Howdy! Welcome to my Nashville travel guide, complete with five awesome things to do and a few other tips for your visit here. I grew up just outside of Austin, Texas and have always had a passion for photography. In high school, I took photography classes and was on the yearbook committee.
I started writing restaurant reviews in 2015 which progressed into Instagram as food photography became more prevalent. As my Instagram grew and my photography improved, I found myself looking for the next challenge and decided my end game was blogging. This is a passion I find myself putting the most attention to and having the most fun doing!
An Unforgettable Weekend in Nashville
Nashville is one of those places I have always wanted to visit. The music, history, culture and vibe is so energetic that I wanted (well needed) to see what the fuss was all about! We went for the weekend, flew out Saturday morning and came home Sunday night. This was due to cheap flights. We hit Broadway both days but went off the main streets at night for a more low key vibe, although that being said low key isn’t a thing in Nashville!
There is so much to do here. It’s like the charm of the south meets Vegas – an energy that’s indescribable until you experience it yourself. It’s a nonstop party with live music everywhere plus Tennessee whiskey! If you are a country music fan or just a music fan in general, Nashville is your mecca.
Every bar and restaurant has live music (even Taco Bell)! There are so many cool areas with restaurants and bars that are walkable, so it makes it easy to find something fun to do without having to travel far off the beaten path.
I honestly loved everywhere we went in Nashville but I’m a sucker for a good skyline photo. The best spot I found was outside on the roof of Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar. Panoramic views of downtown Nashville and Broadway make it the perfect spot to snap an Instagram photo or two.
Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa is perfect for the girly girls. There are lots of photo ops here including a yellow rose wall with “Nashville” in neon lights and a longhorn skull. Cute, country and lots of girly decor is on offer. Also if you are an Aperol Spritz fan this was the only spot I found to have them.
5 Best Things To Do in Nashville
1. Enjoy your Time in Broadway during the Day
Broadway is what Nashville is known for. There are so many things to do here including a Johnny Cash Museum, tons of bars, live music and shops. It’s one of those areas the locals avoid and the tourists love. It’s loud, rowdy and where the fun lives especially during the day. We never went at night but it was the ideal day drinking spot, so head down during the day!
2. Try Nashville Hot Chicken at Hattie B’s
Can you even go to Nashville without trying hot chicken?! Hattie B’s is Nashville hot chicken! There are a few locations but we went to the one that was walkable from our hotel in the West End. They open at 11am and there is always a line, so get there before 10:30am and expect a little wait.
They also have lots of local beers on draft to help with the mouth on fire situation (which is a common occurrence there). The service at Hattie B’s was excellent – and definitely order the mac and get all the dipping sauces!
3. Visit the Dolly Parton Themed Bar, White Limozeen
This is a hotel in the West End. I lucked out because it was just down the street from our hotel. This is the home of the famous Dolly Parton themed bar – White Limozeen – and it’s definitely not to be missed. They are also known for their burger which was fantastic. There was a private event on the roof so we sat inside until it was over then had a cocktail on the roof.
If you can snag a table outside at White Limozeen, weather permitting, definitely do it! Reservations can be made on Resy. They will add you to the waitlist if they are booked, which is how we secured a table last minute.
4. Have a Cocktail at the Speakeasy, Red Phone Booth
Red Phone Booth is a speakeasy that you need a secret code to get into. We asked the concierge at a neighboring hotel and it was no problem getting it. You enter through a phone booth and are transported to a library type setting with big leather chairs and a dark, cozy vibe. They are known for their Smoked Old Fashioned and I 10/10 recommend getting it! The cocktail menu is extensive and time can certainly fly by. They have food too.
5. Explore the Gulch Neighborhood of Nashville
Another fun area to wander around to eat, drink and shop. Also Kristin Cavallari’s flagship store, Uncommon James is there so you can get a cute piece of jewelry to commemorate the trip. This was a non-negotiable for me as it was the only location (Dallas, Chicago, Nashville) I hadn’t been to.
Culture of Nashville: Fun People & Great Food
Everyone was friendly, polite, considerate and fun on my trip to Nashville. Most people were travelers in town for whatever reason, but the locals we did meet were lovely as well. All of our servers were great, bartenders were awesome, everyone all around was on the same wavelength of just wanting to let loose, have drinks, sing and enjoy life. And I never felt unsafe even walking around late at night, so Music City is safe.
When it comes to the food, since we were only there for two days, we pretty much just ate where we landed other than Hattie B’s and The Graduate which were our planned meals. We did eat pizza at Emmy Squared and it was delish! It’s a chain but if you go, the cheesy garlic sticks are insane!
Where to Stay in Nashville
We stayed at the Aloft in the West End and it was honestly the perfect location. Just a few miles from Broadway and there are lots of bars and restaurants that you can easily walk to (no need for a ride). We did take Lyft’s down to Broadway but if you are up for it that is totally walkable too.
The hotels that are the most popular are the Virgin Hotel which we did pop into for a cocktail on the rooftop, a truly gorgeous setting. Also the bathrooms there are fun for photo ops! The Graduate, which I mentioned, is popular and the Bobby Hotel (sadly we couldn’t make it) has got a 1970’s Camper Lounge that is a bar – another highlight of the city.
Bobby Hotel makes all of Nashville’s top rooftop lists. Then there is Noelle, a property that I have heard incredible things about. Again we didn’t get to personally visit this hotel but I have been told nothing but great things!
Good to Know Before you Go
The first thing you need to know before you plan a trip to Nashville is that the city is not cheap to get to, which was the main reason why I hadn’t been before. Flights generally run $500+ return and I was lucky to snag my flights for $220 return with Southwest Airlines!
Do your research and look for flight deals. Hotels are also not cheap. I originally looked for Airbnbs but they were sold out within 48 hours so again, plan ahead. The more advanced notice you have to plan the better.
Nashville is the bachelorette capital of the US so be prepared for lots of double decker buses full of screaming bridesmaids. I heard a lot of random songs that I wasn’t necessarily expecting to hear – lots of Metallica, The Killers, and you will hear John Denver, Country Roads like a thousand times!
The bars are packed and masks aren’t strictly enforced so if you have Covid concerns this might not be your ideal destination. Ensure you make reservations! A lot of the hotspots book out, including White Limozeen, so get a plan together and get your dinner resi’s locked in!