Updated: May 24
A trip to Nashville likely summons visions of bustling Broadway Street lined with Honky Tonks with a parade of bachelorette parties wearing matching t-shirts and white cowboy boots. While we love a rowdy honky tonk as much as the next gal or guy, there is so much more to Nashville beyond the high-tourist attractions of downtown. When one of my favorite musicians announced a show at the legendary Ryman Auditorium the same weekend as our fourth wedding anniversary, I set out to plan a laid-back weekend getaway to Nashville.
Accommodations can be pricey in Nashville; you can expect to pay in the $300-400s for a 4-star hotel. I highly recommend booking early. Those last-minute prices across town only seem to get higher closer to travel dates.
Urban Cowboy - The highly curated, cowboy-themed Urban Cowboy has long been on our Nashville bucket list, and it completely lived up to the hype. From the design to the staff, this eight-suite bed and breakfast is a one-of-a-kind experience with no detail left undone. We were warmly welcomed at check-in, handed a glass of wine, and given a property tour. There’s a pizza restaurant on the property and Lockeland Table on the opposite corner, which is supposed to be good. In addition, there is live music in the lobby on select evenings - we missed it both nights but did enjoy a late-night cocktail in the adjacent bar, Public House. While there is not a traditional concierge service always on property, the staff is just a text away and will provide recommendations as needed.
For our stay, we reserved “The Muse,” a king suite on the second floor with a clawfoot tub and tons of character. The rooms don’t just look cool - The bed, towels, robes, and leather chair were super comfortable. I was surprised by how quiet it was. The Urban Cowboy sits on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood, but we didn't even hear any noise from the other rooms. I haven’t slept that soundly in some time. The room’s minibar came stocked with all kinds of local goodies - sparkling sodas, craft beers, hangover cures, and bubble bath products. While the bathroom does not include a shower, we loved our early morning hot bath soaks under the skylight. It was such a relaxing, peaceful way to start the day.
Each morning, the staff set up a simple breakfast in the lobby - greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, granola, and coffee - just enough to fuel us to get out the door to a proper Nashville brunch.
Our other hotel picks:
The Russell - A historic church turned concierge-less boutique hotel with eclectic, colorful decor and a fun vibe fitting for Nashville. We stayed at The Russell on a previous trip to Nashville and were wowed by our experience. Plus, the owners contribute a portion of each stay to local homeless ministries. Make sure you pop into the photobooth while you’re there.
Vandyke Bed + Beverage - This adults-only boutique hotel is next on our Nashville bucket list. Each of the boutique's eight rooms is uniquely designed with a beverage theme. We have our eyes on the “Gin” suite. With a rooftop patio and an open-air courtyard, there are plenty of spaces to cozy up with your favorite adult beverage.
Shop the East Nashville Vintage Trail - Home to numerous thrift and vintage stores, Nashville is a vintage lover’s dream. You'll find everything from throwback t-shirts, dresses, cowboy boots, and leather jackets. Prices vary from shop to shop, but you’ll likely find something fun within your budget at one of the many stops along the way. We found that some were reasonably priced, while others were (as our mamas say)“real proud” of their offerings. Here’s a map of the vintage stores we scoped out and a few we’ll visit on our next trip. If records are more your thing, Nashville's got plenty of those — and we've got a map for that, too.
Print a keepsake poster - Nashville’s legendary letterpress Hatch Show Print Shop has printed its iconic music posters since 1879. Their design style is quickly recognizable, and they’ve designed posters for a long list of performers, such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Wilco. Book a tour of the shop, and you’ll get to make a keepsake poster to take home.
Design your own Goo Goo Cluster - Nashville is home to the country’s first combination candy, the Goo Goo Cluster. Inside the Goo Goo Chocolate Co downtown, visitors can customize their own 4-ounce Goo Goo Cluster through one of the four kiosks and then watch the candy makers handmake the sweet treats. If you have more time, book one of the hands-on classes to make treats yourself.
Mural hop - Nashville has really leaned into murals and street art, and the art around town is simply amazing. Seeking them out is a great way to explore Nashville rather than shopping. Check out this article to scout out murals by neighborhood.
Listen to live music - A trip to “Music City” is not complete unless you’ve seen a show or two. For us, it’s usually why we’re in the city to start in the first place. There are endless opportunities to catch a live performance in Nashville in a variety of settings - from honky tonks to dive bars to intimate listening rooms. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend the free Nashville Live Music Guide app.
To Eat & Drink
Nashville is known for its hot chicken and meat-and-three, but over the years, the city has attracted top chefs and grown into a culinary destination with a thriving cocktail scene. If you’re planning a trip to Nashville, we highly recommend reading through Eater Nashville's list of the newest hotspots.
Fido - Head to this Hillsboro institution when you’re looking for a hearty brunch. Be prepared to wait in line, but it is worth it!
Frothy Monkey - An all-day cafe serving up coffee, fresh-baked goodies, and a full menu. You can order brunch up until 5 pm. The grit bowl is fuego.
Hearts - An Australian-inspired brunch spot with indoor and outdoor seating, a solid breakfast cocktail selection, and a clean but filling menu. This spot has become repeat-worthy in our books.
Avo - Locally sourced, plant-based fare that is sure to fill you up. Pro tip: Order the Kimchi Spring Rolls.
Mas Tacos Por Favor - A cash-only taco shop in East Nashville. Locals will tell you they serve the best tacos in the city.
Greko Greek Street Food - I’m a sucker for authentic Greek food, and Greko delivers - meal portions are quite generous, and the service is quick. If the weather is nice, enjoy your meal on their back patio.
Chauhan Ale & Masala - Indian fusion by celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan. Start with the Goan Curry Mussels, and try to not slurp the curry sauce from the bowl.
Pinewood Social - Sure, it can attract the trendy crowd, but it has everything you need for a fun date night - bowling, karaoke, bocce ball, craft cocktails, and a southern-inspired menu.
The Treehouse - A farm-to-table eatery with a vegetarian- and gluten-free-friendly menu. We stumbled on this place in a pinch for a late-night bite to eat (they serve until 1 AM Thursday through Saturday). Next visit to Nashville, we’ll return to sample the full menu.
Attaboy - A moody, intimate speakeasy with no menu – no really! – the bartenders ask questions about what you like and let the mixologists handle the rest.
Bar Sovereign - This eccentric, art-filled gastropub with good vibes feels like a hidden gem.
Greenhouse Bar - Sip and lounge surrounded by greenery at this relaxed cocktail bar in a greenhouse.
Pearl Diver - A fun, island-styled bar with patio seating out back - you’ll find classic and new tiki drinks on the menu.
Public House - Tucked behind Urban Cowboy, a cozy, laid-back bar with outdoor seating and friendly staff.
Drive into Nashville and have a late lunch at Avo
Check into Urban Cowboy
Dinner at Chauhan Ale & Masala
Brunch at Frothy Monkey
Choose your own adventure:
Dinner at Pinewood Social
Catch live music at one of Nashville’s many music venues
Want to simplify your getaway planning? Let me handle the booking, so you can sit back and enjoy your vacation stress-free!