This post has been sponsored by Stay Alfred. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that support GretaHollar.com.
I have a confession to make. As a Nashville Native, I have never been to CMA Fest. Around this time of year, I go into hibernation. I avoid downtown at all costs! This year I decided to check it out and experience it for myself.
My girl Lindsey of The Fashionably Broke Teacher, flew down to join the festivities with me and we had the absolute best time! Today I’m going to share what we’ve learned and how to experience CMA Fest for yourself.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Stay Alfred in the 505 building. This building is half travel apartment, half residential, and was in the best location off Church Street. We could easily go back to the room to rehydrate and rest up. Our room had a kitchen area with a fridge and microwave, sitting area, bedroom, and balcony.
The staff was so friendly and accommodating. Our photographer valet her car with a broken window and the boys at the valet would go and check her car to make sure it was okay!
There was also an amazing pool, tennis court, dog park, gym, and work area. I want to come back to enjoy the pool and hang out!
What to Pack
- Outfits. You’ll see a lot of CMAfesters wearing jean shorts and a crop top. We found that sundresses were the way to go! I also wore my denim skirt a lot with tie front tops. (Bonus, find dresses/rompers with pockets that you don’t have to wear a bra with.)
- Be Careful with What Color You Wear. You’re going to get sweaty and sweat in places you never know you could sweat. Be careful in lighter colors like yellow and grey, they show sweat!
- Footwear. Lindsey was comfortable in her booties, but I mostly wore my Keds (without socks). I know it’s common to wear cowboy boots during CMA Fest. Trust me, they’re uncomfortable and hot!
- Handbag. Nissan Stadium now has a clear bag policy. This means you need to have a bag where they can see everything inside. This makes security go a lot faster which is a huge plus. This past year they even handed out clear drawstring bags to concert goers! In my drawstring bag were a reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, chapstick, portable phone charger, and my CMA Fest pass.
- Hat. I wore my Brixton fedoras all weekend. They weren’t too hot and kept the sun off my face.
Where to Eat
- Frothy Monkey
- Jack’s Barbeque
- Mellow Mushroom
- Blue Coast Burrito
- Oscar’s Tacos
- The Southern
- You can get food in any of the honky-tonks on Broadway. Ole Red and Acme Feed & Seed have great vibes and food.
- There are also food trucks and booths with different food up and down Broadway!
A Few Things To Know
- Carry a reusable water bottle around. There are filling stations to keep you hydrated!
- Don’t drink too much. June in Nashville is a scorcher. Having a beer or alcoholic beverage can make you miserable. Drink all the water you can! When it cools down, enjoy a drink or two.
- Download the CMA fest app. There are 11 different stages that artists perform each day. Most of the concerts are free and last 20 minutes. However, always make note that if you are constantly changing stages it may be hard to catch your favorite singers! I would def use the CMA App which is very helpful in creating a schedule for yourself daily. I looked at this app every day to decide where we were off to next.
Get a CMA Fest pass. This pass will give you an assigned seat at Nissan Stadium for the bigger shows and get you into some of the smaller stages as well.
- Don’t Bring a Big Camera. I didn’t get into the Music City Center for booths and music because our photographer had her two cameras. They said if the lens is removable you can’t bring it in.
- If You Go to a Free Stage, Get There a Half Hour Early. The stages are crowded the way it is, if you get to a stage on time or late, it’s almost impossible to find a seat!
- Take a Shower at the End of the Day. After a long and sweaty day, be sure to shower before bed and get clean!
- Lyft/Uber Dropoffs. Half of Nashville and Broadway is blocked off during CMA Fest. Lyft and Uber are a little tricky. The drivers can’t drop-off/pick-up just anywhere. There are specific spots you have to go. We would want to get a car back to our hotel but by the time we got to the pickup spot, we would be close to our hotel.
And that’s it! You can always follow my CMA Fest highlight on Instagram for all the fun.