Planning a trip to Nashville? You might be doing lots of research, reading articles and asking friends for recommendations. Today, I wanted to share a guide to the city from the perspective of a local fashion blogger – aka someone who prioritizes style, ambiance, and authenticity in my travel experiences. Check out my recommendations for the best Music City has to offer! (All photos are from my Instagram.)
Where to Stay
The most popular option for Nashville visitors is Airbnb – there are a ton all over town and they make it easy to stay in some of the trendier, centrally located neighborhoods like Germantown, 12 South, and East Nashville.
For a luxe, traditional hotel experience, my favorites are the Thompson, Bobby, Noelle, Dream, or Fairlane. All are downtown except for the Thompson, which is in the middle of trendy walkable neighborhood The Gulch.
There are a number of newer, smaller hospitality concepts in town that offer simultaneous immersion into modern Nashville and traditional Southern hospitality. Urban Cowboy and Van Dyke are two art-heavy B&Bs in East Nashville, and Bode is an exciting new hotel downtown in SoBro that can accommodate parties up to 12.
What to Eat (& Drink)
Nashville’s flagship entrée is hot chicken – fried chicken served at varying levels of spice (and arguably the hotter, the better). Hattie B’s is the most popular option, with several restaurant locations, but locals agree that Prince’s Hot Chicken is the best (and it’s the original). Pro tip: the line for a table at Hattie B’s can take hours, so skip the wait by ordering takeout on UberEats. For Southern barbecue, Martin’s or Jack Cawthon’s downtown will make your meat & three dreams come true.
If you’re like me and you think brunch is the best meal of the day, you’ll love Nashville. Pinewood Social, Butchertown Hall, Liberty Common, and Café Roze are some of the top brunch spots, and also my favorites (Butchertown is my favorite overall restaurant in Nashville too).
Nashville has no shortage of upscale dining options, and enjoying a meal at at least one is a must when you visit. Take a date to Husk or take your gang to 5th & Taylor or take either to Adele’s.
One of the things I love about Nashville is that they really take pride in the quality and purpose of their libations (and not just whiskey, though it is delicious here). Urban Cowboy’s Public House, Flamingo Cocktail Club, or Bastion serve serious ambiance alongside their drinks. For an even more low-key vibe, check out speakeasies Bar Sovereign or Attaboy.
Where to Shop
12 South is a section of 12th Avenue South that has grown into a hotspot for boutiques, cute restaurants, and murals. You’ll see droves of groups making the pilgrimage up & down the street on weekends to hit up local stores like Emerson Grace, Judith Bright, Imogene + Willie, White’s Mercantile, and more. Read my guide to 12 South for more details on all the best places to shop, eat, and photograph.
Hillsboro Village is the neighborhood sandwiched between Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, so this is a great street to shop local (Posh for clothes, Apple & Oak for gifts). United Apparel Liquidators (UAL) named ‘the best kept secret in fashion’ by The New York Times, is an incredible boutique where you’ll find deeply discounted designer clothes, shoes, & accessories.
The Gulch is a neighborhood that only became trendy in the last 20 years or so. Now, it houses some of the best restaurants in town (like M Street Hospitality Group), and cool-girl outfitters like Two Old Hippies, E. Allen, and Jessie James Decker’s Kittenish.
What to Do
You would be remiss to miss an opportunity to catch some live music while in Music City. Walking up & down Broadway at all hours of the day will yield the sounds of local artists covering hit songs for bar patrons. For concerts, The Grand Ole Opry is THE major draw for fans of country music. The Ryman Auditorium (an old church-turned-venue that used to host the Opry), is an amazing old venue with a ton of history, while Ascend Amphitheater is a new, modern, outdoor venue where concert-goers can sit on a lawn. Both are within downtown and walking distance from Broadway. Brooklyn Bowl is also slated to open in Germantown soon (it’s currently under construction).
Broadway is a must to check out, even if only once. When I have people visit me here in Nashville, they area always shocked at how much of an experience it truly is. Walk into any bar on the street and you can expect to be greeted with traditional Southern hospitality, a slew of bachelorettes, at least 3 floors of live music, and possibly a rooftop with a view – so you can’t really go wrong, wherever you roam. But my personal favorite new & classic spots include Tootsie’s, Acme Feed & Seed, or Nashville Underground. Or, walk a few blocks north to the hidden bars of Printer’s Alley.
It seems like every new bar that opens in Nashville has a rooftop (and with good reason – we have gorgeous sunsets). You don’t need to be honky-tonking on Broadway to enjoy the view either – LA Jackson, the Bobby, and L27 are all rooftop bars with a more relaxed, bougie vibe.
Want to get away for a day? Take a day trip to Arrington Vineyards, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, or Downtown Franklin for a more pastoral, bucolic vibe.
If you’re traveling to Nashville soon, let me know what you’re most excited to do in the comments below – or let me know if you have any travel questions. Natives, feel free to call me out if I missed any great spots.
Read my guide to Nashville neighborhood 12 South here.
Read my guide to East Nashville here.