I just recently spent 5 days in Music City – and honestly, I’m already ready to go back!! I was lucky enough to go during CMA Fest (HIGHLY recommend btw), and got the chance to see many of my favourite country stars perform live (we’re talking Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan…). When I was not enjoying these performances at Nissan Stadium, I was walking around the city soaking it all in. Here are the things you must do when visiting Nashville!
Where to Stay in Nashville
During my visit, I ended up staying at two different places:
Holiday Inn Express Nashville Downtown Conference Centre – I chose this place as it was the cheapest hotel in walking distance to Lower Broadway. Besides the okay continental breakfast, and the fact that only one elevator was working, they let us check in early and had complimentary snacks in the afternoon that we enjoyed. The location was great for us!
Sonder Dovetail – we stayed here for a few nights so that we could have access to a kitchen. We really enjoyed our stay and ended up with a beautiful 1 bedroom apartment with a fully stocked kitchen, a nice big table, and laundry. This is not a conventional hotel, as it is fully digital (we’re talking digital concierge and self check-in process). However, the price was hard to beat, especially when looking for somewhere with a kitchen.
Important things to know
Whenever I told someone I was heading to Nashville, their response was “Oh, are you going for a Bachelorette?”. I started to get nervous that there would only be massive bachelorette groups there. And while yes, you will definitely see bachelorette groups out and about in the city, there were many other groups of friends, couples, families around that did not make it feel like I was in “Bachelorette City”.
What time of year to go? Tennessee can get very warm in the summer, this is something to note when planning your trip. As someone coming from the North and preferring cooler temperatures, I would opt to go between March-June and September-November.
How to get around? I’m not going to lie, most of the time we walked! However, there were a few days that we ended up using Uber or Lyft. The city also has many electric scooter companies and you will likely see scooters on the sidewalks, so this is definitely an option!
If you are wanting to rent a car, check out Discover Cars to compare the best renting rates!
Where to Eat in Nashville
Nashville is known for its hot chicken and biscuits, I would be lying if I said both of these are at the top of my list. However, I have had some GREAT meals in Nashville, and here are some of my favourites:
Located in the Gulch and walkable from Lower Broadway, Adele’s is on the top of my list. With amazing cocktails, a farm-to-table menu, and arguably the best brunch in the city, I would recommend this place to all.
Another restaurant that is walkable from Lower Broadway, Pinewood is located in the historic trolley barns and boasts a trendy atmosphere with great cocktails, and a bowling alley!
Great tacos and cocktails, I’m still thinking about the Pork Belly Taco I had! There is often a wait, so I would add your name to the online cue to limit your wait time.
I visited the food hall many times during my stay in Nashville. Conveniently located between my hotel and Lower Broadway, the Food Hall offers many different food options – each one I tried was delicious. Great for a larger group with different food tastes. They also house Nashville’s Largest Rooftop Bar! Check out their website here for happy hour deals and events!
5. Biscuit Love
If you are looking for a more Southern inspired breakfast, this would be my recommendation. Expect to wait in line, however it usually moves pretty fast.
6. Sixty Vines
Located on the third floor of the Assembly Food Hall. Great food and wine selection, in a warm atmosphere. Plus, only about a 2 minute walk to the Ryman Auditorium.
7. Lower Broadway
There are many different bars and kitchens along Lower Broadway. My recommendation is to walk along Lower Broadway until you see a place that interests you. Each kitchen and bar will have a different vibe, many with live music, and if you’re there for the experience you really can’t go wrong trying out any of them. I’ve been to Jason Aldeans Kitchen and Rooftop Bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge, and Margaritaville Restaurant.
What to Do in Nashville
Best known as the previous home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman is currently celebrating its 130th year. The auditorium now offers tours and shows, check out all your options here.
Known as the longest running radio broadcast in the US, the Opry offers shows a few times a week and is always an experience. You never know who may make an appearance at the live shows. Check out the show times and tours here.
3. Sports Fan?
Why not check out a game. Nashville boasts many sports teams, with some stadiums and arenas conveniently located near tourist attractions. Check out the Predators at the Bridgestone Arena in the heart of Lower Broadway or cheer on the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
One of my favorite experiences in Nashville, check out the listening room to hear some awesome performances by singer-songwriters. We were surprised to hear some songwriters sing songs they wrote that are quite popular and sung by famous artists. To note, a $15 minimum food/beverage order is required per person.
A popular intimate music venue offering live music from up and coming artists and hit songwriters. Two shows a night, 7 days a week. It can be difficult to get a seat in the famous cafe, so I would check out the ticket info here.
Sometimes called the “Smithsonian of country music”, the Country Music Hall of Fame has an amazing collection of music star’s artifacts, instruments, and costumes. A must for any country music or museum lover!
Areas of Nashville to Explore
Talk a stroll down Lower Broadway, bar hop, listen to some amazing live music, soak in rooftop patios and honky tonks. Busy both during the day and at night, you can always find entertainment on Broadway.
2. Music Row
Take a stroll around Music Row, home to many recording studios and record label offices. Many country stars are honoured with street names in the area, too!
3. 12 South
12 south is a great walkable neighbourhood offering bakeries, stylish boutiques, and restaurants (including bartaco!). Housing the famous “I believe in Nashville” sign, and Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s store), it is a great place to spend an afternoon.
4. The Gulch
Just south of downtown, this neighbourhood has many insta-worth murals, shops, live music venues, and an array of restaurants (including breweries, ramen, pizza). Definitely worth checking this area out!
Midtown is adjacent to Vanderbilt, and is known as a major nightlife hub. During the day, the prestigious Vanderbilt University is a beautiful campus to visit. At night, Midtown is bustling with students, business executives, and music industry folk. Its proximity to both downtown and other great neighbourhoods makes it a convenient area to stay in Nashville.
Overall, Nashville has something for everyone! It truly is Music City, and is a great option for couples, friends, or even families. With the flight only being 2 hours from Toronto – Nashville is a great option for a long weekend getaway for Canadian folk!