CMA Fest is my favorite week of the year. After attending seven CMA Fests, I consider myself an expert on the subject.
I have compiled a list of CMA Fest Hacks to prepare you for the week’s festivities. Whether you will be attending CMA Fest for the first time this year or you are a pro, I hope that these CMA Fest Hacks help you get the most out of your trip to Nashville, Tennessee.
CMA Fest Hacks
Download the Official CMA Fest app
The app contains all of the concert lineups, a map of all CMA Fest locations, and schedule of events at Fan Fair X. The app also sends festival updates straight to your phone, so you will know of any changes that have been made.
Sit to the left of the Chevy Riverfront Stage
People like to walk into the Riverfront and watch from there as if there is nowhere else to go. Keep walking all the way to the end and go down the last staircase. Typically, you will be able to find a spot here, and it is close to the exit. There are some stairs that I like to sit on because they are close to the bathrooms and you can walk up to the stage to get pictures and not have to fight the crowd to get back to your seat.
Buy a Nissan Stadium parking pass
If you have tickets to the nightly concerts, the parking pass is so worth it.
Park at the Music City Center during the day
With a fee of $25, it is cheaper than most other Downtown lots and it is right in the middle of the action.
Carry a refillable water bottle
There are water stations throughout Downtown where you can fill it up.
Use Xfinity Fan Fair X as home base
Xfinity Fan Fair X takes place inside of the Music City Center, and I love it! Not only is Xfinity Fan Fair X air-conditioned, but they have nice bathrooms, outlets to charge your phone, and you can sit down and take a break. Use this as your meeting spot so that you can recharge throughout the day.
Bring a towel/blanket to sit on at the Riverfront
This way you can claim a spot and sit down in-between acts. We bought one of those blankets that fold into a bag and love it because it has a handle that we can use to tote it around the rest of the day.
Follow CMA on all social media channels
This is the best way to keep up with what is going on at the festival. Plus, they make special announcements and have lots of giveaways (especially on IG stories and Snapchat).
Arrive in Nashville early
CMA Fest unofficially kicks off on Wednesday with the CMT Awards. It usually has a live performance or two on Broadway.
Wear tennis shoes and bring flip flops
If you will be at the Amphitheater, Riverfront, or Xfinity Fan Fair X, bring flip flops. Your feet will not hurt from walking and you will be a little cooler.
Check out Airbnb
My husband and I have stayed at an Airbnb property during CMA Fest the past three years and we love it. It is cheaper than a hotel plus you have a lot more space than you would in a hotel room.
Look into restaurants that are near Broadway, but not on
There are lots of great restaurants surrounding Broadway that are cheaper and less crowded.
Use Lyft to get around
Taking a Lyft Downtown is cheaper than paying for parking, plus you can get dropped off close to where you are going. Payment is processed through their app to your credit card so you do not need to carry around cash.
Nashville has other fun areas for nightlife
Although the bars on Broadway are fun, the massive crowds can be a lot to deal with. Opt to check out other bars in Nashville on both the East and West End (Winners and Losers, the original Tin Roof, 3 Crow Bar).
Enjoy CMA Fest
I hope that these CMA Fest Hacks help to make your trip more enjoyable. If you have any additional hacks, please share them with us!
Have you booked your hotel in Nashville yet?
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Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.
Check out some of our other CMA Fest posts:
CMA Fest 2015
2017 CMA Playlist
CMA Fest 2016