Whether you’re visiting Music City for a concert, for the history, or just for the live music and booze, Nashville has something to offer just about everybody.
If you’ve never been to Nashville, or even if you have, here are some spots you need to hit up on your next trip.
Things to Do
-Tour the Ryman Auditorium
Whether or not you’re going to see a show at the Ryman, a tour of the Mother Church is a must for country fans.
-Buy Some Cowboy Boots
You can find a boot store on just about every corner – so whether you’re looking for a new pair of Luccheses or you just want to get a good deal at one of the many stores that offer 3 pairs for the price of 1, you’ll be able to find the right pair to take back home with you.
-Catch a Show at the Grand Ole Opry
With shows every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, chances are you’ll be around to catch The Show That Made Country Music Famous. And while you’re in that part of town, make sure to stop by the Opryland Resort and take a boat ride through the indoor gardens.
-Buy Some More Cowboy Boots
Seriously, there’s a store on every corner…
-Go to a Predators Game
Smashville has one of the best environments in all of sports. If the Preds are in town, try to catch a game at Bridgestone Arena – and make sure the opposing goalie knows that he sucks!
-Visit the Parthenon
Wait, what? That’s right, Nashville has a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon, located in Centennial Park near Vanderbilt University. Why? Well, why not?
-Take Basic Pictures in Front of the Murals
Nashville has plenty of murals to get that perfect Instagram of your trip. Just be prepared to wait in line if you want to get your picture in front of the angel wings on 11th Avenue S. in the Gulch.
Places to Eat
Nashville is known for its “meat and threes,” which is exactly what it sounds like – you choose a meat and three sides. You may feel like you’re walking into a country store when you walk into Puckett’s, but it’s one of the best meat and threes in Nashville, and it’s located downtown just a block from the Ryman.
Despite only being open for less than 2 years, Mockingbird has quickly become a Nashville favorite for its menu that blends southern comfort food with tastes from around the globe. And you have to try the tatchos – because who wouldn’t love tater tots smothered in beer cheese and lamb chili?
If a burger is more your style, this East Nashville joint has something for you no matter what your tastes.
This one could go anywhere on the list – not only is it a restaurant, but it’s also a bar, a coffee shop, and a bowling alley. If you’re looking for a relaxing meal where you can have some fun after dinner, this is the place for you.
If you’re looking for something a bit more classy, check out this restaurant inside a former movie theater. And if you’re in the mood for a boozy brunch, Sinema has bottomless mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar on weekends, too.
Off the beaten path, the Loveless Café is a Nashville staple known for their southern cuisine (and by that I mean their fried chicken). And speaking of chicken…
You can’t come to Nashville and not eat hot chicken, right? Nashvillians love to debate over who has the best hot chicken, so I couldn’t recommend just one.
Try out some of these and see which one is your favorite:
-Prince’s – The original hot chicken
-Hattie B’s – The most famous hot chicken
-Party Fowl – The most unique hot chicken dishes
-Bolton’s – Supposedly the hottest hot chicken. I wouldn’t know, because I value my taste buds.
Places to Drink
Oh boy. Where to even start. I guess the best place to start is where everybody starts drinking in Nashville: on Lower Broadway.
Nashville’s most famous strip of honky tonks – and none of them charge a cover, so you can check out as many as you want. A few of the highlights:
The most famous of the honky tonks, and for good reason. Sharing an alley with the Ryman, Tootsie’s has long been a place for country’s biggest stars to sneak in the back door and jump on stage after a show. You never know who you’ll see playing on Tootsie’s three floors of live music.
-AJ’s Good Time Bar
In the last two years, artist-owned bars have popped up all over downtown Nashville, with Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan among the stars who have hung their names in neon signs on Broadway. But here’s a secret: Those bars are pretty generic, and they’re pretty much all the same. The one artist-owned bar that stands out on Broadway is AJ’s Good Time Bar, owned by country legend Alan Jackson. Playing traditional country on the main stage and featuring karaoke upstairs, AJ’s isn’t just a gift shop for Alan Jackson merch – it’s a true honky tonk.
A giant dance floor, three stories of live music, and consistently strong artists on stage make this one of the better places to catch some country on Broadway.
-Acme Feed and Seed
This is another one that could fall into any category – bar, restaurant, live music, whatever you’re looking for, Acme probably has it. And the music at Acme tends to be more eclectic than the rest of Broadway, so if you’re looking for some variety, Acme is a good place to start.
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-The George Jones Museum
Not technically on Broadway, and not just a museum. George Jones makes the list for its rooftop bar, featuring live music and the best views of downtown Nashville that you’ll find.
Printers Alley, a street filled with off-the-beaten-path bars that provide a break from the crowds and honky tonks of Broadway. Bourbon Street Boogie and Blues, Alley Taps, and Skull’s Rainbow Room are all worth a visit. And if you think you should be on stage instead of watching from the crowd, check out Lonnie’s Western World for karaoke.
-Tin Roof (Demonbreun)
After hitting up Broadway, this midtown bar on Demonbreun Street has more of a laid-back local vibe.
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Just a little ways down from Tin Roof you’ll find Loser’s…and right next door you’ll find Winner’s. Decide whether you’re feeling like a winner or a loser, head to the bar to get a Bootwacker, and enjoy the live music (along with the shit show you’ll see around you).
Some Classier Options
This rooftop bar in the Thompson Hotel has great views of downtown Nashville while you drink an upscale cocktails or your favorite local beer.
“Nashville’s first craft cocktail bar” has a prohibition-era speakeasy vibe and long lines to get in the door.
-Ember’s Ski Lodge
Located in the booming 12 South area of Nashville, Ember’s has a laid-back vibe, a good food menu, and the best whiskey selection in the city.
Ending the Night
There’s only one bar on this list – and that’s Santa’s Pub. Santa’s Pub is the ultimate dive bar, and is perfect for winding down a long night of drinking…with more drinking. Cheap beer, karaoke, and year-round Christmas decorations in a double-wide trailer. It’s as weird and awesome as it sounds, and the crowd is just as weird as the bar itself. You should probably never go to Santa’s sober, but after a night of hard partying, it’s the only way to end the day.