“On average, 100 people move to Nashville a day.” When a local Nashvillian told me this statistic, I believed him. About a week ago, I spent a beautiful long weekend exploring the city most tourists visit for its country roots and southern charm. But within minutes of walking through the city, it was clear to me. Nashville is so much more than country music.
Between the brand new high rises pop up everywhere the eye can see, tons of new restaurants, bars and boutique hotels… Nashville is one of America’s fastest growing cities. Pretty amazing!
The long weekend I spent exploring the Music City revealed so many gems! I have no doubt more travelers will want to visit Nashville for themselves. In between delicious eateries, picturesque sights, a music scene that’s unlike any other city and so much more, Nashville is a playground for travelers with an open long weekend ahead. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite spots we explored!
Areas Of Note
Before landing in the Music City, I spent a good amount of time looking into the different areas of Nashville. It’s always so helpful to know what each neighborhood has to offer and what not to miss! P.S. I loved researching all about what Nashville has to offer through these videos. Check them out! Here are some of my favorite areas in Nashville we explored over our long weekend.
Downtown Nashville is the classic area we all think of when we imagine the city – a country music heaven, filled with bright lights and music blaring from every corner of the every building. If this is what you’re aiming for, don’t miss Broadway, where you’ll find all of the world famous honky tonk bars Nashville has become known for.
Known as “The Brooklyn of Nashville” – East Nashville is effortlessly cool and has major hipster vibes. Lots of goodies can be found here!
The Gulch is the newer modern / more posh part of town, where you’ll find locals hanging out in the bars and restaurants. The Gulch is definitely quieter and more reserved… but it’s nice to know that you’re only a 15 minute walk or 5 minute cab ride away from the liveliness of Downtown Nashville. You’ll also find bits of Nashville’s famed spots like street art murals “What Lifts You” and popular breakfast spot, Biscuit Love here!
Where We Stayed
During our long weekend trip to the Music City, I used Hotel Tonight to book our stay in some of the cutest, aesthetically pleasing boutique hotels in Nashville. Our accommodations were beyond chic and perfectly located, allowing us the flexibility to explore the most of the city while also giving us a place to relax!
One thing I’d definitely recommend is planning a girl’s trip to Nashville! It’s the perfect size to explore and is totally walkable. I stayed with my dear friend for a Galentine’s trip, but could totally see Nashville as the ultimate destination in the US for a girls weekend! If this sounds up your alley, I’d also recommend using Hotel Tonight’s multi room booking service. It’s an easy way to book up to four rooms in a single booking… making group travel with friends seamless and stress free! Don’t forget, you can use the code nyakoub to get $25 off your stay!
We absolutely loved the Thompson Nashville located in the Gulch area, with its stunning rooftop and impeccably designed decor. So chic!
It’s also home to the popular rooftop lounge, LA Jackson – which serves up the most delicious cocktails, as well as the Marsh House – a Southern Seafood restaurant.
Located on Boutique Row, Noelle is a seriously charming hotel with architectural details that left us swooning. It’s a tranquil place to rest your head, while also being able to take in some of the best views of Nashville! We loved the stylish flair our room had, from its detailed ceiling and gorgeous natural light, to its art selection and coziness. It’s truly a hidden gem of a hotel in Music City!
Other Recommended Places To Stay: Boutique Hotels
Being the hotel geek that I am, when I heard that Nashville now has what is referred to as “Boutique Row” on 4th Avenue, my heart delighted with joy. (link to Hotel Tonight in “Boutique Row” and talk about Hotel Tonight’s great choice in boutique hotels.
Hotels On Boutique Row:
- Dream Nashville – Located on Printers Alley, this art deco inspired hotel boasts high ceilings and sleek details in each of its rooms.
- The Bobby – Far enough away from the noise of downtown, but close enough to what’s going on, The Bobby is a vibrant, chic hotel with some stunning windows and creative atmosphere.
- Fairlane Hotel – This luxe hotel has some serious vintage 60’s/70’s vibes and a retro look. I felt like I was on the set of Mad Men.
Other Hotels I’d Recommend Not On Boutique Row (Also available on Hotel Tonight):
- 21c Museum Hotel Nashville – This space is so special! 21c Musuem Hotel re-imaged a historic building into a contemporary art museum turned hotel turned restaurant and bar. It’s got amazing exhibitions, cultural programming and culinary offerings to boost. A great choice for art lovers!
- Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection – Another hotel that pays homage to its building history, The Union Station Hotel is a former train station turned into a hotel. It nods to its past with its original commissioned art depicting Nashville and barrel-vaulted stained glass ceiling. A stunner!
Nashville is bursting with picturesque spots, so get your camera ready! Filled with charming southern flair, urban murals and adorable boutiques, you won’t leave Nashville without a ton of cute photos. Here are some of my discoveries!
Get your wallet (and camera) ready, because this place is trouble! White’s Mercantile is the perfect place to find eclectic gifts and unique finds… while also feasting your eyes. There are so many cute items and filled with adorable items and is creatively housed in a former gas station and school bus. Be sure not to miss its iconic Amelia’s Flower Truck!
Considered to be one of the most famous concert halls in all of country music’s history, The Ryman Auditorium hosts live music events for anyone looking for some entertainment during their stay. But, what we loved the most (besides learning about its history!) is its colorful stained glass facade. So beautiful!
This book store is seriously amazing! It’s sheer bliss for book lovers and anyone who loves the quaintness and coziness of a bookshop. The lighting in here is to die for and they even have a whole section of signed/autographed books!
This small alley is stacked with some of Nashville’s best bars and restaurants. And isn’t it so charming?
Five Daughters Bakery
Best donuts in Nashville! Count us in? Five Daughters has a serious following of donut-lovers, and we consider ourselves to be a part of that group now. Its cronut is amazing, as is its orange cinnamon rolls and vanilla cream 100 layer donut!
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
This pedestrian village has the best view of the Nashville skyline. Be sure to come around sunset to take in the glow!
Owned by Reese Witherspoon, Draper James has made a splash in Nashville since its opening. We loved its friendliness (we were welcomed by having sweet tea) and loved perusing its classic, timeless clothing. It screams southern, modern charm.
This fancy little date spot is a feast for the senses. Come for the cooking (like its famous avocado toast, beignets, and eggs benedict)… stay for the fun decor!
This cozy spot for breakfast, coffee and tea comes highly recommended by locals and guides, and for good reason. It’s the perfect little brunch spot with good food, a young crowd filled with unique characters and the coolest vibe. We loved their relaxed vibe and lattes!
What Lifts You Mural
Located in the Gulch, this famously inspiring mural is a must for a traveler who loves murals and urban art. Read its inspiring message and you’ll find yourself feeling lifted.
Where To Eat
Nashville’s eating scene is unreal! So many culinary treats to try. Between classic southern cooking and young, up and coming eateries with multicultural flair, you really can have any kind of meal you could dream of here. Here are some of the restaurants we were drooling over!
We were swooning over Bar Otaku’s small plates menu. This modern twist on a traditional Japanese izakaya serves up the perfect after-work dishes and drinks with an atmosphere that is truly unlike anywhere else in Nashville! Its Japanese soul food is the star, combining tried and true Japense dishes with southern classics. Plus, we loved its fun, communal feel. Chef Sarah Gavigan pays homage to Japan/Nashville latitudinal connection (which blew our minds!) by incorporating ingredients that both destinations have in common. Don’t miss this spot!
Delicious! Biscuit Love has quite a following of fans, and we totally get why. Come here too late and you’ll find a long line outside the door… so come early! We loved its hidden menu items and Southern Benny’s and Bonuts!
Try not to fall in love with this restaurant! Liberty Common has a great, vibrant atmosphere, decked out with vintage lights and European-esque furniture, and a French-Southern blended menu. Biscuits, pastries, steak frites, croque madame, burgers, coffee, cocktails and more. Don’t miss this one when in Nashville!
The Loveless Cafe
A classic! In 1951, The Loveless Cafe lit its iconic neon sign for the first time… and since then, it’s served over half a million guests a year. The Loveless Cafe has been featured in many a television shows and country songs, and also draws foodies, celebrities and locals. But it truly stands on its own when it comes to its menu too! Homemade dishes and down-home cooking. Don’t miss this place!
Urban Cowboy Public House
Urban Cowboy Public House is the perfectly southern, rustic bar with a casual outdoor area. It’s a cozy, patio style of eatery that offers classic bar foods and delicious drinks as well. It’s friendliness and warm staff will make you feel like part of the family!
This bustling restaurant has a great menu filled with serious drool-inducing BBQ, including brisket, smoked chicken, smoked pork, wings, ribs and more.
A modern diner, but with a global lens. The Mockingbird offers classic comfort foods, but always with a global twist. It’s a cool concept with even better food!
Geist is set in what used to be a 1900 blacksmith shop, one of Nashville’s oldest buildings. The restaurant has an unfussy, friendly feel to it and features pieces from local artisans in every nook and cranny. So beautiful!
East Nashville’s cool vibe is so welcoming, and so is its crown jewel Folk. The food is excellent and has a farm to table feel, fresh flavors and an impressive menu!
BOURBON STEAK Nashville
Steak with a view! What’s not to love? With 360-degree views of Music City’s skyline, BOURBON STEAK is a modern American steakhouse with a great wine list as well.
If you’re looking for a modern twist on southern cooking, look no further than Husk. The property is stunning and their cocktail list is also outstanding!
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hattie B’s hot chicken is world famous. And we’ll admit… it’s totally understandable why. Don’t let the line out the door dismay you from committing to getting your hot chicken on! Juicy, spicy, hot and totally delicious. Fear not travelers, if you’re not into spicy dishes, Hattie B has options that aren’t going to leave you feeling the burn. Their side dishes and amazing selection of spices are outstanding. Don’t miss this place!
An eatery with bowling lanes? Count us in. Pinewood Social is a great date spot for you and your girls! Don’t discount its restaurant… there are some seriously delicious options here.
Emmy Squared – Nashville
Emmy Squared, located in the Gulch, specializes in deep-dish pizzas drowning in toppings… similar to a Detroit-style but cut into squares, burgers and all American foods that will have you drooling! The only other place you’ll find Emmy Squared is in NYC’s West Village… so don’t miss out when in Nashville.
When exploring Nashville, you’ll find lots of honky tonk bars! Enjoy the southern charm all your favorite country songs sing about. If you’re looking for a cocktail, here are some of our discoveries!
L27 Rooftop Bar
We loved the view from L27’s Rooftop Bar! A great, laid back place to kick up your feet and soak in the beauty of Nashville as the sun sets!
Acme Feed & Seed
Locals love this place, and we see why! This classic bar on Broadway is not to be missed. Insider tip: on the third floor, check out their sushi bar… which some say is some of the best sushi in town. We tried it and we concur! Fresh sushi, friendly service and a fun atmosphere.
Don’t miss the thriving music scene when visiting Nashville! Here are some of the live music venues that we checked out!
The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird is one of the world’s most famous “listening rooms” – and you need to make this top of your list of places to check out! This venue has showcased some of the biggest songwriters performing their songs before they become huge hits (often recorded by other artists). Check out this unassuming 90 seat venue (be sure to book ahead!), located in a strip mall outside of downtown and feel like you’re part of the blooming music scene going on in Nashville!
This unassuming music venue is located right on the main strip of Downtown Nashville spotlights non-stop live music. Pop in for a band or songwriter and a cold beer.
One of the best spots for live music! This concert venue features the greatest bluegrass, blues, roots and country music in the world right in the Gulch area. It’s an all American feel, sure to make you fall in love with Nashville’s commitment to great music.
The entertainers here are so fun! Legends Corner came highly recommended for its feature band, and we fell in love with their energy and insane ability to take any and all music requests!
If you’re looking for a caffeine fix, look no further. Nashville has quite a cafe scene, so you’ll have a lot of beautiful choices to select from. Here are some of our top choices!
A great, quaint coffee shop that we loved! Smooth coffee, unique flavors available… what’s not to love?
A charming coffee house with some great pastries! This is the perfect spot to grab a light bite and head on the road!
Three Brothers Coffee
A great atmosphere, welcoming staff and industrial look at the same time.
dose. [Coffee & Tea]
A friendly espresso and tea bar that also has some great breakfast choices as well!
What To Do / See
Nashville is stacked with historic sights. From museums, hall of fames, symphony centers, southern plantations, art exhibits and botanical gardens… it truly houses some incredible experiences to be had!
Belle Meade Plantation
This history plantation will make you swoon! Belle Meade is known for being the greatest thoroughbred horse farm, and once home to the Iroquois (the first Epsom Derby winner and the foundation of many other descendant racers including Secretariat). This restored plantation will give you a slice of life of what it must have been like to live in Nashville before it became known as a music capital of America!
The Johnny Cash Museum
Explore the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash’s artifacts and memorabilia. You’ll leave the museum understanding more than just his life story, but with a great appreciation for his genius and music.
If you would have told me that this is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens located right in the heart of Nashville, I wouldn’t have believed you. Seeing this sight first-hand is stunning! It’s truly a cultural escape that left us floored.
We loved exploring Vanderbilt’s gothic and charming campus. It’s a refreshing trip to walk the grounds and soak in the academic environment.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
When in Nashville, don’t miss out on a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame! Even if you’re not the biggest country music fan, there is so much to learn about its history in American culture. We loved exporing its many floors of interesting artifacts from gold, silver and platinum records and original items owned by country kings and queens.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
This symphony center is the home of the Grammy award winning Nashville Symphony and is simply gorgeous! Come here for an evening of masterful classics as well as exciting new musicians. And don’t miss out on a tour of the building. The history is outstanding!
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art
Explore the 55-acre estate (built by the family who owned the Maxwell House Coffee company), especially if you love gardens and greenery! The stunning landscapes and gardens of the outdoor area had us swooning. Inside, the museum features some incredible paintings, sculptures and works of art. It’s a refreshing and historical experience!
Perfect for a long weekend getaway, I truly found Nashville to be not only charming, but warm and inviting for travelers. Hope to visit again soon, Music City!
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