- It’s best to explore Music City by car. Major neighborhoods include: Downtown, Midtown, The Gulch, East Nashville, 12 South & Germantown.
- The GooGoo candy founded in 1901 is a cluster of peanuts, caramel, marshmallow and milk chocolate. It is said that GOO stands for Grand Ole Opry.
- Nashville has the world’s only exact replica of the ancient Greek temple, The Parthenon.
- The Grand Ole Opry has been broadcasting every week since 1925 on AM radio station WSM.
- The famous marketing slogan of Maxwell House Coffee’s “good to the last drop” originated in Nashville. In 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt was visiting the Hermitage, former home of Andrew Jackson. He requested coffee while touring the home and was given a local brand named after the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville to which he responded with the famous line.
"I'll be a star tomorrow, but today I'm a Nashville bum." - Waylon Jennings
- Live music at the Station Inn or Bluebird Cafe
- 12th Ave South shopping
- Jack White’s record store
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Manuel’s nudie suits
- Drinks at the Hermitage Hotel bar
- Meat & 3 at Arnold’s
- Hot chicken at Prince’s
- A night out on Broadway
- Husk shrimp & grits
East Side B&B
East side charm
Quirky backyard lodging
- Crema | Swing by this artisanal coffee shop in an industrial space. It’s a pretty popular spot so you might have to take your latte and muffin to-go.
- Country Music Hall of Fame | The price is a tad steep ($24.95), but especially worth it if you’re a country music fan. Exhibits contain artifacts and memorabilia from 150 years of country music history. Be sure to look for Allan Jackson’s lifejacket and water ski from the Chatahoochie music video. The Hall of Fame rotunda contains all of the members represented by plaques on the wall.
- Hatch Show Print | After your tour of the museum, be sure to pop over to the letterpress shop founded in 1879. They produce 500 to 600 designs and prints a year. A concert poster makes a great souvenir!
- Arnold’s Country Kitchen | Don’t be put off by the cafeteria set-up of this traditional ‘meat and 3’. The offerings change daily, but there’s always meat, veggies and desserts with plenty of sweet tea to wash it down. Arrive early as there is always a line!
- Third Man Records | Jack White’s super kooky record store is a must. Founded by White in Detroit, the Nashville HQ serves as a record store, label offices and a live music venue. The Blue Room is actually the only venue in the world where artists can record their performance direct-to-acetate instantly producing a vinyl. Other quirky features include a “Mold-a-Rama machine” and a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine.
- Pinewood Social | Incorporating food, coffee, booze and activities like bowling, karaoke, and swimming, there’s something for everyone at the Pinewood. Grab a Crema coffee in the morning, weekend brunch with friends, or rent a private room for karaoke on a Friday night after a dinner of upscale Southern comfort food. All that’s missing is the option to move in for the week.
- Grand Ole Opry | The show that made country music famous is really touristy, but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s also the world’s longest-running live radio program. Known for it’s extraordinary acoustics, don’t miss a chance to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium. In the very least, take a tour of the historical venue.
- Live Music | One of the best places to see live music is at the Station Inn in the Gulch. Check the calendar to see what bluegrass or folk band is scheduled for your visit. Arrive early to get a seat and remember it’s only beer & wine at this dive bar. The world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a must-see in Nashville despite the rowdy crowd on the weekends. As legend has it, owner Tootsie had a cigar box behind the counter full of IOU’s from where she had given drinks and food to hungry writers and musicians. At the end of each year, a group of Opry Performers would take all the IOU’s and pay Tootsie so she wouldn’t lose the money. Robert’s Western World is another famous honky tonk on Broadway who have hosted its fair share of country music greats. Made popular by the NBC show Nashville, the Bluebird Cafe has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space. Garth Brooks famously played here before being signed to Capitol Records so you never know who you may see before their big break.
- Barista Parlor | Hipper than hip, this coffeehouse in a converted garage serves excellent cortados and homemade pop tarts. The industrial space is artfully done with vintage motorcycles on display and long, communal tables. After one visit, you’ll want to start each day of your Nashville trip here.
Marché | For a more substantial breakfast, head to the Parisian-inspired market/restaurant for brunch. A fruit tartine with camembert makes for a perfect European bite.
Prince’s Hot Chicken | The shopping center feels a little sketchy, but there are tourists lined up outside despite the off the beaten track location. You’d have to be crazy to order ‘hot’ so go with mild (still hot!) and a side of pickles. Hattie B’s is another place close to Vanderbilt University to sample hot chicken. Not quite the same cultural experience, but worth a try if you’re in the area and hungry.
- Mas Tacos Por Favor | If fried chicken isn’t your thing, head to the east side for a Mexican food favorite. Chicken tortilla soup comes highly recommended as well as the fried avocado tacos. Don’t forget to bring money to this cash-only establishment.
Manuel’s | Named after he famous “nudie suit” creator, Manuel himself is usually there working on the sequined jackets in the back. Be sure to check out the rows of jackets, each one designed for every state.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts | Even if you don’t have time to check out the exhibits, the art deco exterior is worth seeing.
Oak Bar | Head downstairs at the Hermitage Hotel and grab a drink at the bar. Take a peek inside the men’s bathroom (ladies, too!) The mint green art deco bathroom has been voted Best Bathroom in America and was part of the hotel’s original design.
Peter Nappi Boots | Just on the edge of Germantown in an old warehouse you’ll find a beautiful Italian leather goods store. Designed in Nashville and made in Tuscany, the prices are not cheap but the quality is high and the style, timeless. Swing by to see the interesting retail space.
Marathon Village | Built around 1881, this 130,000 square foot complex was once home to Marathon Motor Works. Now the space is home to creative studios, offices and retailers. Check out Antique Archaeology for unique pieces and live music, Big Bang Candy Co. for handmade marshmallows and Corsair Distillery for a beer tasting.
Cat Bird Seat | Romantic spot perfect for a date, watch the courses being prepared in the U-shaped kitchen. There are only 20 bar seats, so be sure reserve a spot in advance.
Patterson House | The speakeasy right up the stairs serves excellent cocktails that usually require a little wait to enjoy. Once past the curtain, the bar is dimly lit and cozy drawing inspiration from the Prohibition era. Bartenders are knowledgeable and drinks are spot on.
- Husk | Sean Brock’s second restaurant opened in a historic mansion in Downtown Nashville and has continued to garner attention for its inventive dishes. You can’t go wrong with any meal here, but brunch is a wonderful option. The shrimp & grits were some of the best I’ve ever tasted!
- 12th Ave South Shopping | | Hank William Jr.’s daughter Holly opened up a housewares store named White’s Mercantile and you’ll be hard pressed to leave without picking up a trinket or two. Imogene + Willie is the place for denim. The shop set in an old service station specializes in raw denim and custom fit. One room is dedicated to Warby Parker glasses and small housewares. Stop by Savant Vintage (closed Sun) and Katy K Designs for funky vintage finds.
12th Ave South Food | Fuel up after shopping with a BBQ lunch at Martin’s or a Burger Up‘s ‘Triple L Classic’. For your sweet tooth, head to Las Paletas across from Sevier Park for some of the best popsicles you’ll ever taste. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is always a good idea with flavors like Toasted Brioche with Butter & Raspberry Jam.
- Centennial Park | Spend a sunny afternoon in the park where you’ll find the Parthenon, a full-size replica of the Greek landmark.
Rolf & Daughters | Awarded one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in 2013, RAD serves up incredible pasta dishes in the Germantown neighborhood. The rustic sauces and house made dough leave a lasting impression.
- East Side Bar Hop | No. 308‘s placement next to a Sherwin Williams indicates its dive status from the beginning. The craft cocktail menu is innovative and the midcentury decor makes it feel more like a lounge. Just down the road at The 5 Spot you’ll find the only spot to see live music on the East side. They’re also known for their Monday night dance party to oldies.
EAT + DRINK
- Arnold’s Country Kitchen
- Pinewood Social
- Barista Parlor
- Rolf & Daughters
- Patterson House
- Prince’s Hot Chicken
- Hattie B’s
- Mas Tacos Por Favor
- Hermitage Hotel Oak Bar
- Marathon Village
- Cat Bird Seat
- Patterson House
- Station Inn
- Bluebird Cafe
- Las Paletas
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
- Martin’s BBQ
- Rolf & Daughters
- No. 308
- The 5 Spot
- Burger Up