I first visited Nashville on a girl’s weekend trip in November of 2017 with a few of my blogger friends. It was love at first visit. I came back telling my husband that Nashville had made it’s way into one of the few places I could see myself living outside of Dallas. I loved the vibe of the city. It was so laid back, welcoming, & fun. Nashville has so many fun neighborhoods with completely different vibes. They also have a ton of amazing restaurants. Since I loved visiting so much, when a chance for another girls trip came up to return in October of 2018, I couldn’t pass it up. Most recently, I spent New Years Eve there ringing in 2020 on a couples trip. I’d describe Nashville as Austin meets Dallas meets I don’t know what else, but it’s awesome. Today, I’m sharing my updated Nashville city guide with you all to help you plan the best trip to this fun, music-loving city.
Nashville City Guide
Even though I’ve spent a few long weekends here, I of course couldn’t cross everything off my to do list, so per usual, some of these are recommendations that I have on my list for my next visit! I love keeping a running list of new places to try for future visits & adding to the list as I get more recommendations from you all or friends and family. My full Nashville city guide is below.
Where to Stay in Nashville
- Noelle: Noelle is located Downtown just a few blocks away from Broadway. I stayed here on my most recent couples trip to Nashville. They actually have rooms with two king beds, which was so nice & I feel like such a rare find. I love the vibe of this hotel. It’s vintage chic meets clean & modern. It has the cutest little coffee shop (always a plus) & boutique downstairs, too. There are a few bars on site, which makes it super convenient as well. If you’re wanting to stay in the heart of the city, I highly recommend checking out Noelle. I live for their consistent blush pink + gold branding throughout the hotel. Another thing I loved? They give you reusable water bottles & have little filling stations with chilled or sparkling water on each floor. Such a small touch, but I loved it & things like that make all the difference.
- Hotelette: The cutest house, ever. I stayed here with a big group of girls during my second visit to Music City. This Air BnB style rental is perfectly decorated by designer & owner Allison Crawford. Seriously, ever corner is Instagram-worthy. You may recall seeing Hotelette in my Austin City Guide, too. This would be the perfect house to rent for a bachelorette trip to Nashville! It would also be perfect for just a fun girls weekend like we had or even a couples trip. They also have homes in Dallas & Austin. I would stay here again in a heartbeat.
- Kimpton Aertson Hotel: I stayed at this cute midtown hotel during my first girls weekend to Nashville & loved it. It’s in a great, central location. The decor is chic and welcoming & the staff is oh so helpful. I would absolutely stay here again & recommend it to anyone visiting Nashville. They had everything we needed & helped us with everything from suggestions, directions, & transportation during our stay.
- The Thompson Hotel: Located in The Gulch, this beautiful luxury boutique style hotel is in a great location, has on-point decor, & anything you may need within walking distance. They have a great rooftop that I’ve been to twice before that has a great vibe & good food. I love Thompson hotels in every city & always recommend them for a wonderful experience!
Where to Eat in Nashville
- 5th & Taylor: refined American food in a beautiful, Industrial inspired space. They also have an amazing tree lined patio! Go for drinks & snacks or dinner. The cheese board is delicious & so is the cornbread & the scallops. You really can’t go wrong with this spot!
- Bartaco: cutest little Mexican food place with outdoor seating. Great for lunch, a casual dinner, or just an afternoon margarita while exploring the 12th South area. There are several locations throughout the USA including one in Dallas, which we visit all the time.
- Biscuit Love: this is a perfect brunch or lunch spot. It is super cute, & delicious. Lines form quick at both of these locations, so I’d go early.
- Café Roze: I freaking loved this place. I think I would go once a week if we had one in Dallas! It’s in East Nashville. It’s very cute inside & the menu has the perfect balance of healthy, wholesome food & indulgences. It’s THE perfect brunch spot.
- Caviar & Bananas: I was presently surprised that this was located at the bottom of The Kimpton Hotel when I stayed there, because I had heard so many times to go. They have several different ‘sections’ where you can get just about anything you’re craving. You order at one of the counters & then they bring it out to you. Everything we had was delicious and its oh so cute inside.
- Drug Store Coffee: I went here every morning when I stayed at the Noelle hotel. They have delicious coffee & some great, easy breakfast options. Plus, it’s adorable!
- Five Points Pizza: the best pizza spot for a casual dinner or take out in Nashville. It was super busy with lines around the corner, so we assumed it would be good & it was! We took it to go one night & ordered extra to eat on late night throughout the weekend. They have two locations in town.
- Henrietta Red: adorable little American seafood spot in Germantown that is perfect for brunch. I loved everything we tried here– especially the baked oysters. My husband said the burger was amazing, too. They also have a great looking dinner menu that focuses on contemporary cooking with simple, fresh ingredients.
- Henley: this was located at The Kimpton Aertson, so we decided to eat there one night when we stayed there. It’s craft style cocktails & modern Southern fare with a great atmosphere.
- Lockeland Table: This place is rustic chic with Southern accented, local American food & delicious pizzas. We split one for the table & it was delicious. If the Woodstock is on the menu– for sure get it. SO unique & good. I also had a salad & fish & everything was delicious.
- The Mockingbird: this modern diner serves up local fare and is the cutest, most Insta-worthy spot. I loved everything about this restaurant! Def try the mac and cheese– it’s amazing.
- RH Café: I love Restaurant Hardware’s restaurants in any city & this one in Nashville is no exception. It’s gorgeous & the food is always so good! The truffle grilled cheese is my favorite.
- Rolf & Daughters: awesome restaurant in Germantown where Italian cooking styles meet local meat & produce. The have the most amazing seaweed butter they serve with their bread. Just trust me! If you know, you know. It’s amazing & a must try restaurant! I’ve been here twice now & it is hands down my favorite. I will visit every time. Oh, & if they have the buccatini on the menu, order it.
- Saint Añejo: a laid back Mexican restaurant in The Gulch. The queso, margaritas, & tacos were all delicious. I had a shrimp taco & a fish taco & loved them both.
- The Southern: this restaurant is known for their Southern-style food, wood fired meats, & their oyster bar. It’s a popular, trendy spot for brunch or dinner!
- Urban Grub: such a good spot for fish & steak located in 12th South. I had the shrimp & grits and absolutely loved them! The brussels were delicious to share as an appetizer, too.
Restaurants on My List for Next Time:
- The 404 Kitchen: James Beard nominated restaurant in The Gulch, this is a buzz-worthy restaurant focused on proteins & locally-sourced ingredients.
- Adele’s: located in The Gulch, this restaurant has an awesome atmosphere & is known for their seasonal veggies & potatoes.
- Arnold’s Country Kitchen: this little diner has been serving up classic Southern-style soul food for over thirty years. It is a go to Nashville restaurant!
- Butcher & Bee: located in East Nashville, this restaurant serves fresh food from local farmers.
- The Catbird Seat: this tiny restaurant above Patterson House only has 22 seats & has a very well-known tasting menu.
- Five Daughters Bakery: this adorable little place is known for their donuts.
- Folk: the same chef of my fav, Rolf & Daughters, opened this restaurant in the last few years. It’s in East Nashville, is perfectly decorated, & is supposed to have some amazing wood-fired pizzas.
- Husk: Like the one in Charleston, this restaurant serves up classic, Southern dishes. The menu is constantly changing & vibe is great, as it’s set in an old Victorian home.
- Josephine: this is located in 12South & is a great lunch spot before/after shopping or a great date-night dinner spot. The menu has a little of everything!
- Local Taco: a great, casual spot for street-style tacos.
- Loveless Café: this restaurant was originally a motel that has been around since the 1950s. It’s a Nashville institution for classic, Southern-inspired food.
- Marché: an adorable little French-inspired spot that is great for brunch. Their menu is inspired by local & seasonal ingredients.
- Moto: an Italian spot with Scandinavian decor & a menu featuring meatballs, pizzas, & pastas.
- Peg Leg Porker: if you’re wanting some BBQ in Nashville, this is said to be the best all around spot. It’s located in The Gulch & has both outdoor and indoor seating.
- Pinewood Social: a great place to hang & eat. They have awesome brunch, but you can go any time as early as for your morning coffee or staying late for cocktails.
- Rosepepper: a highly recommended, casual Mexican restaurant in East Nashville. It’s supposed to be a great spot for groups.
- Silo: small spot in Germantown with a menu that changes daily. Great for brunch or dinner!
- The Smiling Elephant: a cozy Thai restaurant with amazing pad thai, as well as curry & spring rolls.
- The Southern Steak & Oyster: this classic southern-style menu focuses on sustainability & locally-grown produce.
- The Treehouse: this American style restaurant has an ever-changing menu full of locally sourced ingredients. They have late night food available, too.
If you’re searching for hot chicken, which Nashville is known for, I vote you go to one of the original spots: Bolton’s or Prince’s. Hattie B’s is well known, but is more touristy.
Where to Drink in Nashville
- 308: a really popular spot for cocktails, especially late night. They have mid century modern decor and serve up delicious craft cocktails.
- Attaboy: I absolutely loved this bar. It looks so unassuming from the outside, but the inside is incredible! It feels very speakeasy-ish & the cocktails are insanely good. The bartenders come over to talk to you to ask what you like & then come up with something on the spot for you. I felt like they read my mind! The music is so fun, too.
- Bastion: a fun, eclectic spot in the Wedgewood Houston area of town.
- The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club: creative seasonal cocktails in a beautiful, cozy space.
- Green Hour: only open Thurs-Sun. It is in a chocolate shop called tempered, but at night the bakers leave & the bartenders turn it into a cocktail bar that specializes in Abinsthe & chocolate. They only serve cocktails when their green sign in the window is lit.
- The Kimpton Hotel: this is where we stayed on one of my trips & they have an awesome rooftop bar with a cool view of the city.
- Kung Fu: we have one of these in Dallas & I must say, the Nashville location is not only bigger, but has a much better vibe. It’s great spot for during the day or earlier in the evening because of all the games they have for entertainment!
- L27: this gorgeous two story rooftop bar is located at The Westin hotel downtown. It has both indoor & outdoor seating + an awesome vibe for afternoon or evening craft cocktails.
- LA Jackson: this rooftop bar is located at The Thompson hotel in The Gulch & is so much fun. I’ve been on two of my trips & will absolutely go again! It has a great vibe no matter when you go.
- Losers: a great, low-key bar with live music & an unpretentious, laid back vibe. Perfect spot for a fun night of dancing to local music!
- Old Glory: located in an old boiler room of a local dry cleaners, this bar is so unassuming that they don’t even have a sign. It has a great bar/lounge vibe.
- Patterson House: this is an amazing speakeasy type bar. Its super dark and cozy inside & the drinks are all amazing. This is a place I want to go to each time I visit!
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen: two bars in one space creating an atmosphere that feels like you’re drinking at a house with friends. It’s such a cute, cozy place– but also gets very lively at night.
- Tootsies: one of the most famous honky tonks on Broadway with several levels, outdoor seating, & live music.
- Urban Cowboy: this is an old historic house turned realllly, really cool hotel with the cutest little bar. The Public House area is so cute, too. Highly recommend this unique space!
- Winners: just in case you need your karaoke fix, this is the spot. They also have live bands performing on the reg, so even if singing isn’t your thing, this is a great, relaxed bar for a night out.
What to Do in Nashville
Our trip mainly revolved around where to eat & hang out, but there are tons of other fun things to do in Nashville. I loved just walking around the different neighborhoods: 12th South, Germantown & The Gulch were a few of my favorites. A few specific, fun ideas are below though.
- Alexis + Bolt: an adorable boutique in Germantown. I went to college with the owner & she is so adorable with awesome style. She carries several of my favorite brands & the entire store is just picture perfect. It is in a converted house so it feels so welcoming! Plus, they served wine while we shopped & were all so nice!
- Amelia’s Flower Truck: because even if you’re just in town a few days, who doesn’t love fresh flowers?
- Arrington Vineyards: just 25 miles outside of Nashville, this beautiful estate is a great place to visit for a day of wine tasting or a picnic with wine.
- Bluebird Cafe: what is a visit to Music City without some live music? Bluebird Cafe has to be one of the best places for a show. Get tickets as early in advance as you can!
- Centennial Park: a beautiful 132 acre park that would be perfect for exploring on a beautiful day.
- Cheekwood Botanical Gardens: a 55 acre botanical garden & mansion that features art galleries & seasonal festivities.
- Country Music Hall of Fame: one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to country music.
- Johnny Cash Museum: a must do for any JC fan! It doesn’t take too long to go through & has some really amazing pieces of history inside. I loved learning more about one of my all time favorite musicians.
- Tootsies: If you’re making your way to Broadway, this is my rec for a fun vibe that doesn’t feel too cheesy.
- Ultimate Party Bus: these are open air buses that will take you all over Nashville. We did one during this last trip & it was SO.Much.Fun. You can play music & dance around while taking in Nashville. It’s definitely a touristy thing to do, but is a unique way to explore the city without having to walk so much. It’s also not like a tour bus where they are telling you about everything as you go, which makes it way more fun to me.
- Uncommon James: cutest little jewelry store owned by Kristen Cavallari. I have several of their pieces & love them. They also have cute home goods!
I hope my Nashville city guide helps you when planning your next trip to Music City! I am always adding to my lists, so please send me any favorites that I may have missed. Nashville is such a fun city with a wonderful, laid back vibe. It’s definitely one I’m down to visit any time! If you need more outfit ideas for your trip to Nashville, be sure to check out my Nashville outfit recap post from one of my girls trips.