Cristen Vaughn, The Belle Wall Blog

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The Belle Wall is a lifestyle blog about reclaiming new life in the Old South.  Learn more here.

3 Day Nashville Guide

3 Day Nashville Guide

One of my favorite cities to visit is Nashville, TN. 

My company, Vaco, has its headquarters in this city, so I’m there at least once a year for work.  A lot of people think cowboy hats, boots, and country music when they hear “Nashville”, and although it is those things, it’s so much more.  Nashville has an eclectic music scene in general, from blues, rock, jazz, hip-hop, indie, punk, etc.  I also love that Nashville radiates with an indie / hipster vibe as well.  The fashion scene is fierce with one-of-a-kind leather jackets, tight reclaimed denim jeans, and t-shirts with hand stamped logos using the original pressed stamps from decades ago.  Everything seems to have a story, and Nashville comes alive with all of those stories. 

As someone who LOVES coffee (as in…orders my coffee from a company in Philadelphia who hand sources their beans from all over the world and truly appreciates the flavor profile of the bean. JUST BLACK, NO CREAM, ALL BEAN…hello, bougie, I know), Nashville thrives in the coffee scene.  There are hundreds of coffee shops whose ambiances are often even too cool for the hipster crowd.  They become a veritable fashion / music show where every item that every person is wearing comes equipped with an incredible story about how they “got it handmade from a vintage burlap sack from the original farm supply shop from the 1950s, never to be made again”.  The food scene is also fantastic – from old school traditional Southern meals to farm to table cuisine to high-end dining with music industry celebrities.  LOVE IT.  It’s Southern.  It’s modern.  It’s everything in between.  And that, to me, is Nashville.

Nashville is great for a weekend getaway for two or a party weekend with your besties.  You can see a lot in a 3-day Nashville adventure, and I have included a list of the best.  I’m typically more into the local scene and only a few touristy places, but I have included a nice mix of both in this guide.  

Any Nashville spots you love as well?  Let me know!


Nashville in 3 Days | Travel Itinerary

Day 1:

Arrive / Hotel Check-in

If arriving early, see if the hotel will let you do an early check-in.  If not, most places will at least let you drop your bags off early so that you can explore the city until your room is ready.  I like to arrive earlier in the morning so I can enjoy more time in the city and not waste a day traveling – lucky for me it’s only a 1-hour flight from Raleigh, NC.

  • Hermitage Hotel – FAVORITE hotel!  Soaking tubs, heavy curtains, overlooking the Tennessee State Capital, Nespresso coffee makers, marble floors.  I just DIE when I check in here.  I could write an entire blog post about this ONE hotel.  It’s a splurge but worth every penny!
  • Hutton Hotel – Beautiful boutique hotel with some of the most SUPERB customer service I've received from my travels. 
  • Omni Hotel – Newer hotel downtown; attached to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Hatch Show Print is also a resident here.
  • Union Station Hotel – Housed in an old train station – very cool!
  • Gaylord Opryland – It’s worth staying here for the experience at least once…it’s like Disneyworld, New Orleans, and a jungle with waterfalls under one roof.
  • Airbnb – There are a TON of Airbnb properties in Nashville, and I highly recommend just renting a place for a few days if you don’t feel like going the traditional hotel route.
     

Blowout / Hair

Sometimes I will get my hair done before a vacation, and other times, depending on the offerings in the city, I love to wait until I get there.  I like mixing it up with the talents of different stylists!  It’s kind of like my version of a souvenir to walk around with on my trip.  When I arrive in Nashville, I head straight to the salon to get a blowout.  Usually, a good blowout will last me the duration of the trip…sooo worth it!  I hate washing / styling my hair while on vacation.  Here are some links to my favorite hair salons / blowout bars in Nashville.


Lunch

For lunch I like to head over to Burger Up in the 12 South area.  It’s much more than your typical burger joint touting a farm to table menu with sustainably sourced ingredients.  Delicious!
 

Shopping / Coffee

After lunch, I will usually spend the afternoon in the 12 South area.  There’s a little strip of cool coffee shops / boutiques I’ll peruse by foot after lunch.  Reese Witherspoon has her flagship clothing store, Draper James, there along with a few one-of-a-kind, locally owned boutiques.


Cocktail Hour

After my day of shopping and pampering, I like to unpack and unwind in my hotel room and get ready for a night out.  And no night out is complete without an old school cocktail hour before dinner.

  • Oak Bar at Capital Grille – inside the Hermitage Hotel; get the Jack Mule (it’s like a Moscow Mule but with Jack Daniels in true Tennessee style).  They even sell the copper mugs with the signature “HH” logo in the Hermitage Hotel gift shop.
     

Dinner

There are MANY great choices for dinner in Nashville, but one of my favorites is Husk with James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef, Sean Brock.  Husk has a sister restaurant in Charleston, SC as well, and I have been to both.  Each one has its own Southern city flare.  Husk Nashville is located in a historic home near the downtown district.


Nightlife

No trip is complete without experiencing some of the touristy bits of Nashville’s nightlife.  Downtown, historic Broadway (the main thoroughfare of downtown Nashville) comes alive at night with the sounds of some of the best live music you will ever hear.  People watching at all of the honkey tonks is one of my favorite things to do.  I know some Nashville locals might think it’s played out to hit the Broadway bars, but sometimes I just like a good, old fashioned, tacky, touristy night out. 

  • Tootsie’s – One of the most famous bars in Nashville.
  • The Stage  (Insider tip: walk around to the back alley, and there is a separate entrance for The Stage and Tootsie’s in case there is a long line at the main entrance)
  • Benchmark – Local honkey tonk with singing comedians
  • Paradise Park – After a night out, I definitely need a trip to the local greasy spoon, Paradise Park, for some late night tater tots and burgers…you will thank yourself in the A.M.
     

Day 2:

Brunch

I sleep in and really enjoy my vacation.  There’s no need to get up at the crack of dawn unless you really want to see a lot.  I prefer hitting a few sites and leaving some reasons to re-visit the city at a later time.  That way, I don’t feel rushed and won’t need a vacation from my vacation when I get home, you know?  Plus, I need my beauty sleep so I don’t wake up with “I was dancing on the bar at Tootsie’s until 2 A.M. face”.  Brunch on a Saturday is a MUST.  Everyone needs a little “hair of the dog” (Southern saying for a morning drink…a Bloody Mary will do the trick) after a night out in Nashville.

  • Biscuit Love
  • Josephine
  • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – DELICIOUS fried hot chicken.  (Insider tip: visit the location in West Nashville to avoid the longer lines downtown)
  • Loveless Café – Famous spot with hot biscuits and country ham…a bit of a drive from the main action, but worth visiting if you’ve never been.
     

Tourist / Sites

Some of my favorite Nashville memories include events at these sites.  My company rented out the entire Belle Meade Plantation for one of our corporate functions years ago – there were cocktails served in mason jars, a chic buffet with Southern fare, 2 live music performances, outdoor lights in the gardens, and even private tours of the house…top night…with all of the things I love!

Cocktail Hour

I typically do one “touristy” night out and one “classy” night out when in Nashville.  To make sure I’m not exhausted on my trip home, I like to spend my last night in a more chill setting.  I really enjoy hand crafted cocktails, and Nashville doesn’t disappoint with their selection of fine drinks.


Dinner

I love the white subway tiled walls / reclaimed wood table vibe of Butchertown Hall.  This is one of Nashville’s newer restaurants that offers sustainable cuisine cooked over a primitive wood-fire.  They also have a beer garden showcasing local brews.


Music Scene

There’s nothing like the live music scene in Nashville!  The Bluebird Café is famous and has 2 shows per night.  Definitely worth the experience.
 

Day 3:

Hotel Check-out

I try to pack the night before so I’m not rushed trying to get out the door on departure day.  While that doesn’t always happen, these packing cubes have been a HUGE help to keep my suitcase organized while on a trip.
 

Coffee

After checking out of my hotel, I MUST grab coffee at one more local coffee shop before leaving Nashville.  There are just so many good ones…it’s hard to choose.

Brunch

I know it’s a little touristy of me, but I really love Pancake Pantry.  I mean, who wouldn’t love the option of ordering either sweet or savory pancakes?!  They are AMAZING.  It’s a little diner-ish with typically a long line of customers.  Worth the wait.  However, if I get to Pancake Pantry and am pressed for time, I will hit fido right down the road – they serve Bongo Java coffee and have delicious huevos rancheros.  Also, if I have time, I will walk down 21st Ave. in the Hillsboro West End district of Nashville and hit a few of the boutiques.
 

Depart

That’s it.  Nashville in 3 days / 2 nights.  I grab an Uber back to the airport, get a chair massage at one of the vendors in the airport, and listen to the local musician at the Tootsie’s airport location before my flight departs (I might also have a double Booker’s on the rocks before leaving, but hey, I’m still technically on vacation, right?).


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[Simple] Japanese Dinner Party

[Simple] Japanese Dinner Party