Two years ago I went to and – spoiler alert – LOVED Nashville. I will try my best to remember it because I think fondly on it this time of the year and it’s definitely worth sharing! Fall in Nashville is amazing!
Nashville was somewhere I’d always wanted to visit and I was unemployed at the time. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money but I desperately needed a change of scenery, so I decided to take my first real solo trip (it’s kind of hard to find someone else who can travel during the week with a few days’ notice – yay unemployment). I found a good deal on a ticket that got me four days there and then routed through Phoenix in time to attend my niece’s third birthday party. It was cheaper than going to either place separately!
I flew on a red eye to Nashville. This really is the best way to fly west to east and make the most of a short trip. I was worried I’d be wiped out and I didn’t sleep a ton on the flight, but I got to my destination ready to party.
Breakfast: Puckett’s Grocery
Coffee, coffee, coffee and eggs and such to fuel my busy day.
Country fangirl out: Country Music Hall of Fame Museum
I admit, I’m a newer country fan and think of the 90s as my golden age of country music, but this is a great museum tracing the long history of country music and highlighting careers of some fan favorites.
AirBNB: East Nash Room
I stayed in a private room AirBNB, meaning sharing a home with the homeowners. This was my first experience with this kind of set up and it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be, honestly. My hosts were super nice and great resources about the area. The room was perfect for mostly just sleeping since I was out and about from morning til night anyway. Plus it’s a nice money saver for the budget-conscious.
Accommodations in Nashville are cheaper the farther you get from downtown (as is true anywhere). If you want to stay downtown, I’d say it’s walkable/Uberable. But there are some great things to do and see (and eat!) in outlying neighborhoods and nearby towns, so I was glad to have a rental car.
Nashville perk: Sam Hunt street concert
Is this real life? In Nashville it is! Sam Hunt was just kind of taking off at this point and so he happened to be giving a free street concert to promote his new album. And Cam showed up for a song too!
GNO round 2: John Corbett at City Winery
John Corbett (of SATC/Big Fat Greek Wedding fame) sings country/Southern rock and he’s pretty funny too. I loved the intimate venue. Definitely worth looking at who’s playing when you’re in town.
Dinner and bed…I was zonked.
My hosts made coffee and blueberry muffins, which totally saved me from the struggle bus so I could start my day.
Local culture: The Parthenon
Yes, a full-scale replica in the middle of a nice, little park with some history.
Local flavor: Loveless Cafe
Just yum. Like holy shit, but yum. This is a little drive out of town and a bit of a wait, but obviously worth it!
Nerd alert: Cheekwood Botanical Garden (and art museum)
One of my favorites!
On this patio at the museum, I got a phone call with a job offer back home. Great view for some great news! It made me really glad I took the opportunity to get to Nashville while I could. Trust in the abundance of the universe!
Pop culture must do: The Bluebird Cafe
I stood in line for a good chunk of the evening, but loved the intimate show – my favorite of the night was Michaela Anne. I even started following her on social media and went to see her when she came through Seattle last year!
Local flavor: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden
I was (kinda) finally hungry again after breakfast and yum! Also, I met not one, but two, bartenders from Washington.
Nashvegas must do: Broadway is the main drag in Nashville and is a glittering cluster of bars, like a mini-Vegas. In addition to seeing popular artists while in Nashville, hit the honky tonks here for some amazing undiscovered talent. Maybe eventually you’ll be able to say you saw them back when. I went to Tootsies!
Small town charm: Franklin, Tennessee – a little daytrip out of Nashville
History nerd alert: Carnton Plantation
This was another highlight for me. I loved the educational tour of this plantation that was used as a temporary field hospital during and after one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Franklin. You can also wander through the cemetery where nearly 1,500 confederate soldiers who were killed during the battle are buried.
Get in my mouth: Red Bull Vodka Slush at Benchmark.
I headed back to downtown and found this on tap while afternoon honky tonkin’. Obviously another highlight.
Classic Nashville: Grand Ole Opry
Friday night at the Grand Ole Opry! I saw, among others, Charlie Daniels play the shit out of his fiddle, Chris Janson perform his recent-at-the-time first hit, and Brad Paisley. Brad Paisley! At the Grand Ole Opry!
Since I was there in October, I went to the new Opry House, outside of downtown. Shows are performed there from February through October. During the winter months, the shows are held at the Ryman Auditorium, where the Opry originated. If you want even more country music history, you can book a backstage tour during the day or after a show.
Local flavor: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hot chicken is a Nashville thing and Hattie B’s is the place according to friendly locals I met, so on my last night in town I HAD to go for dinner #2.
Run it off: Shelby Park
Another perk of staying with hosts was finding out about the local running trails…this was, of course, back when I used to actually exercise with traveling.
See ya later from Bicentennial Park
I loved Nashville! Everyone’s friendly and there’s a great, creative energy all around. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year to be there and and there’s plenty to do no matter what you’re in the mood for. I’m not always big on travel repeats, but I will definitely go back to Nashville!
As for traveling alone, this was a great stepping stone to bigger trips I’ve taken since, like my recent trip to Paris. It was nice to explore the city and do all the nerdy things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them and of course, pick every meal!
Have you been to Nashville? What’s your favorite thing about the city?