I’ve been traveling to Nashville, TN almost annually for about 5 years now, but when I go, it’s always for the LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum in November and I hardly have any down time to explore. Recently, I’ve had a few friends move there (Which is apparently THE thing to do right now. And no, for all those who have asked or are wondering, I have no intentions of moving there myself. ;)) and one of them was kind enough to let us stay with her! Since the trip fell on Father’s Day weekend (And let’s face it, I just love traveling with my fam.), I invited my family along so I could be with my dad which was an absolute blast! I loved both discovering new places and showing my parents around this city that has had such an impact on my life.
I’ve recapped the highlights and my recommendations below:
#1 Hattie B’s
While I am listing these in no particular order, there is a reason this is listed as number one. It should be a priority for you to get yourself to a Hattie B’s ASAP. Nashville is known for their hot chicken, and this is better than any BBQ joint around. I get the sandwich every time (because the sauce is magic) and obviously the pimento mac n’ cheese. There are multiple locations around the city.
#2 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
So, this technically isn’t a Nashville only thing, but if you’re there, it’s worth grabbing. Seriously some of the best ice cream ever. The only stand alone or “scoop shop” location we ate at was the one on Eastland Avenue which is in East Nashville. If you are big on having a more local experience vs. a more touristy experience like I am, I recommend checking out this spot. The parking is a bit tricky, but you will drive through the cutest neighborhoods to get there! Plus, there appeared to be some good eats around as well. You can find all their locations here.
#3 The Farmer’s Market
I wouldn’t say there is anything particularly extraordinary about this Farmer’s Market, but it was cute. It had all of your typical expected Farmers Market finds and is conveniently located if you’re in the Downtown area. There is a variety of food – we ate at The Picnic Tap. I ordered the Old Fashioned Grilled Cheese (old fashion cheddar + pimento cheese on fresh bread, hallelujah) which was perfect because it was just the right amount of food and only $5. There is actually a Jeni’s located inside the Market directly beside The Picnic Tap.
#4 The Parthenon
Located downtown in Centennial Park, this is a sight you have to see. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it there in time to go inside of the building, which was disappointing. (Make sure you check the hours online before visiting.) However, it was still well worth going to.
#5 The Gaylord Opryland Hotel
While I’ve never stayed here, if you’re in need of a hotel, I can only imagine that this would be a great experience. Even if you’re not staying there, simply walk inside…it is such a neat place!
#6 The Factory and Downtown Franklin
If you’re not into shopping, especially boutique shopping, neither one of these locations is probably a good fit for you. My favorite shop in downtown Franklin is Imago Dei. If you’ve done your research or know anything about Nashville, you know the Frothy Monkey is a local fave. You can make your way down Main Street and grab yourself a coffee before you shop. (I actually had an iced Chai Latte, 10/10 recommend if you like Chai.)
A new place that was recommended to me this trip was The Factory at Franklin. It’s an old building where they used to make stoves that is now very modern on the inside and full of different shops. If you’re headed downtown, they’re not to far apart. There is a Jeni’s in The Factory as well as a 5 Daughter’s Bakery. We also went to their bakery location on 12 South and while they’re pretty Insta Famous for the mural on their wall, it wasn’t really my thing.
A suburb of Nashville, this is also a less touristy thing to do and a great way to catch the local vibe of Nashville. If you know me at all, you know that in any city I find myself in, TJ Maxx practically calls my name. While we were in downtown Franklin, a girl working in a cute little boutique recommended the TJ in Brentwood. Taking her advice, we popped into the TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack. (They’re right beside each other. What a blessing.) We definitely found some good deals! (At a much more affordable price than almost any other type of shopping you’ll do in the city.)
#8 Walk around 12 South
The infamous “I Believe In Nashville” mural can be found here, among others. Reese Witherspoon’s original Draper James is located here with its famous blue and white striped wall. It’s a good place to take pics, grab a bite to eat, have dessert, or shop.
#9 Buffalo Exchange
Just like TJ Maxx, if I am in a city with a Buffalo Exchange, I always try and check it out. I fell in love with one in NYC, however, the one in Washington D.C. didn’t impress me the last time I was there. So, I wasn’t sure how this one would be. While I didn’t find anything I couldn’t leave without, I wouldn’t say that it disappointed. If shopping is your thing, it’s worth the stop!
#10 The Gulch
We honestly didn’t spend a lot of time here (To be really honest, we literally only went for pics with the “What Lifts You” mural.), but it has a really cool vibe to it. It’s close to where a lot of the record labels are, which to me is a lot more interesting than the commercialized downtown area. If you’re looking for unique (and slightly expensive) places to shop and eat, check it out!
One huge thing I didn’t mention is Downtown Nashville, and that’s simply because it’s not really my thing. I’ve been there multiple times – this go round we ate at Acme. We did all of the expected things – climbed the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, went into the Goo-Goo Clusters store, saw Printers Alley, ventured inside The Arcade, etc. It’s fun to do if you’ve never been, but there’s nothing exceptional about Downtown Nashville – it’s mostly a lot of drinking and bars. Also, none of it is super close together and GPS does not work well in the hills of Tennessee between tall buildings and believe it or not Nashville gets really hot in the summer, especially when you’re walking up and down those hills (Even for this girl who has lived in the south on the coast her entire life…also not speaking based on a rough experience we had or anything…). Regardless, we had such a sweet time in Music City!