Nashville

My Travel Guide to Music City: Nashville

7/18/2017

Nashville is a destination that's been on my bucket list for quite some time! So if you're planning a trip (and who isn't these days?!) this guide is for you! Travel and Leisure included the city as one of the 'Top 50 Best Places to Travel' in 2017-- and I have to say, everyone I polled who has been there agreed, Nash is a great time! 

My adventure began with a plane ticket booked two weeks in advance and an itinerary of MUSTS. The planning was short, but packed with places to eat, shop, drink and hear music! Everything came together so seamlessly, yet so last minute, I kept asking myself, "is this really happening??!!"



My sister and I joined Carly and Lindsey, who took a road trip from Philadelphia. Flying from Philly to Nashville is a breeze. The flight is under two hours and there are plenty of direct options. We landed around two in the afternoon on a Thursday, got settled and hit the town right away!


Map of all the places we visited in Nashville:



Thursday:

Diving right in, we went downtown to Broadway in the famous historic district of Nashville. First on the docket was Nudie's Honky Tonk, which quickly became our favorite place to sing along to all the country hits. The bar is named after Nudie Cohn, the cosmic tailor, who created all the iconic western suits adorned with rhinestones. Let me just add, all of the musicians in Nashville sound amazing-- they could all be on the radio. But Nudie's in particular had a great atmosphere and mix of people.



Local musician, Teddy Robb.
Next, we headed to Robert's where we listened to an amazing Blue Grass band. Robert's has a rich history being so close to Ryman Auditorium. We were told to try a fried bologna sandwich, but missed out on that! Lot's of locals are said to hang at Robert's for the top notch music and down home feel.


For dinner, we headed to East Nashville and stopped at The Pharmacy for an appetizer and drinks. 'The Pharmacy' burger didn't disappoint! This spot is listed as having one the top ten burgers in the country!


From there we went to Holland House for amazing cocktails and more bites and finished up our evening walking to Bar 308.

Arriving in the afternoon did not slow us down! We fit a lot in that first day. But that's the great thing about Nashville, everything is close together and you won't hit traffic getting around the city.


Friday:

Our morning began with breakfast at The Loveless Cafe. If you're looking for a REAL southern meal-- this is the place to go! Talk about chicken and biscuits! They are making up to 10,000 biscuits a day and have achieved world wide acclaim for their recipes. Loveless is a must if you're in Nashville!






From there we headed to The Gulch, where you can find shopping, dining and some fantastic colorful wall murals by local artists. This area is great for walking around during the day. Biscuit Love is located here, however the line was so long we didn't get the chance to try any! The best place to shop nearby is a store called Two Old Hippies (scroll for pics). I've been told artists come here during awards season to shop for looks. You can find unique apparel and gifts for men, women and kids, plus some gorgeous guitars!


Amelia's Flower Truck











Our afternoon included a guided tour of Ryman Auditorium, which was one of my favorite parts of our trip! A show at the Ryman is unlike any other. The acoustics are phenomenal because the building was designed curved to project the voices of evangelical preachers. Being in the space where Johnny Cash met June Carter and country music found it's audience was a remarkable experience. If walls could talk!

I was fascinated by the Hatch Show Prints on display at the second floor of the auditorium. Since the 1800's, Hatch has created uniquely designed posters for nearly every event held on the Ryman's stage. These limited edition prints sell out quickly and rarely are reproduced, making them instant collector’s items. They can be purchased during a show in the gift shop.

Each print is a work of art created using the same letterpress technique today as the Hatch brothers used back in 1879. The hand-carved blocks that form Hatch posters are laid out in reverse on plates, inked and run through antique letterpress machines by hand.

That evening we were able to see the Yonder Mountain String Band perform and have dinner at Cafe Lula. Both were incredible!















We finished up our evening at Nudie's, Red Door East and FGL House (Florida Georgia Line's new spot). 




Saturday:

Brunch on Saturday was my favorite meal of the trip! Caviar and Bananas was a lovely host and had everything we could ever want-- even their own proprietary blend of coffee! We ordered almost every item off the brunch menu. Everything was delicious, but the lemon oatmeal pancakes were my favorite. C + B curates everything sold in the store. You can find specialty food items there that you can't get any where else! The baker arrives at five every morning to start making the pastries-- try the croissant! If there was one restaurant I wish we had in Philly-- Caviar and Bananas would be the ONE! Did I mention the store has a stunning aesthetic? I love the design! See for yourself below.
















From here we hit a few more shops! Each had a uniqueness that only Nashville could offer. My favorite boutique was Kitty Nashville. This is where I purchased my peace sign tank! We also stopped at Apple and Oak, which has the most interesting rugs and gifts. Lots of odds and ends to buy here and the sweetest staff! Have I told you how friendly the people are in Nashville? Honestly, I've never been to a more warm, welcoming city.














We finished up our shopping tour at Draper James on 12 street, which is known for it's shopping and restaurants. You are greeted with sweet tea and warm smile when shopping at Draper James, perfectly resonating the southern hospitality Reese's label embodies!









Dinner Saturday night was at Acme Feed + Seed which is located at the end of Broadway closer to the river. The 360 degree views seen from the rooftop are incredible! We arrived in time to see the sun setting, in the other direction you have a bird's eye view of the entire strip. This is the perfect spot to start your night downtown!

At Acme each of the four floors has a different food theme from burgers to sushi. The first floor has a classic honky-tonk feel with 28 beers on tap and local musicians playing day and night. The space is open and airy and has long tables that can be pulled together for large groups. Everything about Acme has a relaxed feel-- order your food, find a table and they will find you when it's ready. All in all that's how I would describe Nashville, laid back and relaxed. 

The second floor offers sushi, lounge seating and an extensive whiskey selection. The Hatchery is located on the third level, known for being the largest one-level venue on Broadway. This space can be rented out for private parties or events. The rooftop also offers yoga and dance parties regularly.







From Acme we worked our way up Broadway, popping in and out of bars to hear live music. There is definitely something special about this city and every person we talked to who lives there-- LOVES living there. Our Uber driver told us 80-100 people a day are moving to Nashville. We met groups and couples traveling from all over the place to come see what it's all about! I think another trip to music city is on my horizon! 


Where to stay:

There are so many great hotels in Nashville-- Westin and Thompson recently debuted, plus a Kimpton and 21c just opened this year. However, we were looking for more a home away from home feel and opted for an AirBnB. This property is brand new and located just 15 minutes from downtown Nashville. The owner, De Lisa was so wonderful in answering all of our questions and the house was perfectly decorated. Every afternoon we came back 'home' to rest and regroup for our nights on the town. I highly recommend staying there and be sure to tell De Lisa that you found her through the guide! She also designed a First Time Home Buyers Program to help people looking to purchase homes through a step by step process that is super easy. This is a nationwide program, so be sure to check it out if you're in the market!





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