Nashville is filled with delicious southern eats, shopping, entertainment, and tourist attractions. I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants girl when I am on vacation. I like to see where the day takes me and just roll with the punches. I was ready to do Nashville…but where to start?
One thing y’all must know about me is that I am technically born and raised in the Midwest, but have a stronger love for the south than anywhere else in this world. My heart is totally southern- if that’s even a thing. The craziest part about my infatuation with the south is that I don’t get to explore or visit it enough. Seriously- how am I 27 years old and JUST NOW took my first trip to Nashville?! Well, if Nashville isn’t on your bucket list of places to travel, it’s a must to put at the top; if it is already on your bucket list…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!
My hubby and I did a fun birthday celebration in Nashville this past weekend (since we prefer to do a trip instead of presents during our (mostly my) birthday month). We both fell in love with this city because of everything it has to offer. Here are some of our faves:
The Hayes Street Hotel is in a perfect, centralized location that is a $6-$7 Uber ride to nearly anything and everything in Nashville. The room was perfectly-basic (exactly what you need when in Nashville), but very clean and comfy; the staff was welcoming, and lobby was decorated with fun colors and seating. BONUS: fully-stocked bar with “bar-bites” and an outdoor patio!
The best advice I could give anyone that wants to truly enjoy a southern breakfast in Nashville is the cliche saying, “the early bird catches the worm.” If you don’t get to Biscuit Love or The Pancake Pantry early enough, expect to wait in a line that wraps around the restaurant itself. Nashville-locals will tell you that The Pancake Pantry is the breakfast place to try, but tourists will tell you Biscuit Love is the place to go. I highly recommend both for the experience and the happy tummy!
If you visit Nashville and don’t have hot chicken, does it even count as visiting Nashville? I don’t think so. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken gets a lot of hype, and I must say it deserves it! Expect to wait nearly 45 minutes (or longer) for the best hot chicken of your life. I promise you, it’s so worth it! OH! I have a secret- if you don’t want to “dine-in,” you can place your order ahead of time and pick it up to go…but I enjoyed dining in for the full experience.
Whiskey Kitchen is a delicious, casual dinner spot that has a really cool menu, great cocktails (and whiskey according to my hubby), and a really cool layout with a string-light patio. After so much fried chicken, my body was craving some greens, so I got their salmon with green beans and side salad entree that was absolutely incredible! The industrial-rustic decor was super cute and fun. The Southern Steak & Oyster was another favorite of mine. This place is definitely pricier and fancier than anywhere else we went, but we got what we paid for, without a doubt. The oysters were incredible and I think I could have drank a glass of their homemade BBQ sauce they used on the smoked ribs. Seriously, delicious!
If there is one thing that’s obvious in Nashville it’s that there is NOT a shortage of bars, especially on Broadway. The first bar we went to near our hotel was called Whiskey Rhythm. It’s an Ohio State bar on Saturdays and Patriots bar on Sundays (during football season, obviously). It’s not the most inviting place on the outside, but they sure do have great drinks! Another one of my favorites is Acme Feed and Seed. Not only do they have great drinks, the rooftop and several themed floors are decorated with so much history and charm! This is a MUST in Nashville- they have tons of food and an incredible view of the Pedestrian Bridge! Lastly, if you’re a whiskey and/or cocktail fan, you must stop at Whiskey Kitchen (yes, the same one with the amazing food). The bar area is pretty cool and would be a great spot to grab a fancy drink before hitting Broadway and drinking wells the rest of the night (haha!).
The one place we visited more than once on our trip that seemed to book only THE BEST acoustic music was a bar called Benchmark. (Sidenote: I’m basically best friends with the first performer I heard in Nashville, so there’s that.) This place is small and intimate, and seriously a great time! The Valentine is a very well-known and highly recommended bar (probably because its a UGA bar…or because it has really good live music). It’s much larger than Benchmark since it has a few floors, but still each floor is pretty intimate and there’s not a bad seat in the house! Lastly, if you are looking for something different but totally impressive, check out The Big Bang. It’s kind of hidden in between two bars and upstairs, but it has dueling pianos that play by requests. They wowed everyone with their talent to play any and all musical instruments, sing, dance, and even incorporate rap, r&b, country, rock, and pop music. So cool!
My absolute favorite part of this long-weekend trip was my experience at Belle Meade Plantation & Winery. I won’t even go
into detail because it’s better when you experience it yourself, but I will tell you that this experience is a MUST! If you love wine, beautiful scenery, and/or history, there’s no reason not to go (even if you only like one of those, it’s still a must). For some cool shopping, cafes, and little restaurants, you have to check out The Gulch and 12 South. They both have so much to explore. This is mostly outside, so I recommend going on a nice day. For a rainy day, spend some time at Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Around Christmas time it is decked out in gorgeous Christmas decorations and lights. It truly is incredible and a must-see.
To Do List (for next visit)
I loved Nashville so much that I’m already planning my 2nd visit. We had 3 full days to explore and I wish we would have had at least one more day. Next time, I plan on heading to Frothy Monkey coffee shop with live music on 12 South, Hillsboro Village (Vanderbilt college town) for cute boutique shopping, Vanderbilt University for a campus tour and/or football game, The Ryman Theatre for a tour and/or show, Country Music Hall of Fame, East Nashville to check out The Pharmacy burger joint, and a distillery tour of some sort just because.
Who else shares this southern (or simply just a Nashville) obsession with me? I’d love to hear your favorite places to explore so I can add them to my “to-do” list for next time! For more pictures of my trip, click HERE!