Nashville has been on my bucket list for about a year now after hearing rave reviews from my imaginary Instagram friends (and real friends, of course). I wanted to experience the live music, gorgeous rolling hills, and emerging foodie scene for myself!
I was able to go for a long weekend with my best friend over Memorial Day, and we had a fantastic time eating and dancing our way through this fantastic southern city. Here are a few of my recommendations for a low-key, reasonably priced weekend in Nashville:
The Loveless Cafe – Country charm and southern cooking are the main attractions of The Loveless Cafe. Personally, I just wanted to go because the sign is absolutely adorable and I have an affinity for biscuits. Expectations were certainly met from my perspective, as I was able to capture a great shot of the sign and devour 87% of my body weight worth of biscuits – however I must say the food didn’t absolutely BLOW MY MIND with deliciousness. If you love a good Insta and enjoy biscuits, then definitely take the 25 minute drive to Loveless. However, hardcore foodies may prefer to dine elsewhere. Check out more on The Loveless Cafe here.
The Pancake Pantry – Worth. The. Wait. I could rave about The Pancake Pantry for days. With 23 varieties of pancakes, from their Sweet Potato to Chocolate Sin Pancakes, there is something for everyone at this Nashville gem. My friend and I Ubered here after a long night-turns-into-morning kind of Saturday, and were seeking caffeine, recovery, and carbs, and we were not disappointed. I would suggest ordering the Sausage & Eggs, which comes with 3 Buttermilk Pancakes. The 3 Buttermilk Pancakes can be substituted for any of the other pancakes, adjusting for the price of the replacement (e.g. 1 Sante Fe Pancake instead of 3 Buttermilk). The Sante Fe Pancake was an experience – cornmeal + bacon + jalapeno + cheese = salivation station. Check out more on the Pancake Pantry here.
Tavern – A great spot to grab some dinner and drinks in Midtown between live music sessions. My friend and I heard some rave reviews and planned to get dinner there on Sunday. We put our name on the list around 8:30 and were told we had an hour wait, which was no problem at all, there are a bunch of fun bars with live music venues just a short walk away (which I will get to in the Do section). We were absolutely STARVING by the time we were notified our table was ready, and everything on the menu looked fantastic. We ultimately decided to split 3 things: the “Bazooka” Guacamole, Tuscan Kale & Parmesan Salad, and The Tavern Burger. While we did have to wait almost an hour for our food, it was all delicious! Check out more on Tavern here.
The Bluebird Cafe – I straight up sobbed like a baby at the end of the “In The Round” session, #yolo. If you’re not familiar with the Bluebird, here’s the deal: It’s a listening room where the songwriters behind the greatest hits sit in the middle of the cafe, sing their songs, and tell the story behind the lyrics. This small 90-person venue is incredibly intimate, and seats are a hot commodity. I would strongly suggest being wiser than me and ordering tickets (available a week before the show) online. However, if you do not order tickets ahead of time you can always wait outside for a seat at the bar, pews, or a canceled reservation, like we did. We got in line at 4:00, an hour and a half before the doors opened. We thought that this would be playing it safe, boy were we wrong…we BARELY made it in, we were one of the last 4 to be seated! To be on the safe side, try to get in line at least 2 hours before the doors open. There is a Whole Foods, California Pizza Kitchen, and Zoe’s Kitchen within walking distance of the cafe, so you can always create a picnic while waiting in line. Check out more on The Bluebird Cafe here.
Broadway – Where Nashvegas got its name, and reputation. Packed with Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, Broadway is lined with bar after bar of live music venue, each with its own unique vibe and experience. My personal favorites include: Acme Feed & Seed and Tin Roof.
Centennial Park – After a long day (and night) of Nashville-ing, you may need a little R&R at a beautiful park, at least I did. Centennial Park boasts a replica of the Parthenon, a beautiful walking trail, and wideee open spacessss (Dixie Chicks, anyone? I guess you can take the girl out of Nashville but you can’t take the Nashville out of the girl 😉 ….)
Soulshine Sunday Night Blues & Groove Jam – Starting Sunday nights at 6pm, Soulshine Pizza in Midtown hosts live blues music on their second floor patio. Unofficially called “Church 2”, people of all ages come together to listen to incredible music, dance their hearts out, and get ready for the week ahead. Funny story about Soulshine…while my friend and I were listening along to a fantastic blues band, she kept saying that the pianist looked familiar but she couldn’t put her finger on it. After a few songs she gasps, “That’s Adam Wakefield from The Voice!! My mom is going to FREAK OUT.” *Her mom did freak out, btw* Leave it to Nashville to casually have the backup singer of a band be a national rising star…
If you’re ever in Nashville, I hope you’ll have the chance to check out some of these places, as well as discover a few new favorites of your own.
Please share if you have any other recommendations, stories, or Nashville secrets. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!