Usually, we travel somewhere fun over the Fourth. Though, a couple of times we’ve watched the fireworks here in Franklin, TN. (For the record, they’re usually pretty good.)
But this year, we decided to venture toward downtown Nashville to watch the Fourth of July fireworks display for the first time.
And, we learned a few things….
Luck might just be on your side if you arrive downtown 20-30 minutes before the start of the fireworks — if what we witnessed is any indication. We actually arrived 45 minutes prior to the start of the fireworks, and we paid $10 to get a spot in a downtown parking lot (…the one directly behind the Gaylord Entertainment Center, which in 2007 was renamed the Sommet Center. It 2010, it was renamed Bridgestone Arena).
However, about 10 minutes after we arrived, we noticed the parking lot attendants started counting all their money and packing up their gear. They all pulled out about 20 minutes prior to the fireworks. (My guess is they all scampered to their families who had reserved spots for them to watch the fireworks up close.) As a result, anyone who tried to find a parking spot in these lots from this point on got in FREE… and there were still a few dozen spots available.
This Was A Good Choice For The Following Reasons:
- We had the Nashville icon — the BellSouth building (a.k.a. “the Batman building”) in every photograph we shot. I found this to be a cool effect… clear documentation of where we were on this particular Fourth of July.
- We had a big ‘ol tree to shade us from the sun.
- We had a nice curb to sit on, along with a small patch of lawn under the tree — all to ourselves. We spread out a blanket and relaxed, listening to the radio until the fireworks began. (We also parked our car right next to this tree, so we were able to blast the stereo in the Jeep — with the windows & top down — and listen to the pre-fireworks concerts and the entire fireworks symphony music on the radio.)
Downsides To Watching From Behind The GEC/Arena:
- The BellSouth building was in all of our photos. As cool as this is… for a fewpictures, I would’ve preferred to capture some without the mammoth skyscraper.
- Cars were constantly driving past us on their way in and out of the parking lot, hoping to find a last-minute parking spot.
- Since the fireworks were lower than we had anticipated (due to the fact that the riverfront area is fairly low in a valley, while the GEC is higher up on a hill), the GEC itself, and other nearby buildings blocked our view from anything that happened closer to the ground. I think we missed a good deal of the “spectacular” part of Nashville’s light show because of this.
Our Goal For Next 4th of July
We might try parking somewhere along 8th Avenue (Franklin Road, before the Greyhound bus station) next year. Lots of people were parked there, and we noticed that it would be possible to see the lower lights and colors much better from that location.
Of course, the ideal spot — if you get there early enough to secure a spot — would be somewhere along the pedestrian bridge over the water!
As indicated above, the Gaylord Entertainment Center (GEC) has been renamed the Sommet Center.
This year, AOL’s City Guide ranked it in the top 11, calling it a “most musical boom” in the country.
In fact, it’s the only show in the country that is tied to LIVE music.
The process of setting of 22,000 devices is tightly choreographed. They use about 100 miles of cable, 1-1/2 tons of explosives, and it all takes place in about 23 minutes.
More great info about Nashville’s fireworks here.
The Adventure Science Center sells a limited number of tickets for “the best seat in the house” from which to view Nashville’s fireworks and enjoy the Center’s own 4th of July events. They sell out each year, so reserve yours early!
View Nashville Fireworks From Years Past…
This video shows nearly 10 minutes of Nashville’s fireworks show from the Woodland Street Bridge:
And here’s another 3 minutes showing just the fireworks grand finale:
I love music performed by the Nashville Symphony to coincide with the fireworks booms: