One of the places I have always wanted to check off my list and visit is Nashville, Tennessee. While it is known as Music City or Nash-Vegas (thanks to the many Bachelor and Bachelorette parties), I really wanted to check the city out for its Nightlife & Southern Cuisine. Over the past few years, what used to be one of the South’s best kept secrets, has grown tremendously. On average, the city receives about 90 new residents every day & quickly becoming more and more expensive.
I convinced one of my flight attendant friends to come with me for the weekend. We went the beginning of December, by this time, hotels were already pricey & since we knew we weren’t going to spend time much time there, we really just needed a place to sleep, to save money (that we rather spend on food & drinks), we ended up booking a hostel. I ended up finding one right in the heart of downtown (actually called Nashville Downtown Hostel), average cost was $30 a night, within walking distance to the main strip of touristy bars & local restaurants. We were booked in a room with 4 bunk beds (8 total people) but the hostel had such low occupancy during this time, we had the room to ourselves the first night & the following two nights we shared the room with two other gals (friends from Australia). The hostel itself was very clean, the staff was informative, helpful and rather knowledgeable about the city. I’d highly recommend it & wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again.
We opted not to rent a car just because we didn’t want to worry about finding parking everywhere & we wanted to be responsible since we knew we were going to be going out at night so Uber and Lyft were our best friends for places that we weren’t able to walk to.
We’ll start with the restaurants/bars that were on our list:
- Biscuit Love – location: in The Gultch
- I ordered the “Easy Nasty” which is a just regular chicken biscuit with cheddar cheese while my friend ordered the Biscuit & Sausage Gravy and we shared a side of Alma’s potatoes & their Chronic (Sweet and Spicy) Bacon.
- This place probably had the longest line we had to stand in during our whole trip, a little over an hour but according to reviews, sometimes it’s upwards of 2 or 3.
- The food was delicious, reasonably priced and definitely worth the wait.
- Loveless Cafe – location: 8400 Highway 100
- I ordered the Chicken & Waffles with a side of Hashbrown Casserole while my friend ordered a traditional Southern Breakfast.
- Originally a Motel & Cafe when it opened in the 50’s, now just a Southern Cafe & a very small little shopping area where you can purchase handmade gifts from local artisans. You can take photos outside with the original “Vacancy” sign and check it off your list.
- There wasn’t a line at all for this place but we were there during the week and around Brunch time as opposed to early morning. All in all, it’s definitely worth a visit.
- Hattie B’s – location: 5209 Charlotte Pike
- Known for their Hot Chicken which is a Nashville staple.
- I am a huge wimp when it comes to spicy food & personally don’t find any enjoyment in not being able to feel my tongue when eating so I opted for the “Southern” which is their No Heat chicken tender meal with a side of their Pimento Mac & Cheese and Red Skin Potato Salad … yall, if you go with friends, get different sides to try them all because if they were anything like the sides I got, you’re in for a treat. I paired my meal with a nice local Stout, highly recommended!
- Pancake Pantry – location : 1796 21st Ave S
- I tried them out for the first time a couple of years ago in Gatlinburg, Tennessee & I really enjoyed it. The portions are huge so go hungry.
- There’s almost always a line to get in but it is worth the wait.
- “S’more Love Bakery” – location : varies
- The sweetest little S’mores food truck ever wasn’t on our list & came across it by accident while strolling through 12th Street. Their menu had five different s’mores you could order, with quirky names like “The happy camper” and “The Elvis”. Probably the best s’more I ever had! Since they are a food truck, they aren’t always in the same place but you can follow their adventures on Instagram (@smorelovebakery).
I researched dozens of local coffee spots but was overwhelmed with the amount of amazing restaurants & bars that it wasn’t high on my list. For those that know me, that’s a huge deal! We stumbled upon Frothy Monkey which is a Coffee/Bar place & we actually ended up ordering pints instead of coffee. There was a lot of coffee drinking in the trip though, while standing outside making lines for restaurants or bars to stay warm, just not any from any places that stood out. During my next trip, I’ll be sure to add a few to my list.
As far as Nightlife & Bars, we checked out too many to really remember & after a while they all sort of blended together. If you’re looking for cheap drinks, good music and entertainment, then you’ll find no shortage of bars in the heart of downtown. You can walk for many blocks and still find new places to check out. The ones that we made a point to check out based off our Pinterest list were Acme & Tootsies. I recommend visiting Acme twice during your stay if you get a chance, once during the day & once at night to admire the Nashville skyline from their rooftop bar. The drinks were a little on the pricier side but delicious. Tootsies is a bar with several different levels, all of which featured both local & famous artists. It’s definitely a touristy spot & extremely crowded, lots of pushing & shoving, getting drinks knocked out of your hand or spilled on you are just a few of the things to expect but it’s one of those “Must See” spots to check off your list.
We made time in our itinerary to check out some places recommended by locals, we got to see our first ever Burlesque show at Skulls in Printers Alley. There was no cover charge but we did arrive a little early to make sure we had good seats & watched the show while enjoying a couple glasses of wine. It was a very nice and tasteful show, we even managed to take photos with some of the gals. If you’re looking for something a little different than your typical Country Music bar, I’d recommend checking out this place.
What’s a trip to Nashville without stopping by The Bluebird Cafe? This little venue was on both my & my friend’s list because having seen it on the TV show, I think both of us were secretly hoping that Deacon or Avery were going to make an appearance. You have to get there ridiculously early because the venue itself is so small, it only seats about 60 people. If you are lucky enough to get in, you are in for a treat. You get to listen to some amazing local artists that are looking to make it big in Music City. A lot of the famous artists today got their start at The Bluebird. There’s no cover charge for the venue but you are asked to spend at least $15 in food/drinks while you are enjoying the show. A small price to pay for some amazing entertainment.
We checked out The Parthenon, a real live replica of the original right in the middle of a park. We didn’t purchase tickets for the museum portion of it but we did enjoy the park itself, definitely a sight to see.
“Instagram worthy” murals were on our list as well so we checked out one of Kelsey Montague’s Angel Wings located in the Gulch area. “I Believe in Nashville” mural located on 12th Street and directly across that mural was Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s shop with a basic Blue and White striped wall that makes for some adorable photos as well.
In the three full days we were there, I feel like we were able to accomplish a lot. My only recommendation would be to pack loose clothing because your clothes will fit a little tighter coming back home. Eat, Drink, Be Merry.