I’ve been in Hawaii for a week now (and it feels so good to be back!) – but let me talk about one of my new favorite cities for a moment: NASHVILLE! This year has been filled with more travel than I could have imagined, and last week marked my third, 24-hour visit to Nashville in the last six months!
Honky-tonk, delicious food, friendly people, and scooters have been the highlights for me. (Partially kidding/partially serious about the scooters.) The staple and highlight of my 24-hour rendezvous in Nashville is visiting Broadway Street – day or night – undoubtedly. Allow me to give you the low-down on this city.
Let’s start with music since this is probably why you’re wanting to visit Nashville in the first place! Broadway street is mind-boggling. It’s an audio engineering masterpiece for starters, as nearly each bar has live music on each of its three stories, and the only music you hear and fully enjoy is the music from the stage before you!
My time in Nashville has included visits to Acme Feed and Seed, Robert’s, Tootsie’s, Nudie’s, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse (to use the full name of this establishment), and Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row.
Walking down the strip can feel like a kid in a candy shop; sensory (and auditory) overload. Picking one bar might feel like an intimidating decision with all of these amazing choices surrounding you (especially for us ENFJ folk). By my third trip, I began to pick my bars by lookin’ for a band with a fiddler. You can never go wrong – yee haw! (The bar that I found had the most consistent amazing music was Tootsie’s.)
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that live music on Broadway is only an evening activity. On my second-most recent visit with my boyfriend, Nick, we enjoyed live music starting as early as 10:00am at Tootsie’s and at 11:00am at Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk.
I’ve had the chance to try some delicious food in Nashville from posh eateries to the local dive bars. All of it has been excellent for different reasons! In my visit to Nashville in February, I let my dear friend and local, Alex, do the choosin’. In July, Nick, who is very much a foodie, found the spots! And thanks to my Knoxville friend and former Nashville resident, Laura, last week I ate the best tacos of my life.
So, tacos. Mas Tacos Por Favor has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,. EVERYTHING here was amazing. Especially the fried plantains, black beans, and cuban molida taco. The marg was on point. So so so much flavor packed into one little (not in a literal size way, but in an endearing and small but mighty way) taco. You order at the bar (cash or check only), and wait for your name to be called. This place is casual with a hip ambiance and um, OUTSTANDING tacos. It’s so good, it doesn’t even have a website.
For a Nashville classic, don’t miss Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. Another similar staple is Hattie B’s, but to Nick and me, Bolton’s seemed like the real deal. Aside from outstanding and delicious make-you-sweat (~~if you so choose based on your spice level~~) their sides were outstanding. Their baked beans and greens were on point! This is another order/pay at the counter kind of place. Nice and casual – and you’re able to bring in your own beverage of choice!
Brunch all day?! Of course – at Marché Artisan Foods. This place was a gem. Alex and I each ordered a delicious, savory egg dish and split the french toast for dessert. I enjoyed my first London Fog in an ambiance that is fresh, modern, and crisp with a touch of the south. I returned here with my family for brunch and they were just in awe of the deliciousness. For a shorter wait, put your name on Yelp’s Waitlist – it was fast and easy!
Dino’s. Nick first heard of this place on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and Dino’s did not disappoint with a unique local-feeling, hole-in-the-wall, heavenly-burger experience. They have some fun drink specials and a gorgeous outdoor patio! When you’re at Dino’s, you’ll feel as though you’re at a local gem.
And last but certainly not least, a southern staple: a meat and three at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. Nick and I arrived for lunch around 11:30am, and by noon the line wrapped itself outside the front door. The food was outstanding: mac ‘n cheese, cured ham, chicken and dumplings, and chess pie, but the company was even better. We had the chance to chat with one of the owners, Kahlil, over a meal. He was tickled that Nick wanted to check out Arnold’s all the way from Hawaii and wished us a good time in his city.
Things To Do
The Nashville Farmer’s Market has it all, including fresh produce, made-to-order entrees, plants, gourmet ice cream, and more. It was fun to spend an hour here perusing the local produce and tasting Jeni’s ice cream. Don’t be fooled like we were – half scoops are basically whole honkin’ fist-sized balls of goodness.
Nashville’s Parthenon is a fill-sized replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It was designed and built in the late 1800s as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition (thank you, Wikipedia)! Nonetheless, while an impressive structure that I did not have the pleasure of going inside, this makes an excellent course for a first-time scooter ride. Scooters are quickly infiltrating many cities. For a smooth and seamless ride, download Bird/Lime prior to your visit!
Love at First Sight! is a local adoption agency that works to find homes for puppies and kittens for families that are unable to keep them. This was an unexpected treat, as my friend Alex included this stop as part of our neighborhood tour.
I hope this guide assists you in having a blast in America’s Music City! If exploring southern cities is your thing, be sure to check out Periodic Adventure’s 1 day Atlanta itinerary. So much to see, so little time!