Until the past few years, most people thought of Nashville as nothing more than a destination for country music. But thanks to a surge in new restaurants, shops, and bars, Music City is no longer just about the music. One of the most happening cities in the South, enjoy incredible cuisine, culture and outdoor pursuits in a city that’s just beginning to hit it’s high note.
Grab a fair-trade coffee at one of Nashville’s premiere coffee shops. Some of the best roast in the city, you’re nearly guaranteed to be served with a smile. If you need a snack to tide you over until brunch, you won’t be disappointed with any one of the sweet or savory scones and muffins in the display case.
9AM CUMBERLAND PARK
Once you have a beverage in hand, take a walk across the pedestrian bridge to Cumberland Park. Snap a few pictures of Nashville’s skyline while starting the day at a leisurely pace. Cumberland Park has tables if you want to sit and sip, or you can relive your childhood on the playground, which has a rock wall, ropes course, slides, and plenty of fountains to splash in.
For a true southern brunch, look no further than Husk. Award-winning chef Sean Brock uses locally sourced ingredients (some even grown on-site in the restaurant’s own garden) to create a brunch menu that is full of traditional and inventive flavors. Do yourself a favor and call ahead for a reservation so you can skip the line that is constantly snaking out the door. Once you get in, order a cocktail and listen carefully to the daily specials because they never disappoint.
12PM COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
Walk off brunch with a stroll through the Country Music Hall of Fame, which houses an unparalleled collection of music memorabilia. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a new convert, you’ll appreciate the central display, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music. The exhibition covers the history and sounds of country music, including the origins of the genre and stories about the early architects of that beloved twangy sound. Your time at the Hall of Fame is self-guided, so allow yourself two to three hours to really immerse yourself in Nashville’s heart and soul.
3PM MAS TACOS, POR FAVOR
Stop in for a small snack at Mas Tacos, Por Favor—one of Nashville’s most popular and revered taco stands. The restaurant started out as a food truck housed in a 1974 Winnebago, and grew so fast they ended up setting up a permanent shop in East Nashville. Go out on a limb and try the quinoa sweet potato tacos or stick to an old stand-by with the cast-iron chicken tacos.
Get a taste of Nashville’s fine dining scene at Josephine, a cozy New American restaurant in the ultra-hot 12 South neighborhood. With white tile floors, soft leather chairs, and dark wood tables, Josephine boasts an inviting atmosphere for a lengthy dinner. Chef Andy Little’s simple, rustic menu is full of fresh flavors with the beef cheeks being one of the many standouts.
9PM ROBERT’S WESTERN WORLD
You can’t visit Nashville without spending some time at the many honky tonk bars on Lower Broadway. With free shows galore, you may just discover the next big star. Before you start bar hopping, make sure you set aside time for a few drinks at Robert’s Western World—a favorite of Nashville locals. Try to grab a seat near the front of the house so you can enjoy the band and keep an eye on the two-steppers twirling around the dance floor.
10AM LOVELESS CAFÉ
Sleep in a little before a leisurely drive down the Natchez Trace to Loveless Café, an icon since the 50s. About 30 minutes south of downtown Nashville, the restaurant’s time-honored biscuits and homemade jams are waiting. Chances are, you’ll have to wait about an hour for a table—but the authentic southern breakfast is well worth it, and there’s plenty to explore on site from the gift shop to the smoker.
1PM PERCY WARNER PARK
After a heavy breakfast, you’ll want to get some fresh air. Percy Warner Park is just 9 miles from downtown Nashville and a short drive from Loveless Café. The park includes miles of moderate hiking trails and paved paths, and depending on your fitness level, you can walk through the park or hop on the Mossy Ridge Trail for 4 miles of peaks, valleys, switchbacks, greenery, and incredible views.
4PM THE RYMAN AUDITORIUM
Ryman Auditorium is most famous for being the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which outgrew the space in 1974. Today, the Grand Ole Opry is located on the outskirts of town, but Ryman Auditorium’s unparalleled acoustics still make it a favorite venue for concertgoers. You can take a self-guided tour of the historic 1892 landmark, but we recommend booking the guided backstage tour that will lead you through the dressing rooms to get a real sense of where country music’s greats got their start.
6PM CITY HOUSE
You can’t visit Nashville without sampling City House, one of the city’s most beloved and celebrated restaurants. Chef Tandy Wilson has been credited with helping Nashville become the food city it is today thanks to his inventive pasta dishes and unique take on southern fare. Settle in to the cozy dining room and be sure to try the Belly Ham Pizza, a simple combination of cured ham, mozzarella, oregano and chilies that is ridiculously mouthwatering.
8PM NO. 308
After dinner, head into East Nashville for a craft cocktail at No. 308 — a hip, bustling lounge donned with old books, taxidermy, and mid-century modern furniture. If you catch No. 308 on the right night, you may be able to get in on a dance party — or just enjoy the people watching if that’s more your speed. You can’t go wrong with a classic Old Fashioned or Whiskey Ginger, but spend some time with the rotating menu and be sure to try one of the bartender’s inventive seasonal cocktails.
WHERE TO STAY: OMNI NASHVILLE HOTEL
250 FIFTH AVE. SOUTH NASHVILLE, TN 37203
Not only was this swanky downtown hotel created as an authentic expression of Nashville’s music culture, but it’s within easy walking distance of dozens of notable restaurants, bars, parks, and coffee shops. You’ll be close by our favorite hotspots, and when the day is done you’ll definitely sleep soundly in a posh room with top-of-the-line bedding. If the weather's right, carve out a little time to enjoy the hotel's rooftop pool and skyline views.