Nashville City Guide

Where to go, what to do, and (let's be real) where to EAT!

As the Springtime rolls into town, so do the weekend warriors visiting the beautiful city of Nashville, TN. It's no surprise, with it's small town charm yet big city feel this place is the perfect host for a weekend getaway or summer vaycay. I'll be honest, when I first moved here I thought it was a bunch of hype. Maybe it was me trying to not be disappointed and get my hopes up before I could explore the truth for myself. Or maybe it was the fact that it seemed like every scroll on Instagram I discovered yet another friend was making the pilgrimage.

Either way, I was wrong. And I am so happy that I was.

Here in Nashville there is so much to do, hear, see, sip, and eat!

So, this is a list of some of my favorites. Partly because the list is still growing with the more I discover and the more that this city transforms but I know you wont be disappointed with this start!

*All names are linked for hours/menus!

FROTHY MONKEY (12th South)

This local coffeehouse serves up everything from breakfast sandwiches to omlettes and southern comfort classics. Don't skip on the bacon! The weekends can get busy here so be prepared for a mid-morning wait!

THE POST EAST

Funky little coffee/ breakfast/ brunch spot that has everything from weekly brunch specials (think gourmet avocado toast) to smoothies, kombucha, and cold-pressed juices!

PINEWOOD SOCIAL

An Industrial and chic restaurant/ coffee shop/ cocktail bar/ bowling alley (yes, you read that right!) tucked away in an unassuming brick facade that only adds to the mystery within! If you aren't in the mood for brunch, go for a cocktail or coffee just to see the place!

MAS TACOS

No frills BYOB taco joint fixing up various tacos like spicy carne molida to quinoa sweet potato. Not to mention the delicious sides like elote (grilled corn on the cobb with siracha salt and cheese) and fried plantains- YUM.

MITCHELL DELI

Just a sandwich place your thinking?! Then you haven't had the TAVO- Turkey, bacon and avocado on whole wheat bread. (Only the best sandwich of your life.) Okay- there are a ton of options but somehow when I go to order I panic and get the same thing every time (because it is that good).

SUNFLOWER CAFE

Homemade, locally sourced vegetarian cafe that I swear could convert any meat eater. If you go on a crab cake or quinoa bake day order it! Other sides I crave are the sweet potato puree, sautéed kale with sesame seeds, and cold pad thai. They will let you try anything (proof is in the pudding) so just ask and enjoy!

EDLEYS BBQ

A Nashville classic, this BBQ joint serves up all the favorites from pulled pork to brisket. There are a few locations around town but my favorite is on Murphy Rd. there's a great outdoor patio and usually a shorter line! 

BURGER UP (12th South)

This trendy burger spot gets busy on nights and weekends, and for good reason. They're arguably the best burgers in Nashville and don't get me started on the sweet potato fries and array of homemade sauces. My personal favorite is the woodstock with benton’s bacon, tennessee sweetwater white cheddar, and jack daniels maple ketchup. Yup. Lunch or Dinner this is a must.

FIVE POINTS PIZZA

New York style pizza made to order or by the (large) slice. They also have a variety of craft beers on tap because, really is there a better match than that?

ROLF AND DAUGHTERS

This rustic and chic restaurant serves up new American dishes and craft cocktails. It can get pricey- but it's worth it. 

CREMA

This artisanal coffeehouse is located not only in Pinewood social, but also in their own industrial brick and mortar up the road. These award winning roasters not only serve up a mean cup of joe but a variety of pastries and snacks. 

EIGHTH AND ROAST

This craft coffee roaster tucked away on eighth avenue is the perfect place to grab some java to get your day started or a midday pick-me-up.

DOSE (East Nashville)

There are a few locations of this specialty coffee and tea bar but my favorite is the bright and airy east location off McGavock Pike. Local tip: if you're taking it to go head to the counter, if you're staying to do some work or hang with friends head straight to a table and they'll come to you!

BOX- BONGO ON 10TH

A newer addition on 10th (only a few streets over from 12 South) this airy coffee shop and bakery host a variety of sweets and treats. The service here is friendly and usually quick- due to the fact that it isn't directly on the busy 12th South street.

If the name doesn't say it all, the variety of gourmet ice cream flavors will! There's a minimum taste testing rule of at least 10 samples per person before you choose. Okay, that's a lie but there are just too many to choose from! I guarantee you will want to sample them all!

LAS PALETAS

These Mexican frozen treats, similar to ice pops, come in a range of flavors from creamy (think: chocolate almond or pistachio) to fruity varieties (think: grapefruit or the spicy pineapple with chili) and are the perfect sweet treat on a summer day! Grab one to stroll down 12S or across the street to Sevier Park.

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SHOPPING:

12TH SOUTH

This street is home to many local shops and restaurants. Everything from the handmade jean goodness of Imogene and Willie to the upscale general store of Whites Mercantile. Draper James, Reece Witherspoon's clothing store is also here and down the street is Sprinkles cupcake ATM. It's a great walkable area that gets busy on the weekends. Check out my friends at Amelias Flower Truck, (a mobile flower truck that usually parks in the area) and grab yourself a stem of something beautiful!

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21ST AVE SOUTH

This area is right down the street from Vanderbilt and has an array of stores, places to eat and one of my favorite boutiques, Native and Nomad! Stop in to snag some Cotton and Jewels here and other local and sweat-shop-free clothing and goods! 

OUTDOORS:

PERCY WARNER PARK

You might have seen the classic picturesque stone steps of Percy Warner Park but theres so much more to do and see in the beautiful park! My favorite hiking trail for weekends is here, a moderate 3.5 mile loop that gives you a beautiful glimpse of the Tennessee landscape. 

Yes, this was taken in the Fall. Yes, those are pumpkin carving tools as utensils. 

Yes, this was taken in the Fall. Yes, those are pumpkin carving tools as utensils. 

CENTENNIAL PARK

Well known for its (to scale) replica of the Parthenon this spacious park is full of flat walking paths and grassy lawns to picnic on. You can walk up to the Parthenon or pay an entrance fee to see inside the massive structure!

SEVIER PARK

Across for Las Paletas and a 5min walk from most 12S restaurants is Sevier Park, a hilly and spacious park towards the end of the 12 South area. Theres a playground for the kiddos and a path suitable to walk or push a stroller on. In the Spring or Fall you will find people with blankets spread out to read or picnic! 

 

If I could only pick three things on this entire list, this would be one of them! This rooftop bar is located in the Gulch and at the very top of the Thompson hotel (which in itself is worth the trip to see its eclectic mid century modern interior). L. A. Jackson serves up classic and specialty cocktails, beer, and wine in a spacious indoor/ outdoor bar with lots of seating and a classy yet easy going vibe. 

THE SUTLER SALOON

Don't let the name fool you, this one is more than meets the eye. The Sutler is tucked away in a shopping plaza (yes, strange but keep reading) and features a saloon like bar with live music and southern pub food. But the real secret is in the cellar- just a staircase down and you're in a sultry speak-easy lounge with victorian era design and craft cocktails.

PINEWOOD SOCIAL

Pinewood makes another appearance on the list, and when you go you will see why! As I said before this place has a variety of things to offer including craft cocktails to sip on in their comfortable living room like open spaces or at the bar in the center of this large gathering spot. 

BASTION

Bastion is like walking into a warehouse that has been perfectly curated with trendy restored decor from you Grandmother's house with an edgy twist. Did that make any sense at all? When you visit you'll say "ahhhh I see". They're serving up craft cocktails, beer, wine, and nighttime finger food fare like nachos, so theres that. 

URBAN COWBOY

This Bed & Breakfast and Public house bar/ kitchen is tucked away in East Nashville. Their focus is on craft cocktails and down right rustic coolness. This intimate space features limited covered outdoor seating and more open air seats next to a permanently parked food truck serving up wood-fired locally sourced food.


And now for those of you who want hot chicken and country music here is my advice: Pepperfire over Hattie B's and if you want to venture on to Broadway, my pick is ACME feed and seed. If it's live music, yes you can stumble upon that in several places in town but I recommend getting tickets for a show at the Ryman or the famous Bluebird Cafe.  

So there you have it, those are my local picks! If you want all these suggestions on the go, download/ save our mobile format here!

Whether its only for a weekend or you are new to the area I hope you enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer! 

xoxo C&J