Headed to Tennessee and looking for the best way to spend a weekend in Nashville?! You’re gonna have the best time ever – promise! The perfect Nashville weekend getaway guide, coming right up!
A stellar country music scene. Biscuits smothered in gravy. Boot-scootin and beer-swigging’. Hip boutiques and tons of live honky tonk. Oh, and you can’t forget about that scrumptious Nashville hot fried chicken. If that sounds like a whole lotta fun, you’ll wanna plan your 3-day Nashville itinerary right away!
Not everyone realizes this, but Nashville is the Capital of Tennessee, and boasts tons of history alongside its vibrant culture, music, and local cuisine. The city is actually the second largest city in the state and 23rd most-populous city in the United States.
And it ain’t called Music City for nothing! Broadway is a neon honky-tonk paradise; the absolute mecca of American Country Music. I mean, Taylor Swift got her epic start in music right here in Nashville!
But besides all the music, there’s also famed local dishes, well-known museums, gorgeous green spaces, great boutique shopping, a fun pedestrian bridge, and even hip bowling with cocktails. Plus tons of colorful murals and Nashville photo spots. Vanderbilt University is right here, so you know there’s always something going on.
You could visit Nashville time and time again and never get bored. But if it’s your first time, you wanna make sure you plan the best Nashville weekend trip possible! Keep on reading, and maybe grab a pen and paper to take notes, because I’m sharing literally everything you need to know for your first ever 3 days in Nashville.
Psst: I’m aiming to visit all 50 states, and Tennessee was my 27th state on my 50 States Challenge!
Weekend in Nashville Logistics
Where is Nashville and How to Get There
First of all, where exactly is Nashville anyways?! The city is located in the northern part of Tennessee, right on the Cumberland River. It’s about 215 miles northeast of Memphis, the other popular city in Tennessee (roughly a 3 hour drive or so).
While the city is considered to be in the South of the USA, it’s far from the deep south and is technically in the upper South. People get confused and sometimes think Tennessee is in the Midwest, but it’s not!
A crazy fun fact I still can’t believe: 40% of the US population lives within 600 miles of Nashville. Whoa. Okay, so 600 miles is pretty far, but still, that doesn’t include any of the West Coast or even New York City.
How to Get to Nashville
Flying: When you fly into Nashville, you’ll be heading to Nashville International Airport, sometimes referred to as Berry Field Nashville (airport code BNA). The airport serves more than 15 million passengers each and every year, so… it’s not small by any means.
BNA serves the Greater Nashville metropolitan area, and thankfully is located only ~7 miles southeast of Downtown Nashville (a 20 minute drive or so, depending on traffic).
Unfortunately, airfare to Nashville is usually pretty pricey. There’s a reason we just only made it out there! And there’s not many nonstops. Coming from the West Coast (specifically San Francisco), expect to pay at least $400 to $500 round trip. And these are typically with stops.
I was surprised to learn this, but Southwest is actually the city’s largest carrier! There’s nonstop flights from SFO on Southwest Airlines, which makes sense now.
From the East Coast, it’s a whole other story, as there are plenty of nonstop flights at only $250-300ish or so.
Driving: Nashville is a hub city connected by three interstate highways, making it a pretty easy drive if you’re coming from nearby states. And Downtown Nashville is the center of this entire hub! If you look on a map, you’ll see Nashville is encircled by these highways. Here’s a quick breakdown, in case you’re interested in visiting other cities before/after your weekend getaway to Nashville.
- I-65 runs north to Louisville, Kentucky (175 miles), and south to Birmingham, Alabama (200 miles)
- I-40 runs west to Memphis (215 miles) and east to Knoxville (180 miles), extending all the way to Asheville, North Carolina (300 miles), Little Rock, Arkansas (350 miles), and Oklahoma City (650 miles)
- I-24 runs northwest toward St. Louis (310 miles) and southeast toward Atlanta (250 miles)
There’s only six cities in the US where 3 interstates connect, so I guess this is kinda a big deal!
Trains and Buses: Coming from elsewhere in Tennessee (or from a nearby state)? Check out Amtrak’s train schedule and/or Megabus or Greyhound buses. But if you only have a weekend in Nashville, it may not be worth it to spend half the time on a train or bus!
How to Get from the Airport to Downtown Nashville
Ride shares: Thankfully Uber and Lyft make it super easy to get to your hotel straight from the airport. I recommend checking both apps to see who has better rates. The price should be $15-20 or so, but may be more depending on time of day and availability of cars.
You’ll wanna make your way to Level 1 of the Ground Transportation Center at BNA airport. Look out for signs that say “Ride App Pickup”.
And get this – the Nashville International Airport was the first airport in the entire country to allow ride-shares to operate at the airport itself. Another fun fact!
Taxi: If the prices of Uber/Lyft are ridiculously high for some reason (it happens!), thankfully you can always rely on a taxi. Taxis between the airport and downtown (as well as the Opryland Resort) all have a flat fare of $25, so you know you’re never getting ripped off.
Public Transport: The cheapest way to get from BNA to downtown is by taking the WeGo Public Transit bus from Nashville MTA. For only $2 one way! The bus leaves every hour daily, and express trips on Route #18 only take about 20 minutes (plus traffic). Not too bad!
When to Plan Your Nashville Weekend Getaway
Looking for warm, sunny weather? Visit between April and October! Hate crowds? Visit in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Don’t mind the cold and unpredictable weather? A winter visit (with lots of cost savings!) may be just for you.
A few other things to keep in mind:
Weekend Crowds: The city is wildly more popular Fridays through Sundays. Expect higher hotel rates, as well as crowds at the popular tourist attractions, restaurants, and on the streets.
We visited Saturday through Tuesday and saw a noticeable difference in terms of crowds on Monday and Tuesday! Restaurants that had lines down the block had open seating right away (and that goes for popular murals like The Wings in the Gulch too). It was way quieter, although I’m glad we got to see all the action of the weekend as well.
Festivals: Nashville ain’t called Music City for nothing! There’s lots of music festivals throughout the year, including the super popular CMA Music Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (nearby), Hot Chicken Festival (yes, it’s a real thing), Pride, and plenty more.
While they’re tons of fun, they bring in hundreds, if not thousands of people to Nashville… meaning, well, it’s gonna be crowded in town. Promise me you’ll book your hotel way in advance — room rates skyrocket and get sold out months beforehand.
Not looking to partake in all the fun? Don’t accidentally come during a major conference/festival — check to see what’s going on in the city before booking your flights!
Rain/thunderstorms: On average, Nashville gets about 120 days of precipitation a year (a bit more than the national average). While a lot of these are just short afternoon showers, don’t be surprised if the rain lasts all day (it does happen!).
It can rain any time of year, but come extra prepared in April and May as these are the rainiest months in Nashville. Don’t be surprised by a severe thunderstorm or even a tornado! Always know the proper procedures and keep yourself safe!
Seasons: Unlike the West Coast (here in Northern California we have 3 seasons – perpetual spring, fog, and fire season…), Nashville experiences four distinct seasons. Lucky duck!
Winter is cold with possible snow and ice, summers are hot and humid, spring can be rainy, and fall is just beautiful with its foliage. Keep this in mind when planning your trip! More info on the different seasons below:
- Spring/Fall: Shoulder Season (late March to May and late September to early November)
In my opinion, spring and fall are the best times to visit Nashville. It’s getting warmer out (but not sizzling hot), the kids are in school, and you can score a good deal on a hotel room (well, at least save some money when compared to the popular summer season). There’s also less humidity, making the days feel less muggy.
The mildest temps in Nashville are from April to early June and from late September to early November. Do note there’s typically more rain in spring than in fall, so keep that in mind when planning your Nashville weekend getaway. For reference, we visited Nashville at the end of April and had almost perfect weather (minus a morning of rain).
- Summer: Hot and Humid and Lots of Crowds (late May to mid-September)
Nashville is known for its long, hot, and humid summers – pretty typical of the American South. The city is an absolute scorcher – temps of 90°F in July and August are not uncommon.
If you’re not used to the heat, it’ll probably be too hot to walk around comfortably for an extended period of time. Keep that in mind and make sure you stay hydrated.
Despite all this, June through August is the most popular time to visit Nashville, aka the most crowded. The city is packed full of special events and festivals, and the iconic honky tonks are often packed to the brim.
But with that being said, unless you really love super hot weather (who are you, haha?!), you probably don’t wanna plan your weekend in Nashville during the summer. I warned you! Although it’s not as brutal as other spots in The South, say Austin, Texas.
- Winter: Chilly Temps and Low Season (November to early March)
The weather in Nashville can be quite unpredictable during the winter months, and can be uncharacteristically warm and sunny or there can be snow and ice (although it’s quite rare). Expect some gloomy winter weather, with temps ranging from the upper 20s to the low 60s.
Temps at night can be freezing! Skip January, the coldest month of the year, if you’re a baby about the cold like me, haha. Definitely dress appropriately!
Despite the iffy weather, if you’re a die hard fan of Christmas, you can’t go wrong visiting in December! The city is quite charming with Christmas decorations around town, as well as at the Opryland Hotel and the Belle Meade Historic Site.
And plus, winter is the low season here in Nashville (meaning less crowds), so you can expect cheaper airfare and save some money on hotels.
Is a Long Weekend in Nashville Enough?
I think yes, 3 days in Nashville is the perfect amount of time! If you wanna take a day trip or two (to maybe Franklin or Memphis), plan 4 full days. Since it’s not a massive city, spending 5 days or longer is probably overkill.
Personally, I felt pretty satisfied with our long weekend in Nashville. It was the perfect amount of time to see the main attractions of the city, eat a bunch of biscuits and fried chicken, sip a few drinks, spend ample time on Broadway, and even venture off to some more obscure photo spots in Nashville.
How to Get Around Nashville
Thankfully, Downtown Nashville is very walkable! There are tons of attractions within only a few blocks. And once you make it to each neighborhood, those are walkable as well! We clocked up almost 20k steps every single day, and walked from our hotel in the Music Row neighborhood to The Gulch, Midtown and Centennial Park, and even Downtown.
Make sure to wear comfy shoes if you’re planning on walking a lot! But depending on when you visit, it may be just too hot and sticky to walk long distances, so plan on alternate means of transport (Uber or public transit).
Since we weren’t renting a car, we relied on Uber and Lyft to get around Nashville for the duration of our stay. I was surprised at how expensive the rides were – definitely watch out for surge pricing and check both Uber and Lyft to see which app has better pricing.
On some days, simply checking again in 10 minutes saved us $15!
City Bus: The city is well-connected by the WeGo Public Transit buses (formerly Nashville MTA), which run across the city and surrounding communities. There’s more than 46 bus routes that connect all major tourist attractions and businesses. And tickets cost just $1.70 per ride.
If you think you’ll be using it a lot, consider an unlimited day pass for just $4. Look out for the purple buses around town – those are WeGo Public Transit! If you’re planning to spend more than 3 days in Nashville, you may wanna look into getting a MTA Quick Ticket as well – more info here.
Here’s a few routes to get familiar with:
- Music City Circuit: whisks tourists around downtown completely free of charge!
- Green Circuit: between downtown Nashville and the Gulch
- Blue Circuit: serves destinations between the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Train: There’s also a train called The WeGo Star which connects spots a bit further outside the city. You probably won’t need to use this if you’re just visiting Nashville for a weekend getaway.
Old Town Trolley Tour
Wanna see Nashville’s highlights in a short period of time? Consider booking yourself on an Old Town Trolley Tour. It’s a great way to get around, and in only 90 minutes, you’ll get to see over 100 points of interest (including Lower Broadway, Music Row, Centennial Park, the Ryman Auditorium, Marathon Village and much more).
Yes, you can hop off at any of the 14 stops, like the Farmers Market, Gulch, Frist Art Museum, etc. Commentary covers the rich history that Music City has to offer – almost like a personal tour guide! Read reviews and sign up here!
Renting a Car
Many claim the best way to get around Nashville is by car. It’s true – the different neighborhoods and attractions are a bit too spread out to walk between. While it may not be the least expensive option, sometimes having a car of your own is great for max flexibility.
There’s apparently more than 28,000 parking spaces downtown, so hopefully you don’t have trouble finding an empty spot! But finding affordable parking in the downtown area can be tough.
You also gotta factor in overnight parking fees at your hotel, which can range from $20-$40 a night (which add up super fast). I think we came out even if not ahead by not renting a car and solely relying on Uber/Lyft and walking a ton.
Scooters and Bicycles
Alternate means of transport, anyone?! I don’t trust myself on a scooter and I haven’t been on a bike in years, so I opted to skip these, haha. But they’re there if you want them!
Where to Stay in Nashville
Downtown is basically the heart of Nashville, with the Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Goo Goo Chocolates, Ryman Auditorium, and more. Lower Broadway is where those iconic honky tonks and bars live. Meaning it’s wild and crazy all hours of the night (okay, I think the bars close around 3am).
If you’re looking for a lot of nightlife and sightseeing, Downtown will be perfect for you. We had one of our favorite meals of our trip at Husk, not terribly far away.
- The Hermitage Hotel (the gold standard of 5-star hotels in historic Nashville, and the cities longest standing, built in 1910)
- Bobby Hotel (super unique with maps, treasures, and quirky trinkets with a colorful lounge and rooftop bar)
- Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville (comfortable rooms with a nice pool area)
During our long weekend in Nashville, we actually ended up staying in two different hotels in Midtown. And I can honestly say it was the perfect location! We were able to walk almost everywhere (although the walks were quite long), and Hattie B’s was right around the corner! Ya know, perfect for a late night snack.
My all-time favorite hotel in Nashville is The Graduate, and I highly recommend it for at least a night or two.
Graduate Nashville: Looking for the most instagrammable hotel in Nashville? You’ll find it here at The Graduate. As soon as I saw a photo of the hotel, I instantly knew I needed to stay there. The moment you walk in, you’re greeted with luxe pink plush couches and tons of greenery – it’s grandma chic and glamorous all in one.
Super colorful and playful and I appreciated all the little touches. For instance, we even had a portrait of Dolly Parton herself hanging above our bed. And ohhh White Limozeen (the rooftop bar) – you NEED to head up there for a drink (yes, even if you’re not staying at the hotel). It’s like a bottle of pink paint was thrown all over the place.
If you wanna stay around here, book in advance as Vanderbilt University is right here – meaning hotels book up fast when there’s something special going on over there. Other popular hotels in Midtown/Music Row:
- Courtyard Vanderbilt/West End (standard rooms only a few minutes from Vanderbilt University)
- Kimpton Aertson Hotel (boutique hotel with open spaces, original artwork, and a rooftop pool)
Looking for something a bit calmer than downtown? The Gulch is small and very trendy, with some of the city’s trendiest restaurants and swanky hotels, giving visitors a more upscale experience. The neighborhood is super walkable, and you can easily walk to Downtown Nashville from here as well.
We found ourselves over here in the Gulch multiple times throughout our 3 days in Nashville, and totally made me rethink our decision to stay in Midtown! It is one of the most expensive areas to stay in Nashville though, so that’s something to think about if you’re on a budget.
- W Nashville (just as swanky as every other W)
- Thompson Nashville (we had drinks on the roof one night and they were delicious)
If you’re looking to stay away from the main tourist drag, choose East Nashville! It’s pretty hip and trendy (I wanna visit more of the murals over there next time), and much more of a local’s experience.
You’ll find lots of coffee shops, stylish vintage boutiques, and local restaurants. While this area is typically less expensive, you’ll need a car to get around (or plan to Uber/Lyft).
- Dive Motel (23 fresh and funky retro motel rooms with a swim club!)
- Vandyke Bed and Beverage (another spot with tons of insta-worthy decor, plus cocktail themed rooms)
- The Gallatin (bring your tripod – there’s lots of Nashville IG spots over here)
3 Days in Nashville Itinerary
Finally, what you came here for – the perfect 3 days in Nashville itinerary! Let’s get to it!
Psst: This Nashville itinerary assumes you have 3 full days in the city. Meaning you got here the night before and can start your first full day in the morning. You can probably squeeze everything in on Day 1 if you arrive in the AM, but depending on your travel style, you may feel kinda rushed.
Also, feel free to arrange the order of the days anyway you like. I strategically grouped together activities by location and such, but if you feel like rearranging, feel free! Nothing is too far away from each other, so if you’re feeling one thing over another, trust your intuition!
*Note: I highly encourage you to buy tickets to live music at least once during your 3 days in Nashville. Meaning you may need to switch some things around – no problem! Nothing is terribly far, so it won’t be that difficult.
Nashville Weekend Getaway Day 1
Stop 1 (Morning): Southern Country Breakfast
Let’s start off this Nashville weekend getaway itinerary with some breakfast, shall we – southern country edition! Gotta fuel that bod for the rest of your 3 days in Nashville! I’ve got two iconic recommendations for you this morning: 1. Monells and 2. The Loveless Cafe. Both excellent choices.
Monells: As soon as we booked tickets to Music City, my husband insisted we add Monells into our Nashville itinerary. He promised all-you-can-eat mouthwatering Southern comfort food, all served family-style at communal tables in a stunning Victorian house. Sounded interesting enough, so off we went! And OMG did we eat.
We indulged in a country breakfast feast of biscuits smothered in gravy, country ham, fried cinnamon apples, pancakes, hash browns, cheese grits, skillet fried chicken, corn pudding, and coffee/sweet tea. Don’t even get your morning coffee and a pastry beforehand – literally wake up and go! It was fun chatting with other diners at our table, and we got some great restaurant and live music recommendations for later on in our trip.
If you somehow have more room, stop by The Cupcake Connection for one of their legendary sweet potato cupcakes (or just save it for later… understandably).
The Loveless Cafe: This is a good time to check out The Loveless Cafe, a super popular Southern cafe with a fun, country vibe. The restaurant is about a 25 minute drive south of the city, so factor in a potentially pricey Uber ride if you aren’t renting a car. It’s wildly popular, so you’ll wanna make a reservation in advance.
Make sure to try the biscuits (obviously), blackberry preserves, creamy grits, and hot juicy, fried chicken. Have a sweet tooth? That banana pudding sounds delicious. Some people claim Loveless has the best fried chicken and biscuits in the South! You be the judge! There’s a reason the cafe’s been open for over 50 years – it’s a Nashville landmark with tons of quaint country charm.
Either spot will probably take most of the morning, so don’t sleep in too late.
Stop 2 (Afternoon): Murals and Lunch in the Gulch
Next up – shopping, photos, and lunch! Spend the rest of the day hanging around Nashville’s upscale neighborhood – the Gulch!
Murals in the Gulch: The entire city is full of Nashville photo spots, and the Gulch is one neighborhood that doesn’t disappoint. While you can randomly wander up and down 11th Ave South (the main strip over here), if you’re looking to grab some photos for your IG feed, make sure to check these out:
- What Lifts You Wings by Kelsey Montague (302 11th Ave S): I’m sure you’ve seen photos of this mural – it’s quite possibly the most well-known in all of Nashville! Look closely and you’ll see guitars and music notes in the designs of the wings. If you’re spending your 3 days in Nashville on a weekend, there’ll undoubtedly be a line, but hey, anything for the shot, right?!
- Acoustic Skyline by Allison Johnson (915 Division St): A gorgeous painting depicting a striking white guitar with the Nashville skyline jutting out. I’m so bummed we miss out on this one!
- Jason Woodside Mural (299 11th Ave S): Huge and oh so colorful, you can’t not make a quick stop here. It’s right across the street from Milk and Honey, and part of the Nashville Walls Project. A true kaleidoscope of color! There’s another large-scale green-themed mural by Ian Ross right next door, so check that out, too!
- Candy Hearts Mural (Finnleys; 601 8th Ave South): The Candy Hearts Mural is probably one of my favorite murals in all of Nashville – look how fun and cheerful it is. Remember the old school candy hearts we used to eat? These phrases are inspired by them, with sayings like “What would Dolly do?” (my favorite one!) and “Hello Gorgeous”. It’s one of the most popular Nashville instagram spots for bachelorette parties and couples! Of course we had to take a cutesy photo together!
Lunch options: I know you had a big breakfast, but after wandering the Gulch for a bit, you’re bound to get hungry! And I’m giving you four of the most popular options over here. If you’re visiting on the weekend, expect there to be a wait almost everywhere in the Gulch. It’s a popular neighborhood and everyone loves it! I recommend putting your name down, and then walking around to see the murals and popping into shops!
- Biscuit Love: Hey, you’re in the south! You can never have too many biscuits! Biscuit Love won awards for the East Nasty sandwich, a fluffy buttery biscuit topped with fried chicken smothered in a rich sausage gravy. Yum! Promise me you won’t leave without trying Biscuit Love’s “Bonuts” – deep fried biscuit donuts topped with lemon mascarpone cream and blueberry compote. I’m drooling over my keyboard just thinking about those. Prepare to wait!
- Arnold’s Country Kitchen: If you want something a bit more casual, head over to Arnolds, a popular meat and three. You’ll find Southern & soul food classics plus desserts from a cafeteria-style steam table. What is a meat and three? Essentially, you pick one meat (like roast beef, meatloaf, kielbasa, chicken and dumplings, etc) and 3 sides (say green beans, creamed corn, fried apples, pinto beans, mac & cheese, etc). If you’re not crazy hungry, opt for a meat and two instead!
- Milk and Honey: Hot chicken & waffles and a cinnamon bun with cream cheese icing – what a perfect combo! I happily sipped on my Nutella latte and bit into my homemade strawberry pop tart. There’s a pick-up window if you just wanna grab something quick. Visiting on a weekend? Put your name down and walk around. There’s bound to be an hour+ wait. This spot is popular for a reason!
- Party Fowl: Fried chicken, anyone?! Don’t miss the massive $50 bloody mary with two whole fried chickens. Yes, I just said fried chicken in the drink! Easily the most elaborate cocktail in all of Nashville – and at 55oz, definitely share it. We missed the mammoth drink (they’ve only got it on certain days/times), but indulged in Nashville fried chicken and beignets. Those little pillows of fried dough smothered with bourbon glaze and powdered sugar were the perfect mid-afternoon pick me up. Definitely not as good at the iconic beignets in New Orleans, but still pretty tasty!
Other things to do in The Gulch
- The Frist Art Museum: In the mood for some culture after a morning of eating and wandering around? The Frist Art Museum holds a beautiful and robust art gallery, with approximately 24k of gallery space, a restored art-deco lobby, and plenty of permanent and rotating exhibits. Interestingly enough, the art museum is housed in the city’s historic U.S. Post Office building – which is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places! The architecture of the building is stunning in and of itself.
- Cocktails in the Gulch: We love checking out the cool craft cocktail bars whenever we visit a new city, and the Gulch has plenty! Our two favorites were:
1. Gertie’s Whiskey Bar: Check out the wall covered in hundreds of bottles of whiskey – they don’t call it a whiskey bar for nothin’! Noah tried both a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned and highly recommends both. They even freeze their cherries in the ice cubes; how ingenious! The bartender was super friendly which we greatly appreciated.
2. L.A. Jackson: A swanky rooftop bar with awesome energy at The Thompson Hotel. Drinks were pricey but what do you expect at a bar with fantastic skyline views?! Definitely more of an “it” crowd and way more pretentious than Gertie’s, but we still had fun!
Stop 3 (Night): Live music
You’re in Nashville – time for some live music! While there’s hundreds of music venues, bars, and clubs you could go to, here’s a few favorites:
Bluebird Cafe (Green Hills): Bluebird is a Nashville institution for songwriters, opening over 40 years ago in 1982. Experienced and newer songwriters come here to test out their new songs. On any given night, a typical performance sees three or four songwriters in the center of the room, taking turns playing their songs and accompanying each other with harmonies and instrumentals. It’s quite the scene.
And get this – Taylor Swift was discovered here! How crazy! So was Garth Brooks and Faith Hill. You never know if that up-&-coming artist you see at Bluebird will one day make it big!
I highly recommend making a reservation as this iconic club is pretty tiny. There’s only 90 seats in the entire space… and the cafe is growing in popularity every year! Local Tip: Monday is Open Mic Night at 6 PM, and you don’t need a reservation for that – just make sure to show up bright and early (seats are first-come first-serve)!
Honky Tonk Highway: Don’t have tickets anywhere and looking to jump into the Nashville fun right away? Head over to lower Broadway, where you’ll find Honky Tonk Highway. And it’s exactly as it sounds! An entire row of honky tonk bars pumping out live music onto the streets – until around 3am! There’s a reason it’s nicknamed “Nashvegas”, haha. While there’s over 30 bars, we loved Tootsies Orchid Lounge and Honky Tonk Central.
Most have no cover charge with free live music all night. If you’re like, damn we already bought tickets to a show but this sounds super fun, don’t worry – you can join in on the fun tomorrow afternoon.
3rd and Lindsley (Downtown): We first learned about 3rd and Lindsley from a sweet couple we met at Monnels that morning! While we toyed with the idea of getting last-minute tickets, we were too tired from traveling and Noah running his half marathon. Next time for us!
While you need to buy a ticket in advance, all seating is first come, first serve, so get there with time to spare so you get a good seat! Hungry? There’s a full menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees.
Grand Ole Opry (Music Valley): Have you really been to Nashville if you haven’t seen a show at the Grand Ole Opry?! Every performance is different from the last, featuring country music legends, lots of surprises, and some up-and-coming stars the venue hand picks. Expect world-class entertainment and shows – the venue even hosted the 56th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in 2021!
But what the Grand Ole Opry is most famous for is its one-hour radio “barn dance” – the longest running radio broadcast in US history. Never rehearsed and never the same show twice! You’ll need to buy tickets in advance as this venue gets booked up fast! Check the Opry calendar and see who’s performing during your 3 days in Nashville. And book your ticket here!
If you really wanna see the iconic theater but show tickets are sold out, take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry during the day instead! More info below!
Other popular music venues to check out (told you there were lots!):
- The Station Inn (The Gulch)
- Ryman Auditorium (Downtown)
- The Listening Room Cafe (SoBro)
- Brooklyn Bowl (Germantown)
- City Winery (SoBro)
- The 5 Spot (East Nashville)
- Ascend Amphitheater (Downtown)
Weekend in Nashville Day 2
Stop 1: Stroll down the pedestrian bridge and wander Cumberland Park
Pick up some coffee to-go, then it’s time to get rolling. Looking for amazing views of the city during your Nashville weekend getaway? Head over to John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, a 3,150 foot pedestrian-only truss bridge over the Cumberland River.
The views of downtown are absolutely phenomenal, and you’ll get to see the stadium and river too, of course. One of the best things to add to your Nashville itinerary if you’re looking to get outside in the sun.
And get this – the original bridge was constructed way back when in 1909, meaning it’s over 100 years old! It has since been extensively renovated (thank goodness) for safety and such.
My husband’s half marathon ended right there so we walked along the pedestrian bridge with hundreds of other runners, but you’ll most likely have a little more breathing room than we did.
If you got an early start and are looking for more things to do before brunch, check out a few attractions/shops on Broadway.
Stop 2: Brunch at The Hampton Social or Liberty Common
These two spots are super popular. Meaning, don’t sleep in too late or you risk having to wait a long while.
The Hampton Social: Cross back over the bridge, walk 5 minutes, and voila, you’re at The Hampton Social (just minutes from bustling Broadway street). This spot is super trendy for brunch, meaning it’s super instagrammable and has some of the best photo spots in all of Nashville!
Sit in either the first floor “Rosé All Day” lounge or the brand new rooftop terrace sipping on craft cocktails and listening to live music, while munching on coastal-inspired food.
We sadly missed this spot (we were too busy stuffing our faces with biscuits and waffles), but it’s on our list for next time! Mmm… the monkey bread, bang bang chicken, and bananas foster french toast sound divine! They even have a separate brunch DRINK menu, featuring a peaches & cream bellini, rose of the day, and espresso martinis. Sold!
Liberty Common: Right next door to The Hampton Social you’ll find Liberty Common, another solid spot for weekend brunch. And yes, it’s really super cute with its teal rattan chairs, blue cushiony high backs, and an open and airy bar. The whole design of the space is thoughtfully decorated and their branding is so on point. A French-cafe feel that is also super instagramy!
Rightfully so, the chicken and waffles and frozen cocktails are a big hit here. The croque madame and cinnamon-walnut buttermilk pancakes sound divine as well!
Stop 3: Museums and wander Broadway
It’s time to make your way to Broadway – Nashville’s buzzy scene full of museums, boot shops, and of course, live country music! Spend the afternoon hopping around taking in the sites. To make it super easy, here’s my favorite spots on Broadway and Downtown Nashville:
Country Music Hall of Fame: You’re in the Country Music Capital of the World – how could you NOT visit the Country Music Hall of Fame?! From Florida Georgia Line, Reba McEntire, and Martina McBride to Taylor Swift, Garth Brooths, and Elvis Presley, this place has all the country legends and then some.
We popped in one morning when it was raining, and lemme tell ya – the place was crowded beyond belief. I have a slight suspicion that if you come during the week when the sun is shining you won’t have the same experience.
While you can easily spend two hours reading and listening to everything, plan an hour or so to see the highlights. We loved all the memorabilia and artifacts, including costumes, instruments, and even cars – and we’re not even huge fans of country music (although I’m much more so than Noah is!).
Book your ticket in advance to bypass the long lines (especially if your Nashville itinerary falls on the weekend)!
Hatch Show Print: Letterpress, show posters, and a working museum! That’s Hatch Show Print in a nutshell. For over 140 years, this letterpress print shop has been designing custom prints and posters for everything imaginable.
You can either go on a tour and learn about the technical elements of letterpress printing and history of advertising and graphic design, or simply wander throughout the shop.
I’m kicking myself we didn’t purchase tickets sooner – the tour sounds so interesting to a typography junkie like myself! I tried to peek in but couldn’t see too much from the shop. I heard you can even make your own print as a souvenir – what a bummer I missed it!
Johnny Cash Museum: Big fan of this music icon? Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia and artifacts. The museum isn’t too big, so you can get through it in less than an hour or so. We chose to simply look at the few pieces in the gift shop/cafe area, but highly recommend getting a ticket if you’re a diehard fan of his.
Tour the Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most iconic stages in the US – even the Grand Ole Opry was first held here (before eventually transitioning over to the venue in Music Valley). The acoustics are unparalleled, the stained glass windows are gorgeous, and the special effects and holograms are like no other.
Some of the most popular stars have taken the stage here at the historic Ryman Auditorium – think Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, and more. There’s a reason it’s known as ‘The Mother Church of Country Music’.
The venue is the exact spot where bluegrass was born, where Johnny Cash met June Carter, and where 130 years of performances have been held. So, yup, the Ryman’s kinda a big deal over here. While you can buy tickets to a nightly show, you can book entrance tickets for a self-guided tour and experience the theater during the daytime hours!
Boot shops: Y’all! You’re in the south! Time to try on some boots! Just like my weekend in Austin, Texas, we found numerous leather boot shops – and they were so much fun to check out. Boots of all different colors and designs and prices. Have a few friends or think you’ll wanna take home a few boots yourself? We found a shop with buy one, get TWO free – what a crazy deal. That’s over at Boot Country if you wanna check it out.
Goo Goo Clusters: What the frick is a Goo Goo Cluster?! I had no clue either before spending a long weekend in Nashville. Essentially, it’s a tasty combination of nuts, caramel, marshmallow nougat, and milk chocolate all put together into a cluster. They’re actually America’s first combination candy bar – who knew?! So quintessential Nashville.
Buy a few and try them! We tried the peanut butter clusters, and while they were absolutely delicious, they kinda just tasted like a peanut butter cup, so I wish we tried the original ones. There’s also boozy milkshakes, whiskey, and even wine pairings here, or you can create and make your own massive goo goo cluster.
Tootsies Orchid Lounge: Want a taste of true honky tonk in Nashville?! Tootsies is an institution in the city – known for its live country music and world-famous honky-tonk. Grab a few cocktails (they’ll be wildly overpriced but just go for it), and soak up all that live music you came here for. That famous purple building is calling your name!
With 3 levels, you can decide for yourself who you want to listen to (some bands were better than others), and sip on your Tootsies Apple Pie Shine. It’ll be PACKED inside, no matter the day or time, so you know Tootsies is thriving. Check out the Tootsie’s Wall of Fame with hundreds of photos of past artists before you head out.
Legendary Milkshake Bar: Pop in here for a snack and to cool off from the heat and humidity (if you’re visiting in the summer that is). My husband has a real thing for milkshakes, so when I found this spot, I knew we just had to go. And with shakes piled high with chocolate cookies, brownies, and even cheesecake, save some room for all the sugar!
While we enjoyed our shakes, I felt they were kinda overpriced for what you get and not worth the wait. They make for a pretty IG photo though! Nothing will ever come close to the massive milkshake creations in Las Vegas.
Printers Alley: Take a short stroll down this super historic little alleyway. Why’s it called Printers Alley anyways? In the early 1900’s, there were 10 print shops, two of the city’s largest newspaper corporations (The Tennessean and The Nashville Banner), and 13 publishers working in this little area!
It’s now very different from way back when, and is actually a hot spot for nightlife! Just worth a quick little stop for a few photos in my opinion during the day. But feel free to head back at night to really experience all the action.
Late Lunch at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken: Whenever you get hungry, head on over to Hattie B’s for some Nashville hot fried chicken! There WILL be a line, no matter what, and no matter when – the chicken is that good. Moist on the inside, super crunchy and flavorful on the outside. You pick your heat level (we both got mild and it was the perfect amount of spice).
And those sides – mmm, yes please! We shared the baked beans, mac n cheese, and potato salad. I so wish we had room for the cheesy grits and banana pudding (next time for us). If you’re not eating at Hattie B’s at least once during your 3 days in Nashville, you’re doing it all wrong.
Stop 4: $10 Moonshine Tasting at Ole Smokey
Never had moonshine before?! It’s usually produced illegally, sooo… now’s your time to try it (legally)! Moonshine is stronger than most other alcohols and spirits (because it hasn’t been aged), and is generally crazy strong – up to about 150 proof (about 75% pure alcohol). So, ya know, don’t plan to drive back home right after (safety first, kids).
At Ole Smokey, you’ll try all different kinds of moonshine and whiskeys – including pickle moonshine and peanut butter whisky! For just $10! How bizarre! Heads up – I didn’t actually try any of these (I’m quite the baby when it comes to alcohol). I made my husband be the taste tester. And while he’s glad he tried them (I think…), let’s just say we didn’t buy any to bring home.
Stop 5: Bowling (and maybe dinner) at Pinewood Social
Up for some fun competition? Head on over to Pinewood Social, it’s one of the most popular spots in Nashville. A trendy restaurant, a comfortable coffee shop, and a craft cocktail bar all in one. Oh, and there’s a vintage bowling alley and an outdoor swimming pool here, too!
You can easily spend the rest of the night over at Pinewood Social. Make a reservation because this place gets busy, busy, busy. I didn’t realize just how crowded it would be and was gutted when we couldn’t bowl! It looks like so much fun!
Stop 6: Late dinner at Husk or Catbird Seat
Husk: Ready for a change of pace? Head on over to Husk, on the outskirts of the city (we walked over here from Broadway). Upscale southern food at its best! The quality of the ingredients was top-notch – definitely fine-dining over here. Try the Plate of Southern Vegetables – just trust me on this. Sounds super odd, but I swear it was one of the best things I ate during my entire weekend in Nashville. Oh, and those buttermilk cheddar biscuits. Mmm….
The entire space was so charming as well. Housed in an renovated Victorian mansion, you could practically feel the history seeping from its walls. Expect a beautiful meal in a gorgeous environment with super friendly and sweet staff. Safe to say I HIGHLY recommend this place, especially for date night with your significant other!
The Catbird Seat: Looking for a super memorable meal in Nashville? Celebrating a special occasion? Make a reservation (far in advance!) at The Catbird Seat – the 12 course tasting menu sounds absolutely unbelievable. Imaginative, seasonal food and creative wine pairings. A true foodie paradise with an impressive culinary team. I’m so sad we learned about this place too late for a reservation.
If you like inventive dining, follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdan and check this place out! Yes, he recommended The Catbird Seat just like he recommended La Cevicheria in Cartagena!
3 Days in Nashville Day 3
Stop 1: Morning Activity
Option 1: Morning Plantation Tour at Belle Meade Historic Site
Get outta town and spend the morning at Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery. The grounds are beautiful and there’s even a winery here – but we’re here for a different reason. To talk about history!
There are 2 main tours you can choose from:
- Mansion Tour: See and walk through the 1853 Greek Revival Mansion and learn about the experiences of the Harding and Jackson families
- Journey to Jubilee Tour: Learn and discuss the violent reality of slavery and listen to stories of the enslaved African-Americans who were brought to (and even born at) Belle Meade
Honestly, I’d opt for the Journey to Jubilee Tour. Sorry, but you can wander a pretty house anytime. Get real and talk about the uncomfortable stuff – the staff really encourages discussion, and it’s a great way to learn and really do some deep thinking about what happened in our country not even too long ago.
Belle Meade Historic Site is about 25 minutes south of Nashville, so plan to use your rental car or call a Lyft/Uber/taxi. This is high on my Nashville itinerary for next time, as we didn’t learn about it until our last morning.
Option 2: Grand Ole Opry Tour
Go behind the curtain at Nashville’s premier country music stage, The Grand Ole Opry! On the guided backstage tour, you’ll hear stories about what happens behind the curtain, walk the stage where legends Carrie Underwood and Minnie Pearl have performed, and even get a glimpse of the artist’s dressing rooms and green room. A must for any country music fan!
A tour of the Grand Ole Opry is very popular, so make sure to book your tickets well in advance so you get your desired date and time.
Stop 2: Wander 12South
Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering 12South – by far the most vibrant neighborhood in all of Nashville. And also the trendiest! There’s coffee shops, bakeries, bars, stylish designer boutiques, and a whole lotta murals. Add in all the beautiful historic bungalows and leafy green spots, and you’ve got my dream come true.
If you haven’t eaten lunch yet, no fret – there’s lots to choose from over here! Or you can fill up on sweets like we did, whoops! We loved:
- Five Daughters Bakery: Heaven called, and it asked for Five Daughters. Kinda cheesy, I know (haha), but c’mon, the pastries and donuts are made daily from scratch in the cutest little shop. Don’t miss their signature item, the 100 layer donut – a delicious hybrid of a croissant and a donut.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Care to wash down your donut with some artisan ice cream? You guys know I love my desserts, and Jeni’s didn’t disappoint. With flavors like salted peanut butter chocolate flecks, brambleberry crisp, and skillet cinnamon roll, I had the hardest time choosing what flavor to get! And the fact that I basically became best friends with the cutest little corgi just made my afternoon.
- Christie Cookie Company: Cookies are my absolute weakness, and Christie’s did not disappoint. Oh so gooey and oh so chocolatey. No, they didn’t beat my love affair with Levain’s in New York City, but I definitely wanted to go back to Christie’s for seconds.
In between stuffing your face, go check out the murals of 12South! There’s tons of colorful pieces over here, and I loved them all! Here’s the most popular ones:
- I Believe in Nashville: Probably the most iconic of them all, and one you shouldn’t miss – even if you’re not big on photos. There’s usually a line (dependent on the day), but if you’re looking for one of the best photo spots in Nashville, you’ll definitely wanna wait your turn. Adrien Saporiti, a Nashville native, really captured the spirit of Nashville pride here. A classic Nashville picture for sure!
- Draper James: Take a photo with the blue and white striped wall, and one on the bench with the Draper James background! Go on inside – they’ve got the cutest prints and patterns (although fairly expensive) just seeped with Southern charm. And it was founded by Reese Witherspoon!
- Looking Pretty Music City: A homage to Music City, I just loved this mural! Besides the fact that it’s oh so colorful, it’s a little burst of sunshine in the heart of 12 South.
- Nashville Looks Good On You: It’s kinda hidden, but look behind Frothy Monkey (come in for a coffee!), and you’ll see it in the back parking lot. The lighting can be kinda harsh during the day, but work with what ya got!
And if you’re lucky, Amelia’s Flower Truck will be hanging out at White’s Mercantile 12 South.
Stop 3: Centennial Park and The Parthenon
Finally, some green space in Nashville! The park is huge and there’s loads of places to lay out and/or have a picnic. We were short on time because I had a bunch of other things to knock off on my Nashville itinerary (I like to cram it all in), but if you’re looking for a calm afternoon, Centennial Park’s your spot.
The big draw here?! The Parthenon!!! Did you know that Nashville boasts a 42-foot replica of the Parthenon, just like in Athens, Greece?! And it’s a full-scale replica of the Athenian original. Just crazy! If I squeezed my eyes real tight I could have sworn I was back in Athens, Greece itself (okay, not really, but I wish). Inside there’s an art museum if you wanna check it out (sadly it was closed when we visited).
Psst: Looking for more Nashville photo spots? Walk on over to Off the Wall if you’re into colorful murals and taking pictures. There’s about a dozen or so large scale murals right on the main road, which unfortunately makes it a bit difficult to photograph! Use .5x on your iphone or a wide-angle lens to capture a decent amount of them!
Stop 4: Drinks at White Limozeen rooftop
Whatever you do, if you’re looking for the most instagrammable rooftop in all of Nashville, head on up to White Limozeen. Located at The Graduate Hotel, this chic spot is full of surprises, and it’s ALL pink. From the light pink floor tiles, pink drapery and plush pink cushions, to the bright pink fringe umbrellas and bubblegum pink bar stools. An instagrammers dream come true.
It’s really over-the-top, with an onyx wraparound bar and mirrored chandeliers. And even a pink chicken-wire sculpture of Dolly Parton outside! Let’s just say I couldn’t stop taking photos.
Stop 5: BBQ for dinner!
- Edley’s Bar-B-Que: Ohhh, Edleys. It’s famous for its barbecue and the Nashville culinary tradition of “meat and three.” Come hungry and grab a platter with a rack of ribs, brisket, cornbread, baked beans, potato salad, and of course, pickles! Save room for a big slice of pecan pie.
- Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint: We picked Martin’s for our night of bbq, and lemme tell ya, it definitely did not disappoint. Considering the line was down the block, they must be doing something right! Promise it moves fast! You have the choice of dining and listening to live music upstairs, or staying quiet near the bar downstairs. I think you know what we picked!
- Peg Leg Porker BBQ: What a silly name! But Peg Leg has some of the best traditional West-Tennessee barbecue in all of Nashville. Sip sweet tea on the top deck, indulge in nachos piled high with melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, jalapeños and cheese, and order all the sides (bbq beans, smoked green beans, fries, coleslaw, mac & cheese, and of course, house potato salad).
Stop 6: Haunted Ghost Tour
Not ready for bed just yet and still up for something fun? Okay, maybe fun is the wrong word… Nashville is full of tragic horrors, sinister history, and paranormal activity. Learn about it all on a haunted ghost tour – if you dare! Listen to stories that will probably frighten you, dive into the fascinating history of Music City, and learn about the mysterious tunnels that snake underneath much of the city.
There’s a reason I recommend doing this on your last night, haha. Read reviews and book your haunted ghost tour here.
So there ya have it – a wildly comprehensive way to spend 3 days in Nashville! Will you be following this Nashville weekend getaway itinerary?! What are you the most excited for?