NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

Nashville has become mine and my husband’s favorite city in the US. We love our home in Austin, but if we were to move anywhere else – it would definitely be Nashville.

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WHERE TO STAY: SHERATON DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE  (623 Union St, Nashville, TN 327219). We visited Nashville for the George Jones Tribute Concert at Bridgestone Arena. Our first choice was THE HILTON, due to it’s proximity to the venue but it was sold out. The Sheraton is relatively close (you can definitely walk) and ended up being a good place to stay. There happened to be a Star Wars casting call when we were staying there so it was great for people watching! Sheraton

HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS (920 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203). We stayed at this hotel during our first trip to Nashville. We chose this hotel due to it’s great price and proximity to the bars on Broadway. This hotel was in walking distance to all of the downtown attractions (somewhat of a long walk, especially after a few drinks). Holiday Inn

FAVORITE PLACES TO DRINK/EAT:

PHARMACY BURGER PARLOR AND BEER GARDEN (731 Mcferrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206). Burgers/Beer Garden, $$. I found this restaurant after discovering that Urbanspoon is an awesome tool for finding great restaurants when traveling. Good variety of beers, amazing burgers, and fun atmosphere. We sat outside on the long picnic tables under the twinkle lights. Be aware that there WILL be a wait! I got the Black Bean Burger and my husband was adventurous and tried the Stroganoff Burger. Open Sunday – Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday – Saturday 11am – 11pm. Pharmacy Burger

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PANCAKE PANTRY (1796 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212) Breakfast/Bakery, $$. This place was so good that we ate breakfast here both times we travelled to Nashville. This place is very popular so be prepared to wait. However, they offer free coffee for the line of people waiting outside. My husband got the Sweet Potato Pancakes and I got plain ole Buttermilk. Open 6am – 3pm Monday – Friday, 6am – 4pm Saturday – Sunday. Pancake Pantry

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LOVELESS CAFE (8400 Tennessee Highway 100, Nashville, TN 37221) Southern, $$. Located about 30 minutes outside of Nashville. This cafe is a little bit touristy (it has a gift shop) but the food and atmosphere more than make up for it. Be prepared for a long wait (hence the gift shop to keep you occupied). My husband and I consider ourselves biscuit connoisseurs and we both thought these were the best biscuits we have ever had. Open 7am – 9pm. Loveless Cafe

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MONELL’S RESTAURANT (1235 6th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208). Southern, $$. This restaurant is so different from any other restaurant I have been to. It is located in a charming old house where you sit at tables with strangers and the food (delicious southern cooking) is served family style. I repeat family style. With strangers. You literally pass the food around the table to people you don’t know. (Check out the website as there is a set menu, depending on the day). We came on the weekend for the “Weekend Country Breakfast” which had Smoked Sausage, Bacon, Biscuits and Gravy, Country Ham, Fried Apples, Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Hashbrowns, Cheese Grits, Skillet Fried Chicken, Corn Pudding, Coffee.  The communal/family style set-up sounded horrible at first but it was actually really fun – we got to meet everyone else at the table and it felt like a big family get together. Not to mention that the food was incredible. Tip: Wear stretchy clothing 🙂 Monell’s

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HONORABLE MENTION: Puckett’s (multiple locations), Jack’s BBQ (great late night BBQ spot on Broadway in the middle of all the bars)

THINGS TO DO:

See a concert at RYMAN AUDITORIUM (116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219). I am a huge fan of live music and have been to a lot of concerts in my life – Ryman Auditorium has by far the best acoustics of any venue I have ever been to. I loved the fact that it was an old church converted into a concert venue but be warned that you are sitting in pews that are not the most comfortable seats. We saw Striking Matches perform here and loved their song “When the Right One Comes Along” so much that we had a friend sing it during our wedding ceremony. Ryman Auditorium is located in the heart of downtown Nashville right by all of the great bars on Broadway. Other than coming for a concert (my recommendation) you can also pay for a tour ($20/person for the self-guided tour and $27.50/person for the guided backstage tour). Most of the online reviews recommend “splurging” for the guided backstage tour. Ryman

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VISIT THE BARS ON BROADWAY: If you like live music and drinking – you must spend time on Broadway. I’m pretty sure it’s all tourists but who cares! My husband and I could not get enough! None of the bars we went to had covers and there is some incredible talent performing for free (mostly country music, of course)! Our favorite bar was TOOTSIE’S WORLD FAMOUS ORCHID LOUNGE (422 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203). Be warned this place is PACKED! There are 3 floors of live music so if you don’t like the performer on one floor – go on to the next! Tip: You don’t have to visit these bars at night, the joint is jumpin’ all day long! For $20 the singer will perform any song you want. Also, there is a Tootsie’s at the Nashville airport that also has great live music – be sure to check it out. Tootsie’s

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Another favorite bar was THE STAGE ON BROADWAY (412 Broadway, Nashville, TN 372033). This bar had a little more open space and a dance floor area but was still very crowded. No cover charge! The Stage

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NASH TRASH TOURS – This was the unexpected highlight of the trip. On our first trip we did the Original Tour with the “Jugg Sisters”. This tour is on a big pink school bus and the tour guides, the Jugg Sisters, are basically singing comedians. My description of this tour wouldn’t do it justice so check out the website for yourself (http://www.nashtrash.com/about). My husband and I cried we were laughing so hard. Tip: This tour sells out quickly so you need to book WAY in advance. Also, don’t sit in the front if you are very shy, they poke fun at everyone on the bus and the people up front get the worst of it! On our second trip to Nashville, the Original Tour was sold out so we did the Music Row Confidential Tour. This tour was fun and interesting (I got to see where Garth Brooks recorded his albums) but was not near as entertaining as the Original. Tip: tours are BYOB. Nash Trash

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EXPLORE FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – Franklin is a small town about 30 minutes south of Nashville. The historic downtown area is a charming place to walk around and relax. We definitely want to spend more time here on our next trip to Nashville.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Parthenon, RCA Studio B, Country Music Hall of Fame, Hermitage.

BIGGEST REGRET: We found out about ARRINGTON VINEYARDS (6211 Patton Rd, Arrington, TN 37014) after our trip to Nashville. This place looks amazing and is first on our list for next time we visit Nashville. Arrington Vineyards. I also want to eat at HATTIE B’S HOT CHICKEN (112 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203) during our next trip. Hattie B’s

HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP:

SEE A CONCERT AT THE BLUEBIRD CAFE (4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215). I discovered the Bluebird Cafe from watching the show Nashville. We got tickets to see Allen Reynolds (he wrote 5:00 World and produced almost all of Garth Brooks albums), songwriter Pat Alger (Unanswered Prayers, Thunder Rolls, Small Town Saturday Night), singer/songwriter Eric Paslay, and songwriter Ralph Murray. This was the highlight of the trip. This venue is very small which means that EVERY seat is a great seat. I couldn’t believe how close we were to the performers. It is such an intimate venue and it was so amazing to hear these songwriters tell stories about how they came up with each song. Tip: Tickets sell out very quickly so buy them the day they go on sale. Bluebird Cafe

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