Why go to Nashville?
Nashville – the city of bachelorette parties and honky-tonks.
If you can look past the “woo girls” and the lines for just about anything that is even remotely trendy, Nashville can be the perfect place for a quick weekend getaway. It’s got a good balance between chilling out and turning up. You can eat delicious foods and visit Instagram hot spots during the day and then let loose at a live-music venue at night.
I recently visited Nashville with my boyfriend and while we were only there for 2 full days, it turned out to be the perfect amount of time to get a good taste of the city. We stuffed ourselves with hot chicken, (I) went shopping at the many boutique stores, and (he) got to enjoy a honky-tonk.
If you want to know how to plan the perfect weekend trip to Nashville – read on!
Where to Stay
One thing I wish I had known before going to Nashville is that the city is very spread out. And seeing as Ubers in Nashville are not cheap, I’d highly recommend renting a car unless you’re planning on staying in Downtown Nashville.
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Nash Casita in East Nashville, which like the rest of the city, seemed like it was built for Instagram. The space accommodated the two of us comfortably and had all the amenities we needed during our weekend trip. However, we made the mistake of not renting a car which made getting around a bit inconvenient.
That being said, if you decide to stay in either East Nashville or around Vanderbilt University, you should definitely rent a car. But if dealing with traffic isn’t something you want to do during your vacation then stay in either The Gulch or SoBro, since they’re both central neighborhoods and located near places you’d most likely be visiting.
What to Do
Start your first day off with an early breakfast at Pancake Pantry, and by early I mean before 9am unless you enjoy waiting in long lines. Tourists, college students and locals flock here for the pancakes so if you snooze you lose. When you’re finally seated at your table, know that the thing to get is the Sweet Potato Pancakes and be sure to use their house-made syrup.
Once you’re stuffed to the brim with pancakes, take a walk around the neighborhood and visit home goods store Apple & Oak as well as clothing stores Native + Nomad and Altar’d State. If you’re still in the mood to shop, head on over to The Gulch where you can find Kittenish and Two Old Hippies as well as the #WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural.
When you’re done shopping and worked up enough of an appetite, make your way to Hattie B’s for a Nashville staple – hot fried chicken. There’s a big debate on whose hot fried chicken is better, Hattie B’s or Prince’s. We went with Hattie B’s since more people told us to go there but feel free to decide for yourself where you’d want to get hot fried chicken from!
If you’re a country music fan, end your day with a tour of The Country Music Hall of Fame. Pro tip: when you buy your ticket after 4pm it’s still valid the next day. Now if you’re not a country music fan, located in the same building is Hatch Show Print. They’re a working letterpress print shop that’s designed posters for a lot of country music stars and give tours of their workshop.
End your day by eating and drinking while enjoying live music at one of the many honky-tonks on Broadway. We went to Robert’s Western World, which was recommended to us by our AirBnB hosts. We would have visited other honky-tonks but we ended up with prime balcony seats and that pretty much sealed our fate for the rest of the night.
Hopefully you didn’t party too hard the night before but in case you did, make your way to Cafe Roze for brunch. This restaurant also seems to have been built for Instagram so don’t be afraid to get your #foodie and #postitfortheaesthetic pics.
Once you’re in recovery mode head on over to Eastland Avenue for home goods store Welcome Home and beauty shop Lemon Laine. Shop to your heart’s content, or until your suitcase can’t fit anymore, and then make your way to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
You can choose to walk it or rent an electric scooter to get across but whichever you choose the views of Downtown Nashville are worth it. My boyfriend and I stopped halfway to sit on one of the benches looking out across the river and we ended up having front row seats to a surprise proposal!
Spend the rest of your day either exploring the rest of SoBro’s honky-tonks or head over to Pinewood Social where you can bowl, play bocce ball or just hang out. End your day, and your trip, with dinner at Husk – a Southern-style restaurant with a focus on locally sourced ingredients.
When to Go
Now you may be wondering “when’s a good time to go to Nashville?” We went in September and while it was still hot, it wasn’t so hot thatI thought I’d melt. If you’re like me and can’t stand the heat, I’d recommend some time between April to June and September to November. This is when it’s still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities but it’s also the shoulder season so you can hopefully catch some hotel and flight deals.
If you’re still looking for more to do while you’re in Nashville I’d recommend picking up The Nashville Guide! Our AirBnB hosts left a copy for us in the room and even though we had planned out a lot of what we wanted to do, seeing the same places listed in The Nashville Guide confirmed to us that we picked the right places to go.