Nashville is known for being the infamous “Music City” where people come from all over to see live music, potentially run into famous musicians who are known to wander the streets of Nashville, or to take a chance on their dreams of making it “big” in the music industry. Although being well-known for southern flare, Nashville isn’t exclusive to the country music lover- she shares an array of variety and unique quirks that attract all kinds of travelers.
I was SUPER excited to finally cross Nashville off of my ever-growing list of places I want to visit. I had always heard how awesome Tennessee is in general but also how Nashville, in particular, had such a vibrant nightlife, growing foodie scene, and beautiful views. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get some exploring in! Here are 6 of my top favorite and recommended places to see, eat and drink in Nashville during your visit. First things first- COFFEE!
I wanted to check out a good, local coffee shop that wasn’t necessarily a big tourist spot, but was still a local favorite. CREMA became a familiar place I kept seeing suggested as a great coffee spot- so it was almost obvious that’s where we were going to try out.
CREMA is a small yet very hip coffee spot that embodies a trendy and minimalistic atmosphere. I checked out the menu and as per usual, my eyes are drawn to whatever specialty product the establishment is known for. One of the specialties was called a “Coffee Soda” and it was described as basically being iced coffee with orange citrus syrup and seltzer. I found the combination to be pretty odd but was curious and intrigued. I felt like taking the risk and trying out this bizarre beverage for the sake of getting the most out of my trip to Nashville. My name was called, and I retrieved my oh, so mysterious “Coffee Soda”. Let me just say, WOW… I was NOT expecting it to be as good as it was! The combination of coffee, citrus syrup, and seltzer did not taste too bitter nor overly sweet. It was bold yet refreshing and I was very happy that I tried this out-of-the-box local specialty.
2. Nashville Farmers’ Market
Next stop: Farmer’s Market! Farmers’ markets are a great way to check out local vendors and merchants come to showcase their art, produce, food, and other goods, to the public. I had previously read that Nashville’s Farmers’ Market was a good one because of its larger scale capacity and variety. First, we checked out the outdoor area where we saw plenty of art from local artists, clothes, jewelry, plants, and produce. I loved the unique style each vendor brings to these Farmer’s Markets and Nashville’s did not disappoint.
We made our way to the inside area where I was blown away with how many different food options there were and little shops that were wrapped around an open food court area. The shops inside were charming and eclectic, and carried unique handmade gifts that emphasized the charm of Nashville. There was a wine bar where you could sample 13 different local wines and even frose’ (aka wine slushies!), a BBQ tavern, and even some international food options. I would have spent all my money here, but thankfully I mustered up some self-control.
3. Tavern at Midtown
Lunch at the Tavern was actually an accident. I had originally intended on trying out a super popular and touristy spot I had read about, but the line that overflowed and wrapped around the outside of the building was rather intimidating. I knew that place was supposed to be “worth the wait” but ya girl was hungry and needed food ASAP!
Across the street of the overpopulated restaurant, was a very sleek and modern looking restaurant (contrary to the name), that offered free valet parking so I was already a fan. We were sat in an upstairs loft-like area where we could oversee the rest of the restaurant and bar on the lower level below us.
Luckily, it was brunch time so I was pretty stoked to try this place out and see if the food was as good as the aesthetics and atmosphere of the restaurant. I ordered a tasty red sangria that happened to be 2-4-1 so my experience was quickly getting better by the minute. Again, I decided to order something a little different that my usual comfort zone would insist, and hoped for the best. I ordered the “Singapore Stir Fry” that was made up of rice, 2 sunny eggs, bacon, scallions, and sweet & spicy soy sauce.
This wok-inspired breakfast dish was an unusual combination of ingredients to me, but as I learned recently that morning, my adventurous taste buds were proving to be satisfied by the odd relationships so far. My food came out and I was SHOOK when I tried my first bite. SO FLAVORFUL AND DELICIOUS! The combination of bacon and eggs with rice and soy sauce turned out to be bomb.com! Tavern was one of those places that made me say “This would TOTALLY be one of ‘my spots’ if I lived here.”.
4. Five Daughters Bakery
You can’t just NOT try out a local dessert shop when you’re visiting a new place, am I right? As someone with a never-ending sweet tooth, I knew I had to get my fix in and try a local delight. I found that Five Daughter’s Bakery was not only a popular place to get donuts, but pictures showed a cute and quirky little shop so I thought we could give it a try. The shop is located in a charming white and blue house with pink accents that has a patio with painted donuts frolicking along the fence. The wall along the building is painted with the phrase “I <3 Donuts” and is clearly the spot for a great Instagram pic.
There were plenty of options of decadent and fluffy pastries to choose from and even offered vegan and paleo options. We got 6 donuts- one which was a vegan maple donut. The vanilla bean donut was delicious and even the vegan donut was flaky and rich in flavor. The shop was adorable and I also liked the added touch of the neon pink sign that read the name of the bakery. Definitely a great spot to satisfy your sweet cravings, and capture a cute photo for your Instagram!
5. ACME Feed & Seed
ACME Feed & Seed has different levels that offer different experiences and atmospheres. The bottom level looked like it was an area for grabbing drinks and chatting with friends while listening to music. We wanted food, so we were directed to a higher level. We made it upstairs to the lounge that offered both food and drink and we immediately found an area by some couches and chairs. The vibe was very relaxed and an overall chill environment where friends could come grab a quick bite and drink before heading out on the town.
I ordered a drink called “Pomegranate Drop” which was basically tequila and pomegranate juice. Sounded intimidating for a wimpy drinker like me, but I felt up to the challenge. It arrived quickly and it was delicious! Not as strong as I had thought it would taste, yet not super sweet.
For food, I ordered the Spicy Grilled Cheese that had jalapeño gouda, white cheddar and ghost pepper Havarti on sourdough. I LOVE spicy food so I was stoked on trying out a spicy grilled cheese. The sandwich was soooo yummy and was the perfect combo of spicy and comfort food. My sister ordered the Ike & Mike Nachos that was a mountain of tortilla chips and pulled pork with fresh jalapeños, cheese sauce, beans and BBQ. The mix between a classic Mexican favorite like nachos and the southern flare of BBQ was outstanding!
6. Broadway St.
Broadway is the infamous strip that homes dozens of bars and live music, and has been known to be a hot spot to check out artists who showcase their talents nightly in hopes to become Nashville’s next superstar. There are almost no words to describe how insanely busy and lively the nightlife is on Broadway St. We walked up and down both sides of the over-populated street, although we didn’t end up going inside any bars. As we walked by we stopped every now and then to watch and listen to the musicians play, but the lines that wrapped around the buildings didn’t seem worth it to us sober gals. The nightlife on Broadway St. is intense yet full of excitement and endless music. I definitely would come back some time to get the full nightlife experience, but probably with a group of friends next time!
Overall, my trip to Nashville was awesome and I’m glad I can finally say I have been. I believe that in order to get the most out of a trip, you should have an open mind and try new things, like I did! Let your adventurous side out to play and throw yourself into the new surroundings and culture to make for great memories and experience. Never stop exploring and happy travels! ☺
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Want to hear more from Meg?
Check out her Instagram @x3megatron or her Twitter @megatronx3. Meg Ferrin is a college student pursuing a degree in Sales and Marketing. She is obsessed with traveling- she LOVES to explore new surroundings and try new things. When she's not slaving away at school, she likes to read and write, snuggle with her 2 precious pups, and occasionally grab a couple beers with some friends after a long week of crime fighting and being an absolute gift to the world (it’s exhausting at times). Her friends would probably describe her as EXTREMELY humble, and a “bit of a sarcastic asshole”, but also “has a sparkling personality”. Life’s about balance, right? 😅 All photos in this piece were taken by Meg.
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