Traveling to Nashville, Tennessee? This Nashville Travel Guide has everything you need for an unforgettable trip.
Nashville will forever be one of my favorite cities in the US. From the beautiful sites to the delicious food, karaoke bars, friendly people and live music on every corner, you’re practically required to have a good time any time you’re in the city. As long-time resident of the south and a lover of country music, I fell in love with Nashville the moment I entered the city. There’s so much to see and do (and eat), and I have such a memorable time whenever I visit.
SEE & DO
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Going to the Country Music Hall of Fame was a must-do when I made plans to go to Nashville. Anyone who loves country, whether it’s old country, new country or both, will love this museum. They have really interesting exhibits and displays and of course you get to sample lots of country music along the way.
‘I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE’ MURAL
The ‘I Believe in Nashville’ mural has multiple locations throughout the city, but the one I visited was on 12th South next to Draper James.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, 12South is a great place to go during the day. They have several restaurants and shops, including Draper James. I visited Frothy Monkey and enjoyed a peppermint hot chocolate. You can also get a cupcake from the famous Sprinkles ATM, and you obviously can’t leave without getting a photo at the ‘I Believe in Nashville‘ Mural.
I love zoos. I just love animals in general, and any time there’s an opportunity for me to see an elephant or giraffe, I’m there. At the Nashville Zoo, I got to pet a kangaroo, which was an absolute dream come true.
THE STAGE ON BROADWAY
There are so many places to see live music on Broadway, but The Stage is definitely a place you don’t want to pass up. It’s a multi-level venue, so there are several acts playing simultaneously. The first floor is usually the most crowded, depending on the night. I like going to the rooftop bar and listening to music out there. You get a neat view of Broadway while enjoying some Nashville talent. This is also one of the places they filmed the movie Country Strong, and I love me some Leighton Meester and Gwyneth Paltrow.
THE BIG BANG DUELING PIANO BAR
I’m such a huge fan of piano bars, and this one was so much fun when I visited. Every time I go to a dueling piano bar, I’m in awe of how talented they are. They sing such a wide variety of songs, and many of them can play multiple instruments. On the night I went to the Big Bang, one of the guys sang a mash-up of songs from musicals because someone requested to hear more songs from Broadway. Seriously, so talented. Plus, as a bonus, they’re also funny! As expected, the drinks are hella expensive, but it’s definitely a fun Broadway stop.
Two things about Santa’s Pub: 1) It’s well off the beaten path, and 2) from the outside, it looks dodgy AF. It’s located in a trailer in Germantown, and at first sight, you will be super skeptical. I believe we paid a $5 cover to get in, and it was so worth it. Don’t let its appearance fool you. If you’re a fan of karaoke, this is the place to go. To this day, Santa’s Pub is one of my favorite karaoke bars in any city.
There are so many karaoke bars on Broadway that it can be overwhelming to choose one. Wanna B’s is one I def recommend. It’s a mixed crowd of young and old, and they have a wide selection of karaoke songs to choose from.
Also located on Broadway, Troubadors is another karaoke bar. This karaoke bar appeals to more of the younger crowd. I had a such a good time when I visited Troubadours, particularly when the whole bar sang along to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
TOOTSIE’S ORCHID LOUNGE
Unfortunately, I still haven’t gone to the Tootsie’s on Broadway, but if you have a long layover at the Nashville airport or if you want to stop and get a drink or bite to eat before or after your flight, definitely stop at the Tootsie’s location in the Nashville airport. You can enjoy live music while eat and enjoy some libations.
LONG HOLLOW WINERY
A random Google search led us to Long Hollow Winery when I visited Nashville for a girls’ trip. The have a package called the “Grand Experience” where you get to sample all of their wines and cheeses, and all you have to do is buy a logo’ed item. Pretty sweet deal.
OPRY MILLS MALL
I don’t usually go to malls when I’m on vacation, but an unexpected rainy day led to day of shopping. There’s nothing particularly special about the mall, and it has all of the typical stores you’d expect to find at one. If you happen to be in Nashville on a rainy day and want to browse through to goods, Opry Mills Mall can hook ya up.
EAT & DRINK
This will forever be my #1 recommendation of places to eat in Nashville. Monell’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience. For one, you can’t use your phone. Also, you sit at a table with strangers. They have a set menu for dinner, and it’s served family style. You have an empty plate in front of you, and they bring everything out in bowls. You put what you want on your plate, and pass it to the next person. Since you can’t use your phone, and you’re sitting at a table full of people you’ve never met before, you get to meet and converse with new people while enjoying the most delicious southern food.
ACME FEED & SEED
This restaurant was recommended to me by one of my co-workers, and was easily one of my favorite restaurants on that particular visit. Acme Feed & Seed a multi-level restaurant, so there are different things going on on each level. On the first level, you order at a counter, and the restaurant is self-seating, read: it’s dog eat dog. Luckily, I was there on a work trip, so I was by myself and chose to eat at the bar. If you want to eat at the bar, you can sit down and order your food rather than going up to the counter. I had the shrimp and grits, which was absolutely amazing. You also can’t leave without having a Mule Kicker. It is seriously one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. I wish I could duplicate it.
On the first floor, they also have live music. I didn’t visit the second floor, but I believe it’s more restaurant-style where they seat you, and they also serve sushi.
Okay, I know I keep saying this, but I had one of my best meals in Nashville at Cafe Fuzion. It was a happy surprise because when I was looking for something to eat for lunch on a work trip, I wanted something within walking distance of the hotel. Since I didn’t want Mexican food, and I didn’t want to eat somewhere I had already been, I happened upon Cafe Fuzion and decided to give it a go. I had the spicy pork rice bowl, and I ate the entire thing. It was so good, y’all, and the service was impeccable. 10/10 recommend.
Puckett’s was within walking distance of the hotel I was working at for the week, so of course I had to give it a try. I sat at the bar and since I was so tired from my flight, I decided to splurge on food rather than getting a drink. I ordered the BBQ meatballs appetizer, which was such a good start to my meal. For dinner, I had the whiskey platter with smoked salmon, and I substituted the steamed broccoli for skillet mac and cheese. Admittedly, the salmon wasn’t my favorite. It was a little drier than I would have liked, but everything else was top notch, especially the mac and cheese.
They also have live music on some nights, but I didn’t stay to hear it on my trip. I was way to exhausted and was in bed by 9 pm.
I’m a big believer in getting recommendations for restaurants from area locals, so I reached out to one of my blog friends for places to eat on my last night in Nashville. Vui’s Kitchen was on her list of suggestions, and I’m so glad it was. It’s located in Germantown, and their tagline is “Pho Real.” They use whole ingredients and no MSG. I had the summer rolls, which were so tasty, and the biggest bowl of pho I’ve ever had in my life.
OSCAR’S TACO SHOP
While I didn’t get a chance to visit the actual taco shop, I was given a taco salad from Oscar’s Taco Shop, and I practically inhaled. Granted, I was starving after my long journey to Nashville, complete with a two-hour delay at the Houston airport. If you get a chance to visit Oscar’s Taco Shop, I definitely recommend the taco salad.
If you’re a fan of Mexican food, Chuy’s is a fun little stop in Nashville. It’s located at the Opry Mills Mall. As with any Mexican restaurant, don’t leave without getting a margarita. I highly recommend the swirled strawberry and traditional frozen margarita.
Darfon’s is a classy American restaurant in Nashville with a plethora of different food options. One thing I was told to do before I visited Nashville was to try white BBQ sauce. At Darfon’s I ordered the BBQ salmon, which was grilled salmon atop smashed sweet potatoes with kale on top, and it was covered in white BBQ sauce. I’m going to tell you what my friend told me, don’t leave Nashville without trying white BBQ sauce.
DICK’S LAST RESORT
Even though this is a chain restaurant, it’s still a fun thing to do in downtown Nashville if you’ve never been before. At Dick’s Last Resort, all of the employees are given expressed permission to be rude to customers. We had straws thrown at us, a server who didn’t care about taking our order and, of course, we were given humiliating paper hats to wear. I will admit the food isn’t anything spectacular, and I can’t say I’ll go again, but if you’ve never eaten at Dick’s, you should go just to experience it and cross it off of your list. Also, kids are more than welcome to go there too, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s no wonder that Nashville continues to be one of the most popular cities in the US. It’s impossible not to have fun here, and there’s so much to do that you can’t possibly do it all in one visit. I already have a list of things to do when I go again, and hopefully that’s sooner rather than later.
Have you ever been to Nashville?