Traveling to Nashville? Read my tips and suggestions for a fun weekend in Nashville!
The first time I went to Nashville, I absolutely fell in love with it. There’s so much to see and do there, no matter what your interests are, anywhere from history to honky tonks.
For Kyle’s birthday this year, we decided to take a road trip to Nashville, a city that he has never been to before. It was also Columbus Day weekend, so we got to spend an extra day soaking it all in. Needless to say, we had an absolute blast. Nashville continues to be one of my favorite cities, and even though I’ve gone twice before, on this trip, we did a lot of things that I had never actually done before.
As soon as I got home from work, Kyle and I hit the road to get to Nashville. I slept most of the way because my job has me working from 6 am to 2:30 pm, but it worked out because I was reenergized for our first night out in Music City.
One of the Nashville spots that everyone seems to rave about is Pinewood Social. I had never been able to make it there before, but it was a must stop on this trip because Kyle wanted to go for his own reasons. He’s a big fan of Anthony Bourdain, and he mentioned Pinewood Social on his show, Parts Unknown.
We were actually bummed when we got there because we found out the kitchen was closed. It had literally closed minutes before, but we still stayed to have a couple drinks.
For those that haven’t been to Pinewood Social, it’s a restaurant, bar, and a bowling alley all rolled into one. We didn’t stay to play a game of bowling because we were so hungry, but we did enjoy our drinks.
As much as I wanted to stay and bowl a little at Pinewood Social, ya girl was starving, so food was high on the priority list. For a quick bite, we ended up downtown at Sun Café. It was pretty busy when we got there, so it was a little frustrating when we were trying to find a seat. They don’t have a hostess, so everything is first come, first serve. Luckily, a nice man that was leaving offered to give us one of his seats, which was next to an empty one.
Sun Café is just your typical diner, and they do have a couple beers to drink if you’re looking to indulge. I can’t say that there was anything special about it. It just happened to be open when we were looking for a bite to eat.
Getting Nashville hot chicken was high on the priority list for Kyle, and Hattie B’s is apparently the best in the biz. They have multiple locations, and they always seem to be busy. We went around lunchtime, and the line was way out the door. It was 100% worth the wait though. When we were done eating, we were scheming on making another visit before we went back home. It was so good y’all. If you don’t want to wait, you can always order online and get it to go. Either way, this has to be on your list of restaurants to visit when you’re in Nashville.
Extra tip: Their parking lot is the tiniest, and it’s pretty much always full. You’ll need to find a parking spot and walk. You may have to park a few blocks away to stay out of the ‘residents only’ street parking areas.
Parthenon and Centennial Park
It seemed like everywhere we wanted to go in Nashville had some kind of event going on during the weekend we were visiting. When we were trying to get to the Parthenon, traffic to the parking lot was really backed up. With a quick Google search, I found out a culture festival was happening outside of the Parthenon at Centennial Park, and apparently it was the place to be that day.
Before we took a walk around the festival, we went inside the Parthenon. Usually admission is $6, but during special occasions, it’s free. This was one of those occasions. The museum is two floors, and it’s a full-scale replica of the original one in Athens.
The Parthenon is the centerpiece of Centennial Park. On this particular day, Centennial Park was full of several booths, stages, and food trucks for the Nashville Cultural Festival. Throughout the day, they had dance and musical performances on different stages. There were also food trucks and vendors serving up some authentic cultural favorites. Kyle and I had some lumpia from one of the Filipino vendors. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as good as my mom’s, but it was still good.
People participating in the festival were dressed in customary clothing from their respective countries. You could also walk around the festival and colorful decorations representative of each country, and you could learn a little bit more about some of their customs and traditions.
It was definitely a fun event to accidentally bump into.
Honky Tonk Hoppin’
After getting in some culture, we decided to take a little stroll down Broadway to visit some honky tonks. Even though it was still early in the afternoon, Broadway was still crazy packed, but not nearly as packed as it had been on some of my previous visits.
Our first stop was the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. I had only ever been to the Tootsie’s location at the Nashville airport, so I was excited to finally go. Tootsie’s has three stages on three separate floors and a rooftop bar. Tootsie’s has been around since 1960, and it’s still one of Nashville’s most popular honky tonks. On our visit, we went to all three floors and chose the one that was the least crowded, and it ended up being awesome. They were doing some open mic performances with a house band that included a fiddle player who was absolutely amazing. At one point, one of the musicians who signed up sang a song an original song about 69, and he got in trouble, but Kyle thought it was hilarious and even gave the guy a compliment on the way out.
After leaving Tootsie’s, we walked over to The Stage. I had actually been to The Stage on my last visit to Nashville. It was featured in the film, Country Strong. Now y’all know I have an obsession with mules, and I had the best mule of the trip here. It wasn’t a traditional Moscow mule. It was one of the house specials, and it tasted like apple pie. It was so freakin’ good. I wish I could have another one now.
At The Stage, we went upstairs to the balcony stage and listened to music up there and then hung out on the rooftop bar for a little while before heading to Robert’s Western World. We only stayed for one song because the band went on break right after that, so we ended up not even getting a drink there.
For dinner, we went back to one of my favorite Nashville restaurants – Monell’s. I first went to Monell’s when I met up with my blog friends, Christina and Erica. I was excited to bring Kyle here because I knew he’d love the concept of the restaurant just as much as I did.
At Monell’s, you get sat at a big table with people you don’t know. You’re not allowed to use your phone, so you’re expected to engage in conversation with everyone at the table. Dinner is served family style with bowls passed around the table, and it’s all you can eat, so if a bowl of something runs out, you can request more. You get multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and trust me when I say it’s impossible to leave anything but full. It’s so much food, and it’s all hearty, delicious soul food.
After a filling meal, we headed to Sutler Saloon to get a couple drinks and hear some more live music. Sutler Saloon is located away from the craziness of Broadway, so it was easy for us to get in, grab a couple seats at the bar, and order something tasty. I had one of their signature mules called the Melrose Mule. It legit tasted like pink lemonade. It was so good, I had to have two.
I don’t know the name of the band that was playing, but they were pretty awesome. One thing I love about Nashville is that you can wander into almost any bar and find some kind of music playing. There’s so much talent in Nashville, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing acts I’ve seen on just three trips to this city.
John Seigenthaler Bridge
Our last stop of the night was to the John Seigenthaler pedestrian bridge. Word on the street is that you can see some pretty incredible views of the city from on top of the bridge, and I have to concur. We went at night, but I bet the views during the day are beautiful as well.
What was extra special about our walk is that there was a concert going on at the Nissan Stadium. Ed Sheeran was playing, and on certain parts of the bridge, you could actually hear him and see him on some of the large screens. We stayed to watch and hear him play a few songs and even danced a bit to some. We also watched someone get handcuffed and put into the back of a police car, but that’s a totally different story.
We decided to start our day with a little breakfast, so we headed to Pancake Pantry to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve read great things about Pancake Pantry, and apparently everyone else had too because we had to wait in a long line in order to get into the building and get sat.
For breakfast, I got a sweet potato waffle, and Kyle and I shared breakfast medley. Both were so good. We had so much doubt that we’d be able to eat our own meals plus the breakfast medley, but it wasn’t an issue because I guess we were starving.
Even though the food was really good, I can’t say that I think it was worth the wait. We stood in line for over an hour. Next time we go to Nashville, we’ll likely skip Pancake Pantry and try another local spot.
Tennessee State Museum
It’s rare that Kyle and I visit a city together and don’t visit a museum or art gallery of some kind. During our visit to the Tennessee State Museum, we learned that it was actually the opening weekend of the museum, so it was neat to be one of the first to explore the exhibits.
We spent hours exploring all of the exhibits at the Tennessee State Museum. They literally start from the beginning of time (we’re talking rock formations before human existence) and take the history all the way to modern times. The exhibits were so well done, but some of them seemed unfinished. There were some blank spaces on the wall with descriptions next to them and vice versa with some artifacts displayed and no explanation for them. I also noticed a couple typos, but overall, the museum is very well done and worth the visit if you want to learn more about Tennessee’s vast history.
Music City Walk of Fame
Being a fan of country music, I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame on my first visit to Nashville. Kyle wasn’t keen on visiting while we were in town, but we decided to still visit the Music City Walk of Fame. When we got there, we realized there was an event going on, so we didn’t stay too long, but we still took some time to browse the names of the artists lucky enough to get a star on the walk.
Johnny Cash Museum
Full disclosure, before visiting the museum, I didn’t know anything about Johnny Cash, and I honestly didn’t really care to. We ended up at the museum because Kyle is a fan, and we got caught in the rain at the Music City Walk of Fame. By the time we made it to the museum, we were soaked, so going to the museum was a great escape from the rain.
If you’re a fan of Johnny Cash, you’ll love browsing through all of the displays. At the beginning of the tour, you’re given a map, and you can make your way through each section to learn more about how Johnny Cash became a household name. You’ll also learn about his love life with June, have the opportunity to hear and see videos of him playing some of his songs, and also learn about the movie made about him and June, Walk the Line. You’ll see actual artifacts from his home and his life that were donated by members of his family.
I can’t say that going to the museum made me a fan, but I will say that the museum is extremely well done, and anyone who is a fan of Johnny Cash will really enjoying paying the museum a visit.
Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
This was a random Nashville find and definitely my favorite bar that we visited on our trip. Kyle said he wanted to get some craft cocktails, so with a quick Google search, we ended up here. If you’re looking for a cozy, intimate bar that’s away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, Fox Bar & Cocktail Club is definitely a must visit.
On their drink menu, they list literally all the details about the drink, including the glass it’s served in and what kind of ice it comes and pictures of both. It also lists out all of the ingredients, and everything is bound together in a leather covering. It’s pretty fancy, but the atmosphere itself is very chill and welcoming.
I started with a Thai Mule, and naturally, we couldn’t leave without getting a cheese and charcuterie board. You can mix and match, which is perfect for us because we always want to eat as much cheese as possible. You know I love my cheese plates!
They have a vast amount of craft cocktails, so you’re bound to find something that you like. And if beer or wine is more your speed, they have a selection of those as well. If you’re hungry, they also have a food menu. We didn’t try anything besides our drinks and the cheese and charcuterie board, but when we go back to Nashville, we’ll definitely be visiting Fox Bar again and get even more adventurous with our food and drink selections.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t have real ramen for the first time until earlier this year when Kyle and I visited Philadelphia for a wedding. On our trip, I was definitely craving some delicious ramen, and we found it at Otaku Ramen. The chef actually has a book out called Ramen Otaku that shares recipes from the restaurant.
Before we even started enjoying our ramen, we had two appetizers – gyoza and pork buns. They were both so good, but if you’re looking for the perfect app to start your meal, I would go with the pork buns. They were pretty delish. I can’t remember which ramen bowls we got, but we each got our own and shared, and both were awesome. If you’re looking for some ramen while you’re on a trip to Nashville, definitely check out Otaku.
Since it was our last night in Nashville and we were still celebrating Kyle’s birthday, he decided we should end the night with some live music. The venue we wanted to visit was sold out that night, so we ended up at a bar called Frisky Frog’s. We saw two different bands play, and they were both pretty great.
To be honest, there was nothing super special about the bar, and I doubt I’ll ever make a trip back there, but it was nice to have a place to enjoy some live music without going back to the craziness of Broadway. My biggest negative is that they don’t know how to properly make a Moscow mule. Such a shame. We still had a fun time though.
We decided to make one last stop for breakfast before we headed back home to Ohio, but before we got in line at Biscuit Love, we had to stop at the wing mural and get a few photos taken. If you’re looking for the wing mural, make sure you go to the Biscuit Love that’s located in the Gulch.
We waited in line at Biscuit Love for about an hour. Again, even though the food was delicious, I don’t think standing up and waiting in line outside was worth it. I’m so glad we could cross this off of the list though.
You can’t go to Biscuit Love without getting some bonuts. It’s what they’re known for! I was also still craving some hot chicken, so I got a Princess, which is a biscuit topped with Nashville hot chicken. Between the Princess and the bonuts, this was the perfect last Nashville meal.
I was so bummed to see our Nashville weekend come to an end, but I’m so glad that Kyle fell in love with the city just as much as I do every time I visit. I can’t wait to go back again and see what other Nashville adventures I’ll have.
Have you ever visited Nashville?