Nashville, Tennessee, a place that I believe I will come back to time and time again. To be frank, I don’t think that my three day trip to Nashville was enough. I hear a lot of people say that you can do Nashville in just two days. I cannot disagree with this more! There’s so much more to Music City than the honkytonks on Broadway (but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hanging out downtown). This is a city that has so much beauty and character, you just need to do a little research and plan out your trip before going! I guarantee you will find yourself wanting to come back to explore more of what this evolving city has to offer.
What are the Neighborhoods in Nashville?
As I am not a local, I’m just going to lay out the neighborhoods that I explored during my trip. We stayed at an Airbnb near Vanderbilt University, which was only a 5 minute Uber ride to each of these places. Below are the neighborhoods that I visited and will refer to throughout this guide:
- Downtown/Broadway: Obviously a must to walk the Broadway strip and drink your way through the honkytonks, neon signs, and amazing live music.
- 12 South: A cute little neighborhood home to many restaurants, boutique shops, and a few of the famous Nashville murals.
- Music Row: Home to many record label offices, radio stations and recording studios, Music Row is at the heart of Nashville’s country music industry.
- Marathon Village: Features over 20 local shops, distilleries, and eateries, all housed in an old car factory. Also home to the famous I Believe in Nashville mural!
What to Eat in Nashville
Nashville Hot Chicken
Going to have to just lead with this.. You gotta eat the Nashville Hot Chicken. After my trip, I learned that Nashville hot chicken was born at a mom & pop called Prince’s. We ended up going to the more touristy spot for hot chicken, Hattie B’s, which is known for having a line out the door pretty much all the time. Not to say that I regret going to Hattie B’s, but I am upset I didn’t go to the original spot for hot chicken. Clearly I should have done more research! When I go back to Nashville I am immediately going to Prince’s, and then I’ll update you on which is better. Oh and by the way, the hot chicken was f***ing hot. So if you don’t want to poop fire later in the day, I suggest being a wimp and ordering the hot chicken for the table + the mild version for yourself. Unless you enjoy the spicy high from a slap of cayenne pepper to the face, you’ll end up having one bite and being glad you ordered the easier chicken to eat.
Fried Baloney Sandwich at Robert’s Western World
OK so I know fried baloney sandwiches aren’t typically high up on anyone’s “must eat” list, but this one should be. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of Robert’s Western World, or the generic beer that you can’t quite recall how many you’ve had, or the live music getting to your head – but this baloney sandwich (served with a bag of Lay’s potato chips) will rock your world.
Brunch at Acme Feed & Seed
Acme Feed & Seed is a three level building (plus two levels of rooftop) jam packed with everything you could ever want from a honkytonk/restaurant. You could easily spend three hours getting lost in this building. Each floor has a different menu & vibe, but we stuck to having brunch on the first floor and a cocktail on the rooftop. The rooftop offers great scenic views of both the Broadway strip and the Cumberland River. Not attaching a picture, because the view is something that you must see on your own for the first time 😉. We ate here right before leaving for our flight home, and I feel like it was the perfect way to wrap up our trip.
Where to Drink in Nashville
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge had a hold over me, because somehow at the end of each night I dragged the beau back to this honkytonk. This multi-level honkytonk turned out to be my favorite, I just really enjoyed the vibe at this spot! Plus we got to watch a few famous musicians perform here (which could likely be the case at any honkytonk in Nashville) but it just so happened to be at Tootsie’s. Plus, I think that the name and the purple building just had a gravitational pull on me. You’ll find your favorite honkytonk, if it happens to be Tootsie’s let me know!
Winners & Losers Bar & Grill
Winners & Losers are two separate entities, but they are side by side iconic dive bars. Walking distance from Hattie B’s, we washed down our hot chicken with a few cold beers and listened to some live music while people watching. Keep your eye out for celebrity sightings, because chances are you’re sitting next to a famous songwriter/producer/musician. This goes for pretty much any honkytonk in Nashville.
The name of this place is right on. This building is a drinking marathon loaded with distilleries, moon-shine, and wine. We started our Marathon Village journey at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which was one of the greatest tastings I have ever done. Even if you’re not into whiskey, take your beau and tag along for the history of whiskey & Nashville. Things got a little blurry after the whiskey tasting, but walking through the building we were offered free tastings of moonshine and wine. Not one to say no to free alcohol, we tried it all & a marathon it sure was! You are sure to make a ton of memories (a little blurry) in this building. Plan accordingly!
Where to Shop in Nashville
If you’re like me and you’re a Kristin Cavallari fanatic you know that Kristin A.) lives in Nashville and shoots her reality TV show, Very Cavallari here (RIP) and B.) Kristin is the bad b**** CEO of jewelry store, Uncommon James! Yes I went, and yes it looked exactly like it does on the TV show. If you’re a fan, or if you like the simplicity of her jewelry, I recommend stopping by.
Amelia’s Flower Truck
Amelia’s Flower Truck is a cute mobile flower truck that sells beautiful bouquets of flowers. The one that I stopped by was at the 12 South Farmer’s Market, but there are a few other mobile trucks. You can follow the truck schedule here. You could spend an entire afternoon shopping at the boutiques (Reese Witherspoon’s flagship Draper James shop is in here!) and eclectic shops specializing in vintage finds scattered throughout the 12 South neighborhood.
What Activities to Do in Nashville
Nestled across from Vanderbilt University is Centennial Park, a sprawling urban park which is oddly home to a full-scale replica of the ancient Greek temple, the Parthenon. Having visited the actual Parthenon in Athens, seeing it in Nashville was definitely an experience. Go here to tour the park and learn why this replica is placed here.
Go to a Show at The Grand Ole Opry
One of my favorite activities that we did was seeing a show at The Grand Ole Opry. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today an entertainment phenomenon showcasing a mix of country music greats featuring rising stars, superstars, and legends. Known as “the show that made country music famous,” you can count on seeing performances at the Opry that you just can’t see anywhere else.
Off The Wagon Tours
Like Jason Aldean’s big green tractor? Take a ride on one with Off The Wagon Tours! If you’re not a fan of pedaling while touring, this tractor ride is for you. It’s BYOB and you get a 1 hour and 45 minute tour all over Nashville. As we all know, Nashville is a huge destination for Bachelorette parties, but no – you don’t have to be a bachelorette party to participate in one of these rides. I went with just my boyfriend and we did the tour with a bachelorette party and ended up having a mutual friend and a great time.
The bottom line is that Nashville is more than just a destination for bachelorette parties. While the honkytonks are amazing, take your time to go through each of the unique neighborhoods nestled inside this city. I think you will be surprised by the diverse scene Nashville has to offer. And if you see a famous person, let me know who and where!