i had such a great time in nashville over my birthday. it was something that has been on my list a long long time. thanks to the suggestions of friends in real life, instagram and facebook i found some pretty amazing places that i thought i would share with you (in case you want to make the trip). i broke our trip down into the days we were there. we left west michigan around 3pm thursday afternoon and made it to nashville by 12am (11pm nashville time) we started our day on friday and spent three full days there. i’m sure we could continue to find things to do but 3 days was the absolute perfect amount of time to spend there. we left monday morning around 8am and made it home by 5pm (made some antique pit stops on the way home).
we woke up early because 1. the difference in time and 2. we are early risers. we stayed at the holiday inn vanderbilt which isn’t a super fun ritzy hotel but when you are in a place like nashville you spend very little time sitting down. it was about $200 cheaper than staying two miles in to town. they also had a free shuttle that took you all around the downtown. parking during the day anywhere is easy (downtown at night…uber or shuttle it) but ubers downtown range from $5-7 depending on the time of night/day.
we went to frothy monkey for coffee and a light breakfast. (we had big lunch and dinner plans so we didn’t want to over eat right away). i got the hummingbird latte….oh ma gawd. i love a good carrot cake and hummingbird cake and this was like drinking it in a glass. we went to the 12 south neighborhood location and spent the morning just drinking a lot of coffee and hanging out and just relaxing.
after breakfast we walked the neighborhood of 12 south. this was the best area for boutique shopping in nashville (i thought). i love walking through little shops and this neighborhood was a collection of the best curated shops i’ve ever seen. some of my favorites:
imogene + willie i have wanted to go to this store for at least 5 years. they make their own denim and the fits here are insane. it’s meant to be worn in and molded to your body. the perfect fit. i tried on a pair of the catherine but couldn’t quite pull the trigger. they are on my list though because i cannot quit thinking about them. the store is set up in a 1950’s gas station and is just perfection.
white’s mercantile – another store i have followed on instagram for at least a year. this mercantile / general store was loaded with amazing handmade jewelry, bath and body items, clothing and more. it was perfectly curated and merchandised and was truly a delight to shop. the shops owner holly williams style and aesthetic is embedded throughout the shop. i purchased a few gifty items and my newest cookbook “nashville eats”.
draper james – you have to go in to this southern preppy store. i was obsessed with the tote’s y’all tote and the twist on the traditional prep throughout the store. plus it’s owned by reese witherspoon.
there are plenty of other shops along the street but these were the ones that really stood out to me. after a morning of shopping we went to las paletas for a homemade popsicle. the hibiscus was delightful and the color conveniently matched my lip stain.
we went in for another cup of coffee before driving back towards town and getting in line for lunch at hattie b’s hot chicken. trust me it is worth the wait (after waiting though you can order ahead on line) but it was fun meeting people in line. the people behind us were from ann arbor so that was kind of cool.
after lunch we headed to the the gulch to walk around and do some shopping. i loved the store two old hippies and of course the frye boot store was amazing. there is plenty to walk around and do there but i thought the 12 south area was more charming for shopping. we grabbed a drink and headed to german town.
we visited a few shops there that were more gallery style (not my style) but then made this weird walk through construction and field to this warehouse store called peter nappi it is worth going here for the experience alone. it is beautifully decorated with vintage leather furniture. all of the leather is italian and the people who work there are incredibly helpful. we spent an hour there walking around and admiring all of the shoes and boots.
after shopping we had one last drink before dinner at a bar on the way to rolf and daughters. we had a reservation at rolf and daughters which came highly recommended by a few friends. the drinks were fabulous and the appetizer was amazing. joe had one of their pasta dishes which was delightful and i had the heritage pork. it was good but it came with 1 rib. like a single rib. it was a delicious rib but that was the joke the rest of the trip. i would like a rib i’m hungry. all kidding aside. i would def go back there for the drinks, the homemade pasta and the appetizers. plus the ambiance is perfect for a nice date night.
after dinner we dropped off our bags and excess stuff from the day and headed to broadway to hit up some of the bars downtown. we went to roberts western world and pretty much parked ourselves there all night. the music was old country and it was a riot. we sipped our drinks out of plastic cups and just hung out. it was a lot of fun. and that pretty much summed up day 1.
we woke up a little later thankfully and just walked to the starbucks next door. (just….needed it). then we went to our brunch as husk nashville. it was one of my favorite dining experiences on our trip. it is in an old house overlooking the city (just beautiful). the service and the food was fantastic. we had mimosas, bourbon glazed caramel donuts, pimento cheese and crackers, chicken fried steak n eggs and southern eggs benedict. it was fantastic. we really enjoyed our experience there.
after brunch we went to the mall at green hills to pick up my birthday present at LV. we had more starbucks and just wandered around a bit and then headed to andrew jacksons hermitage. if you only do one tour, museum, experience in nashville you have to go to the hermitage. if you like history at all you will love this tour. the grounds are covered with numbers for the audio tour which gives you an insiders view of what the grounds looked like when andrew jackson lived here. you can spend as much time as you like wandering around and even picking cotton.
the best part of the hermitage is getting to tour the mansion. it is in it’s original condition with even the authentic original wallpaper, furniture, carpet and linens. we spent a good 3 hours walking around. it’s crazy visiting a place like rome and their ruins and history is thousands of years old and our history here is just in the last couple hundred years. it really puts in to perspective how young America really is.
the original slave houses are still up and you can walk around in them. the foundations to other houses are still in place as well. it was just an all around really great experience.
we walked off brunch successfully and were just exhausted and it was just shy of 6pm by the time we made it to dinner at pinewood social. this was another great dining experience. (plus they have a bowling alley in the back). the restaurant is insanely amazingly decorated and the food and drinks are delicious as well. the cool thing about this place is it goes from coffee bar to breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner it’s a multipurpose palace. this is a must if you only have time for a few places.
after dinner we were so exhausted we went back to the hotel and crashed so we had energy for our last day in nashville.
we woke up pretty early again and went to get in line at biscuit love for brunch. we went right around 8:30 and the line wasn’t bad. by the time we were done eating and having coffee the line wrapped around the block. trust me though, it’s worth the wait. i had french toast biscuits and it was absolutely phenomenal. the only mistake we made was not ordering the donuts. everyone was ordering the donuts and they looked insanely good. however the french toast was more than enough.
after brunch we hit up the country music hall of fame. we walked around for about 2 hours looking at all the costumes and the exhibits. the special exhibits when we were there were johnny cash and bob dylan, alabama, and blake shelton. it was a nice way to spend the morning.
for lunch and some shopping we hopped in the car and drove to franklin (about 25 minute drive) we started with a cocktail at one of the many restaurants in the downtown and kicked off shopping.
there are many little shops but i would say about 25% were closed because it was a sunday so maybe try to hit it up during the week. one of my favorite stops (other than the second white’s mercantile location) was scarlett scales antiques. it was a huge house of highly and well curated antique and new merchandise. we spent a few hours in franklin before driving back to nashville.
we had dinner reservations but really really wanted to squeeze in to the pharmacy to try the highly recommended burgers. we split a burger just to try it. it was delicious. from there we went to have a cocktail at bar 308 . i had probably the best cocktail i’ve ever had there (second to the sage rub at salt of the earth). after drinks we headed to city house for our last nashville dinner. we split a pizza and an appetizer at the bar (it was packed) but it was worth it. we had a great time just recapping our trip. if we make it back to nashville i would def try to get a reservation there (especially because they just won a james beard award).
after dinner we headed to this bar called the country. on sunday nights they only play old old school country (40’s, 50’s) the band was AMAZING and it was just super chill and a fun way to wind down on a sunday night and a perfect way to end the trip.
if you are heading to nashville i hope this little city guide helps! (friends feel free to add more places i may have not made it to!)
For more fun ideas while traveling around Tennessee check out this list of 50 things to do Tennessee0