A few years ago, I was about to turn 21 years old. All of the women in my family decided that we’d celebrate by going to Nashville, Tennessee, a place I have ALWAYS wanted to visit! As the trip grew closer, we ended up not being able to go, but I never forgot about our plans for Nashville. My mom and I would discuss the trip occasionally, saying how we still wanted to go.
This year for Labor Day, my mom suggested that, almost two years later, we finally reinstated our plan to go to Nashville. We had a four-day weekend in Music City, and it was a BLAST! Here is an example of our itinerary, and, in my opinion, one of the best ways spend a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.
Where to Stay
To start off, we stayed at the Holston House, which, in my opinion, was probably the best thing we could have done. The hotel is absolutely adorable, with a bar and restaurant on the first floor, and a small but effective gym. Our room was beautiful and cozy, and the fluffy down comforter was all I’ve dreamed of in life.
The location of the hotel was perfect, only a few blocks from Broadway. It was far enough away that we didn’t get the noise of the 3 am crowd, but close enough that we could walk to and from the bars (in heels!) with no trouble at all.
The best part of the hotel though was, by far, the rooftop pool. The hotel has a 3-meter-deep pool on top the building that overlooks the city below. The pool has a cute bar next to it that serves drinks and snacks, and has padded, comfy recliners and couches, perfect for lounging and reading a book. The only complaint that I have about the pool area is that the music was a little loud for my taste, though the music selection it was all family-appropriate if you have children.
Other than a free bus that runs through the middle of town, there isn’t much public transportation in Nashville. We found that the best way to get around town was Uber or Lyft. We Ubered EVERYWHERE (Momma Foreign Fork won’t even walk 5 blocks), so our uber rides totaled about $445 by the end of 5 days. I’m sure you could cut this down, though, if you chose to walk the shorter distances, unlike us.
Okay, onto the itinerary:
Shopping in 12 South
Our plane arrived at about noon on Thursday, so we had a decent chunk of the day to explore! We started by checking out an area of town called 12 South that is the perfect location for boutique shopping and trendy eats. If you want jeans and shirts that cost you $400, 12 South is the place to be. And if, like me, you have no interest in spending money on such expensive clothes, you can always just browse like we did!
Don’t forget to check out Draper James, which is Reese Witherspoon’s store in this area! They serve you sweet tea at the door as you walk in. Talk about southern hospitality!
Coffee at The Frothy Monkey
Frothy Monkey is an adorable coffee shop in 12 South. It has cozy tables if you’re looking for a place to read or work, with both outdoor and indoor seating. It also has some great drinks to sip on! I had a delicious iced chai.
Explore the Murals
There were so many beautiful murals in 12 South, and we had so much fun taking photos with them! The infamous “I Believe in Nashville” mural is here, perfect for a photo opp!
Donuts at Five Daughters Donuts
Five Daughters Bakery is famous for the 100-layer donut, which is pretty much just a fancy name for a cronut (100 layers of croissant dough, deep fried like a donut and topped with donut toppings/fillings). We got the Elvis (peanut butter and bacon) and the brownie batter. The filling really did taste like brownie batter!!! This place is just sinful and a MUST try.
Walk around Broadway
At around 5:00, we were ready to hit the Broadway scene. Broadway is the heart of downtown, and a country-music-lover’s dream. About four blocks of Broadway are lined with “honkey tonks” or bars that play live music from the minute they open at about 10 am until the minute they close at 2 am. The bars sound like they’re in competition. Who can play their country music the loudest?!
We walked the street and explored and stopped at a few places to get pre-dinner sips and nibbles.
Live on the Green (in August)
If you’re in Nashville in August, make it a point not to miss Live on the Green, a music festival in the heart of town where all the locals go. They had live performers as well as tons of food trucks and cute artisan stands.
ACME Feed and Seed
If you come at any other point of the year, I’d recommend spending your first night at ACME Feed and Seed, a three-story restaurant on Broadway. Each floor serves a different type of food (burgers, sushi, etc.), and you can bring whatever you’d like to the rooftop bar. I didn’t get a chance to try this restaurant myself, but I’ve heard that, though the food isn’t incredible, the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
Food Tour of Historic Downtown Nashville with Dabble
We started off our first full day with a food tour of historic downtown Nashville through a company called Dabble. We had a three-hour tour starting at 10:30 that showed us the food that has shaped Nashville, including barbecue, hot chicken, pralines, bushwhackers, and more. This was such a fun way to see the city!
Tour the Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is the first true home of the Grand Ole Opry. It originally began as a church, but over the years transformed into a performance venue for some of the best names in country music. The Ryman is no longer the home of the Grand Ole Opry, but it still hosts regular performances, which you can get tickets to! Make sure to do a tour of the auditorium and watch the history video at the top of the steps. You can even record your own song in a recording studio at the auditorium if you’re a better singer than I!
Dinner at Butchertown Hall in Germantown
Butchertown Hall was definitely off the beaten path but was SO yummy. The restaurant is known for its guacamole and queso (the queso is INCREDIBLE and you get a huge serving), but we were also big fans of the shrimp and grits. My mom said that they were the best grits she’s ever had!
Line Dancing at Wild Horse Saloon
We did a lot of bar hopping on our first night in town, but our favorite thing to do was try out some line dancing lessons at the Wild Horse Saloon. The Wild Horse has a stage for performers to play on, and every couple of hours the staff will teach the crowd how to line dance. I felt so country! Make sure to look at the schedule before you go so you know when the lessons will take place throughout the day.
Tour Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry
Touring backstage at the Grand Ole Opry was, by far, our favorite activity of the trip. The tour takes you through the new host of the Grand Ole Opry, including the dressing rooms the legends have stayed in over the years. You can also stand and take photos on the center of the Opry stage. It’s so cool to walk where so many popular country music stars have walked. You can also see the mailboxes and plaques of all of the 211 people/groups inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Make sure to buy tickets online before you go.
Brunch at Henrietta Red
Henrietta Red had a great brunch and a beautiful décor! My recommendations would be the pancakes, topped with lemon curd, blueberry jam, and granola, and the mushroom polenta. We ate until we were stuffed!
Walk the Nashville Famers Market
The Nashville Farmers Market is only a 10-minute walk from Henrietta Red that takes you through the beautiful Bicentennial Park. We didn’t eat at any of the lunch stands because we had just eaten breakfast at Henrietta Red, but we browsed the fresh produce and the local goods being sold.
We ended our time at the farmers market by sampling Jeni’s Ice Cream… The BEST ice cream in the world. We each got “the trio,” which allows you to get three half-scoops of their delicious flavors. I got the Strawberry Buttermilk, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, and the Brown Butter Almond Brittle. All were INCREDIBLE. I wanted to take 8 million pints home with me! Special shout out goes to the Green Mint Chip flavor, which was delicious as well.
Nashville Centennial Park
Once we left Bicentennial park we headed over to… Centennial Park! The Centennial Park is home to the world’s only life size replica of the Greek Parthenon. The Parthenon is fun to see from the outside, but it’s also a fully functioning museum on the inside, featuring the history of the park as well as a few art exhibits. This was very fun for a quick thing to do, and the park is gorgeous!
Dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center: Ravello
Even if you’re not guests at the Opryland Resort, you can still go there for dinner. If you haven’t seen the Opryland Resort yet, I would recommend setting aside an hour or two just to explore! According to my uber driver, it’s the largest hotel on this side of the Mississippi!
There are plenty of great dinner options inside the resort, but we chose Ravello, the Italian restaurant. It is beautifully situated on a patio in the middle of a garden filled with trees, waterfalls, flowers, and twinkly lights. It feels like a jungle, but it’s all indoors, in the middle of the hotel! This was a perfect fancy meal before our big night out at the Opry.
Nashville Grand Ole Opry Show
Of course, no trip to Nashville, Tennessee is complete without a night out at the Grand Ole Opry. Shows play 4 days a week and there are normally shows at 7:00 and 9:30 each night. Each show typically has about four performers that play for a half an hour each throughout the night. Not only will the lineup include country singers, it will also feature square dancers, comedians, talk show hosts, fiddlers, and much more. Truly, there is not a bad seat in the house. The venue can seat about 4,400 spectators; we were fairly close to the top of the seats, but we were able to see perfectly.
Breakfast at Biscuit Love
We started our Sunday off with brunch at Biscuit Love, a brunch restaurant in The Gulch. Biscuit Love is home to East Nasty, voted America’s BEST sandwich. Be prepared to either get to Biscuit Love early (around 8 am) or to wait in line for about an hour and a half. As visitors wait in a line out the door in rain or shine, the restaurant staff hands out umbrellas and menus.
Truth be told, I wasn’t crazy about Biscuit Love. I thought that the biscuits were a little dry on the Southern Benny, and the brussels sprouts dish that I got was nothing special. The saving grace for the restaurants was its bonuts, which were balls biscuit dough fried into mini donuts and topped with mascarpone and blueberry jam. This definitely wasn’t my favorite restaurant in Nashville, and I’m not sure it was worth the huge line… but, of course, try it to make your own judgement!
Shopping in The Gulch
We did some shopping in the small shops around The Gulch. One of the best ones was Jessie James Decker’s store, Kittenish. We also took photos at the infamous Nashville wings, a large mural featured on the side of a building in The Gulch. I also like Blush, which was a few blocks up from Biscuit Love.
Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame
Next, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame! General admission tickets will always be available at the front desk, but if you’re going to want to do some of the special exhibits (including tour a recording studio off-site), I would recommend buying tickets beforehand.
At the Country Music Hall of Fame, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get! Trisha Yearwood unexpectedly showed up while we were touring and gave an impromptu concert… How cool! Don’t forget to also check out the Stars of Fame across the street from the museum.
Dinner at Margo’s Café & Bar in East Nashville
If there’s one meal that I recommend that you don’t miss in Nashville—scratch that. If there’s one meal that I recommend that you don’t miss in LIFE, its Margo’s Café in East Nashville. Every morning, the owner goes to the farmer’s market to see what is fresh that day and forms the daily menu off of these items. The menu at this restaurant changes every day! I had the literal BEST focaccia I’ve ever had in my life (and I lived in Italy, people), and the serrano ham with plums and goat cheese had my eyes rolling into the back of my head. I told my mom that if I got to choose my last meal on planet earth, I would want it to be at Margo’s Café. It was THAT good.
Speakeasy Called Rosemary and Beauty Queen in East Nashville
After dinner at Margo’s, we walked across the street to a “speakeasy” called Rosemary and Beauty Queen. A speakeasy stems from the roaring 20s, when prohibition was enacted, and alcohol was illegal in the US. In order to drink, Americans had to be very secretive, transforming ordinary locations into secret, underground watering holes.
From the outside, Rosemary and Beauty Queen seems like an ordinary house on an ordinary street with an ordinary front yard in the middle of an ordinary residential area. When you walk into the house, there is a foyer on the left and a library/office space on the right. If you keep walking though, you’ll run into a fully functioning bar. The bartender will slide a book across the table, perhaps Shakespeare’s Greatest Works or any other discreet title. If you open up the book, though, a secret menu will be hidden inside. You can then venture outside to sit under the hanging lights or order food from the taco truck in the backyard!
That’s It! A Weekend in Nashville!
And that’s it, folks. We spent Monday at the rooftop pool at The Holston House until our plane flew out mid-afternoon. It was a jam-packed weekend filled with lots of activities, but I truly don’t think there was a better way we could have spent our long weekend.
Try out this itinerary or maybe just some activities/restaurants from the list and let me know what you think! I want you to love Music City as much as I did, so I can’t wait to hear what you think! Did you do anything on this list? Am I missing anything that should ABSOLUTELY be included? Leave me a comment to let me know ???? Thanks for stopping by everyone! For recipes from every country in the world, check out the Recipe Box on my site.