Totally awesome things to do when you in the totally awesome city of Nashville, TN.
October 25, 2010 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I have been tasked with showing some new friends from Europe the city of Nashville, Tennessee. One problem: I am not from Nashville and don't know anything about Nashville. I am looking for awesome local places to eat and must-see attractions.

I have been to Nashville maybe three times in my entire life and that was always for specific events where I went straight to a school or convention center, was fed event food, and then went straight home. That's why I need you guys to help me out! Tell me what's good to eat and fun to do in Nashville.

We are four twenty-somethings. I know that we all enjoy drinking, live music, and good food...but not dance clubs. We WILL visit the Grand Ole Opry, but we don't really enjoy country music all that much, so some suggestions that don't include line-dancing would be great. We will have a car and an entire weekend. Thanks all!
posted by SkylitDrawl to Travel & Transportation around Nashville, TN (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Long-time Nashville resident here.

Go to the Loveless Cafe for an awesome Southern breakfast. Call ahead for reservations. This is a little bit of a drive, but worth it.

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It's a real museum and is really interesting, even if you don't love country music.

Go to the Station Inn to hear good live music. It's not fancy, but it's the real deal.

Go to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Lower Broadway.

Go see the Parthenon in Centennial Park. It's the closest you'll ever get to standing inside a Greek temple that is not in ruins.

Go to the Mercy Lounge, or 3rd and Lindsley, or Douglas Corner, or the Bluebird Cafe for music. Check ads in the Scene or the Tennessean for who's playing.

Second Avenue, in downtown Nashville, has some interesting restaurants and bars, but it's really more for tourists.

Most of these places have websites.

Enjoy!
posted by Jenna Brown at 4:18 PM on October 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Places to eat in the Hillsboro Village area, a mile from downtown on the main drag: Sunset Grill (swank, 4$) Jackson's (hip and fun, 3$), Bosco's (brewery pub, 2$). You will be told the Pancake Pantry has the best of all possible pancakes, but you have to stand in a line outside for them, and I have never wanted pancakes that badly.
In the downtown/West End area, try the Tin Angel (3-4$). There's also this great Indian place, I think it's called Sitar, and . . . Nashville has good food, is what I'm saying.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:22 PM on October 25, 2010


I forgot something. If you can find a show you like at the Ryman Auditorium (the original home of the Grand Ole Opry) during your stay, try to go. It's a beautiful old auditorium with great acoustics and curved pews for seating. There's a lot of history in that building.
posted by Jenna Brown at 4:28 PM on October 25, 2010


Seconding Tootsie's, and it happens to be right behind the Ryman.
posted by peewinkle at 4:32 PM on October 25, 2010


Seconding Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (and seconding that it's great even if you aren't particularly into the music), Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium — and Hatch Show Print too!
posted by dreamyshade at 4:40 PM on October 25, 2010


The Frist Center for the Arts has a nice exhibit of Impressionism right now.

Cheekwood has lovely botanical gardens and, until the end of October, a pretty awesome glass sculpture exhibit (like, ginormous glass statues, not glassware) that is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous at sunset.

For a pro sports experience, there are always the Titans and Predators. (In the summer, the Nashville Sounds, a AAA farm team for the Brewers, is a cheap fun time)

For hiking and nature, Radnor Lake is stunning. There is also an extensive greenway system, although I'd say for your buck, Radnor is prettier.

Historywise, there are lots of old plantations and historic mansions. Try the Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home) or Belle Meade Plantation. If you have a car, the Stones River Battlefield (Civil War) is interesting in good weather.

Nightlife-wise, you might want to check out East Nashville. Try 3 Crow Bar, Red Door East (their midtown location is usually swamped with Vanderbilt students), FooBar, Family Wash. Another option in the Belmont neighborhood is the 12 South Taproom.

Foodwise: Do not get sucked into standing in line at the Pancake Pantry. It's good, but not worth wasting a morning over. All these places are findable online (there's a wide variety of price points here): Jackson's, Tayst, The Acorn, 1808 Grille, Woodlands, Suzy Wong's House of Yum, PM Cafe, International Market, Chah Chah, Mafiaoza's, Marche, Eastland Cafe, Cafe Margot, Monell's (for authentic, OMG kill-me-now southern food), Mas Tacos Por Favor, Samurai Sushi, Rotier's.

Have fun!
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:48 PM on October 25, 2010


Germantown cafe is good (moderately pricey) and has a cool view of downtown, particularly at Sunset.

If there's a Predator's hockey game while you're in town it can be fun and pretty cheap and they've been good so far this year, first in the league right now!
posted by ghharr at 5:44 PM on October 25, 2010


Go to the Loveless Cafe for an awesome Southern breakfast --- I was going to suggest this, too, but I wouldn't limit it to breakfast. We went there for dinner, and it was the best meal we all had that week.
posted by crunchland at 6:34 PM on October 25, 2010


There's a place called the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, sort of downtown. It has live music every night (as do many of the other places, of course) and I've always had a good time there every time I've been to Nashville.
posted by number9dream at 6:41 PM on October 25, 2010


Every time I go to Nashville I go to Pie in the Sky Pizza.
posted by heatvision at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2010


As a Canadian I'm no expert on this kind of food, but I loved Bolton's Spicy Chicken. It's a little cramped and dingy inside but the food is great. I had the less-spicy fried chicken with two sides.

The beer selection on tap at the midtown Broadway Brewhouse (1900 Broadway) is great. Decent food, too, and a friendly bartender who put some thought into recommending our next pint.

A quick visit to Hatch Show & Print is a good recommendation. You'll probably be in the area anyway. IMO Ernest Tubb Record Shop will probably only appeal to a country music fan. It also doesn't have much in the way of actual records.

Lower Broadway, and the surrounding area, is a lot of fun at night if you like to drink. It's lively and there's a ton of bars with live music (not just country) and cheap (to me) prices.

The Frist is a beautiful building but it has a fairly small art gallery and some really crabby security guards. I would still recommend a visit there, though.

I was last in Nashville for Bonnaroo in June, and saw the Dale Chihuly art glass exhibit mentioned above at Cheekwood (apparently extended to November 7th). It's really nice, but I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed it in my early 20s. Plan for 3 or more hours there.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:51 PM on October 28, 2010


One other thing I forgot to mention: I agree with Jenna Brown above that you should visit the Parthenon. I would say it's a must-see because it's so absurd. Be sure to take a look around inside.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:16 PM on October 28, 2010


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