People immediately think of honky-tonks and country music when Nashville comes up in conversation, but this city is far more than bright lights and a country twang. The food scene is amazing, and East Nashville could rival Brooklyn as a hipster central. I recommend getting off the beaten path of downtown while visiting and really getting to know the individual neighborhoods that give Nashville its character. Read on for my travel guide to Nashville, Tennessee.
Check out my Instagram hashtag #caro_in_nashville for a photo journal of my trip!
Where To Stay
Hotel Indigo – This no-frills spot right in downtown was a great launching pad for walking this fantastic city. There was nothing memorable about the design or rooms, but the price was right and it served a great purpose: spend as little time in the room as possible and as much time out and about exploring.
What To Do
Explore East Nashville – Like the Brooklyn of Nash, this area across the river is the scene of the crime for an astonishing number of top-notch food and drink spots. Take an afternoon and do an eating tour of East Nash, trying a bite at each of these spots:
- Mas Tacos Por Favor – get the pulled pork tacos, street corn. and the agua fresca.
- Pharmacy Burger & Beer Garden – get an ice cream soda and the mission city burger (tots on the side).
- I Dream of Weenie – literally a vintage VW bus that serves a selection of rock-your-socks hot dogs.
- Pied Piper Creamery – grab a cone with a handmade flavor and sit out on the front porch.
Explore Hillsboro Village -The main drag of Hillsboro Village feels like a true neighborhood center, and boasts a quaint strip of shops and places to grab some interesting treats:
- Hot & Cold – they serve Las Paletas popsicles here, which is reason enough for me to stop in, but the shaved ice and coffee and are pretty unreal.
- BookManBookWoman – this hole in the wall bookshop has an amazing selection of new and used finds, and is the kind of place you can visit and lose yourself in.
- Pangea – this shop boasts a cool selection of home wares and clothing/accessories in case you need to pick up a “wish you were here” token for a loved one.
Centennial Park – Near Vanderbilt University, this lovely spot of greenery is home to a very unconventional central attraction – a replica of the Parthenon, complete with an underground museum and GIANT gilded sculpture of the goddess Athena. It feels miles away from “music city” and really sheds some light on the cultural offerings of this (very) multifaceted city.
Where to Eat
City House – In fair Germantown, this dining establishment has an Italian heart that’s updated with some Southern twists. I loved their whole trout entree, alongside a pretty incredible pizza.
Adele’s – I’m a sucker for anything Jonathan Waxman-related, and this Instagram-worthy brunch spot in the Gulch did not disappoint. Favorites were the meatballs, pickled veggie toast, and you can’t miss those JW potatoes and purple slaw.
Rolf & Daughters – Everything on the menu at this beautiful Germantown spot has an inventive twist. Think: freshly baked bread served with seaweed butter for that perfect umami bite. Go for dinner. You might go back again the next night (if you can get a reservation, that is).
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Yes, you will wait in a long line. Yes, you will fight for outdoor seating. Yes, it is worth it. Choose your level of spice on the chicken and go heavy on the sides (don’t miss the crinkle fries, mac n’ cheese, and banana pudding for dessert).
Where To Drink
Patterson House – A dark and sexy speakeasy vibe that still feels fresh. Curl up in a corner and order the “Juliet & Romeo” – an off-menu gin drink that converted even a non-gin drinker like me to the dark side.
Pinewood Social – In an old warehouse by the river, this triple threat houses bowling, dining, and drinking, but the cocktails were my favorite part of the experience.
Acme Feed & Seed – This multi-level behemoth in the heart of downtown offers fantastic views and a rooftop that’s perfect for sipping on an afternoon libation. Skip the food, stick with the corn hole and cocktails here.