The Ultimate Nashville Travel Guide

map of Nashville

First and foremost, I’m deeply saddened by the tragedy that has happened in Nashville. I flew out less than 10 hours before the tornados devastated the city I dearly love.

Now more than ever they need your help! So please, if you can, donate to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee or by and by texting RELIEF2020 to 41444.

If you’re local (and even if you’re not), you can volunteer your time through Hands On Nashville. It will take time to rebuild, but I believe in this city’s spirit. It will survive and thrive again.

Nashville is growing dramatically, and why not? Known for being the home of country music, the city has an electric atmosphere, great eats, and one of the best local music scenes chalked full of singers and songwriters a plenty! It truly is a city that has a little something for everyone.

After traveling to Nashville for the first time in 2012, I completely fell in love with this city. Everytime I go back I fall in love with this city more and more.

I have put together an Ultimate Nashville Travel Guide, sharing my experiences and opinions of all the little gems Music City offers.

WHERE TO STAY:

The city’s economy is booming, real estate is expanding rapidly, and the employment rates are on the rise. The Hotel and Airbnb industry is growing right alongside. This gives you plenty of verity when choosing a place to stay.

Downtown

Downtown Nashville, also known as “Nashvegas,” is the heartbeat of the city. You can find all the action, music and dancing on the main strip. If you’re in the mood to stay where the pulse of the city is, you’re going to want to check out the flowing hotels:

Drury Plaza – starting at $180 a night

Renaissance – starting at $280 a night

Omni Hotel – starting around $299 a night

AC Marriott – starting at $199 a night

Hotel Indigo – starting at $207 a night

** prices were pulled March 2020 and are subject to change **

The Gulch

If you’re not adamant about being within walking distance to the main strip, I would recommend looking into The Gulch. This is a new, up-and-coming area of Nashville with lots of great restaurants, cute boutiques, and contains the Instagram famous wings of Nashville. Being close to the action and restaurants is helpful but don’t fret if you’re a little worried about the walk. There is no shortage of Uber or Lyft rides in the city, and it’s affordable too.

The Guild of The Gulch – starting at $135 per night

Thompson Hotel – starting at $353 per night 

The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott – starting at $182 per night

** prices were pulled March 2020 and are subject to change **

Pro Tip: Want to save a little money? Look into booking with Airbnb. Also, read the fine print. A lot of these places will provide you with additional air mattresses, making it perfect if you’re traveling with a group. Airbnbs also offer all the goodies hotels do! I highly recommend looking into Airbnb’s first before booking your stay.

WHERE TO EAT:

I must say, the food scene in Nashville has stepped up its game in the last few years. I highly recommend not eating bar food while in Nashville, unless that’s your thing. The local food scene will not disappoint! Ask around when you get into town, the locals usually won’t steer your wrong. Or, try some of these great places!

Adele’s Nashville:

Starting with the wonderful atmosphere, great wait staff, and diverse menu, this place is a must when in Nashville. They offer a great vegan and vegetarian menu with plenty of delicious options for all. Considered one of the best gourmet restaurants in Nashville, the price point is equivalent to the quality of experience and food.

Biscuit Love:

Located in the Gulch, be ready to stand outside in a long line. Biscuit Love has become one of the hottest tourist spots in Nashville, so there is always a wait. While the line may be long, the service is fast! The food comes out hot and delicious. I had the Egg Plate and I will say the grits were wonderful. Make sure to order the bonuts (sorta a donut, sorta a pastry) and skip the biscuits. Oh, and don’t spend the money on the alcohol. Not worth the price point.

a plate of bonuts from biscuit love
the biscuit love restaurant in the gulch

Milk and Honey:

Again, this place is a major hot spot in the Gulch. Don’t be shocked at a 60-80 minute wait or more during the weekend and of course during brunch. Don’t fret, they have a great barista making delicious coffee, tea and quick bites while you wait. 

Milk & Honey is decorated in a cute rustic style, has ample bar space, and a diverse menu. I will say this place was a great find. I highly suggest ordering the Lavender and Honey Latte (hot or cold) and order a fresh biscuit from the bakery. The cocktails were great too! I will say, our food was a little room temperature, but I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. Make sure to take a little time and venture to Milk & Honey.

The Corner Bakery:

Just off Broadway, located in SoBro, this was probably one of my favorite little coffee shops I have ever been in (and trust me, I’ve been in a LOT!) The Corner Bakery was the perfect little breakfast spot. The staff was delightful and the coffee was hot and absolutely delicious. The Corner Bakery is the perfect way to start your day if you don’t want to waste your vacation standing in line at the trendy spots. Order the Avocado Egg Bowl and a Cinnamon Bun, oh and anything involving a coffee bean. You won’t be disappointed.

inside coffee the corner bakery

The Bluebird Café:

A historic landmark of Nashville, not necessarily known for its food, but for it’s music. The Bluebird Cafe is known for hosting some of America’s greatest songwriters and musicians in a wonderfully intimate setting.  Make sure you book a few weeks in advance and make sure you get tickets for the nine o’clock seating. You might even run into a celebrity or two enjoying the show, or making a guest appearance.

Pro Tip: Places to skip… Merchants off Broadway. Blah customer service, watery drinks and mediocre food. It is overpriced and somewhat disappointing. Also, The Loveless Café is often sought after as a must do try while in Nashville. It’s a trendy tourist attraction, but honestly Nashville offers so many other options that are more up to par. Branch out and try some of the newer local eats, you won’t be disappointed.

11 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE:

The Ryman

Known as “The Mother Church,” the Ryman was the birthplace of Nashville’s musical heritage. The home of the original Grand Ole Opry, the auditorium continues to host artists and entertainers alike. Now, the self-guided tour is wonderful, but I recommend taking in a concert here. The sound quality is undeniably better than Carnegie Hall and it’s atmosphere is unbeatable. Shows are often sold out, be sure to grab your tickets far in advance.

Tootsie's Orchard Lounge

Tootsie’s close proximity to the Ryman has always made it a great refuge for some of the biggest entertainers and musicians alike. One of the oldest bar on the strip, Tootsie’s is unmistakable. It’s lavender exterior and “cramped” atmosphere is part of this bars allure. I promise you won’t regret any time spent soaking in the best taste of the local music scene. 

The Country Music Hall of fame

If you’re a country music fan, this is a must on the “things to do in Nashville” list! The Country Music Hall of Fame preserves over 2.5 million artifacts. You will see everything from Elvis’s gold plated limousine to Reba’s red “Fancy” dress. Walk yourself through at your own pace and explore the history of country music. I recommend paying for the audio tour, and upgrade your tickets to include the RCA studio B Tour. 

RCA Studio B Tour

An add on ticket to the country music hall of fame, you can tour the studio where some of the most famous songs in history have been produced. Opened in 1957, it became the home base for many artist such as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley. You can even sit at Elvis’s piano and touch the ivory “the King” used to record some of his greatest hits.

The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is considered an American icon and the largest attraction in Nashville. The broadcasting of the Opry entertainment is the longest running broadcast in radio history. Being accepted as a member of the opry is one of country music’s crowning achievements. If you travel to Nashville, you must take the backstage tour. Tour the dressing rooms and walk the halls where so many country music legends have played. Make sure to get your tickets  in advance because they are sure to sell out very quickly.

The WildHorse Saloon

You can’t visit the home of country music without some line dancing, right? Some may object to my recommendation because the wildhorse saloon is part of a chain, but honestly, it’s a great time. The Wildhorse Saloon offers free line dancing classes, that teach you a range of simple 2 wall to multi wall line dances (with all the extras in between.) Beyond the extra large dance floor, the saloon offers great live music acts that play throughout the night. The cocktails, while some are pricey, are unique and strong! The food is reasonably priced and typical southern cuisine. It’s the environment of this place that always has me coming back for more.

Visit L27 Lounge

Located on the 27th floor of the Westin, and simple called L27, this elegant cocktail lounge is available to anyone who enters. The Westin’s unique infinity pool allows you to have an unobstructed view of Nashville. One of the most unique experiences, this spot offers the best views in Nashville hands down!

Visit the Murals

Nashville has over 10 famous murals across the city. The most popular are “What Lifts You” painted by Kelsey Montague, located in the newly popular Gulch. Be prepared to stand in line! This is a tourist hot spot for the perfect Instagram photo. Also, be sure to visit “I believe in Nashville” off 12th. Preserved even after the tornados, it’s become the most symbolic mural for the city in recovery.

The General Jackson Showboat Lunch Cruise

A great getaway from the excitement of downtown Nashville. Enjoy a scenic boat ride down Nashville’s Cumberland River in the country’s largest paddle boat. Watch a live show and music from some great local entertainers while enjoying a 3 course southern-style lunch cuisine. Likely to sell out, make sure you get your reservations in well in advance.

Hatch Show Print Tour

Hatch Show Print is one of America’s oldest letterpress shops, in business since 1879. Hatch Show Prints are all over Nashville and are part of its unique history. This tour lasts approximatly 1-1.5 hours and allows you to step inside the shop to view printmaking in action. At the end of the tour, you even get to make your own print! The retail shop is open to the public, but the ticketed tours are times at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

Betty's Boots

Listen, you’re in Nashville! You better have a pair of boots. If not, don’t fret. Take yourself over to Betty’s Boots on Broadway and try on all the the glitz and glam! You will see a bunch of boot stores on the main drag, but you have to start here. There is a pair in there with your name on it. You’ll regret it if don’t.

There you have it friends, my ultimate nashville travel guide. I must say, right now is one of the best times to grab some tickets and take a little weekend getaway! Nashville is one of my favorite cities and I truly believe it will be one of yours as well. 

If you have any recommendations you’d like to add, please feel free to comment below! I’d love to learn more about your experiences and recommendations.

XOXO,

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