We were visiting Nashville for one of our best friend’s weddings and absolutely fell in love with the city. As soon as we arrived, we went all over asking locals for their recommendations and after receiving multiple lists of places to go, and with only 3 days, we went to as many as we possibly could. If you ever visit (which you should), here are some of our favorite spots:
For artisan coffee, Barista Parlor and Crema are a MUST. Barista is on the east side, which is sort of an up and coming area of Nashville, but full of good restaurants and bars- it’s easy to miss because it’s set back from the street a bit in an old mechanics shop. Mas Tacos (below) and The Pharmacy are a hop skip and a jump away. Crema is downtown so try to pop by when exploring Broadway, Printers Alley, or The Ryman Auditorium. Also stop by local favorites Frothy Monkey and Fido. Frothy Monkey is in a super cute neighborhood worth exploring and is also near Burger Up, Jeni’s Ice Creamery, and Las Paletas. Frothy Monkey is in the Vanderbilt/Belmont area so be prepared for students galore! (Also, it’s T-Swift’s favorite coffee shop so keep your eyes peeled).
The iconic Loveless Cafe is a must-stop. It’s a bit outside of Nashville so make sure to set aside a few hours of your day to go. It’s no longer a hotel, but many of the old rooms have been turned into shops so there’s some exploring to be done. The restaurant itself serves pretty standard southern fare- good, hearty, and butter-filled. If nothing else, order a plate of their famous biscuits and a cup of coffee (you’ll thank us later).
Nashville is famous for meat-and-three (you choose the meat and 3 sides). We went to Puckett’s Grocery which is practically located in The District (downtown) right next to the Ryman Auditorium (the original location for The Grand Ole Opry) and just a few blocks walk to Printer’s Alley (a must stop for photos) and Broadway. Another option that we didn’t get to try (there’s never enough time) is Swett’s.
Our other favorite lunch spots, recommended to us by the locals, were Burger Up and Mas Tacos, which is great for a quick bite to eat. (Make sure to try the horchata iced coffee at Mas Tacos!)
Later in the afternoon, Las Paletas is a must-stop for gourmet popsicles. Erica had the hibiscus and Keya had the avocado, both were delicious and a great way to get a break from the heat.
Near Las Paletas is also Jenis’ Creamery, (yes we went to both in the same day) which is known for their unique flavors such as the Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam. We shared a scoop of Backyard Mint and Sweet Corn with Raspberries.
Our favorite restaurant of the trip was Rolf & Daughters. Listed by Bon Apetit as the 3rd best restaurant in the US, it lived up to its reputation. If you don’t want a long wait, make a reservation ahead of time and we recommend you eat family style so you can try a bit of everything.
For the ideal Nashville night out, you have to go to the district. Be prepared to be handed demo CD’s and business cards, because everyone is a a star in the making, and everyone is talented. The sound of live music comes from every direction downtown and the whole feeling is just very…alive. Start at the Wildhorse Saloon for line dancing (don’t worry there’s a teacher), then walk down to Broadway and take in all the neon signs and people. Head up Broadway and pop into all the local bars, (Tequila Cowboy is a fun one) and end your night at Tootsies, which is the epitome of the Nashville experience. Different local bands share the stage as they play for tips so make sure to request a song! The room is crowded and all the beers are straight out of the bottle. It’s a no-fuss good time.
Places we’ve saved for next time:
Hoffman House which is known for it’s cocktails, Husk for dinner, City House for dinner, The Pharmacy for burgers and beer, and Swett’s for meat and three.
P.S. Jean lovers should check out Imogene + Willie for a selection of Nashville artisan goods and quality jeans.
xoxo, Keya and Erica