After each of my travel experiences I try to reflect on what part of the trip stood out to me the most. I prefer to take a more natural, and less premeditated, approach to what I think my readers will like to hear about in a travel post. I take photos during every meal (as long as I remember to!), take note of all trip activities, and evaluate my accommodations while traveling. After my trip concludes, whatever experience jumps out to me the most is where I start my brainstorm. Today’s post is focusing on my latest trip to Nashville!
For my trip last month to Nashville I didn’t have one particular experience that I thought was appropriate to focus solely on. We did a lot of restaurant and bar hopping. We stayed in a great airbnb. And we enjoyed quite a few activities throughout our quick stay. So rather than focus on just one moment on my trip I decided to give you all a rundown of the possibilities for your own weekend trips. No need to do the research, I’ve done it for you. As a warning, this list is not comprehensive of the whole city. This is from my experiences alone. But, take what you can from it and fly on down to the music city! Read on for me recommendations for hotel, activities, restaurants and bars!
We got the rundown from a local on why hotels are just so darn expensive in Nashville (I’m talking close to $400 a night for a room at the Holiday Inn). There is a huge shortage of hotels now that Nashville has become a hotspot destination.
Take a page from my book at look into renting an AirBnB. We were able to get a full house with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and just a short 10 minute uber ride to downtown (Average $12 fare). Our whole weekend at this house cost us under $450 and was split between three people. Not too shabby! Here was the house we stayed at: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13235556
If you haven’t used Airbnb before you can use my personal code and get $40 off your first rental!
Country Music Hall of Fame– If you’re a fan of country music (new or old), this is a fun experience. There are tons of exhibits on artists, old stage costumes, and interactive activities (like record your own song or make your own album cover). Unfortunately, some of the history was a bit lost on our group. All of us are fairly newer to the country music scene. But, it was still a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. You can buy tickets in advance online here or purchase on site when you arrive.
Viator-JoyRide Tours– This is a MUST. Joyride offers private bar crawl and city tours on golf cart for small groups around the city. For just $40 my group of 3 was escorted for 2 hours around town. It was raining so we missed some of the usual stops but our driver helped us make the best of it. You’ll see historical stops, get insider info on where to eat and drink, see where they film the show Nashville, and more. Our driver was SO nice that he took us out for a FREE additional hour two days later when it wasn’t raining to take us to the stops we had missed earlier in the weekend. Now that’s service. Here’s the site and ask for Patrick as your guide!!
Marathon Village- one of the stops on our golf cart JoyRide tour was to Marathon Village. We were able to get out here for a bit and wander around. I wish we could have spent more time because with a winery, boutique shops, The Jack Daniels general store, eateries, and the Antique Arcade (aka. the American Pickers TV Show Shop) there is plenty to browse and do. Take an hour or two to take a stroll through this converted 100 year old warehouse for some potential souvenir finds!
Prince’s Hot Chicken- This place is a Nashville legend. It is James Beard awarded as an “American Classic”. It’s been around since the 1920s. There is a Mrs. Prince who still sits at the register selling homemade pies who is part of the original owner family. While Prince’s is the oldest Hot Chicken establishment in town, there is much debate on which restaurant serves up the best tasting hot chicken in Nashville. The main contender, other than Princes, is Hattie B’s. People are very passionate about their favorite shop. It seems there is a clear divide between people who like each of these two competing shops. I wanted to try the original, so Prince’s it was.
After waiting nearly 45 minutes in line (Hattie B’s has a similar, if not longer line), we were able to swipe one of five booths in the small shop. We then proceeded to wait an additional hour for our chicken to be fried to order (Yes, they still fry the chicken to order in a cast iron pan!).
There are six levels of heat and even the third, medium, will clear out your head and leave you drowning yourself in water (You are now warned…). But the chicken is crisped to golden brown perfection, the skin is salty and flavorful (an understatement), and the chicken is still surprisingly moist. If you’re looking for a true taste of Nashville, Prince’s is worth a stop. Just be aware that you WILL wait and most likely have to enjoy your chicken stand ting up unless you hawk one of their few tables.
Sutler’s Saloon- We took the advice of one of the locals we met on our JoyRide tour to try out Sutler Saloon for Sunday brunch. They have unlimited mimosas, a bloody mary bar, and live bluegrass bands all morning. The menu is southern comfort with dishes like sweet potato pancakes, chicken and waffles, hash, and lots of biscuit incorporated meals. Its outside of downtown however; it seems that locals and tourists alike still know where to find it. Get there at 10am open (like us) or be prepared to wait. It seems like that’s a common theme in Nashville as most places don’t take lunch reservations. So, patience is key!
Husk- This restaurant is the second location of the acclaimed Charleston restaurant opened by James Beard awarded chef, Sean Brock. Brock brings seasonal southern cooking to a new level with his intimate approach to local ingredients at Husk. This was our favorite meal of the trip. Expect to pay for the quality of food you are eating but, if you are looking for a splurge or a date night location, this should be on your radar.
Puckett’s Groceries and Bar- This restaurant was been featured on “best of” lists for both Thrillest and Eater. That was one of our main drivers for picking it. I did love the atmosphere of the 1950’s converted groceries shop into a southern style dining room. However; both our service and food were lackluster. I think Puckett’s could still a solid choice if you are looking for something casual and affordable. They do chalkboard style meat and sides plates like chicken fried chicken and have an extensive sandwich lineup. However; it just happened to be our least food outing up against the strong lineup of meals we had on our getaway.
Acme Feed and Seed- This establishment was the biggest bar we ventured to. There are three floors, three different vibes, and a whole lot of room. If you’re looking for somewhere to be a little more spread out, Acme is one of the better options. The music is loud and lively but there is dancing and walking room. The top floor has great rooftop views of the water as well. There were two different live bands to choose from for listening purposes and an extensive bar list. Their specialty cocktail menu is thoughtful and a tribute to local favorites (i.e. worth a sip). The word around the bar was that the food was pretty good. Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to indulge ourselves.
Nudie’s Honkey Tonk- this smaller bar had the most laid back feel of the ones we ventured to. Yes, there were still great bands blasting out country tunes all night. But, if you weren’t near the front bar stage, you could easily saddle up on a bar stool towards the back and have conversation with friends. If you’re looking for lower key but with live music, Nudie’s is a good place to start.
Honky Tonk Central- It’s a bar that always seems to be upbeat and packed. The main stage band played all your country hit favorites. If you’re looking to mix and mingle, meet new people, or dance the night away this is the Honky Tonk Central to spend your night at.
Tootsies- I was hesitant to go to this bar as I was told it’s the “every visitor must go to bar”. Well, if going to Tootsies made me a true tourist, so be it. I loved this small, packed bar where the walls are filled to the brim with old autographed country stars. The band and singers scatter between the small bandstand and the bar tops. From there they belt out everything from ballads to hits. There are 3 floors to choose from in this bar. So if one band seems stale, just head up or down to the next floor for something new. So I’ll hop on the bandwagon here and say that you should definitely make a stop at Tootsie’s on your visit!
Have fun Y’all
…all for the love of the dish