The ultimate guide to Nashville (2021)
FINALLY! The Ultimate Guide to Nashville Travel Guide is live! Nashville was definitely playing my song, and I can’t get it out of my head. As a family lifestyle and travel blogger, we travel A LOT! There are a lot of places that we really like, however, few that keep pulling at our heartstrings. We loved it so much, we went TWICE in one month – once with kids and once without kids. This of course was all made possible with the assistance of the Nashville Visitors & Travel Corps aka Visit Music City.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Nashville, other than the Honky Tonks and my all time favorite – Instagrammable spots. Well my friends, it was that and so much more! Nashville is broken down into different neighborhoods, which all have different vibes, making it a great place to come visit multiple times to get it all in. Nashville is certified “Good To Go” for following COVID Prevention Guidelines, and has also been named a “Safe Travels Destination” by the World Travel & Tourism Council. There’s only a few destinations in the US with this designation, so you can feel safe about visiting! In this Nashville Travel Guide, I’ll be covering… well as much as possible lol. So read on…
How to get around in Nashville
The first time we went, we walked, and used Uber and Lyft. The downtown area gets pretty busy and it’s paid parking everywhere. If you’re staying downtown, our Uber driver did tell us that it’s cheaper and faster to just walk to Honky Tonk Highway on Broadway.
The second time we went, we had a car. It’s not very easy taking Uber and Lyft everywhere when you have 2 kids and carseats to lug around everywhere. Save yourself the trouble and rent a car! Costco Travel is usually our go-to for car rentals, however, there are those Air B’n’B type car share apps around now. I’ve never used it and don’t know how it works, so I won’t get into that. Point of the story – just get a car…. and remember to carry change for the meters.
Where to stay in Nashville
We were hosted by the Drury when we went the first time. It opened up over a year ago, it’s in a GREAT location right in the heart of downtown, and has amazing views. We were a block or two away from Honky Tonk Highway, Bridgestone Arena, The Nissan Stadium, and so much more.
There’s a lot of safety precautions taken, like: A key to enter the lobby, a key to take the elevator up, hand sanitizer available everywhere, and so much more. It was really clean, and although we didn’t travel with kids this first time, it’s perfect for families too. They provide breakfast, dinner, and 2 complimentary drinks during dinner every day, and It’s pretty decent food too.
I’ll be getting a separate post up about the hotel itself, so stay tuned. In the meantime – you can take advantage of their Vacation Savings program, available in Nashville and other cities too. They partner with local attraction discounts to their guests, as well as up to 15% off your stay. Click on this link to sign up.
The Holy Grail of Instagram HEAVEN!!! The Graduate is perfect for a Girl’s Trip, Bachelorette Party, Mother Daughter Trip, or in our case – for the whole family! Our stay came with a complimentary coffee at the Poindexter, a cute coffee shop inside the hotel. The staff was super friendly and we did not want to leave. The only place we didn’t visit when we stayed here was the White Limozeen, a Dolly Parton themed restaurant. Definitely will the next time around without the kiddos. Just let the pictures speak for itself.
This is a great option if you want apartment or corporate style living while you are on your vacation. Our room had a full kitchen with all the pots, pans, plates, utensils, a washer and dryer, and all the knick knacks you would need. There’s an onsite gym, and a cool lounge area to hang out in.
The property that is now known as the Mint House at the Reserve, is the old Federal Reserve Building, and if you go to the 3rd floor where the lounge is, you can see the bullet hole from when it was robbed. You’re also right by the Capital, the Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park, and the River Front. And if you prefer a quieter area, this one is for you!
Where to eat in Nashville
When we travel, I like to make sure we do at least 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner out. I also like to go to a cool coffee shop to get that pretty latte, but the one we went to wasn’t too impressive, so I don’t have any coffee recs. There were a lot of restaurants on our list, but we narrowed it down and went to places that didn’t have a wait at the time, or were closest to where we were at. If you want to see the whole list, comment below or send me an email, and I’ll be sure to get that over to you.
**Pro Tip** If it’s a fancier or pricier place that you want to try, I would suggest going during lunch or happy hour because those tend to be easier on the wallet.
(Breakfast) This one was a little out of the way for us but it had really good reviews, so we decided to visit. It’s a smaller restaurant but has a cute outdoor area. They’re also known for their jam and Bronuts, which are biscuit donuts! The kids split the pancakes, I had the Hot Chicken Biscuit, and Tyler had the Baron’s Benedict. Carter was obsessed with the jam, and our waitress was so sweet, and gave him a baggie of assorted jams to take home.
We didn’t actually eat here but I had to stop and take pictures. They’re known for their 100 Layer Doughnut, which is their version of a Cronut.
(Lunch) Nashville is famous for their Nashville Hot Chicken, and Hattie B’s was top of our list. There are 4 locations in Nashville. We went to the new one on Fifth & Broadway, which is right across the street from the Bridgestone Arena. It’s a busy location, but don’t let the line out the door scare you. They’re pretty efficient with how they run the show, so we got in pretty quick. I got the Dirty Bird Fries, and Tyler got the Hot Chicken Sandwich. I chose the Hot heat level and OH EM Gut fire lol. It was still really good though.
(Lunch) We couldn’t go down to the Honky Tonk and not stop in at a Honky Tonk! There are so many on the strip, but we ultimately settled on who had the shortest lines to get in and really good music going on. Honky Tonk Central is 3 stories high and had such a fun vibe going on. Tyler and I split the nachos, and I of course had a cocktail.
(Dinner) This wasn’t on our list, but it was right across the street from our hotel (Graduate), and I’m so glad we stopped in. It’s more of an upscale restaurant, but they were super kid friendly, the service was amazing, and the prices were so reasonable. Kelsey ordered a kid’s cheese pizza, Tyler had Gemelli & Sausage, I had the Wild Mushroom Ravioli, and Carter had the kid’s Spaghetti, which was HUGE, and he finished it ALL! He even said he is going back – dead or alive!
(Dessert) Tyler and went here when we did our adult trip. It’s located in the Gulch and is a really cute restaurant for coffee and desserts. The milkshakes were pretty amazing too!
(Dessert) There were lots of cool Milkshake bars in town, but we ultimately settled on Legendairy Milkshake Bar because let’s face it – there were more pictures on Pinterest. It definitely did not disappoint and the kids were so happy! be prepared for a wait, and some really sugared up kids after. It may have been a better idea to stop by earlier in the day. You might get a little sticker shocked at the prices, but we did it all for the ‘gram. The kids both got the kid size shakes, which run around $10 (add a few more bucks to keep the jar). Kelsey got the Jar of Dirt, and Carter got Candyland.
(Chocolate Shop) I’ve never heard of a Goo Goo Bar before, but boy oh boy am I so glad I did. When we arrived to our hotel at the Drury, there were a couple of Goo Goo Bars in our welcome bag. Little did we know, there was a Goo Goo Bar shop right around the corner. We ended up buying a couple of boxes and got to watch the candy making in action. The best way to explain it is a flat Snickers of sorts – just DELICIOUS!
On Our List
There were lots of restaurants to visit but with kids, timing, and so much your stomach can handle, we had to leave off a bunch. Here’s a list of what we wanted to visit but didn’t:
What to do in Nashville
I definitely did not hit up all of the Nashville murals, but I did get in what I wanted. Each neighborhood has a good amount of murals, and Instagrammable spots, but they’re always adding on so be sure to tag me on Insta (@spousesproutsme) and let me know if you find any other ones.
I always recommend taking some type of city/trolley tour to start off your trip. That way, you get to see all the popular spots, learn some history, and local favorites. After that, you can figure out where you want to go back to and spend more time exploring. On our adult trip, we went on the Old Town Trolley Tour, which runs about $44 a person. On our family trip, we went on the Gray Line Double Decker tour bus, which runs about $43 a person. As always, make sure to check out their websites or call to find out about pricing, schedule, and safety protocols.
This is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. There’s a lot of great history to learn about inside too.
The Pedestrian Bridge
BiCentennial Capital Mall State Park & The Capital Building
There’s a food hall and a great open space for the kids to run around in. I believe it was either each pillar or each plaque on the ground that is a time capsule.
Check out different neighborhoods
There are so many neighborhoods to check out, and some are more walkable than others. Here are a few shots of some we explored.
We were waiting for our trolley tour to take place, so we just strolled the downtown area. We came across the section that was victim to the bombing earlier in the year. It was really tragic to see, and was definitely sobering.
Honky Tonk Highway
We only got to go into the Antique Archaeology Nashville (from the show American Pickers), Uncommon James (Kristin Cavallari’s Store), and White Mercantile. Kittenish (Jessie James Decker’s Store) and Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s Store) were closed when we got there.
Did you stick around to read until the end!?!?!?! That was a lot to take in, but I hope you found some helpful information and visit these places. Please be sure to tag me in your pictures on Instagram (@spousesproutsme) so I can follow along on your adventure too! Thanks for reading.