by Allen Gillespie, courtesy Memphis Tourism
Published August 06, 2018
The lights and excitement of the big city sometimes overshadow the surrounding suburbs, which too often wear the undeserved labels of sleepy towns and bedroom communities.
But in Tennessee, the suburbs surrounding Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville offer easy airport or interstate access, as well as plenty of dining, shopping, entertainment and meeting venues, usually for less money and, oftentimes, with less hassle.
For example, Nashville is such a hot city on the national stage that some planners may not be able to get the availability they need — or they may not want to be right in downtown. Enter the suburbs.
“They can still come here and get that same, if not better, experience,” said Kathryn York, director of sales for Visit Franklin, Tennessee.
Middle Tennessee Suburbs
Nashville is known around the world as Music City, but its surrounding suburbs are just as musical. The city of Franklin is a straight shot 20 miles south of Nashville on Interstate 65. Franklin’s historic downtown district is hopping with shops, restaurants and live music every night of the week, York said.
“We’re still very much in with the music scene, but we’re more of where the songwriters live,” she said. While big-name artists record and perform their hits in Nashville, “in Franklin, you hear who wrote it.”
The city is home to the annual Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival, which Justin Timberlake headlined last year and this September will feature artists such as Jack White, Dave Matthews and Lionel Richie.
“Having really well-known festivals and events put us on the map as well,” York said.
Franklin’s largest meeting space is the 300-guest-room Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, with 30,000 square feet of meeting space in 23 meeting rooms, including a 13,500-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into 10 separate spaces.
The Ag Expo Park is a 175,000-square-foot event arena with 4,100 fixed seats. The arena can be expanded to hold up to 8,500 people and has an adjoining 4,050-square-foot meeting room that can be split into three.