I love planning great big trips to far-flung destinations, but sometimes it’s the quick little getaways that sneak up and surprise you the most. Ashley wanted to plan a long-weekend “escape” to celebrate her husband’s birthday, and we worked together on a foodie weekend in Music City that turned out to be absolutely spectacular. No passport needed. No jet lag. Just tons of fun!
We had so much fun in Nashville! The hotel (Thompson Nashville) was perfect, Jared said it was the nicest hotel he’s ever stayed in and that says a lot since we have stayed in some really nice hotels. The décor was so cool and felt very “country” and rustic in a really sophisticated way. The floor to ceiling windows gave us a beautiful view of the city. We loved staying in the Gulch. It was an easy walk to downtown but we felt removed from all the craziness. There were some amazing restaurants right outside our door including the famous Biscuit Love. We wouldn’t have changed anything about our accommodations. The staff were also really nice and went above and beyond for us. The concierge helped set up balloons and some champagne and Nashville beers and snacks in our room for our arrival.
As for the tours, the Music City Bites and Sites was a fantastic tour. We walked a pretty good distance and the 3 hour tour allowed us to learn a lot about the city and its history. The anecdotes were really interesting and were things we would never have learned had we not taken the tour. They food was plenty for lunch and included some alcohol too. We had fried catfish and hushpuppies, bushwacker cocktails, carnitas taco, googoo candies, pralines, beer, and potato soup. The places they took us were interesting and different from what we had expected but we both really enjoyed this tour. They made stops at the symphony, Ryman Auditorium, Broadway, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and Printer’s Alley. Overall this was a great way to spend a morning.
Other things we planned as we went were also great and we highly recommend. The first day we went to the Jack Daniels distillery and I have to say this was the best distillery tour I have done and I just came back from doing the Jameson tour in Dublin and this was significantly better. You really get to see the whole process and even tick your head right in a fermentation tank! This was a mostly outdoor tour and it was cool to see the whole complex and the active manufacture of the product. Even though Lynchburg is a dry county you can still buy bottles at the distillery and have tastings. There is a cute “downtown” area where you can buy all the souvenirs you could want. We did the Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House for lunch that day and that was also a cool experience with a truly southern style meal in a family style seating.
Last minute we decided to tour the Ryman Auditorium and this was also a really cool tour. We just did the self-guided tour but we both learned a lot and enjoyed the afternoon we spent there. As it was Country Music Awards week there was a ton of hustle and bustle around the city and the chances for country music start sightings were at a high although we had no confirmed ones.
We chose to also do the Nashville Pedal Tavern in Midtown and this was a really fun activity. I was nervous to book this as I was sure we would be stuck with a crazy bachelorette party but as we chose the Midtown route as opposed to the Broadway routes it seems to attract a more diverse group. We had a family, another birthday party, and a small bachelorette party. We all had a great time and got to explore a different part of the city. This was really fun and I would recommend this to any group.
Every visit to Nashville also needs a night at the Honky Tonks and broadway and these did not disappoint. We went out Sunday as we were told Saturday the bars were almost too crowded. Sunday there was still a ton of live music in every bar and good crowds all over (this was helped by the Titan’s game earlier that day). Nashville is cool in that the Titans Stadium and the Predators Stadium are both right in the heart of downtown.
The final recommendation I have is for people who want to see some live singer/songwriters. We had heard about the Bluebird Café and the amazing experience it provides but as we didn’t want to wait in line for hours and I tried to get tickets the Monday before the show with no luck this was not an option. Multiple times we were recommended instead to “The Listening Room” which is a venue that holds a lot of the same acts that come to the bluebird but its a slightly larger room so its easier to get to the tickets but they are still only a couple dollars or free and you just need to spend like 10$ per person on food or drinks. We didn’t eat there but we had drinks. This was such an awesome experience! Our show featured 5 different female artists that sang in a rotating style. This was a must do for people that want to experience a different type of live music than what you get on Broadway. We loved both kinds!
Hope this helps for future travelers! We had a blast!