in town, you can dine on locally, thoughtfully sourced dishes for a fraction of what you’d pay in a bigger city. Perhaps Nashville’s family-style Southern-food joints demonstrate this down-to-earth accessibility best: No matter who you are, you sit with strangers, you eat with strangers—and you pass the fried chicken to your left.
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