Hey Y’all, I am back from Nashville! I am so excited to share my experiences and recommendations with you. Let’s jump right in!
Here are my first impressions of Nashville. It’s a very youthful area. A lot of millennials. It’s a clean city. It’s small and very easy to navigate. They do not really have public transportation, but there is an abundance of Uber/Lyfts. You will never wait more than 5 minutes for your driver. You can get most places for $6-$10. The priciest ride was to/from the airport. The food scene is great. I really didn’t have a bad meal. There is some great shopping, and always something going on. The wall murals are gorgeous. Probably my favorite thing about the city.
AIR: I had priced out air for days. The most inexpensive air I could find was from Southwest. I am talking a $100 difference from all other airlines. Tip: Get the “Wanna Get Away” fare. It is significantly cheaper than the other fares. The caveat, there are no refunds, but you can use towards future travel. See the rules here. Southwest will accept the first two checked bags for free provided that the bags do not exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches (L+W+H). I traveled with a carry-on and a backpack. Make sure you check in exactly 24 hours prior to your flight to get the best boarding position, as there are no assigned seats on Southwest.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Airbnb is the way to go in Nashville. I stayed here. It was the perfect house for our four day girls’ weekend. It was centrally located, very clean and affordable. Situated right in between the Gulch and 12 South. Hotels are great too, but I think it was better that we stayed outside of the main hub (near Broadway). It felt like a more authentic experience, and we had more amenities than a hotel. If you are looking for a hotel, the Hyatt Place is located right in the downtown area. For something a bit ritzy, check out the Omni.
The Neighborhoods I Visited-
THE GULCH: This area primarily has upscale hotels, restaurants and boutiques. The area is also kind of industrial. The Gulch is where you will find the wings mural and the restaurant, Biscuit Love. Biscuit Love was overrated in my opinion. Mass produced biscuits. Kind of dry, not buttery and flaky. My biscuits/gravy were cold. The only redeeming item was my bloody mary. You also can’t get in without standing in a line.
Stop by Colts Chocolates for some delicious samples. We also stumbled upon a great night market. There were treats, clothing, jewelry, and pet items available for purchase.
There are some really cute, but really expensive boutiques. Blush Boutique is an affordable boutique. There are a couple of locations, the biggest one being in the Gulch. Kristin Cavallari’s flagship store is in this area, Uncommon James. Very simple, dainty pieces. The jewelry was pricey, and some of it did look cheap. Her show was actually taping at the time we visited the store!
DOWNTOWN (Broadway area): When you think of Nashville/see Nashville advertised, Downtown is probably the visual you may have. This is our Philly equivalent to Center City. This is a bustling area. Bar after bar, party wagons, cowboy boots, etc. This is not an area in which you want to spend your entire trip. It’s a nice place to check out during the day, a fun place to go out for one night, and then it should be out of your system.
I went to the Johnny Cash Museum, which I highly recommend. I grew up on Cash, so it was an enjoyable experience for me. We went to Acme Feed and Seed for lunch, Jason Aldean’s bar for a snack and drinks. Nighttime was spent at the FGL House, and Dierks Bentley’s bar, Whiskey Row. FGL House is right off Broadway, and was a great reprieve from the overcrowded bars. Whiskey Row was wild. They had an amazing DJ. Don’t trust the bouncer when they tell you Dierks is upstairs and they will take up for $20… all a lie (LOL). You can take the steps up for free. FYI - Dierks wasn’t there.
Something I love about these bars… there is something for everyone. All the bars on Broadway have multiple floors. Each floor is different, and accommodates a different crowd. You may find live music on one floor, and a DJ on another. There is definitely not a shortage of rooftop bars either.
There is a vast selection of Cowboy Boots, but can they be costly. Shop around. Some stores are buy 1, get 2 free (starting at around $300). If you came with a group of friends, this isn’t a bad deal. The food can be costly on Broadway at the bigger bars. Acme Feed and Seed was reasonable.
Another great place to see is the Ryman Auditorium. This started as a church, later converted into the original Grand Ole Opry! I did a self-guided tour. This was such a cool spot, and they still have concerts there to this day. You will sit in the church pews when you attend a show. It’s very cool. This is located right in between 4th and 5th streets, off Broadway, behind Tootsie’s Bar.
MUSIC ROW: Music Row is the area where all the musicians record their music. We spent minimal time in this area. We had breakfast at The Row. We jumped on a Hop on Hop Off Trolley, drove through Music Row (a quick drive through the area is perfect). We drove by Taylor Swift’s studio.. and she was there! We went to the Parthenon, only 20 minute walk, situated right near Vanderbilt University. The life size Grecian replica is located in Centennial Park. There is some interesting information located at the entrance to the Parthenon with regard to the women who were involved in the passing of the 19th amendment.
12 SOUTH: Cute boutiques, endless food options. This was by far my favorite area in Nashville that we visited. If you are from PA, it was reminiscent of West Chester for me, even New Hope (Bucks County). A vibrant street with a ton of great food options.
We had brunch at Josephine’s. The chef is from Hanover, PA. There was scrapple on the menu, and La Colombe Coffee. I felt right at home. I ordered chicken and waffles, probably one of the best I’ve ever had. We also visited Five Daughter’s Bakery (donuts are more like cronuts), and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I highly recommend both for a sweet treat. There are also so many cute boutiques in this area. Reese Witherspoon’s boutique, Draper James, is located on 12 South. Next to Draper James, you will find the popular, “I Believe In Nashville” Mural. There are a lot of cute murals on this street, including the tie dye “Nashville" mural (at the top of my post).
Nashville is a great place, and gaining popularity. You don’t have to like country music to visit Nashville. That is a common misconception that I have been hearing amid my friends. The food scene is awesome, and there is a lot of history in this area. You won’t be bored.
Here are some noteworthy tips:
-Reserve your restaurants in advance of your trip. Do your research prior to arriving in Nashville. There were so many restaurants we wanted to try, but they were booked. (Party Fowl, Pucketts, etc).
-For some reason, they are so good with splitting checks in Nashville. They always offered, and we didn’t have to ask.
-A carry on is perfect for a 4 day trip. I will have another post describing what to pack for a long weekend in Nashville.
-Acclimate yourself with the area. Look at a map, and map out what you want to see to make the most out of your trip. I recommend doing Broadway in one day. There is no need to keep going back to this area. It is touristy, but a must see. Definitely a fun night out. There are so many other areas to see.
-Nashville Guru is a great resource.
Thank you for coming along with me as I crossed Tennessee off my list! It was an enjoyable long weekend, and I highly recommend you make your way down if you have the opportunity.
Comment below if you have been to Nashville, have any recommendations for others, or if you are hoping to visit Nashville!