Music, food, and a small and easy city makes Nashville a perfect 36 hour town.
I’m late to the Nashville bandwagon – both the show and the city – but I am 100% onboard. With everyone singing its praises (in the past year, each member of my immediate family has gone, all on separate trips), Nashville was a natural choice when I realized I’d be short for my Alaska Air MVP Gold status and would need to do a mileage run in December. So I grabbed some Nashville veterans (Gena & Jerry) to introduce me to music city.
I’ve done very little travel in the southern United States, save for visiting grandparents in Florida, a high school journalism conference in Atlanta, a few days in South Carolina, and a night for work in Austin. Nashville was a lesson in cognitive dissidence. On the surface, it was a warmer version of Portlandia, with hipster coffee shops and locally sourced farm to table everything.
But there were signs we were somewhere different. I saw more camouflage in one evening of bar hopping than collectively in my life. I had in-depth conversations with more Lyft drivers in three days, than I have in three years (wow, now I understand the Seattle freeze – what is this talking to strangers thing people do elsewhere!). And at a coffee shop that could have been in the Pearl, I was enjoying a frothy cappuccino and perfectly crispy, chewy croissant, when I overheard the clean-cut hipster barista telling the others working there that people “they only care about Net Neutrality because it is Trump.” Eek.
Drink, eat, listen to music, talk to strangers to recommend where to do those things the next day. My suggestions below, please leave your favorites in the comments.
Everything is a 10-minute drive, be prepared to Lyft around town. If there for the weekend, stay near Broadway to stumble home at night, or at the chic Thompson in the Gulch. Our AirBnB was fine, but not worth posting a link and wasn’t in a great location and had an alarm system (but super cheap!).
- Mas Taco: Low key taco place with delicious ingredients.
- Catbird Seat: Plan ahead and grab a reservation 30 days in advance for this 22-seat gourmet dinner around the kitchen. Go early and grab a drink at Patterson next door (be prepared to wait, no standing at the bar is among their many rules – see full list in the photos below).
- Peninsula: This small restaurant from ex-Seattleites features delicious bites and G&T menu.
- Hot chicken: Eat it somewhere (here are Eater’s recommendations). If you are lazy, get it delivered via your favorite food deliver app (we were lazy) 🙂 Get it between wonder bread and cheese for a dream of a hangover cure.
- Brunch: Butcher & Bee, fresh, tasty, not much more to say. Reservations accepted. Husk. Located in a lovely house, Husk was a farm to table dream.
- Old Glory: The lovely folks at Peninsula pointed us to Old Glory, a fantastic find located inside an old boiler room. Great atmosphere and music. Perfect for when you need a break from country.
- Grab an artisan coffee at Barista Parlor or Crema.
- Pinewood Social: A giant coffee shop/bar/bowling alley that somehow you end up at.
- Santa’s: Perhaps the most unreal bar I’ve been to. Run by “Santa” in a trailer with karaoke. Curse while in the bar and you may get tazed – LITERALLY. Another recommendation from a local.
- There are a handful of distilleries around town, we enjoyed the tour at Corsair (brought some home) and tasting at Nelson’s Green Brier – conveniently located on the same block.
Nashville, I’ll be back. Readers, let me know if you want to go!