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Planning an Event in Nashville? Take a Tip from This Event Pro on Where to Host

Here, Leah Taylor, vice president of production for LEO Events, offers up her go-to event venues around the city for different occasions—even if you’re just passing through and jonesing for a bite to eat.

The Bridge Building, Nashville
The Bridge Building
Photo: Courtesy of The Bridge Building

Leah Taylor is the vice president of production for LEO Events in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she produces programs ranging from consumer events and launch meetings to sales and marketing events, trade shows, and more. Over her 20 years of experience, she’s worked with clients such as Walmart, ExxonMobil, and Sherwin-Williams, as well as on events like the KAABOO Music and Lifestyle Festival, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, and the NBA All-Star Weekend. 

Leah Taylor, LEO Events, ChattanoogaLeah TaylorPhoto: Courtesy of LEO EventsTo Host an Intimate Meeting 
"Hosting a more intimate event, you cannot go wrong with Ruby located in midtown. This small, blank canvas provides a wonderful palette to create your own vision. For a larger reception-style event, The Bridge Building offers sweeping views of the downtown Nashville skyline. This historic landmark is located along the north side of the Cumberland River and provides a premier event experience."

To Host a Large Event or Trade Show
"Two of my favorites are located in the heart of downtown Nashville. The CMA Theater lives within the Country Music Hall of Fame and offers audiences superior sound and viewing experiences. This event space has a modern feel while keeping the warmth of true Southern hospitality. Just up the road is the Ryman Auditorium, which is one of the most iconic structures in Tennessee—and the United States. Known for its acoustic warmth and antique charm, this venue provides a special experience for all."

CMA Theater, NashvilleCMA TheaterPhoto: Erin Allender for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

To Get Inspired
"Nothing beats getting outside for inspiration. Nashville has such natural beauty; I love to head over to Radnor Lake & State Park for some nature hiking, or pop into Cheekwood Estate & Gardens—especially during tulip season. The other inspiration that feeds my soul is live theater. While living in New York City, I spent many weekends just bouncing from one show to another. This is something I still try to do in any city or a foreign country I find myself."

To Hear Live Music
"You can’t go wrong with The Basement EastThe Blue Room, or Ascend Amphitheater."

To Entertain a Client or Out-of-Towners 
"Street art is alive and well in Nashville. With over 75 murals, taking a mural tour is always a great adventure for guests. There are plenty of local breweries to visit, and who wouldn’t want to take a Southern Belle Biscuit Company cooking class! These experiences would not be complete without some live music."

To Eat Dinner 
"On the road, I love to find local favorites, but when in Nashville, my go-to spots are Urban GrubThe Standard at the Smith HouseThe Yellow Porch, or grabbing Southern staples at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. You could try a new spot every day and never run out of new places to eat."

The Standard at the Smith House, NashvilleThe Standard at the Smith HousePhoto: Courtesy of The Standard at the Smith House

A version of this story appeared in the fall 2020 issue of BizBash.

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