The New York Times recently included Nashville on its list of “52 Places to Go”. The city in Tennessee plays an important role in music history, being considered the mecca of American Country Music. It’s home to some of the most famous and well-respected music venues in the world, including Ryman Auditorium and the home of country music, the Grand Ole Pry.
In addition to their incredible music scene, Nashville has a vibrant culture, fabulous local cuisine, great shopping, and boasts heritage architecture and fine art.
I spent two days there exploring the city center and outskirts and this is what my itinerary looked like.
Day 1: 12th South & Edgehill
Since I was only spending two days here, I was keen to start exploring from the minute I jumped off the plane! My first stop was RH Courtyard Restaurant in the Green Hills area. Restoration Hardware has restaurants in many US cities but I had read this one in particular was stunning. I wasn’t disappointed. The restaurant was an inside terrace/courtyard surrounded by fountains, trees, sofas and tables. The vibe was elegant and polished. I ordered their grilled chicken, avocado salad and their signature and very popular truffle parm fries. So good!! For dessert I recommended their freshly baked cookie with ice cream.
After lunch I headed to the 12th South neighborhood: A half-mile stretch along 12th Avenue South with a vintage clothing store on one end, a gourmet restaurant on the other, and many unique Nashville businesses in between. It’s considered as one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Nashville, with loads of cute shops and boutiques featuring local designers and makers, a bunch of restaurants, coffee houses, bakeries and bars. It’s also full of fun and colorful graffiti murals that change seasonally and are used as store sidewalls or just to dress up the street. This area was vibrant and lively, I loved it!
After a little shopping I checked into my hotel in Downtown Nashville. I thought this was the perfect area to stay in order to visit most neighborhoods by foot. I stayed at The Joseph: An Autograph Collection Hotel, which is worth mentioning due to its stunning design and smart rooms featuring IoT (Internet of Things), which makes use of internet-connected devices, capable of communicating or interacting with one another. My room had ipads that let you control your entire room, from lighting, to A/C, to ordering room service and dry-cleaning. The hotel also boasts one of the city’s best rooftop pools with amazing views of the city, as well as its acclaimed Italian restaurant Yolan (I’ll be getting to that a bit later!).
I went to have dinner just a couple of minutes away by foot on Honky Tonk Highway, a street renowned for honky tonks and live country music pumping into the streets from 10am to 3am. One of the best parts: it doesn’t cost a thing. Meaning no cover charge! I went to the very popular Robert’s Western World and enjoyed some amazing live music alongside their staple dish: fried bologna sandwiches.
Day 2: Gulch & Downtown
Nashville has an amazing coffee shop culture, and I had heard a lot about Crema Coffee Roasters, a nationally awarded, carbon neutral, zero waste coffee roaster and cafe. I went there for breakfast with a big appetite. I tried their limited release Panama coffee which had tasting notes of Concord grape, fig and honey (yum!!), a chai latte, avocado toast, ricotta blueberry toast and some yogurt with housemade granola. Everything was delish!
To compensate for the not so small breakfast I took a long walk around the area exploring guitar and record stores. Don’t miss the Gibson store, full of floating guitars on the ceiling and super cool interiors! I then headed to the Gulch neighborhood, a very trendy, upscale kind of neighborhood with cutting edge restaurants and cool shops.
In the afternoon I headed over to Honky Tonk Highway once more to visit a must-see: the Johnny Cash Museum. The singer is still to date one of the most imposing and influential figures in country music. It was amazing to see his journey from childhood to adulthood and everything in between. Before leaving I stopped by the Johnny Cash Museum Cafe to listen to some more good live music. The talent in this city is truly outstanding!
For dinner and to close off a great weekend, I decided to have dinner in the comfort of my hotel at Yolan: a polished, stylish Italian restaurant specializing in avant-garde cuisine with a large wine list. Running the show, we have James Beard Award winner and Michelin-star Chef Tony Mantuano, whose labor and hard work has earned Yolan its spot on Forbes Travel Guide’s list of the country’s top restaurants for 2022 (the only Nashville restaurant). I tried the tasting menu and it was divine. From handmade pasta, to its playful desserts, the dishes really do reflect seasonal variety and the creativity of the team.
All in all, Nashville is a great city with music history to boot, great gastronomy and activities. A great option if you want to explore the South! Find my Nashville Guide on the Andiago App and follow on Instagram to stay updated about my future trips!