The one vacation that I was excited to take this year was to Nashville, Tennessee. My brother had received an offer to work in Nashville for the summer for university. My mom and I were so excited when he accepted the offer because we had always wanted to see what was so special about Nashville. I see people going there all the time on social media, celebrating birthdays and bachelorette parties. I started planning the trip right away and used Pinterest and other’s blog posts to help me pick out what I wanted to do and places that we should see. Before I started getting into travel guides and searching #nashville on Instagram, the only thing that I knew about the city was that they’re known for their food, music, and murals.
Once we booked our flight, it was time to start planning out where we were going to stay, restaurants we were going to eat at and things that we wanted to see. I love planning things so getting to plan a whole trip for 5 people was great. From all the blog posts and pins that I had saved online, I wrote out a list of every place that we wanted to go to. Then I started putting them into certain days and coordinating places that we could go to that were close to each other. The only thing that I wish that I had known before planning the trip, was that while parts of the city are very walk-able, the different areas of town are spread far apart. We had a two-day trolley pass that would drive us around to different parts of the city and we relied on that heavily to get around. We also used Uber a lot more than I wanted too because our Airbnb was far from the downtown area.
WHERE TO STAY
While there are plenty of hotels that you can stay at all around Nashville, I do recommend staying in an Airbnb. They are much cheaper and they are much more comfortable to stay in. We rented out the entire place for three nights. It cost around $300 total to stay there. The place that my boyfriend and I stayed in was right in the heart of 12 South. Not only was our house adorable, we just had to walk one block to get to all the cute shops and restaurants. The couples whose house it was, was so sweet and they provided us a list of popular places to go to and a list of their favorites restaurants. We didn’t get to our Airbnb until late the first night so all we did was get dinner and walk around to see a few of the shops. They were all closed but we came back in the morning to explore. My parents also stayed at an Airbnb in 12 South, they stayed on the street where it’s rumored that Dolly Parton has a private compound!
WHERE TO EAT
Like I said before, Nashville is known for their food and I wanted to eat everything! While I did have a bunch of different restaurants on my list to try, we really only got to go to about 7 of them because of travel restrictions. We didn’t want to travel too far for food so we would usually just find a place that was close to us. Our Airbnb was right around the corner from Edley’s BBQ and on our 4-day trip, we went to Edley’s twice. It was that delicious. I got the pulled chicken platter with cornbread and baked beans and for dessert, they have the best banana pudding! The next day was Saturday morning and we had breakfast at the Frothy Monkey, another place located in 12 South. I had the most delicious coffee at the Frothy Monkey too, it was called the Monkey Mocha and it was espresso, milk, chocolate, and banana syrup.
One thing that I noticed about the restaurants in Nashville, is that most of them you’ll order your food at a counter and they give you a number to take back to your table. They’ll bring the food out to you then. For lunch that same day we stopped at Hattie B’s and they are known for their hot chicken. I hate spicy food so hot chicken was not my favorite but my boyfriend loved it! Nashville is famous for its hot chicken and it is served in almost every restaurant. For dinner that Saturday night we went to Whiskey Kitchen, a place a friend had recommended. It’s an actual sit down place that has indoor and outdoor seating. My boyfriend was excited to go here because he is such a whiskey drinker. I tried a small sip of whiskey and immediately chased it with water is was so gross. What can I say, I’m more of a wine/margarita person. I had the fried green tomatoes sandwich for dinner and it was delicious. For dessert, we went to Five Daughters Bakery in 12 South and had some great donuts. Usually, 5 Daughters is a breakfast place but we wanted to avoid the crowds so we went in the evening.
On Sunday we had breakfast at Pinewood social and I will warn you, show up early because there is a line and a long wait for weekend breakfast. I had a delicious french toast and berries meal with a latte that was almost too beautiful to drink. All-day on Sunday we were exploring Broadway and all the bars along that street. There was not a shortage of places to eat on Broadway and my favorite part was that every bar/restaurant has a live band playing. We stopped in Cerveza Jacks along 2nd Ave for drinks and lunch. I got a sweet tea sangria and it was very yummy. For dinner that night we wanted something different so we had burgers at Burger Republic, located in the Gulch area of town. The burger was good but the milkshakes were even better. It took me a solid 10 minutes just to decide on what flavor I wanted because there are so many to choose from! As if we didn’t have enough ice cream that day we stopped at Jeni’s Splendid Icecream in 12 South just to see what all the hype was about. We got a trio of flavors and they did not disappoint. My favorite part was that they make the waffle cone right in front of you so it’s fresh and warm!
I loved the food so much in Nashville that I ordered the Nashville Eats cookbook on Amazon and I can’t wait to start cooking!
PLACES TO GO
There is a lot to see and do in Nashville so prepare yourself for a lot of walking. We were there two full days and 2 half days and we walked well over 10,000 steps each day. I was grateful that we had a trolley pass that allowed us to get off and get on the trolley in 16 different stops throughout the city. We started our day on Saturday by catching the trolley at the riverfront station and we rode the whole way around so we could see the city and decide what places we wanted to get off at. It stopped at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, Tennessee State Capital building, Musicians Hall of Fame, Bicentennial Park, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, the Parthenon, Vanderbilt University, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, and Musicians Row.
I had a lot of these places on my itinerary but sadly we didn’t get to see them all. The first place we went to was the Parthenon replica. Now, I had no idea that this existed let alone in Nashville, TN. It was amazing to see the detail and work that was put into creating this structure. My family and I toured the inside to learn more and it took about 45 minutes to see everything. Right next to the Parthenon, they had an art festival going on and we spent a couple of hours there looking at all the crafts, eating, and sitting in shaded areas. It was very hot there, so it was important that we rest and stay hydrated. That same day we also walked around Vanderbilt university because my brother was staying there for the summer during his internship. We all then took the trolley to the next spot which was Hattie B’s Hot Chicken Restaurant for lunch. We did want to see a Grand Ole Opry show that night but tickets ended up being too expensive and we were all exhausted, so we listened to the show on the radio! It’s a live broadcast radio show so you can tune into 650AM or live stream the show online. It was fun to listen too!
Sunday morning we got an early start to the day getting breakfast and then exploring all of Broadway Street, also known as Honky Tonk Highway. It was a really cool experience to just walk down the street and see all the unique signs, listen to live bands playing, see famous restaurants and to go shopping in each of the stores. My mom wanted to buy a pair of cowboy boots and let me tell you, there is not a shortage of boot shops in Nashville. After lunch, we planned to go tour the Musicians Hall of Fame but it ended up being closed on Sundays so we took the trolley to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and tried some whiskey. Well, I more watched my boyfriend and dad drink whiskey because I think it’s gross.
THINGS TO SEE
After the distillery, we took the trolley down to the Gulch area of town to do some more shopping and to find the infamous Angels Wing Mural. We were there later in the day, around 4 pm and there was barely a wait and there weren’t any weird shadows on the mural wall. There are a ton of painted murals all around Nashville and it’s fun to find as many as you can. Where we were staying in 12 South, there were murals on almost every building. The most famous being the I Believe in Nashville mural that is in the alleyway next to Reese Witherspoon’s shop Draper James. I really wanted to go find the Taylor Swift cats and hearts wings mural, but sadly it was only up for a week and they are currently trying to find a more permanent spot for it in the city.
One thing that we kept seeing during our time in Nashville was people riding all over the city on these electric scooters. We learned that 8 different scooter companies are supplying them, with two of them being Uber and Lyft. These scooters are laying all over town and you can ride one for $0.10 a minute for as long as you want. It’s all from an app on your phone and you can pick and drop the scooters off anywhere you want. Now I will warn you, they say that you should wear a helmet while operating the scooter, but they don’t supply you with one. That’s very dangerous because you’re supposed to ride the scooters on the street and not the sidewalks. I later learned that the city of Nashville is trying to get them banned.
We saw a lot on our short trip to Nashville, but I feel like there is still so much more to do and see. I definitely want to go back and explore more. If you have been to Nashville, what is your favorite place to visit?