Spread across 16 acres in downtown Nashville, TN, the newly christened Music City Center is an architectural showpiece that invokes the spirit of Music City itself as well as the gentle hills of Tennessee in its avant-garde design. Crafted with 150-foot-tall windows and the hint of a guitar's curves throughout, the convention venue boasts 353,000 square feet of exhibit space as well as two ballrooms, 60 meeting rooms, a $2 million art collection, and several outdoor terraces that offer sweeping views of the city skyline. Its Green roof, which is studded with solar panels, acres of rain gardens, and a massive water-collection system, undulates across the campus much like the Appalachian foothills in the distance.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Nashville has upwards of 37,000 hotel rooms, and many are within walking distance of the MCC. But its hotels rank as the third most expensive in the country, and lodging in downtown goes for a significant premium. The Fairfield Inn & Suites is popular with travelers, though many head to business-class hotels away from the city center for more amenities at similar rates.
WHAT TO EAT
For lunch, nosh from one of the food trucks on the street, or follow the locals two blocks south to Dandgure's Classic Southern Cookin'. Wow clients with an exquisite meal at Kayne Prime, a boutique steakhouse with a long list of awards, or throw a one-of-a-kind private affair at the Country Music Hall of Fame, which has stylish spaces to host from 60 to 1,200 people.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Nashville International Airport is 8 miles from downtown, and taxi service is available for a flat fee of $25. Multiple shuttle carriers are available as well, with one-way transfers for around $14 and round-trip fares for $25 (www.flynashville.com
). Buses provide free transportation in the downtown area Monday through Saturday. The MCC has parking facilities for 1,800 cars.
Tennessee is a right-to-work state, meaning exhibitors are not required to use venue labor unions for certain work.
The MCC has exclusive providers for electrical, telecommunications, catering, and rigging, as well as a preferred provider for audiovisual services.
Exhibitors must use the MCC's providers for all food and beverage needs, including staff meals.
The MCC has a full-service business center, which provides shipping, mailing, faxing, and copying services.
Packing containers, wrapping materials, and display items can't be stored under tables or behind booths and must be placed in storage.
All exhibit-installation workers must be on a daily call list and wear an approved badge that identifies the wearer along with his or her employer.
Double-deck exhibits are considered structures, and exhibitors must obtain building permits from the city as well as follow local building regulations.
Paper used for signs can only be index-card or poster-board stock and cannot be more than 8 square feet in size.