WHY YOU SHOULD TRUST THEM: Ellie and Jim have lived in Nashville for over 3 years and have made a conscious effort to explore the city and see what Nashville is all about. The city is packed with life; it’s no surprise that it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the US. We can’t say enough good things about Nashville and it is surely a great spot to take a vacation or settle down long term.
1. Favorite Street or Park in Nashville: We love the 12South neighborhood, predominately because it has great places to eat and grab a drink. 12S Taproom is an awesome spot to spend an afternoon on their patio drinking great beers. Sevier Park is also located a short walk south of the bars and restaurants and is a nice green space for a picnic or just to hang out. There are usually food trucks parked there, which have become quite good the past couple of years. You can check out this site to find Nashville Food Trucks near your location. And if you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss a quick peek into White’s Mercantile– a gift shop with tons of Southern charm- and Amelia’s Flower Truck, where you can build your own bouquet!
If you’re interested in shopping during your visit, The Green Hills is a good area. The mall can be pretty busy, but there are also stores outside the mall to check out. Don’t miss local book store, Parnassus Books. Or, head to 21st Avenue near Vanderbilt for boutique shopping.
2. Best Coffee Shop or Bakery: This is always a tough call, especially when there are so many great places to grab a coffee. As far as best tasting coffee, I prefer Bongo Java (there are two locations, one in Belmont and one in East Nashville). The best overall coffee shop, however, is probably Frothy Monkey (12 South). This is quite the happening spot though, so getting a good place to sit can be a challenge.
3. Best Place(s) to listen to Live Music: It’s Nashville, so there’s live music in just about every bar, coffee shop or restaurant. When it comes to seeing a “big” act, the Ryman is by far the best. The acoustics are great and the auditorium holds much of the history of the city (in 2001, it was declared a National Historic Landmark). Nashville also has Live on the Green in the summer. This Thursday night free concert series is located downtown at Public Square and generally includes some very popular bands. (The 2015 lineup included Passion Pit, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ben Folds and Lord Huron).
4. Sunny Day Agenda: Spending an afternoon in Centennial Park is something that every visitor should do. The park is huge and has a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. Although this sounds a bit lame, it is actually very impressive. There’s also a sunken garden that you can walk through and a running path (for people who are into that sort of thing).
If you want to get out of town, head to Arrington Vineyards in Tennessee’s wine country. The vineyards are owned in part by Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn), and are just a short drive south of the city. Pack a picnic, grab a bottle of their Red Fox Red blend and enjoy lunch outside on their beautiful hills.
5. Essential Nashville Tip: EAT AND DRINK! There are so many great places to eat in Nashville. You’re a fool if you don’t feel like you need to go on a diet when you get home! The craft beer scene has also really exploded here over the past couple of years. There are so many great beers and awesome outdoor patios to enjoy them.
Although it is the most touristy thing possible, taking a stroll down Lower Broadway to see the live country music venues and historical buildings is something to check off of your bucket list. One place to stop is Tootsies Orchid Lounge– it’s usually crowded, but will always have live country music. While downtown, be sure to walk across the bridge that goes over the Cumberland River. It’s a great walk for families and offers nice views of the city. You can also stop at Cumberland Park, a small park on the other side of the river.
If you’d prefer to stay away from the bustle of Lower Broadway but still want some live music, head to The Printers Alley. The portion between Union and Church Street is the home of a nightclub district that dates back to the 1940s.
TRIPADVISOR’S TOP FIVE NASHVILLE ATTRACTIONS
1. Ryman Auditorium– Obviously a thumbs up! But you really need to see a show there; going on the tour doesn’t do it justice.
2. Schermerhorn Symphony Center– Well, it is still on our “Nashville bucket list” so we can’t really say!
3. The Escape Game– Never even heard of this place… the website looks like it could be a blast though.
4. Fontanel Mansion– Never been. Apparently we need to do more of these touristy things while we live here… One tourist attraction we really enjoy because of the history is The Hermitage, which is the home of President Andrew Jackson. Located just east of Nashville, you can spend a few hours touring the mansion and surrounding grounds, as well as visiting the on-site museum. In the summer, the views of the cotton fields are beautiful.
5. RCA Studio B– Ha, see previous response. This is just a recording studio though, so I’m sure it’s just on here as a touristy stop. (This is the studio where Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and the Everly Brothers recorded.)
YELP’S TOP FIVE NASHVILLE RESTAURANTS
1.Monell’s Dining & Catering– Never tried it, but have heard great things. The atmosphere is the selling point here; you sit at large community tables with complete strangers. Supposed to be a great time.
2. The Catbird Seat– I’m sure its a thumbs up; we have only heard great things. Never been though, and good luck getting a reservation… you actually have to call exactly a month prior to when you are hoping to get a reservation and hope you are the first one to call, otherwise, no dice. It is also VERY pricey.
4. Etch– Definite thumbs up, we really like this place a lot. It’s a little pricey, but a great place for a more intimate dinner.
5. Big Al’s Deli– Hadn’t even heard of this place until now, but we will be sure to check it out. Stay tuned…
Although we haven’t been to most of Yelp’s top restaurants, I could recommend a TON of places to eat. Nashville has so many outstanding restaurants. We really enjoy Husk in Rutledge Hill, which serves true southern food farm-to-table style, and has a beautiful ambiance. The restaurant is set inside the old home of a former Nashville mayor. We also love Burger Up. They have unique burgers and use lots of locally grown produce. Their truffle fries are to die for!
During your visit to Nashville, you also have to try the BBQ! Our favorite is Eldey’s Bar-B-Que, a so-called Nashville institution. The 12South location has a big outdoor patio and an impressive drink menu. Try the Bushwacker! There are always tons of local craft beers on tap too. The best thing on the menu is either Ribs or their BBQ Pork Nachos.
Featured Photo Credit: E. Galligan