If I could visit one place every year for the rest of my life, it would probably be Nashville, TN. I absolutely LOVE it there. I haven’t had the good fortune of visiting a lot of places but when Kurt and I took a road trip to Nashville for our honeymoon in 2013, I immediately knew this was always going to be one of my favourite places. We recently made a deal with each other that we would start trying to take two family vacations every year (as long as we’re financially able to afford them of course) and I’ve already added Nashville back onto the list of places we’re going to visit. We actually went there in 2014 as well; although, it was a bit of a different trip since I was seven months pregnant at the time but we still had a blast. I thought I would recap some of our favourite things about Nashville for today’s post!
Firstly, we have to talk about the music! There are so many talented artists playing in this city. I was amazed at just how many there are. Some seem to be doing wonderfully while others seemed to be struggling. But they’re all down there chasing after their country music dreams! There’s definitely something to be said about the allure of the bright lights down on Broadway! From the time the bars open until the time they close there is always music playing! Whether it’s a full out band with all the instruments or just one guy and his guitar; there is always someone up on the stage playing their heart out. Some of our favourite bars to go to include: The Stage (which was featured in the movie Country Strong), Whiskey Bent Saloon, Bootleggers Inn, and Jimmy Buffet’s MargaritaVille. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is also amazing, however; because it’s so well known it’s always packed and unfortunately for Kurt and I we never actually got to go in. We just stood outside to listen to the music. If you’re a fan of the TV show Nashville then you probably know all about The Bluebird Cafe. Again, this is a hugely popular spot for singer/songwriters and to get in you basically have to stand in line for several hours but if you’re really into seeing the next “big thing” in country music then it’s definitely worth it! Garth Brooks was a regular there before being signed to a record label!
Next, we have to talk about the food! Before our wedding I got reallllly sick (like hooked up to IV antibiotic sick!) so because of this I lost a good 10 lbs in roughly a week and a half. Well, I gain it all back while in Nashville! The food is to die for! We had some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had! So good in fact that I would travel back down south again just to have it one more time. Needless to say, when we went back to Nashville when I was pregnant, I was in heaven! The idea of being able to eat whatever I wanted and not worry about the weight gain was wonderful! I swear there were times Kurt thought I would explode because I took the whole “eating for two” thing to a brand new level down there! The best BBQ we had was definitely at Jack’s Bar-B-Que. The pulled pork was mouth watering and you could taste how long they slow cooked it for. Just thinking about it now makes me want to hop on a plane and head on down there. We also had some delicious appetizers and dessert at The Southern. The one time we ate there, we had no idea what time it was. We had been out all day and just quickly stopped in at our hotel room before heading back out. We probably should have checked a clock because it was only around 3 pm when we showed up there. The Southern is pretty classy and like any good restaurant they have specific times they start and stop their meals. We missed out on lunch by about an hour and were way too early for their dinner service. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who made this mistake because we overheard the couple behind us complaining about how they had never been to a restaurant which only served appetizers in the afternoon. Ha! So back to the food, we had the BEST blue cheese biscuits with seared beef tenderloin as well as probably the greatest dessert that I’ve ever had. At first, we were highly skeptical of the banana bread pudding but our waitress talked us into it and let me tell you IT WAS LIFE CHANGING! I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like but that bread pudding set a new bar on what I expect out of a great dessert! Another great spot for some well priced eats has to be The Loveless Cafe. In the “About Nashville” book we had in our hotel room, there was a section about The Loveless Cafe and it’s history. I was dying to go especially because I had seen it on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives as well as You Gotta Eat Here before but unfortunately, we didn’t end up going there the first time. So obviously I forced Kurt to take us there when we went in August 2014. It’s down home southern cooking at its finest! The portions are huge but extremely well priced, the staff are so friendly and welcoming, and the biscuits are exactly how southern biscuits should taste! They come free with every meal and if you want more just say the word and another tray is brought right out for you! Little fluffy pillows of buttery goodness!
Pictures of The Loveless Cafe and The Southern are from Pinterest and TripAdvisor since I foolishly didn’t take any of my own!
Some other notable restaurants in Nashville include: Burger Up which has awesome bison burgers, Sambuca, Jack Daniel’s (inside the Opryland Hotel), Puckett’s, Cascades American Cafe (which is also located inside the Opryland Hotel) and 55 South (which is located in Franklin, TN and has also been featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives).
So other than listen to music and eat; what else should you do when traveling to Nashville? Well, let’s see! There’s some amazing shopping downtown! Between all the bars and restaurants are some of the funkiest little shops where you can get all sorts of clothes, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. If you’re looking to get some cowboy boots (I mean you’re in Nashville after all!) then definitely head on over to Boot Country where it’s buy ONE get TWO FREE! Yes. That’s right! Buy one pair of boots and get two of equal or lesser value for free! Incredible! So of course, Kurt and I got some. A pair for him, a pair for me, and a pair for my sister, Amanda. And then I got so carried away I bought myself a second pair from another store. But really, I was on my honeymoon and just survived some unknown illness that occurred literally two weeks before my wedding so I think I deserved them! 😉 If you’re not feeling the boots but want some great cowboy hats then check out Trail West. They carry tons of amazing hats, but just like the boots, you’ll be paying quite a bit of cash. Kurt actually bought a really awesome Jason Alden black cowboy hat and yes he wears it often! We also checked out two really great malls while we were there too. The first is The Mall at Green Hills. Holy cow! If I was loaded I could spend so much money in that place! We’re talking Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Kate Spade New York, Coach, Dillard’s, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Nordstorm, Macy’s. Basically every store I wish I could live in, is inside this mall. We also visited the Opryland Mall which has much more reasonably priced stores inside it!
See, he loves that hat! Well worth the money!
Now let’s get to some of the more touriesty attractions! Definitely check out the Country Music Hall of Fame! There is some really amazing memorabilia in there. Kurt and I had such a great time walking around the floors and looking at all the famous country music star’s outfits, cars, and guitars. It’s definitely worth the admission price. We spent at least three hours in there. We also toured their Country Music Walk of Fame which was really cool (and free!).
We also visited Franklin, TN which is so adorable! It’s a small town about half an hour away from Nashville and it’s full of small shops, historic tours, and friendly locals! If you’re a big history buff then I’m sure you’d love learning about all the battles that took place there during the civil war. We’ve also visited the Belle Meade Plantation, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Parthenon, the Tennessee Titans football stadium, and we watched two Nashville Predators hockey games while we were there on our honeymoon!
When we stayed in Nashville the first time back in October 2013, we stayed just at the Holiday Inn Express which is about a 10-15 minute walk to downtown. This was perfect for us. We had a great room and our stay there was wonderful. The second time we visited Nashville, we decided to split our stay between downtown Nashville and Opryland since we never made it there on our honeymoon. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is unbelievable! It’s like you’re in a different world! The hotel is basically a town within an glass dome! There’s hotel rooms, dozens of shops, restaurants, bars, pools, and almost anything else you can think of! It’s just beautiful. There’s so many gorgeous plants, flowers, and waterfalls as well as fountains. It seriously makes you continuously question whether or not you boarded a plane to another country! They even have a small boat that takes you on a tour throughout the whole hotel! Simply gorgeous!
Since we were staying in the Gaylord Opryland Resort, we made sure that we went and saw a show at the Grand Ole Opry and I’m so glad we did! It was such a fantastic experience seeing so many artists perform and learning so much about the history of the Grand Ole Opry! Although, being seven months pregnant and sitting in the pew like seats for two hours was definitely uncomfortable! Haha! Hunter Hayes was the closing artist for the show we saw which was really cool. He wasn’t as good as I thought he would be but the entire show was so great that I overlooked it! We booked our tickets before we even left for our trip and I would definitely recommend you do the same! The box office does open about an hour or two before the show starts but depending on who is performing, the tickets can sell out pretty quick and you would hate to miss out on the concert, especially if there was an artist you really wanted to see. Kurt and I were so busy we didn’t end up booking a tour of the Grand Ole Opry so that’s a must for sure the next time we go!
Well, there you have it! I hope if you travel to Nashville in the future you can use some of this to help you out with your trip! I am absolutely in love with this city and I could definitely see myself, Kurt, Nate, and our cats living there in the future!