The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Nashville

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Nashville, Tennessee is a Mecca for country music artists and lovers.  But it’s so much more than country music!  The city has great museums, an incredible food scene, and of course, an amazing live music scene.  From Broadway to Germantown, this guide will point out the best that Nashville has to offer whether you’re visiting for a day, weekend, or a week!


The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Nashville, Tennessee

I headed to Nashville in February to visit with a girlfriend.  Not only was this small town a pleasant surprise, with live music lurking on every corner and incredible eats and drinks around the city, but Nashville was also very affordable and an easily walkable destination.  My girlfriend and I couldn’t believe how much there was to see and do in just a short couple of days!  If you’re looking for a destination to head with friends, I have to say that Nashville should be high on your list.

The only downside to visiting is the city attracts a lot of bachelor/bachelorette parties, so things can get pretty crazy and also feel quite touristy on the weekends.  To avoid this scenario, I recommend visiting during the week if possible or staying away from tourist hot spots like Broadway Street and instead venturing out to Midtown, Germantown, or other neighborhoods in Nashville.


Best Restaurants in Nashville

5th & Taylor

There are so many incredible foodie spots in Nashville from casual BBQ to upscale dining!  There are cute cafes to grab a quick breakfast before heading out for the day, or places that cater towards brunching.  There are even a few restaurants that we sadly didn’t get to before leaving, but the next time I visit Nashville I will make it a priority to snag a table at Catbird Seat, eat breakfast at Pancake Pantry, and brunch at Biscuit Love.  Below you’ll find the restaurants I was able to visit, all which I highly recommend.



Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a Nashville staple and if we’re being honest, pretty touristy.  But for good reason! This fried chicken joint can be found all over the city and every spot can see a long line of people waiting to sit down for good old southern comfort food.  I highly recommend eating at Hattie’s if you’re looking for a quick bite (although depending on what time of the day you visit you might find yourself waiting in line for quite a while), or if you’ve partied too hard and you’re looking for a hangover cure.



I was pretty impressed when I sat down for BBQ at Martin’s.  Being a Kansas City girl, I know my BBQ and thoroughly enjoyed the different style of Tennessee BBQ at Martin’s.  The line was long but worth it… I dove right into my pulled pork, baked beans, and Mac n’cheese.  Even if you’re not a big bean person, these come highly rated.

Martin’s is the perfect lunch spot before leaving Nashville or if you need a big meal before spending the day drinking.  It’s pretty casual so I wouldn’t recommend it for dinner.



Located in Germantown, Rolf and Daughters was a chic, cozy, and small restaurant that serves New American food with a heavy Italian influence.  They are widely known for their unique dish, cecamariti, which is pasta made from house-made sourdough bread.  I would also highly recommend the dry aged beef tartar that comes served on rye bread topped with black truffle and parmesan.  Because the restaurant is small and popular, I highly recommend a reservation ahead of time.  Rolf and Daughters does reserve the bar for walk-ins if you aren’t able to reserve a table.



Saint Añejo is located in The Gulch and is a great, laid-back Mexican restaurant.  It’s the perfect place to stop for a couple of tacos, street-corn, and chips if you’re in-between meals and need something to hold you over.  They also do happy hour from 4-6pm Monday-Thursday and Friday from 2-6pm where they serve half-price pitchers of margaritas and buckets of beer if you’re looking to get away from Broadway and grab a seat away from the crowds.



The Optimist is also located in Germantown and known for their New American food with a heavier influence on seafood.  The oyster bar boasts a wide variety of oysters from the west coast to the east coast, and the crispy octopus was my favorite dish out of everything I ate in Nashville.  The restaurant is quite big, but I still recommend a reservation ahead of time.



5th & Taylor is a New American restaurant in a lofty and rustic setting, also located in Germantown.  The restaurant is cozy, with dim lighting, lots of candles, and twinkle lights.  Like the previous restaurants mentioned, 5th & Taylor is quite popular so I highly recommend reserving a table ahead of time.  Oh, and if you’re an adventurous eater – don’t sleep on the chicken liver mousse.




Best Bars in Nashville

The best thing about going out in Nashville is all of the live music plus entrance into bars is free!  You’re getting to hear some incredible bands and artists for free.  And while Broadway is hopping, there are other pretty cool bars to discover off of Broadway too.



Located in Printer’s Alley, Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar isn’t your typical Nashville country music scene.  Here you’ll find blues and upbeat tunes, hidden away in an alley.  It’s the perfect place to go for a less touristy experience.



Nudie’s is located on Broadway and was by far one of my favorite bars on the street.  Nudie’s has three levels, all of which have live music on most days and the top level is a rooftop bar.



Patterson House is located in Midtown and is known for their unique cocktails.  A Nashville hit, you’ll find many locals that hang out here.  Beware however, there’s always a line to get into this popular cocktail hangout.



The Lodge at the Pool Club is a fun, electric, rooftop bar scene on top of the Virgin Hotels.  On the weekends there’s usually a live DJ playing and many spots to grab a table, sit at the bar, or hang out on the lounge chairs outside by the pool.  It’s the ultimate Sunday funday hangout spot.


Things to See and Do in Nashville



If you come to Nashville you definitely can’t miss Broadway Street – a street filled with bars and restaurants.  Nashville has the nickname “Nash-Vegas” and when you’re on Broadway Street it isn’t hard to see why.  Everywhere you go there’s live music, tons of bachelor/bachelorette parties, and people drinking on the streets.  (Although I’m not quite sure if this is legal or not).  I personally was a bit overwhelmed on Broadway and felt that it was a bit too touristy for my liking.  But I still recommend going for a day and popping into a couple of bars while you’re there.



When you’re in Nashville you can’t miss visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame.  A museum that pays homage to country music with big names featured like Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, Elvis Presley, and so much more.  This museum is three floors and costs about $25+.  You can purchase tickets upon entrance or you can purchase tickets ahead of time and reserve a time to visit.



Hillsboro Village (also known as Hillsboro-Belmont) is a small neighborhood in Nashville located south of Broadway by Vanderbilt.  It’s a great neighborhood for shopping and cafes, a bit more off the beaten path and away from the craziness of Broadway.  If you do head to Hillsboro Village make sure to stop at Fido for coffee or a quick breakfast, after all, it is said to be Taylor Swift’s favorite coffee shop in Nashville.



Printer’s Alley is a far less touristy version of Broadway Street.  Printer’s Alley is a smaller version of Broadway with live music at every bar.  I really enjoyed it here and would highly recommend this area over Broadway any day.



Where to Stay in Nashville

There are so many great hotels and areas to stay in Nashville.  You can stay right on Broadway, but beware of the loud music at all hours of the night.  Or you can venture off to a different neighborhood like Midtown, East Nashville, The Gulch, or Germantown.  If you’re looking to still be near bars but away from Broadway, I highly recommend basing yourself in Midtown.

When I visited Nashville I stayed at the Virgin Hotels and while it was expensive, I would highly recommend it.  The Virgin is funky and artsy and best of all has a nice rooftop pool and bar so if you’re visiting in the summer months you can lounge by the pool during the day and hit the bars at night.  The hotel is located in Midtown and is pretty much walking distance (1-2 miles) from any main attraction.  Plus you’re right by Patterson House and other bars if you choose to stay away from Broadway.

If the Virgin Hotels isn’t for you, I recommend using Expedia,, or VRBO to search for hotels/rentals.


When Should You Visit/How Much Time Should You Spend in Nashville

Nashville feels quite small, especially if you’re visiting without a car.  I truly think that you only need a couple of days to experience it and can get away with spending one day if you’re not keen on going out to party/spend time at the bars.

As for when to visit, Tennessee can get pretty hot and humid in the summer months so my best recommendation would be to visit in the spring or fall when the weather is still nice but not so sticky.  If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, your best bet is wintertime, although the weather may not be the best.


Do You Need a Car in Nashville?

You don’t necessarily need a car when you’re visiting Nashville, but if this is part of a larger trip around Tennessee or you want to explore the outskirts of Nashville, you’ll definitely want a car.  I use Discover Cars to find car rentals at the most affordable price.


As I mentioned earlier, visiting Nashville was such a pleasant surprise.  I got my fix of live country music, southern comfort food, and more.  Nashville is electric and energizing, I hope that if you visit you feel the magic in the city too.


If you’re looking for more information about visiting Nashville, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching “#ppintennessee” or looking for my “Tennessee” highlight



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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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