My Trip to Nashville
Anyone who knows me knows that my first love is music. I have been a musician since high school and, while I love photography, music is my bigger passion. And although I have a love hate relationship with country music I still really enjoy music history and live music of any kind. So Nashville was a perfect trip for this music lover...and my husband.
My husband and I have been planning this trip for a while and thanks to some friends from church and a couple whose wedding I am photographing this summer I knew a BUNCH of great spots to try. So, I'm here to tell you the places we tried and what we loved OR didn't about them.
We got there on a Tuesday evening and went to two places with live music. Acme Feed & Seed and The Listening Room. Both spots had GREAT live music and food. On Tuesday nights Acme has local artist playing which was awesome because it felt a bit more homey and less touristy. They're Frose slushy was definitely something I would recommend trying.
The Listening Room is something I would recommend to anyone who loves music and wants to get a taste of Nashville. You have to buy tickets beforehand but they are only $10, so it's cheap and supports local songwriters. The songwriters you heard at the Listening Room are likely not famous, but they have probably written songs for famous artists and you may hear a song they wrote that you actually know. It was fun to hear the stories behind the songs they performed and it was a really laid back and cool atmosphere. My husband said the Chicken & Waffles were awesome!
We decided to take a long walk (2.5 miles each way) to 12 South for breakfast and what I like to call a "Bakery Crawl". If you don't know what a bakery crawl is it's just like a pub crawl but at bakeries. Personally, I think this is much better than a pub crawl. 12 South is a really cool area of Nashville with little shops and restaurants that have an awesome vibe. We had breakfast at Frothy Monkey. I would HIGHLY recommend the peaches from the peach french toast. I didn't want the french toast but I asked for a side of peaches and they were AMAZING (we also went to Frothy Monkey downtown and the peaches were not nearly as good...so keep that in mind if visiting their locations). I personally liked the Frothy Monkey in 12 South more than the one near Broadway. But both had good food.
We went into several of the shops that have lots of cool souvenirs and fun/unique items (Broadway has lots of souvenirs too but they are a bit more tacky). BUT I know what you really want to know about is the bakeries and what we got there...
Five Daughters bakery is a donut shop that has a couple other items as well. The Coconut Creme Pie donut was INSANE! Easily one of the best donuts I've ever had. It was so flaky and more like a cronut but the filling on the inside was an amazing coconut custard. I am still dreaming about that. My husband had a Boston Creme Pie donut and he said that was one of the best he's ever had as well.
Christie Cookie Co. is a local cookie spot that has some great cookies. I am a bit of cookie snob because I love to bake and make my own cookies. These DID NOT disappoint. As soon as you walk in that freshly baked cookie smell is overwhelming in the best way possible. I seriously could have sat in there for a long time and just smelled the room. They should make it a candle fragrance. We got several different flavors but the best to me was the Chocolate Chip Walnut and Oatmeal Cookie.
The Tennessee Cobbler Co. is a little food truck located in 12 South. Make sure to check their hours because they are not open everyday and it often travels to different food events. I went with the classic and tried the Peach Cobbler with ice cream. It was SO warm and creamy with just the right amount of cobbler to peach ratio. It was basically my second breakfast the day I had it because it's a very generous portion. This is a must try if you like cobbler. They have lots of other awesome flavors as well!
We then went back to our Air BnB where we had a siesta and went back out later that night.
That evening we walked down to Printer's Alley and had dinner at my favorite place we tried in Nashville. Skull's Rainbow Room is a really cool restaurant with AMAZING food and a classier cool atmosphere than a lot of other places near Broadway. The history behind this place is amazing with artists like Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley being some who have graced their stage. They now just have jazz music but the history of that place is pretty crazy. The original owner was actually murdered in the restaurant (no joke. It's on the menu. You can read the story).
After 17 years of it being shut down after his death the restaurant was resurrected. The prime rib empanadas were the best empanadas I have ever had and my husband had a Salmon special that was superb. If you're going to Nashville you have to go there.
We then left for drinks at The Twelve Thirty Club on Broadway. This restaurant is owned by Justin Timberlake and is much different than most of the places on Broadway. It's much less honky tonk and much more modern class. It has three different places where you can eat and drink and each place is just really spectacular. You feel like you're in the 1920's or 30's but it still feels so modern. We had the G&T Smash (which apparently is a new drink on the menu) and it was so good, dangerous as my husband put it.
We decided to do something a bit more touristy and take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. There are a few artists like Needtobreathe and Drew Holcomb that I enjoy that have played there and talk about how great of an atmosphere it is but I had NO IDEA the history behind it. It is WELL WORTH the money for the self-guided tour. LEGENDS have performed there and it's really amazing how this church that was built in the late 1800's became one of the premiere performance venues in the country. This place is a lot less busy than the Grand Ole Opry AND it's where the Grand Ole Opry was original broadcasted. Worth the tour and BRING YOUR CAMERA.
We also stopped at the Hatch Show Print Shop located inside of the Country Music Museum near Broadway. We wanted to stop here because they are the a print shop that still does letterpress! They were actually printing posters for a show that was happening at the Ryman that weekend. The prints were really cool and not terribly expensive. Definitely a great piece of tourism to take home with you.
Before lunch we also went to the Parthenon. Some people had suggested it for pictures and so we thought it was worth checking out. Here's my thoughts about this place...if you want the pictures then go. If you don't care about the pictures then don't. If you're having a short trip to Nashville it's probably not a place I would say is worth taking the time to visit. The museum was cheap but not really worth the time to us. Once again, if you're going to Nashville for a week or something then it's probably worth stopping at for part of a day. It's also FILLED with college students because it's basically on the Vanderbilt campus.
Then we did ANOTHER touristy thing and had lunch at Hattie B's. There are a few locations in Nashville that you can visit. We thought Broadway may be a little too busy so we opted for one a little further out of town, but you can also get it delivered if you want to avoid the lines. Personally, I don't love fried chicken or french fries that have been sitting for too long so I wanted to get them fresh. Now, if you don't know what Nashville Hot chicken is then you may want to take it easy if you visit here. The chicken is HOT, but they have mild flavors as well. I went with Medium and I was already feeling the heat. I probably could have gone to hot but I would have really been sweating. The fried pickles and pimento mac and cheese was tasty too. I also love lemonade so I would definitely recommend getting that.
By Thursday evening we were SUPER TIRED so we slowed down a bit and had dinner at Martin's BBQ Joint. The brisket was so tender and juicy and the broccoli salad and mac and cheese sides were delicious. This is a much more laid back restaurant where you can have full service upstairs or just get your food delivered to your table downstairs. You can tell they take their craft seriously because it was incredible BBQ.
We left Friday afternoon but made a couple stops at 12 South before we left. When we originally planned this vacation we didn't know that Taylor Swift would be coming in for a 3-day stop on her tour and the city was BUZZING with Swifties by Friday. Most of the restaurants were full of people by 10am BUT we found this little post off the beaten path that had GREAT food. Hearts has two Nashville locations and is a cool brunch place that was far less busy. I had the avocado toast and it was THE BEST I've ever had by a long shot. After eating it I thought that everyone should make their avocado toast like this. My husband had the Ricotta Hot Cakes with Apple Compote and Honey Butter. It was such great comfort food.
That was our trip in a nutshell. I would definitely recommend visiting and walking around to enjoy all of the music history and fun places Nashville has to offer!