I’m not the biggest fan of country music, so I was a little worried when I took my first trip to Nashville because that’s what it’s known for. But boy was I wrong! The city has so much to offer including cool bars, great food, and interesting tourist attractions. It’s easily one of my top cities to visit in the U.S. so if you’ve never been, get your butt over there already! Continue reading to learn what to do in Nashville on your first trip. Even if you don’t like country music, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this city!
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What to Eat in Nashville
Nashville is a foodie city so plan to eat out for at least a few meals. If you’re in your twenties or live in a big city, you’re probably already aware of the “brunch culture” that’s so big right now. Well Nashville is one of those cities where brunch is a thing so make sure you get to brunch at least once during your trip! An excuse to drink during the day? Yes please!
Biscuit Love is the most popular brunch spot so if you go on the weekend you’ll be waiting in line for an hour or so. Get the Bonuts (a mix between a biscuit and a donut!). Go during the week to avoid the line, but there are plenty of other options with less of a wait so try them on the weekend.
When visiting a new city, I always like to try the local cuisine. Nashville Hot Chicken is the dish to try here (trust me, ask any Uber driver in town!). It’s essentially fried chicken with a hot spice rub and most places offer different levels of spice depending on your preference. It’s not only delicious but it comes in many different forms to satisfy anyone. You can get it on mac and cheese, as chicken tenders, in a sandwich, etc. Hattie B’s is the most popular and touristy restaurant, but many places serve hot chicken so just look up the menu online beforehand.
Where to Drink in Nashville
A trip to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without checking out the local bars. The main downtown area is basically a cleaner version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Bars and clubs line the street and you hear live music pouring out of almost every bar. It’s not only country music, you’ll definitely hear some rock, bluegrass, and even pop!
Honky Tonk is a multi-level bar with live music pretty much every night of the week. It’s hard to get into on the weekends but definitely worth it!
Have you seen the movie Coyote Ugly? Well they have that bar in Nashville and it’s an interesting experience! The bar stretches so long they have about 8 bartenders all along the line and they dance on the bar, just like the movie. If you go on a slow night, you might even get to dance on the bar too!
Want a more lounge-y experience? Make your way to The Patterson House which is a speakeasy style bar. You’ll be escorted behind the velvet curtain and seated at your own private booth under dim lighting. You get a personal bartender who waits on you and can create a special drink for you based on your preference. Let them know you like fruity drinks, vodka, and want it to be pink and they’ll create a delicious cocktail that meets that criteria!
What to Do in Nashville
You’ll want to spend some time visiting the touristy attractions while you’re here, and stop one should be the music venues and museums. The Nashville Music City Center is hard to miss in the center of downtown, it’s a huge wavy looking building. Right next door is the Country Music Hall of Fame. Check out the museum or even just the gift shop.
Heading up to Broadway street you’ll get the chance to stop in the Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline museums. You’ll also want to check out the Ryman Auditorium (formerly known as the Grand Ole Opry), which is a famous venue where many famous country music stars have sung their hearts out.
If you have a little time, head further out to see the Bluebird Café, featured on the hit TV show, Nashville. You can sit down for a drink and listen to the up and coming singers and songwriters.
Last but not least, make sure to visit the Parthenon! It’s a full scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece and is worth the visit. You can wander around the first level to see the beautiful paintings and artwork, then head up to the next level to see the 40 foot golden statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. If you didn’t pay to go into any of the music museums, pay to get into this one. It’s worth it!
I hope you enjoy your first visit and have a good idea now of what to do in Nashville. If you need help finding a cheap flight, check out my post 5 Ways to Find Cheap Flights. I found a $49 flight to Nashville using these tips which is why I visited in the first place! Or you can hire me directly to book your flight. Check out my Work With Me page for price quotes.