I’ve put together this Nashville, TN Guide based on my recommendations from our recent girls trip (@carlyandsloan and @thepennyparlor) to one of my favorite cities. Nashville is such an incredible city with so many things to do for visitors and locals. We explored the city eating at as many restaurants as possible, exploring neighborhoods, checking out murals and shops, and of course dancing to some of the live music down on Broadway. This list is here to help guide you through our trip with our favorite spots as well as highlight some other’s that are on our list for the next trip.
If you find this Nashville guide helpful, I’d love to hear from you and please share!
WHERE TO STAY:
AirBnB– There are so many great hotels in Nashville that are just beautiful. Thompson Nashville, Westin Nashville, and Sobro Guest House are all hotels worth looking into. However, for our trip we decided we wanted to really get a feel for living in Nashville and decided that an AirBnB would be the perfect venue. After looking into homes in East Nashville we decided on an ideal Airbnb which was actually just recently built and 15 minutes from downtown. The owner, De Lisa was so wonderful in answering all of our questions from the get go and the house was perfectly decorated. It was a great space to relax and have some downtime between all our activities this weekend. I highly recommend staying there and be sure to tell De Lisa that you found her through the guide! Fun fact is she is actually a real estate broker, with a First Time Home Buyers Program. Basically she designed this program to help people looking to purchase homes through a step by step process that is super easy. Anyone else want to move there with me?
WHAT TO DO:
Ryman– The Mother Church. It’s right downtown and the birthplace of gospel and country. Seriously one of the most legendary venues in the world and a must do on any trip to Nashville. Little history: The Ryman is best known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. It’s just breathtaking in it’s appearance (it just had its 3rd renovation) since originally starting as a tabernacle in 1885 as the religious gathering place for the city. Besides being an amazing concert venue, we loved taking a daytime tour of the museum (must do) and I admit I learned the most through the new museum theater that makes you feel like you were a part of the whole history of this place. A stop at the Cafe Lula is also a must before a show. It has a casual and friendly vibe which was perfect before seeing Yonder Mountain String Boys that night ( had to get some Bluegrass in). I highly recommend sitting outdoors at the Cafe and getting a scenic view of lower broadway along with trying the Chef’s rotisserie, hot chicken and waffle sliders, and turkey with brie sandwich. Then, as you walk into the Ryman be prepared to just be amazed at the acoustics and history you are now a part of.
East Nashville– Basically the place I am going to move to. Seriously, ever since living in Raleigh I’ve had a sweet spot for the South and East Nashville just gets me. It has such a eclectic, friendly, and hip vibe that is to no wonder that it’s now one of the city’s most desired areas to live. It has the cutest local shops, bars, and restaurants which you could spend your whole trip going to in itself. Away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, we made our way to these restaurants: The Holland House, and Pharmacy Burger Parlor. The Holland House reminds me of an upscale speakeasy with amazing artisanal cocktails and delicious farm to table american bistro style food. You walk into an industrial yet rustic atmosphere of chandeliers, soft white light, and white curtains which is perfection for any date or small group get together. Unfortunately, since returning home the owners announced that due to lease agreements they need to close and focus on future projects. While this is devastating, they currently run Butchertown Hall which is worth checking out in Germantown and I am pretty sure the next adventure they come up with is going to be just as incredible for cocktails, if not more. So stay tuned!
In terms of a cool vibe down the street with a great selection of beer and with possibly one of the best burgers I have ever had, Pharmacy is your go to. Not sure which to get? The Pharmacy Burger did not disappoint at all and the Stroganoff Burger was also highly recommended. I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food so I would probably try any of the burgers after now having an understanding of how good it is! Also, head out to the biergarden to eat and drink if you can. It’s a gorgeous outdoor seating area filled with my favorite bistro lights. Looking for a cool bar afterwards? The Crying Wolf (hipster vibes), No.308 (craft cocktails), and Red Door Saloon were all great local spots. On the list for next time: Margot Café & Bar, Burger Up, Butcher & Bee, Rosepepper Cantina (Margs), and Marche.
The Gulch– The Gulch is the perfect outdoor shopping area filled with boutiques, hotels, and restaurants. It is a neighborhood on the south-west fringe of downtown Nashville and a great area to walk around during the day. The Gulch is also filled with all those famous walls you see people posing in front of (guilty…see below). Biscuit Love is a popular spot to stop by for coffee which is home of a huge lighted Nashville sign. You can also spot Amelia’s Flower Truck here at times, which is the most adorable truck filled with freshly cut flowers to create a pretty bouquet. My other favorite shop here is Two Old Hippies which has the best eclectic mix of womens’ and men’s apparel, accessories, and quite the collection of stunning guitars.
12 South- Another adorable area to spend a couple hours. This is the home of the “I believe in Nashville” sign and Draper James. Reese Witherspoon’s store seriously could not be any more perfect filled with the prettiest dresses that could all be on the cover of Southern Living. They also greet you at the door with sweet tea, which is the cherry on top of the southern charm. Other top pics in this area would be the Frothy Monkey (breakfast and coffee- the Rosemary Honey Latte was amazing), Bartaco, Las Paletas (popsicles), Jeni’s (ice cream), and 12 South Taproom.
Midtown– Home of Caviar & Bananas (see below!) and another really cute neighborhood in Nashville. Although we did not have a lot of time to eat our way through this area I have quite a list of recommendations for the next trip. These include: Le Sel (French brasserie) and Hattie B’s (Hot Chicken).
Broadway/Downtown- Welcome to Honkey Tonk Central. This is where you go for live music which is practically going down in every bar on this street. While there are so many bars to do a bar crawl with, I have a couple favorites. Nudie’s was the bar we went to the most. It has two floors with live music on the first floor and a dj on the second. I am a huge live music country fan so I sang and danced the night away in front of every artist that played. Tootsies is a staple with its multi-stage set up. It also has an outdoor deck that overlooks broadway. Just be prepared for many bachelorettes and the scene to be pretty crowded with everyone getting pickled. Robert’s Western World is a great location for some traditional country music and real bluegrass country. The bar is lined with vintage cowboy boots and just has a really chill vibe to drink a beer too. I was also told a must is to get the fried bologne sandwich here! Acme Feed & Seed was our final favorite which I will spotlight below!
Acme Feed + Seed (Downtown)– Looking for a place to start your night right on Lower Broadway? This is the place. What was so cool about Acme is it has four-floors each with a different theme. The first floor is what you would call an updated classic honkytonk. Here you can order fast-casual cuisine and tap into 28 beers. Once you order your food, you simply grab a table in which can be shared with others. This floor also hosts great live music featuring local Nashville musicians. The second floor I called the “sushi floor” because it features delicious sushi if you are looking to take a break from the delicious southern food all around you. This floor also has more of a lounge feel and craft cocktail drink menu which is perfect for a little downtime before putting on those dancing shoes. Sidenote: I quite enjoyed the extensive bourbon/whiskey collection a little too much. Finally, the third floor is home to The Hatchery at Acme, the largest one-level event and music venue on lower Broadway with an open floor plan. The open-air rooftop bar is the last floor which was my favorite. It overlooks the entire downtown area, providing sweeping views of Broadway, the Cumberland River, Nissan Stadium and Riverfront Park. It also hosts many of Acme’s events such as rooftop yoga (stay for brunch after!), live concerts, a Friday night islander event, and in August a Solar Eclipse Party.
Loveless Cafe (Bellevue Area)– A Nashville Staple. The perfect place to have the ultimate southern breakfast and the setting couldn’t be more perfect. We opted to share because we wanted it all so we did the family style breakfast. Think biscuits and preserves (obsessed), scrambled eggs, sausage gravy, home fries, and fresh fruit.You will not leave hungry and you’ll be craving biscuits the rest of your trip.
Caviar & Bananas (Midtown)- Literally brought me back to life. After a little too much bourbon one night, we checked out the new Caviar & Bananas in Nashville. Originally founded in Charleston, this restaurant offers gourmet and cafe offerings that are cooked from scratch daily. We arrived to check out brunch and were in awe. First the interior is gorgeous and well, a bloggers dream. Marble countertops, brass accessories, and floors that will make you take a million shoe selfies will be the first thing you notice. But then you will go to the first area to order food, in our case it was the brunch offerings which ranged from Crispy Chicken Buttermilk Biscuits, the BELT (bacon, fried egg, arugula, grilled sourdough bread), Prosciutto fried egg sandwich, and lemon oatmeal pancakes. Seriously we tried it all and I could not get over all the flavors and how fresh everything tasted. I also ordered an iced chai latte that seriously puts Starbucks to shame. Sandwiches could also be made to order in this area. Also, if you are not in the brunch mood, you can always order from their other station areas that offer fresh selections of salads, sandwiches, soups, small plates, wine bar…literally everything. If we did not have such an agenda that day, I could have stayed all day and ate my way through.
Kitty– This store is just my Mecca. It’s bad ass and if I had to describe a store that just put together my boho vibes in a nut shell, it would be Kitty. First the decor: you immediately notice the perfect lounge area with every pillow that I need in my home. Then there is a wall filled with posters, quotes, and records from some of the most famous rock star country women singers in history. The clothes, accessories, and shoes are also for anyone who loves a boho country rock vibe. I know we all were smitten with the t-shirts available and I can’t wait to style mine with a cute skirt and cowboy boots. I can wear cowboy boots around Philly right?
Apple & Oak– Another store that I found my life in. I would definitely say my interior design style is eclectic (think colorful turkish rugs, bamboo mirrors, rattan chairs). Apple & Oak also has the best selection of turkish rugs in which took all my power now to bring home with me. They also have the cutest gift selection including cheeky cards, bracelets, and local gifts like the East Nashville banner below. Honestly, I will go back to Apple & Oak every time I go to Nashville (or until I move there- guys I am not kidding) and in the meantime, stalk their instagram for every new rug available.
Until next time Nashville….
Photography: Carly Landolt