Our Nashville Travel Diary
If you happen to follow my personal Instagram account, you probably know that Rob and I took a long weekend trip to Nashville, Tennessee this month. If it seemed like a spur of the moment trip, that’s because it was. (We decided the week beforehand that we were going!) After losing our second baby at the beginning of the month, Rob and I both found ourselves in a rut. To be honest, we didn’t know how to process another loss — and we both felt stuck. After watching a food channel episode on Nashville one night, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to the music city. Neither of us had ever been to Nashville before (and we always wanted to), so we thought it would be a great way to get our mind off things, reset, and make room for some fun.
Nashville Travel Guide:
Where to Stay, Where to Eat, & What to Do in Nashville
Today on the blog, I can’t wait to share with you our Nashville travel diary. If you plan to take a trip to the Nashville, Tennessee area in the future, here’s a little bit of where we ate as well as what we did — and even what we wish we would’ve had more time to do!
Where We Stayed
Like our Denver, Colorado trip, we took advantage of using our Hilton points for this trip. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Nashville – only a few blocks from Broadway! We have always had great luck with Hilton, and this time was no different. It was really nice and quiet, clean, and the staff was super nice as well. Not to mention, we had free breakfast every morning with Rob’s status (even though we mainly went to coffee shops for breakfast.) It’s only a few blocks from Broadway, so we found ourselves walking almost all weekend. (Plus – even though it was right off Broadway, it felt safe and was super quiet at night!) While there are a lot of great Air B&B options in Nashville, I definitely would plan on staying here again.
Where We Ate
I’m just going to apologize in advance to my personal trainer if she’s reading this… Hi, Leslie! Don’t kill me when you see me next please!
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Is it sad that I’m craving hot chicken while I type about it? When we finally made it to Nashville, we dumped our things at the hotel and immediately caught an uber over to Hattie B’s. Rob has been raving about Hattie B’s since he ate at the one in Atlanta, and it definitely did not disappoint. With a line out the door and around the building, it’s safe to say that it didn’t disappoint them either. While it was cold and rainy, we were able to sit on the heated patio and we had a lot of fun making friends with the couple we shared a table with!
We each got the tenders in hot. For sides, I got the mac & cheese and beans while Rob got fries and mac & cheese. I like really spicy things, and I thought the hot flavor was perfect. No sniffling or sweating over here. However, the lady next to us was dying with the hot on her tenders. Depending on your preference, I think the mild or medium would be a great place to start. It’s called hot chicken for a reason. The mac & cheese was made with pimento cheese by the way. Can I get an AMEN?
Crema (Coffee Shop)
Naturally, I’ve got to find the best of the best when it comes to coffee shops when we travel. We kicked off my coffee quest with a morning stop at Crema on Saturday morning before we headed out to escape the rain with a day at the museums. It was only a few blocks away, so we ventured that way in our rain jackets after eating a light breakfast at the hotel. I wasn’t in the mood for anything sweet, so I got just a standard cappuccino. While it didn’t win my top coffee shop recommendation, it was still a great spot! We loved getting to sit and watch the rain while sipping on a great cup of coffee.
Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar on Broadway
After we spent most of the day at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum, we decided to walk back over to Broadway and have a late-ish lunch at Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar. Not only was it a super fun atmosphere with the music, oh my goodness was it delicious! We definitely hung out there for a while before venturing off to the next thing. We started off with some buffalo cauliflower (that was gone before I was able to take a picture of it.) Then, as for what we ordered, Rob had the chicken and waffles while I had the mac & cheese with beer pulled chicken. Y’all, it was so good. The pictures didn’t do it justice!
Note: I was kind of skeptical of all the recommendations I received about must-have food in the bars on Broadway, but I am willing to admit that I was one thousand percent wrong. Some of best food that we had in Nashville was right there in front of us on Honky Tonk Highway. Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar, in particular, was one of our favorite spots.
ACME Seed & Feed on Broadway
When we got to Nashville, we asked the locals we met on Friday night where they’d all venture to on Broadway. Overwhelmingly, they all raved about ACME Seed & Feed. So after exploring a bit more and then freshening up at the hotel, we decided to venture back down to Broadway for dinner and live music at ACME Seed & Feed on Saturday night. We were lucky enough to snag a table as people got up, so we camped out here for the majority of the night while we ate some great food and enjoyed a couple of different bands that had sets that night.
Since we had a large late lunch, we only ordered the hot chicken bites and fried green tomatoes (starters) while sitting at ACME. Like everything we had in Nashville, it was delicious. To be honest, I almost wished I was hungrier (HA!) – because the locals also raved about the sushi bar that’s on the second floor of ACME. When we come back to Nashville, that will definitely be on my list to visit.
Side Note: One really cool thing about ACME was that each floor had it’s own vibe and menu. The first floor was all about live music and southern cooking. Meanwhile, the second floor was a more of a sushi bar and lounge bar type setting. Then the rooftop was just a bar with a super social vibe.
Milk & Honey
I found my favorite coffee shop of Nashville, and it was Milk & Honey. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat there on Sunday morning due to the intense brunch crowd (2+ hour wait), but we were able to snag a coffee and some croissants on the way to our plans for that day. When I tell you that this was the best cup of coffee that I’ve ever had, I’m not lying to you. Nor am I exaggerating.
Their signature Milk & Honey Latte was the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. (and I’m pretty much a coffee snob!) Their croissants were also the best croissants I’ve ever had. Rob and I each got a chocolate croissant to go with our coffee, and it was all we were able to talk about the rest of the day. When I say that Milk & Honey should be on everyone’s Nashville itinerary, I’m as serious as a heart attack.
Edley’s Barbecue on 12th Ave S
After roaming around 12th Ave S and stopping in the Draper James store, we decided to have a late lunch on Sunday. As Texans, we are pretty skeptical when it comes to barbecue from other states (I’m sorry – we just do it better!) I’m not sure what made us wander into Edley’s Barbeque, but I’m betting the Holy Spirit knew we needed THIS Nashville barbecue in our lives. Voted ‘Best Barbecue in Nashville’ 4 years in a row, it definitely held up to its reputation. It was GOOD.
I got the Brisket Sandwich with baked beans and (you guessed it) mac & cheese. Meanwhile, Rob got the Burnt Ends Platter. If you want a great meal to cap off a day of shopping at the 12th Ave S boutiques, you’ve got to stop into Edley’s Barbecue. It was southern barbecue comfort food at it’s finest. Talk about the best kind of food coma.
What We Did
Honky Tonk Highway
Oh, Nashville. You made us feel like we were 22 again. One of Rob and I’s favorite things to do when we were in college at Texas A&M was to hit up Harry’s on Northgate, listen to some live music when they had concerts, and twirl on the dance floor. (We actually met at a Josh Abbott Band concert!)
With that being said, we naturally gravitated towards Honky Tonk Highway (aka. Lower Broadway) to soak up all of the live music that Nashville had to offer. It seemed like every bar had someone playing regardless of the time of day or night. Meanwhile, all the bars were multiple stories – with some having a different band on each floor! We had the most fun walking up and down Broadway and popping into places when we heard something we liked. With no covers, it was so easy to just bounce around from place to place.
Even if you aren’t big into the bar scene or drinking (because we aren’t anymore!), we still had a lot of fun getting to sit and munch while watching and singing along with all the bands and having a good time. That’s really what it was about for us. While we popped into some of the crazy packed bars (like Kid Rock’s), we tended to hang out at the lower key spots where we could camp out at a table and watch the different bands. Our favorite spots were definitely ACME Feed & Seed and Johnny Cash’s Kitchen and Saloon.
Note: Keep in mind that the bands in Nashville hustle for tips and often times aren’t paid by the bars. Carry a little cash with you where ever you go. If you pop in a listen to a band, make sure you show them some love and tip them!
Country Music Hall of Fame
With most of Saturday being such a rainy day, we decided to take the weather as an excuse to spend our day at the museums. We started off at the Country Music Hall of Fame (along with everyone else escaping the Nashville weather.) To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect — but it was so much bigger than I thought it would be. This place was massive. I think we probably spent over 3 hours inside looking through everything. Not only did we get to see a lot of amazing things, but we also really learned a lot about some of our favorite artists. We really had the best time! Of course, the Country Music Hall of Fame should be on every person’s Nashville Itinerary.
Music City Walk of Fame Park
After walking through the Country Music Hall of Fame, we ventured outside and across the street to the Music City Walk of Fame Park. Like the stars in Hollywood, the Music City Walk of Fame on Nashville’s Music Mile is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration and made a significant contribution to the music industry with connection to Music City. It was so fun getting to walk around and look at all the names and find our favorite people.
Johnny Cash Museum
From the Music City Walk of Fame Park, we ventured over back towards Broadway’s side streets to visit the Johnny Cash Museum. (It’s next door to Johnny Cash’s Kitchen and Saloon that I mentioned above.) While the Country Music Hall of Fame was my must-see while we toured Nashville, the Johnny Cash Museum was Rob’s. Johnny Cash is one of Rob’s favorite artists (if not his favorite!) Featuring the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world, Rob was definitely in Cash heaven. If you’re a Cash fan like Rob, you won’t want to miss this when you come to Nashville.
Goo Goo Shop
After touring the Johnny Cash Museum, we walked out to see Goo Goo Shop staring at us from across the street. All the locals we talked to raved about trying the Goo Goo Clusters. Meanwhile, Rob has a sweet tooth like a toddler, so whenever we see a candy shop we have to go inside.
To be honest, I didn’t really understand the rave that the people of Nashville have about the Goo Goo Cluster. But after learning a little more about it, I found it to be a real Nashville staple. Naturally, we got one of each to try, and we now wish we would’ve gotten a couple boxes to bring home to our families. We personally liked the original the best, but all three of them were amazing! If you’ve never tried a Goo Goo Cluster, you’ve got to stop into Goo Goo Shop on your next trip to Nashville.
Not going to Nashville anytime soon? They have an online shop!
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
After leaving Goo Goo Shop, we decided to finish off our first full day wandering with a view of the Nashville skyline on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge before we headed back to our hotel to relax and freshen up before dinner. Looking over the Lower Broadway skyline, it was a great overview of Nashville.
After our Sunday morning tour with Joyride (I’ll talk about that in a minute!) we decided to make our way back to Marathon Village to check out the Marathon Motor Works Museum and the Antique Archaeology store. Marathon Village is a neighborhood born out of the buildings that once housed Marathon Motor Works (1910-1914). Fun Fact: It was the first factory to totally manufacture automobiles in the southern United States and the only one to do so until General Motors made the Saturn in 1990.
Now filled with shops alongside the museum, it was a really cool place to visit! The American Picker’s store (Antique Archaeology) was a fun one to pop into. I was hoping for a lot more (it was pretty small filled with mostly their branded merchandise.) However, it was still cool to see some of the different antiques inside the store.
Mural and Instagram Tour with Joyride
The Mural and Instagram Tour with Joyride was hands down one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. (No trip to Nashville is complete without getting Instagram-worthy photos at the city’s popular murals!) While Nashville is known for its music, that’s not the only art form you find in its streets. The music city’s walls are covered with fresh, unique works of art everywhere you look — with new murals popping up weekly!
We had so much fun with our guide Neal as we rode around the city. You could tell he had a lot of passion for the city and the local art scene. Not only did we get to see a lot of the city’s art, but we also got to learn so much about the artists and the visions and meanings behind each of the murals. Neal also talked about the city’s history and a lot of other fun facts about the city and its history. Y’all, he was so funny. We laughed and had seriously the most fun riding around town with him. It was definitely the best way to get to see the entire city! 1 – million percent recommend!
I couldn’t leave Nashville without stopping in at the Draper James store. So after our tour with Joyride and our visit back over to Marathon Village, we decided to drive over to the 12th Ave S area of Nashville. The Draper James store was the definition of southern charm – they even served you sweet tea when you come inside! If you’re in love with everything Reese Witherspoon like I am, it’s a must-visit.
Our Favorite Parts of Nashville
- Rob – Rob said that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite part of this trip. But if he had to choose for the sake of this part of the blog post, he said his favorite part of Nashville was definitely all of the live music that we got to enjoy on Broadway.
- Cathy – Call me a blogger, but my favorite part of our trip was definitely our Joyride tour with Neal. I had SO much fun getting to see the city, hear about all of the murals, and be a total ‘Instagram girl’ and take photos.
What We Wish We Would Have Done
- Ryman Auditorium – The one museum-type place we wish we would’ve had time for was definitely the Ryman Auditorium. (It was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974.) With doors closing at 4:00 PM every day, we just didn’t have enough time to make it over there after everything else. This is on our list to visit next time we go to Nashville!
- Biscuit Love – Biscuit Love is the main place we wish we would’ve gotten to eat at while we were in Nashville after we saw it on the Food Network. We honestly had plans to eat here, but the wait was almost ridiculous. The line was out the door and almost around the block. With how much other things we wanted to see, we just didn’t want to waist all of our precious time waiting in line. Maybe next time!!
- Living with Landyn Store – Landyn is one of my favorite people that I follow on Instagram, and she just opened her Living with Landyn store in Nashville. While I didn’t have time to visit this time, it’s on my list to visit next time!
Well, friends, that quick (kind of, not really) overview of our time in the music city concludes the first installment (of hopefully many more trips back!) of our Nashville travel diary. Nashville definitely stole our hearts, and it’s safe to say that this won’t be our last trip to the music city. If you ever find yourself traveling to the Nashville for a quick weekend trip away like we did, I hope our travel guide helps you plan your trip with intention.
Have you been to Nashville before? Tell me about your experience in a comment below! Are there any other things we must do the next time we go?