Nashville, TN has always had a special place in my heart. I was raised about an hour northwest of Nashville, meaning I was lucky enough to start seeing the city as a kid. Country music, hot chicken, and the Nashville Predators were some of my favorite things growing up. When I became older, I began exploring the more adult side of Nashville and feel even more in love with the city. After moving away from the area, I keep using my friends who have never been Nashville as an excuse to go back and visit. Keep reading to find out why you should add Music City, U.S.A. to your bucket list.
Nashville is known as “Music City” for a reason! So many of the greats got their starts playing venues around Nashville and many modern artists still flock to play around city today. If you’re looking for a more formal setting to listen to music, go to the Grand Old Opry, Ryman Auditorium, or Bluebird Cafe. If you can’t attend a show while in town, be sure to do a backstage tour of these venues! You can also hear live music in just about any bar in town or can check out major artist performances at Bridgestone Arena or Nissan Stadium, depending on tour dates.
If you’re wanting to learn about some of the history of music, Nashville has several museums focused on genres and specific artists. The Country Music Hall of Fame is home to exhibits honoring some of the greats of country music, such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Pardon, and Willie Nelson, and country musicians today. In the past, the museum has had temporary exhibits on Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, and Blake Shelton. The museum takes around two hours to tour and offers a unique perspective on the music industry. Purchase tickets here.
Nashville is also home to the Johnny Cash Museum, which, as the name tells you, focuses on the life and music of the great Johnny Cash. Located right off Broadway, this museum tells you anything you ever wanted to know about Johnny Cash. Be warned: it’s a LOT of Johnny Cash, so you might feel overwhelmed if you aren’t a super fan. You can purchase tickets in advance here.
Over the years, Nashville has turned into a foodie city. Here, you’ll find everything from donuts made from biscuit dough to hot chicken to incredible southern fusion eats. Whatever flavor you’re looking for, Nashville is sure to have something to fit the bill.
In Nashville, you can find light breakfasts, traditional southern breakfasts, and amazing brunch options. If you’re wanting a trendy, small breakfast, be sure to check out Biscuit Love. Here, you will find one of the most sought after items in all of Nashville: bonuts. There are currently two locations, with a third set to open soon. If you’re looking for more of a brunch option, be sure to check out South on Music Row or Acme Feed & Seed on Broadway. Both feature amazing dishes and delicious drinks – mimosa anyone? For a big breakfast, head over to Loveless Cafe, a motel turned restaurant with food you are going to remember forever.
Whether you’re looking for traditional southern comfort food, amazing burgers, street tacos, or other yummy bites, Nashville has a restaurant for every taste. Some of my favorites are the burger joints around town. At The Pharmacy, you can eat just about any burger their cooks have thought up, sip on a delicious local brew, and take in some sunlight on their gorgeous beer garden. Looking for a less-chill burger joint? Head over to Pinewood Social, where you can bowl or splash in the patio pool while enjoying your meal. Mas Tacos is always a solid option, where you can enjoy a variety of tacos. Finally, a trip to Nashville isn’t complete without eating Nashville’s signature Hot Chicken. The two best hot chicken places in town are Prince’s and Hattie B’s (the latter is my personal favorite…get the pimento mac n’ cheese).
My personal favorite place in Nashville for nightlife is Broadway, which you can read about here. If you’re looking for other nightlife destinations, check out the list below!
My favorite bar on Music Row is The Patterson House, a hidden gem in a nondescript retail building on Division St. At the Patterson house, you’ll enjoy well-crafted cocktails, delicious food, and a memorable experience. You can order a cocktail off of their extensive menu, or tell the barman what flavors you like and have them mix something up that is catered to you – but please only do the latter if it’s on a slow night. You can find The Patterson House at 1711 Division St. any day after 5 PM.
Another delightful cocktail bar is Bar Sovereign. Located on 5th Ave, Bar Sovereign pops up out of nowhere. Here, you will sip cocktails in an eclectic, laid back room while listening to enjoyable music. The bartenders here really know their stuff and are sure to mix up something you’ll love. You’ll find Bar Sovereign at 514 5th Ave South after 5 P.M.
If you’re looking for a dive bar in the area, look no further than Springwater Supper Club and Lounge. Here, you can drink a beer off of their extensive beer menu (they don’t serve liquor), play some darts, and listen to cover bands. If you’re a fan of the Black Keys, you might recognize this bar from their “Little Black Submarines” music video. There is usually a $5 cover and they only take cash. You can find Springwater at 115 27th Ave.
Another dive is Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern, where you can listen to live honky-tonk without the touristy aspect of Broadway. There’s usually an older crowd at the Idle Hour early in the night, but that thins out and the young people start pouring in around 11. There is no cover at the Idle Hour and they only serve beer and wine. You can find Bobby’s at 1028 16th Ave S.
Nashville is home to the Nashville Predators hockey team, the Tennessee Titans football team, the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team, and the various athletic teams of Vanderbilt University. Essentially, it’s the place to be if you’re a sports nut.
One of my favorite things in the world to do is going to hockey games. Hockey is fast paced, has fights, and allows some of the world’s best athletes to show off their talents *cough Pekka Rinne cough*. If you ever have the chance to go to a home game at Bridgestone Arena, take it! The atmosphere at Bridgestone is so unique, allowing every patron to feel like they’re watching their hometown team play. If you aren’t able to get tickets to a game, make sure you are in one of the various bars and restaurants on Broadway to watch the game, especially if the game is during the playoffs. Check out the schedule here and find tickets here.
If you’re more of a football fan, then the Tennessee Titans are the team for you! The Titans take the field at home at Nissan Stadium, which is on the river in Nashville. While they haven’t won a Superbowl, they have appeared once and fans are hopeful they will make another soon. Find the Titans schedule here and purchase tickets here. If you are unable to find tickets to a game, be sure to watch it at one of the bars on Broadway. The stadium is just over the pedestrian bridge and fans flock to Broadway before and after the game.
The Nashville Sounds are a minor league baseball team associated with Oakland Athletics. The Sounds play at First Tennessee Park and games are always a blast to go to. During breaks, traditional country music blasts through the loud speakers and fans are encouraged to sing along. Find the Sounds schedule here and get tickets to a game here.
Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James store, a Sprinkle’s Cupcake ATM, and the now iconic “I Believe in Nashville” mural are all staples of 12 South. 12 South is a trendy, residential area near Lipscomb University and is full of things to do. Sip some coffee and curl up with a book at Frothy Monkey on the patio, browse the boutiques in the area, and enjoy the day!
A trip to Nashville isn’t complete without stopping by the West End. Nashville’s West End is home to tons of restaurants, boutiques, Vanderbilt University, and Centennial Park. On sunny days, you’ll find the park filled with people lounging around, throwing frisbees, or going for a jog. The park is home to a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, which can be toured for a small fee – find info here. If you’re visiting in the spring or fall, you can catch live music in the park at Musicians Corner while chowing down on food from the local food trucks that hang around. If you’re visiting in the summer, catch the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. In the winter during snow, sled down the small slopes that the park has to offer.
After reading this guide, you should be ready to check out Music City! What’s your favorite part of Nashville? Let me know in the comments below!