One thing I’ve been wanting to get better at? Visiting more of my own country! There are so many cities on my wishlist – New Orleans! Austin! Portland! San Francisco! Savannah! – that it’s dawning on me I really need to start checking them off. First up? Nashville, a city I had long wanted to explore.
So. Nashville. All in all, I loved it! Great music, incredible food options, and beautiful neighborhoods are among just a few of its assets. My girlfriends and I had a super fun weekend there, and I left wanting to return, which is always a sign of success.
We arrived on Friday evening. After grabbing dinner, we headed downtown. Our mission? Country music. All the bars on Broadway were packed, so we picked one at random, squeezed ourselves inside, and joined the party. I’ve never considered myself much of a country music fan, but hearing it live and in a crowd where everybody is shouting out the lyrics kind of makes one a convert! It got a little too hot and claustrophobic in there at times, but it felt very fun and very Nashville.
On Saturday morning, we headed to the area near Vanderbilt for breakfast at Jackson’s. My first impression? Nashville is cheap, particularly when you live in New York. I ordered the chicken biscuits – and at $9, I was unsure whether they were an appetizer or an entree. Then they came out: two huge biscuits, two huge chunks of chicken. Toto, we’re not in Manhattan anymore.
After breakfast, we explored the neighborhood around Jackson’s. In short: it was super cute! We popped into a bunch of stores, and they were all pretty much right up the basic millennial woman’s alley: adorable stationary, artisanal soaps and candles, and succulents galore.
We topped off our sojourn in the neighborhood with a stop at Jeni’s for some delish ice cream. I had the salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks and it was perfection. I’m tempted to give it a “best ice cream EVER” endorsement. It was that good.
Next, we hopped into a Lyft and headed to the Nashville Farmers Market. I love a good market, and this was definitely that! While there were lots of food shops (including another Jeni’s!) and fruit and vegetable stands, my favorite part by far was the huge garden shop. It had so many beautiful pieces!
We walked from the market to the river, which took a bit longer than expected (note to self: Nashville blocks are a lot longer than NYC blocks). By that point it was midday and fully sunny, so while the river area was nice, it was not perhaps my very favorite part of the day.
We had heard great things about Rosepepper Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in East Nashville, and we figured the best way to spend an afternoon was over a big carafe of margaritas. While I was less than impressed with the service at the restaurant – we sat forever before a waiter came over to even hand us menus – the margaritas were as good as advertised.
In the evening, we headed to the Westin Hotel which, we had heard, featured an awesome rooftop and live music. We snagged ourselves some drinks and a seat near the rooftop pool and hung out there for the evening. I only wish we had planned enough ahead to have reserved one of the rooftop’s cabanas, which looked fun. Even so, it was a perfect Saturday night hangout spot.
Everyone kept telling us to get some of the famous Nashville hot chicken, and we were eager to do it. The only problem? We didn’t particularly feel like hanging out in a super long line, which the best places tend to have. However, as we left the Westin at 11pm, we figured that that late at night, the lines at Hattie B’s might finally have abated. We were mostly right (there was still a short line) and soon enough, we had boxes filled with piping hot chickens in our hands. It was crispy and crunchy and seriously delicious, the perfect post-going out snack.
On Sunday morning, we made our way to Pinewood Social, which felt like exactly the kind of place everyone in Brooklyn would want to hang out, if only NYC were spacious enough to house such an expansive place. Pinewood Social features a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, bowling alley, swimming pools, ping pong tables, and more. Basically, it’s everything you need to spend a fun Sunday. Oh, and – the waffles are excellent.
After brunching, we spent some time wandering around the Gulch, exploring many of the colorful, funky murals:
Then, we headed over to 12 South, another awesome Nashville neighborhood. Here, we popped into Draper James, saw more street art, and explored fun vintage shops.
Our time in Nashville came to a close at the Parthenon, a replica built in 1897. While it could never match the real thing, it’s still fun to see. It sits inside Centennial Park, which is also good for a wander.
The Bottom Line: Nashville is super fun, and particularly well-suited for a girls weekend. The only downsides? The heat (next time I visit, it will not be in July, let me tell you) and the fact that the city is crawling with bachelorette parties (so many drunk girls in flower crowns). But if you can overcome those two things, it’s a delight.