Call it a rematch. The University of Iowa football program heads to the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Iowa faces the Kentucky Wildcats in a rematch of last season’s Citrus Bowl that Kentucky won in the final minutes. The game between the 7-5 Hawkeyes and 7-5 Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference takes place on New Year’s Eve at 11 am CT at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. ABC will television the game.
For Hawkeye fans interested in traveling to Nashville to watch the game in person, here’s everything you need to know.
more:Iowa football heading to Music City Bowl, where the Hawkeyes’ 2020 game was canceled by COVID
On ticketmaster.com, Music City Bowl tickets range from $25 to $139 based on seat location. A few sections are sold out.
How do I get to Nashville?
Airlines flying into the Des Moines International Airport unfortunately do not offer direct flights to Nashville. American Airlines, Delta, United and Southwest all offer connecting flights. According to Google Flights, a nearly four-hour flight with a connection that leaves on Friday, Dec. 30, and returns Sunday, Jan. 1, would cost close to $530.
Des Moines road trippers can hit the road for a 10-hour drive southeast across Iowa and through Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky to Tennessee. According to the AAA gas calculator, a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon can expect to spend about $164 roundtrip for the nearly 1,400 miles between Des Moines and Nashville.
more:How to watch Iowa football vs. Kentucky in the Music City Bowl
Nashville has a range of hotels, and depending on how close to the stadium you want to stay, a price to match the convenience. Hotels near Nissan Stadium include the Conrad Nashville, Studio 154, Dream Nashville and Hyatt Centric in downtown Nashville, while a Comfort Inn and La Quinta are less than a quarter mile from the stadium.
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Where to eat and drink in Nashville
Nashville can go toe-to-toe with any excellent dining city in the country. The Tennessean has it’s own list of essential restaurants that includes Audrey and June from chef Sean Brock with tasting menus that explore Southern flavors (try his burger restaurant Joyland for chicken and biscuits at a lower price point), chef Philip Krajeck’s Folk with pizzas and seasonal dishes, or The Catbird Seat, which the Tennessean calls “an extraordinary three-hour culinary adventure.” Go for the real deal Nashville hot chicken at Hattie B’s.
Listen to just about every type of music imaginable in Nashville as well. Head to the Springwater Supper Club & Lounge, one of the oldest bars in Nashville, for a honky tonk with pool and beer. At Attaboy Nashville, just tell your server your mood and the bartender will conjure up a drink. Check out the Tennessean’s list of good cocktail bars as well.
What else is there to do?
If you bring the kids, head to SoundWaves, an upscale indoor-outdoor water attraction at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Here find more than four acres of slides, a wave pool, FlowRider wave simulator, rapid and lazy rivers, an adults-only area, and more open year rounds.
For the history buff, go to The Hermitage, the home of America’s seventh president Andrew Jackson. The attraction sits on more than 1,000 acres and includes a mansion, gardens and grounds, and the Jackson family tomb.
The shopping buff will enjoy Fifth + Broadway, where they can check out the 55,000-square-foot National Museum of African American Music as well.
Head to the “Smithsonian of country music” aka The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for 350,000 square feet of artifacts, two performance theaters, and rotating special exhibitions. Stroll through “Sing Me Back Home” for a history lesson on country music.
Have you really been to Nashville if you don’t go to the historic Grand Ole Opry? See music stars of past, present, and future or take a backstage tour for a glimpse inside the Opry’s 18-themed dressing rooms.