A country music enthusiast’s dream and a transplant’s favorite place to land, Nashville, TN is easily one of the most talked about cities in the country. From honky tonk’s to the hippest of restaurants, Nashville is the perfect collaboration of city meets country. Many will describe the city in a way of “enough room to move with a big city feel.” Furthermore, if you ask a local to describe Nashville in one word they’ll respond “booming and thriving,” and that’s the truth. Filled with live music on any given night and unique events and bars that bring life to the pretty little city, Nashville is a must visit on your bucket list.
As a former Nashvillian for 3 years, I pretty much experienced all of the exciting things the city holds, drank all of the cutest cocktails, and brunched at best. There is quite nothing like a Sunday Funday starting in Midtown and venturing out to Broadway. And yes, locals do hit Broadway occasionally. But this is a relatively new thing. In the past, you would rarely find a local on lower broad, but because of the rise of country music stars collaborating and turning old venues into new bars, we’ve seen an increase of Nashvillians hitting Broadway. It’s fun, it’s fresh, it brings a whole new aspect to the city and locals love it. On the other hand, what they don’t necessarily love is the influx of Bachelorette parties partying their way down the strip.
Bachelorette parties. That’s a whole other topic to discuss. If you are visiting Nashville on any given weekend, expect to see a plethora of “bride tribes” walking the streets in cowboy boots, veils, and matching shirts. You’ll catch them on Pedal Taverns, a moving bar operated by a bartender/driver and your own foot pedaling. You’ll also catch them in 12 South at the “I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE” mural painted on the side of a store wall. Last but not least, you’ll see hundreds of Bachelorette parties roaming Broadway hitting all of the hottest tourism spots- Honky Tonk Central, Rippy’s, Legends, Acme, etc.
With a record-breaking 14.5 million visitors in 2017, it’s easy to say that it’s not just Bachelorette and Bachelor parties that are visiting the city. With the popularity of ABC’s now CMT’s hit show Nashville- many are coming to visit the spots that this show has essentially shed light on. We’ve all heard of The Opry and Bluebird Café but there are many other places and café’s on the East side that is becoming just as popular in itself. But above all else, people are always going to come to Nashville to be immersed in the country music scene. It truly is like no other place on earth because of its hospitality, southern charm, availability to witness the newest and hottest up and comer singing at a local bar.
Below you will find my tips and tricks, must visit spots, and all-time favorite experiences!
TIPS & TRICKS
Don’t bring your cowboy boots. In contrary to what people may think, wearing cowboy boots in Nashville is the biggest indicator that you’re a tourist. Now don’t get me wrong- plenty of people do. But, if you want to fit in like a local and quite honestly be comfortable for your entire trip- just leave them at home!
If you’re heading downtown, Uber! Parking, as it is in any city, is a nightmare and costlier than just taking a quick uber ride to and from. In Nashville, you can get anywhere in just about 10 minutes so your uber ride definitely won’t break the bank. After all, if you’re heading downtown most likely you’ll be a having a drink or two. Stay safe, save money, and have fun!
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll love the passionate atmosphere of supporting Nashville professional teams Visit during the fall and catch a Preds game on a Saturday night and hit up a Titans game on Sunday. Chances are, you’ll find really great seats for cheap last minute. Because Bridgestone arena is right off Broadway, the best way to do it is Uber downtown, have a drink at a local bar, and then hit the game right after a couple brewskis. Oh, and to top it all off- if you’re visiting around October or November, you’ll miss the “summer crowd” of people coming to visit on vacation. It’s a win-win.
RESTAURANTS TO VISIT:
I don’t know already, Nashville is famous for its “hot chicken.” Hot chicken can be described as a combination of Buffalo chicken meets spice meets absolutely amazing. Pro tip: hundreds will wait in line outside of Hattie B’s, just to place their order. Skip the line and hassle and save yourself some time by ordering online and going to pick it up. You’ll be much more satisfied that way.
If you’re a burger lover, you’ve met your match. This place is spectacular and definitely lives up to the hype. Go a little early for lunch or a little early for dinner and miss the rush. If it’s nice outside, you can sit in the back courtyard and feel the breeze. This spot is a win overall and offers a variety of craft beers.
5th and Taylor
I am a little biased because I worked here for a bit when I first moved to Nashville and fell in love with the staff, food, and culture of this place. Offering some of the best craft cocktails and southern cuisine with a spin, this place is a must visit if you’re looking for a nice sit-down meal. Make sure to make a reservation, especially on the weekend! This place books up fast! (Trust me, I know) Get the biscuits as an appetizer and the pot roast is to die for.
If you’re a barbeque fan, you’ll love Edley’s. They have one location in East Nashville and another in 12th South- this restaurant is a go-to for a quick lunch or fast dinner. Don’t get me wrong, you can linger around the bar during their two for one Bushwacker special and leave feeling happy, full, and maybe a bit tipsy.
A sushi lover’s dream. Virago, located in The Gulch serves quality sushi that you can trust and love. After heading to Virago you won’t want to go anywhere else for sushi in the city. A vibey atmosphere with an awesome upstairs that overlooks some of the city, head to Virago for a great night out with friends, birthday party, or a romantic date.
BARS TO DRINK AT:
I should start out by saying, you might drop a pretty penny here, but the views and craft cocktails are worth it. If you’re looking for Brett Eldridge’s local hangout spot, you’ve found it. La Jackson, the rooftop bar on the top floor of the trendy Thompson Hotel, is a perfect way to start the evening before hitting other bars around town.
Whiskey Row, FGL House, Aldean’s
All three new bars with the same concept are places on Broadway that you will find locals. Each of these bars with different level atmosphere makes for the most fun night on the town. These places are spots you’ll hit up around 10 pm when the night starts to come alive. At Whiskey Row, check out the “Club Level” floor on the second floor. And at Aldean’s and FGL House, head straight to the top for the rooftop bar. You won’t regret it!
If you’re looking for a spot to Sunday Funday, you’ve found it! This place is right in the heart of Midtown and makes for a fun day of mimosas turned vodkas. You’ll find corn hole and other recreational games outside amongst the mixing and mingling of friends. It’s a great spot to hang with friends in a casual environment.
NEIGHBORHOODS TO VISIT:
The cutest and quaintest of neighborhoods filled with every age range, this place is hopping. You can find anything from fairytale houses to fabulous ice cream shops, to vintage stores that you’ll want to take a peek in. The best way to do 12 South is to head to the area earlier in the morning, grab a quick coffee, shop the stores, and then hit a quick spot for lunch. For all of your visitors, bring your camera! That’s where you’ll find the majority of the Instagrammable murals that you see online.
The newest and hottest of the areas. The Gulch is a popular area among locals and visitors. With great shopping and nice spots to hit up for lunch, The Gulch is all-encompassing. If you’re new to the city- this is a great spot to find a nice happy hour and mingle with others.
If you’re in the mood to shop, this is your spot. Posh a hit and a great place to find staple pieces for going out, casual, or work. Pro tip: if you head to the back of the store you’ll find a whole sales room with some killer deals. Pangea is always a cool spot to check out. You may not find anything to buy that you love, but it’s fun to dive in and explore the store. You’ll also witness the iconic “Pancake Pantry” in Hillsboro Village. Don’t even try to go or wait in line, you’ll spend hours holding your spot in line.
PLACES TO STAY:
Hotels in Nashville can be a bit pricey. But, if you want to get the full blown hotel experience right in the heart of Nashville the Omni is your best bet. Walking distances from all of the hot spots on Broadway and blocks away from Bridgestone Arena and Nissan stadium, you can hop, skip, and jump right there quickly. And like I said, if you need to go elsewhere an Uber is super cheap and nothing is far. Pro tip: The Listening Room is right around the corner from the Omni. Depending on when you visit, check out the schedule for that night’s show online and go sip some wine or a nice cocktail and listen to music. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and witness some of the biggest stars popping in for a writer’s round.
The Noelle, located right around Printer’s Alley, is one of Nashville’s newest and cutest boutique hotels. This hotel is perfect for a getaway weekend with a friend or family. If you’re looking for an Instagrammable photo in Nashville at a hotel, you’ve found it here.
Because of the rise of tourism in Nashville hotels can be pricey and hard to find on certain weekends. I always recommend looking for air bnb’s in Nashville to stay for your visit. Personally, I’ve had several friends flip old buildings, apartments, or spaces and create beautiful air bnb’s in the city. These air bnb’s look like luxury homes and are all encompassing for a great price. I highly suggest taking a look at the app or online for air bnb’s if you’re heading to town.