Let me first start by saying that before this Nashville trip, I only ‘liked’ country music. There was nothing in particular to draw me to the city other than the desire to travel and see someplace new. Fortunately for my boyfriend and travel partner, that’s all it took to book the trip.
With some destinations, having only 4 days can seem short, especially with 2 of those days being used for travel, but in Nashville – it can be done!
I wish we had left earlier to get a full first day in Nashville, but arriving around 5pm from Boston gave us plenty of time to get to our AirBnb (which was PERFECT), get our bearings, and make a plan for the evening. We came to Nashville with a short list of recommendations from friends, family, and Pinterest and chose Acme Feed & Seed for a more casual first meal in a new city. It did not disappoint! To order dinner you simply head to the counter, place your order, then take your number and find a seat. There were some communal tables and some smaller tables for more intimate seating. We were fortunate to get a table front and center while the band played. The food was pretty good for our first Nashville dinner and the drinks were even better! After eating we made our way to the rooftop which provided an excellent view of Broadway. Be warned – the stairs to this rooftop are not for the faint of heart, you have to really want it!
After checking out Broadway from above it was time to hit the street and see some other bars. We went everywhere from Luke’s, Tootsies, Whiskey Row, and The Stage completely unaware that a Kenny Chesney concert had let out around 11pm packing the streets with people. Though it was crowded, we assumed it was typical Nashville nightlife and continued on our bar crawl. The live music blaring from each floor set the mood for great evening and it was easy to get from bar to bar without paying a cover charge or waiting in line, very different from Boston!
We probably slept in more than we should have on Sunday, but after a night of bar hopping on Broadway and dancing to live country music we definitely needed it to be ready for the day. Our plan was to have brunch at Biscuit Love, which came highly recommended, but the line stretched around the corner and we were much too hungry to wait (my boyfriend gets hangry, I think it’s a guy thing?). To avoid complete hanger, we walked down the street to Milk & Honey and were seated immediately once deciding to sit at the bar by the kitchen, otherwise there is usually a wait for a table. The vibe at Milk & Honey was very ‘farm-chic’ and the food was delicious, right down to the cold brew which we were craving after our night out.
After brunch it was the moment I had been waiting for, The Johnny Cash Museum (insert high-pitched squealing here). Promise I played it cool as Cash, but after studying Johnny Cash in High School and then a little in college, THIS was what I was most looking forward to in Nashville. Tickets were about $20 each, which was a steal considering the hundreds I would have paid. We saw everything from ticket stubs to royalty checks, handwritten lyrics, personal artifacts, and guitars played so much they were damaged beyond repair. The museum was truly a shrine to Cash and it was so rewarding to have seen it in person. I would go every time I visit Nashville and highly recommend!
Then it was time to shop on Broadway! I collect magnets from everywhere I go and it wasn’t hard to find one that would fit in with my collection. Most of the stores on Broadway are typical tourist shops full of interesting junk, but there are also a lot of cowboy boot stores. Now, I had no intention of leaving Nashville with cowboy boots. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am not big into country to begin with, so buying a pair wasn’t on the top of my list. However, introduce Boot Country on Broadway with the famous ‘buy 1 pair get 2 free’ slogan. When I first saw that I figured it was a sales tactic, but it’s TRUE! When you buy one pair you get 2 free of equal or lesser value and I’ll admit, seeing everyone walk around with their cute boots on made me jealous. So in we went. Within 10 minutes I was in a pair I loved trying to convince my boyfriend to find a pair (which he did). Next thing we know we’re cowboy boot owners. They’re also nice enough to hold them for you until you’re done exploring.
For dinner we checked out Rock Bottom Brewery at the end of Broadway for great beer and outdoor seating right on the street (think people watching!) Then made our way back to Luke’s 32 Bridge for the night where we wound up meeting others who had travelled from Boston!
On Monday we got up a little earlier to make our way back over to Biscuit Love in hopes of a shorter line. Which we didn’t find. I guess when a restaurant is good there will always be a wait! This time we stuck it out and got in line. They’re nice enough to provide menus and water while you wait – Nashville is HOT in August! The line moved quickly and luckily we were pulled out early to sit at the bar (travelling in a small group has its perks). This place is super cute with a ‘homey diner’ feel and they even serve booze, which after 2 straight nights of drinking we were not in the mood for. Instead we ordered our usual iced coffee and an app to share. YOU. HAVE. TO. GET. THE. BONUTS! Listen. I am not typically a sweets person. Let me rephrase…I love sweets, but usually only when there’s chocolate involved. The Bonuts are fried biscuit dough topped with lemon mascarpone served over blueberry compote. I’m sad just thinking about them because I miss them that much. I would have been happy just having those, but we had to have the hot chicken as well – which is just as good! We literally needed naps afterward. Biscuit Love does not mess around.
Before losing all our energy after eating Bonuts, biscuits, and hot chicken, we went after the murals. If you don’t know, Nashville is known for its murals and there are quite a few! We made note of the ones we wanted to see the most and fortunately a lot of them are right in the Gulch, where we were staying. The most notable and Instagram worthy mural being the What Lifts You Wings by Artist Kelsey Montague. This mural is so popular that there is a line to take your picture in front of it. We thought people were lined up for a hip restaurant like we had waited in for Biscuit Love, but it was actually for the mural! The line moves quickly and people are nice enough to offer to take your picture and not make you feel rushed.
After making our way around several different murals and taking a much needed nap back at the AirBnb, we headed to TopGolf. This was a little ways away from the Broadway scene, but for two first timers it was well worth it. For those who haven’t heard of TopGolf, it’s basically a driving range video game. That’s the best way I can describe it. We made sure to go at night when the targets are lit up. Even on a Monday night there was a wait, but it was only 30 minutes or so before we were assigned to a lane on the top floor. You pay by the hour and the prices vary depending on the time of day (night being most popular). There are several different games to choose from and even for a non-golfer like me they’re fun! I even won a couple games! Don’t tell my boyfriend I posted that.
We played for about 1.5 hours before heading back to our AirBnb for a chill night in before our last day of adventuring around Nashville in the morning.
For our last day in Nashville we knew there were a few final things we wanted to see before flying out later that afternoon. Our AirBnb host was wonderful enough to hold our bags in the main house so we could head out luggage free on our last day. After checking our list we decided to go to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast which, of course, had a line out the door, but that just means there’s great food inside! With a true diner feel and Southern charm, it didn’t disappoint and was exactly what we needed before checking out the Ryman Auditorium (another item on my ‘must see’ list). The Ryman was one of my favorite stops of the trip. We decided to do the self-guided tour since we were short on time before our flight and were pleasantly surprised at all we were able to see. They start you off with a cool video explaining the Ryman’s history before letting you explore the theater on your own. There are some artifacts like guitars and outfits throughout the theater, but most interesting was the architecture. Though the theater itself has been renovated since it’s original creation, they kept a lot of the original features intact. Giving it a true country feel.
Lastly we checked out the Country Music Hall of Fame where tickets were about $25 per person for general admission. The museum focused mostly on original Country artists from way before our time, but it was interesting to see the evolution of the music and instruments. Pressed for time, we admittedly hurried through the exhibit in order to see the last of the murals on our list.
Again, the murals are a must see! There are so many different styles and many more that we didn’t even get to! I kept saying I would pay for a tour just to get to all the murals in Nashville. Maybe next time!
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Nashville. 4 days was the perfect length trip to see mostly everything we had wanted, but we’re eager to go back already! I can officially say after this trip to Music City I am a lover of Country Music.