I live in Nashville so I will try to answer some of your questions. Your conference is at the Opryland Hotel. It is away from the city but has lots to do onsite. There are several bars and Opry Mills is a huge outlet mall. The hotel runs shuttles to the Wild Horse Saloon which where CMT started.
It snows maybe 2-3 times during the winter. There are usually more false alarms than actual events. We rarely dip below 10 degrees in the winter, highs in 30-40s. Things start to warm up in late Feb, early March. We have great shopping, lots of live music and not all of it is country, arts etc. Nashville is about 90 minutes from Chattanooga. 3-4 hours from Knoxville and the Smokies, and 4-5 hours to Memphis. Huntsville and Atlanta are also within easy driving distance.
Cost of living varies depending on where you live, some parts of town are pricier others. I live near Vandy, myself. I pay $810 for a 2 B, 2 B apartment. I have a roommate to split costs with.
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