24 Hours in Nashville

I've been longing to visit Nashville since I starting listening to country music a few years ago.  Since becoming an avid country fan, I started watching the show, Nashville, and obviously the need to visit the city became greater as I watches characters living out their dreams.  I wanted to experience the live music scene, the laid back vibes and the see what Nashville was really all about outside of what the show portrayed, and that's why it was our first stop on our cross country road trip from NYC to LA.

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After driving 14 hours from New York City we luckily stumbled upon Yazoo Brewing Company.  It was hot, we were tired and beer sounded like a fantastic idea.  As Nashville's most well known microbrewer we decided we had to taste everything. Spending an hour sipping on some brews among the no frills tasting room, we then ended up wandering around the rest of the small area we were in called The Gulch which is nested below the rest of the city, hence the given name.  It was full of cute shops and restaurants.  We explored a local boutique called Two Old Hippies.  You could spend hours in there looking at the intricately decorated guitars, local artist's jewelry, the mix of mainstream and local brands, as well as their quirky book selection.  The store was extremely well curated focusing on flower child inspirations with a country twist.  

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Nashville is full of farm to table restaurants and the long list is hard to choose from.  We ended up going to Rolf and Daughters which was fantastic.  Their vegetables were incredibly fresh and their pastas were delicious and uniquely blended non-traditional flavors together.  Be wary because from the outside, the restaurant can look empty, they have large windows set higher up above the tables.  Once inside, it's normally bustling with chatter within the chic industrial space.  Other restaurants we would love to try when we get back to Nashville are Butcher & Bee (A Charleston and Nashville outpost offering fresh Egyptian, southern fusion), Husk (A Nashville hotspot and fellow farm to table), and Cityhouse (a pizzeria with a southern twist).  If you're looking for something a little more southern, definitely dedicate a morning to the long line at Biscuit Love for some biscuits, gravy and fried chicken at the Nashville favorite. 

A great place to hang out for an afternoon is Pinewood Social.  Many trendy locals head here to write, drink with friends, lay by the pool, spend an afternoon at the retro inspired bowling lanes or just relax and read a book.  The space is well decorated, airy and cozy, you can easily spend a few hours making yourself at home.  Their roasted broccoli is amazing in addition to their seasonal cocktails!

Known as Music city, one can't leave Nashville without taking in the honky tonk scene and hitting up some live music venues. The main strip, Broadway is full of fun, wild honky tonks between 5th Ave North and 1st Ave North.  We spent time at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge which has a front and back room, each with different bands playing, as well as a rooftop area.  We then headed over to Robert's Western World (which is a boot shop by day and a honky tonk by night), and ended the night at Honky Tonk Central, three floors high with a bar on each floor and different bands playing throughout.  

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The next morning, we spent some time wandering and driving around the 12 South district of Nashville, further out from the center of town.  It's more relaxed, spread out and chill than the downtown vibe.  It's full of cute shops, great cafes and farmers markets. The Frothy Monkey is a quirky spot to shop and relax while sipping a strong coffee.  We ended our time in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe,  it's off the beaten path but well worth the drive.  As a more intimate spot to listen to some of country music's best songwriters try out new material or replay old songs, it truly is a Nashville special.  Lastly, if you're a huge country music fan, take a tour of the Grand Ole Oprey House, twenty minutes outside of Nashville.  As the Hall of Fame of country music, it is one of the most important institutions within the music industry.  On the tour you get to go backstage, are given a full history describing the significance of the Oprey House through the decades, as well as an explanation of how the membership works and why it has become an achievement in it's own right.  

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If you've been to Nashville, what are your favorite spots?  Feel free to drop a comment below.  I would love to hear further recommendations to keep in mind next time we're there!