Nashville, Tennessee is a city brimming with energy. Music spills out of every honky-tonk on Broadway, restaurants serve up down-home Southern foods, and history and art is on display all over town: Music City truly lives up to its name.
As a general rule, Jeremy and I are crochety old people at heart, but Nashville brought out our inner 22 year olds again. We couldn’t help it: Nashville is the kind of city that makes you want to dance even if you don’t know the steps, sing even if you don’t know the words, and drink even though it’s 2pm and you’re still riding a hot chicken high.
Spending a weekend in Nashville is like a rite of passage. Jeremy and I finally visited Music City this summer as a weekend trip from my hometown Louisville, Kentucky, and we found that Nashville makes for the perfect weekend getaway full of foodie finds, culture, art, and (duh) music!
Estimated Reading Time: 35 Minutes. Grab a coffee and settle in, y’all, it’s gonna be a while.
Psst: Planning a weekend getaway to Nashville? Check out our guides to our favorite nearby destinations:
- 50 Things to Do in Louisville, Kentucky: The Ultimate (Local’s) Guide
- The Perfect Weekend in Memphis, Tennessee: 48 Hour Itinerary
- The Perfect Weekend in Austin, Texas, 3 Day Itinerary
- 12 Epic Things to Do in Smoky Mountain National Park (& MASSIVE Travel Guide)
By the way: We’ve compiled our itinerary into a super handy, 1-page downloadable! Print it out or load it up on your phone so you can easily navigate from place to place. Enter your email below and we’ll send the itinerary right to your inbox!
Where to Stay in Nashville
We stayed in the gorgeous Kimpton Aertson Hotel in Nashville’s Midtown district.
The hotel is beautifully furnished with a modern, artsy boutique vibe and one of the best hotel restaurants we’ve ever eaten at in our lives (more on that very shortly). Plus, the Aertson is equipped with a gorgeous rooftop pool with stunning city views, bikes available for guest use, and of course Kimpton’s signature complimentary wine happy hour.
We’ve stayed in Kimpton Hotels before and absolutely love them, and the Aertson is no exception.
Oh, and you can bring your pet, too, which is a major plus in our book. Not that we have pets. We don’t. We just like to live vicariously through OTHER people’s pets. We’re that creepy couple trying to bribe your dog to be friends with us 10 steps behind you while you’re just trying to take Waffles on a walk. LOVE US, WAFFLES! LOVE USSSSSSSSS. (Update: We now have a pet of our very own to obsess over!)
Anyway, if a plethora of puppies is your kinda deal, hop on the “awkwardly cooing at other people’s dogs” train with us and head for the nearest Kimpton!
- Travel Tip: Looking for more hotel options? To find a great deal on hotels in Nashville we recommend price-comparing prices on hotels using Booking.com for your trip! We always use Booking because we love their flexible cancellation policy.
There are also some great vacation rentals in Nashville. We recommend booking directly through VRBO because it has fewer fees and more flexible cancellation policies than Airbnb – also, we’re not fans of Airbnb’s unethical track record and lax security.
- We love this bright and sleek condo that’s only a half-mile walk to downtown Nashville. Best of all, it has a balcony where you can sit and enjoy the view of the Cumberland River. How relaxing!
- We also love this cozy one bedroom condo that is super close to all the downtown action. The wood accents, modern kitchen and charming touches make this location a great home base.
OK, now that you’ve got that squared away, let’s jump into our weekend in Nashville itinerary!
Nashville Weekend Getaway: Friday
Plan to head to Nashville on Friday evening. Depending on how early you arrive and how you’re feeling, you should have time for dinner … and some hijinks. This is Nashville, y’all, hijinks are a requirement.
You’ll start your weekend in Nashville at one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in a long time …
Dinner at Henley
If you’re driving to Nashville, don’t fill up on junk food. If you’re flying, say no to those plane peanuts. It will be worth the wait, we promise!
Head to Henley first thing after you arrive for one of the best dinners in your life. The rest of the places we visited in Nashville were casual and quick, so make the first one count. It’s romantic, foodie AF, and insanely delicious.
Henley is conveniently located in the Kimpton Aertson Hotel, but it was already on our list to visit as one of the best restaurants in Nashville, so we actually didn’t realize that it was IN our hotel. But wow, that could not have worked out more conveniently!
Check into your hotel and head to Henley. If you’re already staying at the Kimpton Aertson, you’ll just head… downstairs and through the lobby. Boy, that was easy!
Henley’s seasonal farm-to-table menu changes regularly, but whatever’s on the menu is bound to be delicious. We ordered the Duck and Dumplings: black pepper gnocchi, seasonal veggies, bourbon duck broth, and big chunks of crispy duck.
Our visit was in July, so our veggies included summer fresh peas, asparagus, and foraged morel mushrooms. YEP, MOREL MUSHROOMS. Y’all, I died and went straight to foodie heaven – I haven’t had morel mushrooms since I was a kid, when we would pick them in my grandmother’s forested backyard!
Have you ever bought Morels at a store? They’re like a zillion dollars. I was thrilled.
- Foodie Tip: In addition to insanely good food, the drinks at Henley are fantastic, too, so go crazy. Just be sure to take a Lyft to your next destination – you won’t want to hassle yourself with parking anyway, and it’s not far! Speaking of which…
Hit the Honky Tonk Highway
Head to lower Broadway – just wander straight towards for the AT&T tower that looks like a cross between Batman and the Eye of Sauron – and you’ll find the Honky Tonk Highway. It’s a musical hub in Music City, and one of the coolest places to immerse yourself in Nashville’s cultural scene.
What’s so special about this area? It’s FULL of Honky Tonks!
I know some of y’all are scratching your head right now like I just made up a word, but a Honky Tonk is actually a specific type of musical venue.
According to Visit Music City, “a honky tonk is an establishment that contains at least one rockin’ stage, cold beverages, and a party that lasts all day, everyday.” And the Honky Tonk Highway is FULL of them – here’s a complete list.
The only place we’ve ever been that even compares to the Honky Tonk Highway was Beale Street in Memphis, although Beale Street has its own very unique music, vibe, and energy.
Spend your Friday evening strolling up and down Broadway admiring brightly colored neon signs, taking in the crowds (there is some truly excellent people-watching to be had here), and soaking up that energy and excitement that you can only find in a city with music flowing through its veins.
Live music pours out of every open doorway on the Honky Tonk Highway, and the drinks are flowing, too. If you’re looking for a good time, you’re bound to find it here!
- Travel Tip: If you keep walking down Broadway, you’ll eventually hit the waterfront. Turn right down 3rd Ave and you’ll find yourself at the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. This is one of the best places to take in evening views of Nashville in all its glory. The lights of the city twinkle and reflect across the water of the Cumberland River, and you’ll find yourself savoring one of those peaceful, perfect moments that you stumble across every so often when you travel. Strolling hand in hand across the bridge admiring the city lights across the water is one of the most romantic things to do in Nashville.
Nashville Weekend Getaway: Saturday
Your Saturday is going to chock full of the best that Nashville has to offer. And we have the perfect first stop to fuel up for a day of exploring!
Coffee & Brunch at Pinewood Social
Pinewood Social is a must-visit Nashville hotspot, and not just because it’s what Instagrammable dreams are made from (but like, it is though).
Pinewood Social is many things: a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a bowling alley, a pool, a bocce ball court… yep, ALL of them. In one place. Amazing! You could spend an entire day hanging out here, and many do.
If you bring a group of friends, renting a lane and relaxing in the pool is the PERFECT all-day group activity.
For Jeremy and I, the biggest draw was the food and the coffee.
First things first: the coffee at Pinewood Social is excellent. We’re proud coffee snobs, and Pinewood Social lives up! Their beans come from local specialty coffee roasters Crema Coffee – incidentally located right around the corner – and they’ve created an in-house cafe right at the entrance of Pinewood Social.
So even though there was about a 30-minute wait for a table (for Saturday, that’s to be expected, honestly) we were happy to sit on a cozy chair, sip some truly excellent coffee, and peruse the menu. Jeremy ordered a pour-over and I ordered a cortado, because y’all know we had to evaluate the coffee AND the espresso (for RESEARCH).
By the time our table was ready, we were actually awake, so it worked out perfectly.
Pinewood Social’s weekend brunch menu includes Southern classics like chicken and biscuits or brown butter waffles, plus unexpected treats like a Croque Madame, a Lobster Roll, and breakfast tacos.
If you’re feeling up for it, the brunch cocktails looked fantastic, but we’re barely functioning in the morning as it is so we didn’t partake. To be fair, they also had some coffee cocktails for balance.
We fueled up, admired the view of the city from the parking lot (that sounds weirder than it is – their parking lot actually has an awesome view) and headed out for more Nashville weekend fun.
Music Museums along the Honky Tonk Highway
Experiencing the Honky Tonk Highway at night is a must, but we wanted to come back for some of the daytime attractions, too.
Along the Honky Tonk Highway are several excellent music museums which are all well worth a visit, depending on which music genres you’re most interested in learning more about:
- National Museum of African-American Music: NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. You’ll learn all about the history and origin of Black musical genres like jazz and the Blues, the impact of American cultural and political movements on Black music, and dive deeper into some of the legends who began their musical careers in Nashville like Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, and Little Richard.
- Johnny Cash Museum: I learned a piece of Johnny Cash’s story at Sun Studios in Memphis, and the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville filled in the rest. From his working-class roots, to his time in the Air Force, to his passion and activism for prison reform and the rights of Indigenous peoples, I gained a newfound knowledge and respect for Johnny Cash. I also fell in love with his devotion to June Carter Cash, and was thrilled when I learned that they met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville – where we would be that very same evening! I know I live under a rock, but I haven’t seen Walk the Line, so this was all new information to me.
- Tour the Ryman Auditorium: Welcome to the Mother Church of Country Music! The Ryman is the historic heart and soul of country music in Music City. It dates back over 125 years, but you may know it as the original home of the Grand Ole Opry – the place where Johny Cash met June Carter. Today, the Ryman is still a music venue, but there’s plenty to do here for music lovers and history buffs. Take a self-guided tour or visit the museum to learn all about the history of country music and Nashville’s role in shaping music as we know it today.
- Country Music Hall of Fame: The “Smithsonian of country music,” seeks to collect, preserve, and interpret the evolving history and traditions of country music. With artifacts, photographs, recorded sound, vintage video, and interactive touchscreens, you’ll learn the origins, traditions, and honored architects of country music.
The Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar
After all that museum-ing, we needed a pick-me-up. Luckily, we didn’t have to travel far: The Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar is right across the street!
You’re probably wondering, “does literally everywhere in Nashville have a silly name?” And the answer is yeah, kinda. But that’s not the point.
The question we should all be asking ourselves is, why don’t they have Goo Goo Clusters EVERYWHERE?!?!?!
Let me back up. What’s a Goo Goo Cluster? A Goo Goo Cluster is a delicious candy. And not just any delicious candy: it’s the FIRST combination candy bar. Ever.
The geniuses at Goo Goo were the first to combine chocolate with other delicious stuff, way back in 1912. Their concoction of marshmallow nougat, roasted peanuts, and caramel covered in milk chocolate was a game-changer in the early 1900’s.
As for the silly name, it was a marketing tactic. The joke was that kids can ask for Goo Goo from birth! … I mean, I hope it’s a joke. Maybe it wasn’t a joke in the 20’s. Things were weird back then. At any rate, it’s a fun name and it stuck around.
So here’s what’s important about Goo Goos: they’re freakin’ delicious. Like, seriously. They’re SO GOOD.
I have no idea how these aren’t in every vending machine worldwide?! At the Nashville Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar, not only can you try the original treat, but you can try some of their off-the-wall creations. And I MEAN off-the-wall.
Like how about a Goo-Goo made of sriracha candied bacon, peanut butter, and bacon fat caramel? Or lime ganache, honey nougat, sweet potato chips, and ginger caramel, covered in dark chocolate?!?!?!?!? Stop it, I just swooned.
Other than ridiculous, life-changing flavors, the coolest thing you can do at the Nashville shop are the Make-Your-Own-Goo-Goo classes! You get to learn how to make a specialty version of the treat yourself – plus eat plenty of yummy samples, of course.
Afternoon of Sightseeing in Nashville
Depending on how early you wake up in the morning and how long it takes you to tour the museum, you’ll likely have plenty of time to spend a few hours sight-seeing. Here are some of our top picks for things to do in Nashville.
- Take a Black History Tour: Nashville is an old, southern city, and in the USA that means that it’s got a complex racial history. Learn about Nashville’s Civil Rights history on a self-guided walking and driving tour, visit the sites of the infamous Nashville lunch counter student sit-ins, visit schools that were the sites of contentious de-segration, and admire some of the many historic architectural and cultural contributions from Nashville’s black community. You can download a free guide to the tour produced by Historic Nashville right here.
- Admire the Street Art: Nashville is FULL of stunning street art! We’ve got a few of our favorite recommendations sprinkled throughout this post, but if you’re a street art connoisseur, you can spend a whole afternoon hunting down murals. Camels & Chocolate, a Nashville local, has an excellent guide to murals in Nashville, complete with a handy dandy map for efficient self-guided exploration. Or, you can hop on a golf cart and explore Nashville’s street art with this guided tour, or this one with a photographer to take high-quality photos of you in front of them! OR you can do a Nashville Mural SCAVENGER HUNT. WHAT!? We LOVE scavenger hunts (hello, we even created our own for Disneyland and Disney World) and now we’re kicking ourselves for mural-hopping on foot.
Dinner at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor
We wanted something quick and casual for dinner to allow for our exciting evening plans. So we headed to local favorite The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden for burgers and sodas.
The Pharmacy is like an old school soda shop/burger counter, complete with the kind of juicy burgers that taste incredible but absolutely do not photograph well (so you’ll just have to take our word for this one).
Try a classic burger, or get funky with a chili burger, stroganoff burger (IT WAS SO GOOD YOU GUYS OMG) or two vegetarian burgers that sounded so good I was actually tempted.
There are also plenty of wursts on the menu, and you know what? They’re not the worst. I’m sorry, I had to, Jeremy would divorce me if I didn’t.
Our favorite thing at The Pharmacy actually wasn’t the burgers or the fries. It wasn’t even the beer selection. It was the sodas!
The Pharmacy serves up old-school phosphates (which are basically artisanal sodas, minus any creepy chemicals), hand-crafted soda drinks, and root beer floats that are OUT OF THIS WORLD good. We ordered a cream soda – made with REAL CREAM! – and then immediately ordered another one.
I know that sharing an Egg Cream at a soda shop is like, definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Nashville, but trust on this one: resist the urge to share. You will want your own. Also, psst: 2 straws in one drink is romantic, but 2 reusable straws in one drink is romantic AND earth-friendly. Pick up some re-usable straws here. Look, they even have cutesy ones!
If for whatever reason handmade soda drinks don’t appeal to you (I … can’t say I understand, but I won’t judge) then you can partake in their extensive beer selection.
Be sure to try a local Nashville brew, like the Strawberry Ginger tart ale created in partnership with Southern Grist Brewery and modeled after The Pharmacy’s phosphates!
It’s brewed with strawberries, organic ginger, & jalapenos, so yum, and also I feel like it’s kind of the beer version of my strawberry blonde, ginger-bearded Mexican husband. I guess if you’re going to eschew a soda in favor of a beer, this is probably the closest you could get. And now you’ll think of Jeremy while you’re drinking it, too! Awww.
There are plenty of other beers to try too, including plenty of German and Belgian imports. At one point, they even had Kwak, which is widely known throughout Belgian thanks to its incredibly extra glass and wooden stand, designed specifically so you could drink and drive. Yep. (Read more about ridiculous Belgian beer history and rituals in this Belgian beer guide).
Whatever you order, take it outside and sit in the stunning Biergarten! But don’t take too long, because your evening plans await…
Saturday Evening Show at the Grand Ole Opry
At the heart of Music City is its music, and at the heart of its music is the Grand Ole Opry.
What exactly IS the Grand Ole Opry, though? Honestly, it’s a lot of things.
It’s the longest-running radio show in the USA. It’s a world-class music venue. It’s a community. It’s a cultural relic. It’s the home of country music in the city that created country music. It’s a quintessential Nashville experience!
I’ll be totally honest with you: Jeremy and I are not actually country music fans, persay.
Sure, I’ve got some country songs on my Spotify playlists – don’t we all, if we count early Taylor Swift? And like, whenever I find myself road-trippin’ through the South (which happens more often than you’d think, Kentucky is driving distance to just about everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line)
I’ll turn on some country and soak up that Americana vibe. Heck, both Jeremy and I spent our childhoods in places where country was popular – him in Bakersfield, California, and me in Kentucky. But neither of us were ever like, INTO country.
Still, if my first foray into Tennessee’s historic music scene taught me anything, it’s that prior knowledge or enjoyment is not a pre-requisite for musical appreciation.
I knew NOTHING about Soul or Blues when we visited Memphis last year, and now we listen to my Memphis playlist on repeat ALL the time.
So Jeremy and I opened our minds wide and decided to immerse ourselves in a musical genre we knew absolutely nothing about. And we’re so glad we did!
The Grand Ole Opry was a HOOT. Like, we had a BLAST. It was SO MUCH FUN!
We really didn’t know what to expect – we’ve never listened to the show before, and we kind of thought it would be like, a concert? But it … was not. It was a live radio variety show.
It was like listening to the radio, but in person. It was like going back in time to the good ol’ days of radio entertainment, and also enjoying an excellent and entertaining concert and comedy act, all at once. It was unlike anything we’d ever experienced.
Every few minutes, a new speaker, entertainer, comedian, or musician would come on for a few minutes at a time, in between a live announcer reading commercials out loud (which was surprisingly entertaining).
They’d do their thing for a little while, and then head offstage to make way for the next act. Things moved FAST, and we never once found ourselves getting bored or tuning out. In fact, we found ourselves laughing along, hootin’ and hollerin’, clapping our hands, stomping our feet, and totally getting swept up in the fun of it all.
One of our major concerns before the show was whether we would feel uncomfortable at any point. After all, we’re bleeding-heart liberal feminists, anti-racists, and frankly, a little bit granola. But to our relief, there was NO political rhetoric of any kind during the show – and that’s standard policy. Phew!
We were also thrilled to discover that country music is inclusive of a variety of sounds, from instrumental jug bands (which took me STRAIGHT back to my Appalachian roots) to bluegrass to gospel to Western swing to the folksy crooning of Tenille Townes (y’all need to check her out, seriously, she’s amazing) to old-school country crooners and greats like Ricky Skaggs. Who, BY THE WAY, is from Kentucky, hayyyy y’all.
Each Opry show features 8 or more musicians, many of which are part of the Opry family – and their familiarity with one another makes you feel a bit like maybe you could be part of the family, too.
We really would have enjoyed every minute just sitting in the audience and enjoying the show, but we ALSO took a backstage tour. And … Y’ALL. It. Was. So. COOL!!!!
We learned all about the history of the Grand Ole Opry, from its humble origins in 1925 as a Barn Dance show on the radio to the way country became interwoven with comedy, a foundation laid by comedic superstars like Minnie Pearl.
But the amazing thing was that we were learning all of this fascinating history AS THE SHOW WAS HAPPENING, backstage, live. Like we’d walk by a door and our tour guide would say “and this is the musician’s entrance” and a guy with a guitar walks up AND 10 MINUTES LATER WE SEE HIM ON STAGE. Mind. Blown.
We wandered into dressing rooms, both empty and inhabited. We watched musicians jam and hang out and meet for the first time. We sat on couches graced by the derrieres of music’s most famous and talented stars, and peered into mirrors where musical legends had checked their outfits and fixed their makeup before rushing onstage.
It wasn’t the quiet, imaginative experience you get while walking through a museum: we were LIVING it. We were IN it.
You didn’t have to think hard to imagine what it might have been like 50 years ago – you could just peek into the hallway and listen to the sounds of overlapping music and conversation and laughter and know EXACTLY how, say, Johnny Cash must have felt when he saw June Carter backstage for the very first time.
We were awestruck.
By the time we were taken on stage to watch the show FROM THE STAGE, I had a grin on my face the size of Tennessee and I felt like breaking into a jig alongside the Square Dancers.
The Grand Ole Opry had swept me up in her musical magic and I was along for the ride. By the time the show ended, we were walking on air.
If you’re visiting Nashville and not sure whether you should visit the Grand Ole Opry because you’re not a country music fan, let me assure you: you don’t have to be. You don’t have to know who the musicians are to appreciate their talent and passion, and you don’t have to already know the history to learn about it.
The Grand Ole Opry is the kind of show that everyone can enjoy, and we’re so grateful that we were able to experience it!
Be sure to pick up a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry show during your weekend in Nashville. And better yet, opt for the backstage tour – it’s well worth it to fully appreciate the Opry and get an inside, backstage look at a live show!
- After the Show: The show ends before 10pm, which is our bedtime because we’re lame, but if you’re still up for it (you young whippersnapper, you) why not wind down over drinks? We wished we had checked out Patterson House, a craft cocktail bar located in Midtown Nashville, within walking distance from our hotel.
Weekend in Nashville: Sunday
Before you leave Nashville, you’ll want to squeeze in as much food and sightseeing as you can.
We’ve left things flexible to allow you to set your own departure time, but as always, we’ve got some excellent coffee and food recommendations, because that’s
all we care about in life incredibly important to us when we travel. And just like … in life.
Coffee at Barista Parlor
After sadly checking out of the beautiful Kimpton Aertson Hotel, we made our way directly for coffee.
We headed to Barista Parlor, one of Nashville’s best specialty coffee shops. They have multiple locations (one of which is actually next to Pharmacy, the burger place from Saturday) and we found one close to our breakfast spot, on Magazine street.
Take your coffee to go – but be sure to bring your own travel-friendly coffee thermos! Cuz, hello, the environment. But also, you’ll likely be standing in line for a little while at the next stop, and you’re gonna want that coffee to stay hot…
- Travel Tip: In addition to excellent coffee and a rad vibe, Barista Parlor has a beautifully photogenic mural that’s perfect for photos! We didn’t actually take any ourselves, because at the exact minute we went outside to take them, it started pouring. … And then stopped 5 minutes later, after we’d already left. Oh, crazy Midwest/Southern weather, how I’ve missed you!
Breakfast at Biscuit Love
The reason we suggested that you bring your coffee with you because is there will likely be a line at Biscuit Love. Don’t worry: it looks longer than it really is.
When we arrived, the line was around the corner, but we stuck it out and it was really only around a 20 minute wait. In San Francisco time, that’s like having no line at all!
We studied the menu as we sipped our coffee, so that by the time we sat down, we were ready to go. Also, awake. There’s a pattern here somewhere … hmm.
You may have already guessed this, but the best thing on the menu at Biscuit Love are its flaky, tender buttermilk biscuits.
Order them any way you want: smothered in gravy, topped with fried chicken, burger-style with pimento cheese and bacon jam (Jeremy’s choice), fried and topped with lemon mascarpone, or stuffed with pineapple and banana jam and topped with cream cheese icing and pecans. Did you hear that? I just audibly drooled.
If you’re feeling gluten-free and incredibly left out, there are gluten-less items on the menu here, but they aren’t biscuits.
There are cheese grits and breakfast hash and a surprisingly good shaved brussel sprout salad topped with poached eggs (full confession: that’s what I ordered, because after 3 days of gluttony, my stomach was trying to kill me. Which means I will have to come back and take care of my lingering food regret at some point).
After you’ve dived into a metaphorical pool of buttery biscuits, dust those crumbs off your shirt and let’s get going! Music City is waiting.
- Travel Tip: This location of Biscuit Love is located in a rad neighborhood called The Gulch, which is a great place to wander around and explore. Close to Biscuit Love you’ll find one of the most iconic Nashville murals: “Nashville What Lifts You,” or more as it’s perhaps more commonly known, “those really cool wings.” Check it out on 11th Avenue South.
- Foodie Tip: Hungry for more biscuits & biscuit accessories? Learn to make these classic Southern treats yourself in a Biscuits & Breakfast cooking class, taught by creator of an Emmy-award winning documentary about – you guessed it – biscuits. You’ll learn all about the history of biscuits and how to make a proper Southern biscuit, and also, hello, you’ll get to eat biscuits. And gravy. We could not be more gutted that we didn’t have time to take the class ourselves!
There’s no better way to recover after a biscuity breakfast than with a nice stroll.
We recommend spending some time after breakfast exploring The Gulch, where Biscuit Love is located. But another perfect spot for strolling and exploring is 12South!
We found out about 12South from a friendly Lyft driver on our first night in Nashville, and knew absolutely nothing about it other than that it was a cool place to walk around. Well, it was!
We had no expectations and nowhere specific in mind to go, so we just wandered around and found some incredibly rad places. We recommend exploring all the way from Sevier Park to the 12South Flats.
12South is full of cool vintage stores, delicious places to eat, street art, and just enough options for dessert that we managed to work up an appetite again. I know: we are eating machines. If eating & travel were Olympic sports, we’d be too lazy to actually compete, but we’d probably still qualify.
We picked Five Daughters Bakery for an epic, beautiful 100-layer donut, which I immediately fell in love with and spent a ridiculously long period of time gazing lovingly at before devouring every last buttery crumb.
If you go, AND YOU NEED TO GO, you’ll want to order the Chocolate Sea Salt. And whatever’s seasonal is probably good too. But according to copious donut-eating research (THIS IS MY JOB OKAY) chocolate sea salt is the best one. So.
- Travel Tip: Be sure to stop by the “I Believe in Nashville” mural for a photo op! There’s also a GIANT rainbow Nashville mural at 2705 12th Ave. S. You’ll see these (and a bunch of other gorgeous murals) on this Nashville Street Art tour by golf cart!
- Dessert Tip: If you can make it to 12South on Saturday around lunchtime, you’ll catch the S’more Love food truck in front of Imogene & Willie. Sharing a heart-shaped, gooey s’more is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Nashville!
More Sightseeing in Nashville
You’ve still got time left to explore Nashville! Don’t panic, but we have a bunch more suggestions for you to pick from.
- Take a Food Tour: Look, I know it’s insane to suggest that you could possibly have room for MORE FOOD during your trip to Nashville. But … OK, sure, it’s insane. Whatever. I’m not here to judge you, I’m here to eat whatever you can’t finish and encourage you to order dessert just so I can have a bite or 3. Anyway, if you’ve still got room, this food and sightseeing tour of Nashville combines my 2 favorite things (um, travel and eating, in case it wasn’t obvious).
- Tour Tennessee Whiskey Distilleries (& Breweries): You’re in Tennessee Whiskey country, so how about hitting some distilleries? It’s easiest to do with a driver, not to mention a lot safer, so we recommend booking a tour to take care of the transportation. Hop on a golf cart and visit four breweries and distilleries, as well as seeing Nashville’s iconic murals, on this 2-hour tour. You’ll learn all about Whiskey, and moonshine, and Quinoa Whiskey (um?) at 3 Tennessee distilleries on this 6-hour tour.
- Take a Night Tour: All that eating and drinking means you’re ready to sit back and relax right? Luckily on this open-air trolley tour, you can experience Nashville after dark! Stop along the route for an up-close view of some of the most legendary spots in the city like Music Row, the Ryman Auditorium, and Jefferson Street and get acquainted with the rhythm and blue scene.
- Squeeze in some more culture: Nashville is brimming with history and art and museums and music, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to go. But thankfully, the Nashville Sightseeing Pass covers a LOT of places, so you can take your pick!
Nashville Hot Chicken for Lunch
Yes y’all, we saved the best for last: Nashville Hot Chicken.
I actually first tried hot chicken in Louisville – a few restaurants selling Nashville style hot chicken have migrated north in recent years (more information in our restaurant guide to Louisville).
As a Kentucky girl, I have a deep-seated appreciation for crispy, breaded chicken – but Nashville takes fried chicken to a level of its own. Spices are worked straight into the batter and fried up for perfectly crispy, spicy, delicious chicken. Throw in some Mac and Cheese and creamy potato salad, and hot dayum, our love for Nashville was cemented for life.
But as travel lovers and foodies, Jeremy and I both know that you haven’t REALLY tried a local food until you’ve had it in the place where it was invented. And Nashville’s Hot Chicken was invented in the 70’s by the family of Andre Prince Jeffries, owner of Prince’s Hot Chicken.
The story goes that the invention of hot chicken was a prank gone right: the girlfriend of her womanizing great-uncle Thornton cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with extra pepper as revenge. But Thornton decided he liked it so much that, by the mid-1930s, he and his brothers had created their own recipe and opened a cafe to sell it. (Whether or not his girlfriend ever received an apology and some commission from the chicken sales, we do not know.) The family has been selling Nashville’s best and most authentic hot chicken ever since!
Head to Assembly Food Hall to pick up hot chicken from the Prince’s stall. Assembly Hall is located on the Honky Tonky Highway, down the street from the Johnny Cash Museum, the National Museum of African American Music, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Ryman Auditorium, so if you didn’t have a chance to visit all of them yesterday and have some extra time before you leave town, now’s your chance!
- Travel Tip: Another local’s favorite for hot chicken – and we mean spicy AF hot chicken – is Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. And of course, the tourist favorite is Hattie B’s. There was a Hattie B’s located around the corner from our hotel in Midtown, but that location is popular and often has long lines – the West location usually does not. Save room for dessert, if you can: their banana pudding is amazing.
Sadly, your trip has now come to an end. But wait, one more thing!
There’s one last coffee spot that we really wanted to try, but didn’t get a chance: Steadfast. If you need a pick-me-up before you hit the road to head back home from your weekend in Nashville, stop there first – oh, and let us know how it is!
OK, NOW your trip has come to an end. If you’re anything like me, at this point you’ll have probably developed an appreciation for country music and eaten enough biscuits to tide you over for the winter. Ooh, also donuts. Mmm, donuts.
I think it goes without saying that by the end of our trip, my Southern accent had come back in full force. Yes, y’all, I have a Southern accent. But like, only when I’m in the South?
Oh hey, before you go, there’s just one last thing we want to give you to help plan your trip: your weekend in Nashville itinerary!
Your Weekend in Nashville Itinerary
I’m the kind of person who likes to carry a list with me at all times (sometimes 2 or 3 of them!) so if you are too, here’s a nice, clean copy-and-paste-able list!
- Check into the Kimpton Aertson Hotel | Address: 2021 Broadway, Nashville, TN
- Dinner at Henley | Address: 2023 Broadway, Nashville, TN
- Hit the Honky Tonk Highway
- Enjoy the view on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
- Coffee and brunch at Pinewood Social | Address: 33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN
- Tour music museums along the Honky Tonk Highway
- Dessert at The Goo Goo Shop & Dessert Bar | Address: 116 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN
- Choose your own afternoon adventure!
- Dinner at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden | Address: 731 Mcferrin Ave, Nashville, TN
- Saturday Night Show at The Grand Ole Opry | Address: 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN
- Upgrade your ticket to a backstage tour for the best experience!
- After-show drinks at Patterson House | Address: 1711 Division St, Nashville, TN
- Coffee at Barista Parlor Golden Sound | Address: 610 Magazine St, Nashville, TN
- Breakfast at Biscuit Love Gulch | Address: 316 11th Avenue South, Nashville, TN
- Explore the 12South Neighborhood
- Photo op: “I Believe in Nashville” mural and rainbow Nashville mural at 2705 12th Ave. S.
- Choose your own adventure again!
- Late lunch at Prince’s Hot Chicken | Address: Inside the Assembly Food Hall, 5055 Broadway Place, Nashville TN
Psst: If you need to check out early before you finish exploring and you’re not sure where to store your bags? Check out LuggageHero, a service that helps you find a safe place to keep your luggage while you’re running around! Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
PHEW, that’s everything! We hope you enjoy Nashville as much as we did!
By the way: We’ve compiled our itinerary into a super handy, 1-page downloadable! Print it out or load it up on your phone so you can easily navigate from place to place. Enter your email below and we’ll send the itinerary right to your inbox!
Which part on our Nashville weekend itinerary are you DYING to do? Is it the biscuits, the donuts, the one-of-a-kind entertainment at the Grand Ole Opry? Is it Cool Stuff Weird Things? You didn’t miss the bit about Cool Stuff Weird Things, did you? Scroll back up! Drop us a comment below.
By the way, if you happen to be vegan and you read this with tears in your eyes feeling personally victimized by Nashville’s chicken-fried food scene, take heart! There’s actually GREAT vegan food in Nashville, according to this Nashville vegan food guide written by A Southern Gypsy.
Oh hey, if you’re going to be in the area, we have some posts about nearby destinations we think you’d enjoy! Check out our other posts:
- The Perfect Memphis, Tennessee Weekend Getaway Itinerary
- The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Places to Visit in Louisville, Kentucky
- 29 Amazing Places to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky: A Local’s Guide
- 8 Incredible Weekend Getaways in Indiana
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Disclaimer: This post was originally created in partnership with the Grand Ole Opry and has since been updated. Huge thanks to the Grand Ole Opry for hosting us and making our trip to Nashville absolutely unforgettable! All words, opinions, thoughts, feelings, gluttonous suggestions to keep eating well past the point of reason, awful puns, and jokes that didn’t quite land are entirely my own and absolutely not their fault.