I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone who has visited Nashville and didn’t love it—and after visiting back in August for the first time with my friend Courtney, I now know why. It’s a big city but it’s got that small town feel, and one thing I wasn’t even expecting but that made my heart so happy, is there’s greenery everywhere! Seriously SO beautiful. Then there’s the food—don’t even get me started on the food.
One of my favorite parts about visiting a new place is planning the itinerary. Ask any of my friends who have traveled with me before, and they’ll tell you I’m as Type A as they come. If you’re traveling with me, you can expect a comprehensive itinerary in your inbox a solid week before takeoff, times and confirmation numbers included.
It’s not that I’m not flexible once I get to my destination—because I am. Some of my favorite moments in traveling are when things come up spontaneously that you couldn’t have planned for, but create great memories.
But, I do like to start with a plan, because it gives me a framework to work from—and also because I love the challenge of creating one. I love looking at the list of all the things I want to do and places I want to eat in a city (thank you always, Pinterest), then arranging those things in a way that makes most sense considering location, time of day, weather, and so on. With a good amount of travel experience under my belt, I’ve learned how create realistic itineraries that allow me to maximize my time but also provide some breathing room so it doesn’t feel like I’m simply rushing from one activity to the next.
As I do with all my travel guides, in this 4-day guide to Nashville I’m sharing what my trip looked like. I hope it gives you some ideas and provides helpful information if you’re planning to visit too!
Signature drinks at this well known Nashville coffeehouse include the Turtle Latte, the Rosemary Honey Latte, and the Golden Latte—which is what I ordered (with oat milk, of course). It’s got turmeric, honey, and cinnamon in it, which is pretty much the perfect drink in my book. They also have a full on brunch menu which I wish we had the chance to try, but we were saving room for our next stop a couple blocks over. (That’s the one problem with Nashville as you’ll quickly see—there’s not enough stomach space to house all the yummy food options). The back lot of Frothy Monkey is also where you’ll find the famous “Nashville Looks Good On You” mural.
There are truly no words for these cronut-style donuts. NO WORDS. Like, wow. I don’t even really know how to describe them, except to say they are that good. Word of advice: come to Five Daughters Bakery prepared with stretchy pants and maybe a black coffee to cut the sweetness of these very sugary, very delicious treats. Court and I opted to get two each and split them so we could try as many of the yummy flavors as possible. Pictured: Peanut Butter & Jealous, Maple Glaze, Vanilla Cream, and the Purist. Maple Glaze took the cake for me (pun intended).
This was my favorite neighborhood in Nashville—it is SO. CUTE. We went to the 12 South locations of Frothy Monkey and Five Daughters, so after filling our bellies with baked goods we continued walking around this neighborhood, where there are all sorts of restaurants and shops—including the Reese Witherspoon’s boutique, Draper James. You’ll also find many of Nashville’s famous murals here including the “I Believe In Nashville” mural, and you’ll often find Amelia’s Flower Truck parked in the area as well.
Hot chicken. Pimento mac and cheese. Creamy cole slaw. Sweet tea. Need I say more? This dish is a Nashville staple and Hattie B’s does it well. Get this place on your list!
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
If you’re into the country music—especially the classics—the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must. I enjoyed learning about a bit about the backstories of a couple artists I love, as well as the history of the genre itself. Plan ahead with parking though—it was pretty easy to find free parking during most of our trip, but this was the one place we got slapped with a steep charge ($30, yikes). You can probably find cheaper parking a few blocks over if you factor in time for a little walk.
After finishing up at the Country Music Hall of Fame, we met my friend Laura (who we were staying with) at Adele’s Nashville once she was off work. This trendy, farm-to-fork restaurant in the Gulch is newer and unfortunately we were only hungry enough to split a handful of appetizers between the three of us, but every single one was delicious!
Whether or not you’re a fan of country music, the Grand Ole Opry is a Nashville MUST. There are always a handful of different country names playing each night and even if you don’t recognize any for the night you’re planning to go, you just might be surprised! Hunter Hayes ended up coming on the night we went, and he wasn’t on the list. They also offer a post-show backstage tour, which I highly recommend. You get to see all the different dressing rooms where the stars wait backstage, learn more about the history of the Opry, and even get the chance to stand center stage!
This was one of the spots that kept coming up in “best Nashville brunch” searches, and after eating there I understand why. Don’t think “trendy” or “health-conscious,” think “charming old diner, traditional southern comfort, yummy-biscuits-grits-delicious-and-I’m-leaving-so-full” breakfast. Basically, the best kind. Loveless Cafe is about 30 minutes from downtown Nashville but not only is the drive worth it, in my opinion it’s part of the fun. Maybe it’s just because I’m from California where land is a precious commodity, but I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed driving the country backroads, looking out on all the homes sprawled out on lush, green, beautiful land. Throw on some country music and make the drive in a pickup truck, and you’ll feel like you’re in a country song.
“A trendy restaurant, a comfortable coffee shop, a welcoming work space and a craft cocktail bar all in one.” That’s the self-description on the Pinewood Social website, and it couldn’t be more accurate. You’ll see the neon “Pinewood” sign pop up on many of your Nashville Pinterest searches, as well as on the feeds of many Nashville-dwelling celebrates and influencers. Because if an Instagrammable wall isn’t a part of your marketing plan in 2019, what are you even doing? We went for fun drinks (seriously how cute are these) and avocado toast, and it was a fun place to hang out. They also have a swimming pool and bowling alley which I’d love to try next time—it’d be a fun place to go with a big group. They also serve Crema Coffee but if you want to go to an actual Crema location, there’s conveniently one a couple blocks over as well.
If you’re going to Nashville, you have to spend some time on Broadway, where all the country bars with live music are—this is otherwise known as Honky Tonk Row. But pro-tip, start your evening by walking the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. If you start on the east side, you can walk directly into where the liveliness of Broadway begins. This is what we did, and it was such a fun way to kick-start the night. The bridge provides you a beautiful view of Nashville’s skyline, and it’s especially beautiful at sunset.
This was our first stop on Broadway, for some dinner and live music (which you’ll find pretty much anywhere on Honky Tonk Row). ACME is special though, because it’s a multi-level restaurant and there’s even a rooftop patio on top! It’s definitely an iconic stop on Broadway—one I’d recommend checking out!
Riding up and down Broadway…just one of the many lyrics to a country song describing this iconic Nashville street: Broadway. Again, this is where all the country bars with live music are, and regardless of your music preferences it’s a must as for places to check out. We were told there would be an outrageous number of bachelorette parties, but I don’t think I took it too seriously until I got there and started counting…then lost count at 47. Who can blame them though, Broadway is a fun time! We opted to do something super touristy and very cliche: the bike pedaling tour (we booked with Sprocket Rocket). But honestly, no regrets. It was so fun and a cool way to get a tour of downtown at night!
This is the church my friend (and our incredible host Laura) attends, so we joined her for the Sunday service, and I loved it! She goes to the Sylvan Park location and it’s situated in a beautiful, historic neighborhood. Again, lots of greenery and the sound of cicada bugs creating a chorus as you walk down the street.
This stunning winery is located 25 miles south of Nashville but again, the drive is one of the best parts—beautiful green rolling hills, trees creating a canopy on the road. You really can’t beat the views while sipping wine, and they of course offer cheeseboards as well. This was a fun post-church outing—Courtney (left), Laura (right), and I went together. Fun fact: Arrington Vineyards was founded by Kix Brooks, as in Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn!
We heard mixed reviews on this pizza—some said it was the best they ever had, others thought Nashville had better. Honestly, one of the hardest parts of planning our itinerary were figuring out which food places were going to make the cut—because there are just so many good ones! But Five Points Pizza made the cut, and I’m so glad it did. I loved it and probably ate one too many pieces but you know, #vacation.
I was familiar with The Belonging Co. because of their worship music, so we decided to check out their night service while we were there and I’m so glad we did! I was also determined to find this “It’s Gonna Be O.K.” mural I had seen on Pinterest, so we made a pit stop on the way there.
A rooftop bar located atop the Thompson Nashville hotel, LA Jackson is a place to put on your list for the stunning views if nothing else. We went after the church service at The Belonging Co. ended because both are downtown. It was pretty quiet—to be expected for a Sunday night, and it had also rained earlier in the evening—but honestly, the rain made for an even more beautiful view. Also, apparently Colton and Cassie from The Bachelor were there the night after we were—it seems to be a popular spot for that crowd!
Who doesn’t love a good bagel every now and then? This girl definitely does, and the ones at Proper Bagel can’t be beat. They have a crazy number of creative bagel and cream cheese options—I went with the ricotta and egg bagel sandwich on an everything bagel and wow was it yummy. It also came with a side of sweet potato mash and I ordered a lavender honey latte to go with it. Bonus, this bagel shop is situated in the cutest little neighborhood by Belmont University, so if you want to take a little morning walk with your coffee, this one can’t be beat.
For this trip, we wanted to have one day where we felt more like locals—less touristy stuff, more normal, day-to-day life stuff. Which is why we decided to start our final day with a workout class. I’ve always wanted to try barre, so we found this class at Studio 51st East that incorporated both barre moves and bouncing—we each got our own mini trampoline! It was so much fun, and a welcome change of pace after all the eating we were doing.
In hindsight, Monday probably wasn’t the best day to go to a farmer’s market, as many of the vendors were closed. But, it was still cool to see what would have been there on a busier day—and a handful of the indoor shops were open. The Nashville Farmer’s Market offers a wide variety of local foods, produce, shops, and quick-bite restaurants—and it’s such a fun thing to check out.
I hadn’t heard about Burger Up until I was actually in Nashville, through recommendations people commented on my Instagram post—and I’m so glad it was recommended! At this point, Court and I were just trying to fit in as many last minute things to try until we had to get ready for the airport, so we just split a burger in order to save room for dessert. But it was delicious.
Speaking of dessert…I first heard about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream through one of Sadie Robertson’s Instagram posts, and I had wanted to try it ever since! We went to the Burger UP location in 12 South (had to make it back to my favorite neighborhood once more before we left) and it so happened there was a Jeni’s location just down the street. With flavor options like “Brambleberry Crisp,” “Brown Butter Almond Brittle,” “Darkest Chocolate,” and “Salted Peanut Butter With Chocolate Flecks” it is very hard to choose. But I promise you one thing: no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong.
If you can’t tell, I really love Nashville and highly recommend making the trip! If you have any questions or if you’ve been before and have additional recommendations, please drop them down in the comments below. I’d love to read them and I’m sure others reading will too.
Hello I’m Kaci!
I love encouraging and discipling others in the Word of God, and I really love the One it all points to: Jesus.
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