Weekend Guide to Nashville: Best Eats, Drinks, and Things to Do
In the past few years, Nashville has become THE "it" destination for all kinds of weekend getaways: it's Bachelor/Bachelorette party central (seriously, I was on the plane with a crew 10 girls deep that were very awake for a 7am flight), girls weekend destination, couples getaway, you name it.
After a whirlwind weekend in this southern city, it's really easy to see why Nashville is such a hotspot. It's got AMAZING food, an endless amount of options for live music and nightlife, shopping, sightseeing, and it's also relatively affordable to do all that fun stuff. It's a little spread out, so walking everywhere is out of the question-- good thing Uber is cheap down there ($5-7 on average from neighborhood to neighborhood). While my weekend there was rather in and out, I wanted to share some of the spots I loved, as well as recommendations I've gotten from local natives and seasoned visitors. For a quick trip like this, it felt fitting to try out a more streamlined version of my city guides-- so here is my weekend guide on the best eats, drinks, things to do, and places to explore in Nashville!
Where to Eat + Drink
Barista Parlor: The Golden Sound location is a beautifully open garage-like space (pictures above), serving up a big menu of pourovers, espresso drinks, classic southern biscuit sandwiches, and baked goods. Also, they have multiple walls filled with chocolate from artisanal chocolatiers from Seattle, Portland, Pennsylvania, New York- I may have gone a little nuts getting gifts for everyone, but the gorgeous packaging alone was worth it.
Frothy Monkey: The 12 South location has a casual, young, and trendy crowd that flock here for the very well made espresso drinks and solid selection of casual foods from brunch to beer and wine. They offer up specialty espresso drinks like the rosemary honey latte, or the delicious Monkey Mocha I got (a mocha + banana), which I got with hemp milk. They offer some gluten-free baked goods too, and alternative milks!
For Healthy Eats
Franklin Juice: The most adorable juice place (pictured in gallery above), with bottled grab-n-go cold press juices, smoothies, and açai bowls. I got the Big Island Açai bowl, and it was so good, that I made my açai bowl recipe when I got home because I forgot how much I loved them. Gluten-free (the gluten-free granola was perfect) and vegan friendly, too.
AMOT: AMOT stands for A Matter of Taste, and their menu is 💣.com. They have an entire gluten-free menu, and freakin' gluten-free biscuits, french toast, and chicken and waffles. I was shocked to find gluten-free biscuits and southern food in Nashville like that, but that makes me so happy for people like me to have options to enjoy local cuisine without missing out.
For Brunch + Casual Eats
Biscuit Love: If you have no dietary issues, you need to go all-in here on a biscuit sandwich. Trendy little spot for lunch, and where I took that first picture on this post with the stage lights. Get the secret menu item, the Nasty Princess, aka signature Nashville spicy hot chicken on a biscuit with honey, sausage gravy, and cheddar... just try not to pass out in a food coma. Good luck! Do NOT miss out on the chronic bacon- sweet and very spicy, I could have taken a box home with me. The bonuts also seem to be popular, seeing as how every single table but ours had them- they are donuts made from biscuit dough. You know, the usual starter before you eat another biscuit.
The Tavern: One of my friends remarked that this was her favorite brunch in Nashville, hands down, and from the looks of the amazing menu and online feedback, it's very true. Giant egg dish selection, pretzel pancakes, red velvet waffle (if sweet is your thing for brunch), and some killer libations.
Saint Anejo: Super popular brunch spot serving up classic southern brunch items but with a Mexican twist, like horchata french toast, breakfast burritos, and more. They also do have healthy options too for the health-conscious. They are also known for their great brunch cocktails and tequila menu.
Hattie B's: The place most locals will name when asked where to get the best hot chicken in Nashville. Straight up hot chicken, no muss, no fuss. I couldn't do it because my gluten-rejecting stomach, but I'd trust popular opinion with this one.
Marche Artisan Foods: A local, casual brunch favorite in East Nashville. We didn't make it here-- frankly at first glance, it doesn't seem like anything that extraordinary, but I have seen it on every single local blogger's list as one of their favorite spots, and a friend mentioned it as well, so it must be a solid one to count on!
For Cocktails + Bites
Pinewood Social: Probably my favorite place we went to, simply for the fun vibe and the great cocktails. It's got that rustic, trendy feel, and they're open for coffee in the mornings, lunch, dinner, cocktails, AND there's a bowling alley in there. That's right! Lanes apparently book about a month in advance, but it's super fun to look into the space and hang out. It was fun, trendy without pretentiousness, and you shouldn't miss out on the fried broccoli. Yes, the broccoli. I promise, just do it.
The Patterson House: A classic joint for some classy drinks, this old-school upscale bar serves up carefully crafted cocktails. Their specialty hand-selected barrel cocktails use their local Tennessee whiskey and Kentucky bourbon to create something unique you won't find anywhere else.
Bartaco: Also one of my favorite places, their motto is tacos + tequila. Not going to argue with that! In all seriousness though, the 12 South location is super cute, and has a perfect sidewalk patio to enjoy that nice weather while eating some quality and inexpensive tacos and sipping on a margarita or pomegranate caipirinha. Get their al pastor tacos and their secret short rib taco! Their poké was also pretty darn delicious, and they also offer up rice bowls.
Little Octopus Gulch: A little Caribbean tapas spot with beautiful interiors for an intimate little night filled with delicious tapas and drinks.
For Sit-Down Lunch/Dinner
5th and Taylor: The food here is really good. Like, really good. Think duck wings with truffle honey or bacon wrapped quail to start, then a plethora of entree options that all come with their signature mashed potatoes. It's "New American" fare at it's best, set in a rustic gone modern space with dark, ambient lighting. I would recommend making a reservation, as dinnertime gets very crowded.
Husk: If you're in the mood for Southern food, but want something a little bit more interesting and a nicer sit-down place, this is your gem. I am sad that I didn't get to experience this place this last visit, but I won't miss it the next time. Just look at the menu (linked above)!
Adele's: Italian food with a focus on quality ingredients. Pasta, pizza, seafood, meats, and market veggies done interestingly but no excessive circus tricks. They also have a Sunday buffet, which sounds amazing- organic eggs, biscuits, and a carving station filled with all the carving board's dreams of breakfast meats.
Acme: Can you say, everything fusion please? Redneck lo mein, beer belly tacos, shrimp & grits, falafel sandwich, then an entire sushi menu. What?! This is right up my alley and I'm definitely not missing this place next time. Also, the event space looks stunning.
City House: Pizza + Bourbon Whiskey. Let me elaborate: pizzas topped with things like catfish, smoked lamb sugo, octopus ragu, and oxtail, then a list of about 30 different whiskey and ryes from Tennesse and Kentucky. I feel like this is a perfect date night place.
Moto: Rustic Modern Italian set in an industrial-chic space. Dishes like black lobster spaghetti, blueberry lasagna, agnolotti with ricotta, and a good wagyu makes me want to make a reservation right now even thought I don't have a plane ticket back yet. They also focus on sourcing locally, and have a late night menu on weekends for when you've got that midnight craving.
Jeni's: I've been to several Jeni's locations, but what I love about this creatively unique scoop shop is that she does seasonal flavors that are locally specific to each location. I had her juniper and lemon curd and wildberry lavendar, but her menu is truly impossible to not love.
Las Paletas: This cute little local mexican popsicle spot rotates flavors daily, offering fruit-based, cream-based, vegan, and mini sized, for that perfect after dinner sweet treat.
Where to Explore + Things to Do
White's Mercantile: Home goods, kitchen stuff, books, baby stuff, accessories, gifts; literally anything you can think of that you would want to have to browse in a little shop in a new city for the first time, this is your jackpot. I was like a little kid in a candy store here! Pictures are in the gallery above, underneath the photo of the mailboxes.
Marathon Village: This little neighborhood is basically a row of a few century-old warehouse buildings, and has all kinds of stores like antique shops (Antique Archaeology), distilleries (Corsair Artisan Distillery), Bang Candy Company, and more. It's a fun little place to walk through and browse on a Sunday when you want to take things a little slower!
Otis James: For the man in your life, or anyone who appreciates a good bowtie and necktie, this place makes stuff to order too.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery: Take the $10 tour to get the best distillery or brewery tour you've been on, simply for the pretty epic history behind the company. You can also read about it here, but it was so awesome to be able to see the history behind this pretty significant label with award-winning whiskey. Some photos are also in the gallery above- those barrels were so beautiful to see, and learn about the aging process.
Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co: The big local chocolatier, they make straight from bean to bar right there in the store. You can also do a tour if you want here, but regardless, make sure to sample their epic buttermilk white chocolate, which is unlike anything I've ever had before- and I don't normally like white chocolate. Their Mexican-style cinnamon chili is also the most unique chili chocolate I've had!
Nashville Farmer's Market: You know me guys, I love me a good farmer's market. This one here is apparently pretty epic, also housing a market house with restaurants and shops. Just make sure to check operating times before you go!
The Station Inn: The one music venue I repeatedly heard about and had recommended. Unfortunately we didn't make it out there, but I'd earmark this one if I were you!
Broadway: THE Broadway, aka the Times Square of Nashville. But unlike Times Square, I actually liked it- the energy you feel while walking down the street, and hearing the amazing music from local musicians pouring out of each of these bars was quite the experience.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge: Nashville isn't exactly a pedestrian-friendly city, but this bridge looks mighty pretty at night, and is worth the walk.