One of my all-time favorite weekend destinations in the USA is Nashville, Tennessee aka MUSIC CITY. This city is alive with live music playing everywhere… and I mean everywhere! If you walk down the street and walk into practically any bar along Broadway there will be a band playing at almost any time of the day.
I’ve been about eight times now—yes, I am well aware that I am obsessed—and have never been disappointed. As someone who adores country music, Nashville felt like a home away from home, with all the comforts of fried chicken, tacos, cowboy boots, ice cream cones, and anything else your heart desires.
I went one year during the CMA Festival and had an absolute blast wandering through the different outdoor vendors and venues listening to musicians singing their hearts out. There is something awe-inspiring about watching lesser known artists catching their break and wearing their hearts on their sleeves as they belt out their tunes at one of the biggest country music festivals. The passion in these individuals extends past when the CMA Fest packs up and encompasses their daily lives.
Jason Aldean perfectly describes Nashville in his hit ‘Crazy Town’ singing: ‘It’s a crazy town full of neon dreams, everybody plays everybody sings, Hollywood with a touch of twang, to be a star you gotta bang bang bang’. Music is life in Nashville and it is evident everywhere you turn. Nashville is home to the legendary venues of The Bluebird Café, The Ryman Auditorium, and The Grand Ole Opry. You can catch live performances in these historically rich venues that started the careers of many well-known country artists. Playing on these stages is a huge honor for musicians as these spots garner respect in the country music realm and resonate as historical music gems.
If you’re a history buff make sure to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the RCA Studio B recording studio, and the Hatch Show Print letterpress shop.
Aside from amazing venues serving up new artists, old artists, popular artists and such, there are some wickedly good eats and watering holes in Nashville too. Organized by neighborhood, these are my go-to spots.
Broadway Street aka Downtown
- ACME – 3 story bar and restaurant – top floor is a rooftop patio overlooking the waterfront
- The Stage (this is where I learned to line dance, also the first Nashville bar I ever went to)
- Honky Tonk (classiiccccc)
- Tootsies Orchard Lounge
- Tequila Cowboy
- The Valentine Rooftop
- Crazy Town
- Bartaco (Mexican restaurant and bar)
- Urban Grub (seafood)
- Frothy Monkey (café with delicious coffee and hot chocolate)
- CUPCAKE ATM (LIKE WUHHH CUPCAKES OUT OF AN ATM!!!)
***Side note: there is an “I Believe in Nashville” mural here
- Rosepepper Cantina (Mexican Resturant with live mariachi band playing. Order the Buffalo White Cheese Dip as it is TO DIE FOR… changed my life… mouth still watering… also their Chimichanga OMG… words cannot describe… okay now I’m hungry)
- There are some great bars down here like Red Door Saloon and Fran’s East Side which boasts a really good atmosphere with bar games and bar food but is cash only!
- If you have a sweet tooth and are in the neighborhood check out Nashville Sweets and/or Sweet 16th for alllllll the yummy sweet desserts and baked goodies
- If you are looking for the best burger (on the smaller side but absolutely AMAZING) I HIGHLY recommend Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint located at 1123 Third Avenue North. I usually get the Greg Brady (mac and cheese burger) but all are just SOOOO good!!!!
Near Music Row
- Red Door (bar) 1816 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203, USA (my favorite bar to hangout in Nashville, although there isn’t live music they do have a jukebox and just an overall fantastic aura – ALSO, befriend a local and ask them to show you where the hole in the floor is… don’t be scared to get on all fours and sneak a peek through it – it’s worth it)
- Tin Roof
- The Row (kitchen and pub)
- Winners/Losers (2 bars located right beside each other)
- Whiskey Kitchen ($$$ restaurant – but great street corn)
- Idle Hour (bar) located right on Music Row
- Two Boots (great pizza, dingy joint, perfect post-bar noms)
- Saint Anejo (Mexican Restaurant… okay clearly I REALLY love Mexican food… haha)
***Wings Murale found here***
- Pinewood Social – Fancy Bar + Restaurant + Bowling
Also… if you’re into karaoke and love a bar stocked with cheap beer check out Santa’s Pub! Santa’s Pub is a dive covered with unreal graffiti and holiday decor run by a man who resembles Santa himself.
Planning a trip to Nashville? Make sure to take along my #CLTRAVELHUNT for a bucket list /scavenger hunt for your Smashville trip!