How To Do A Girls' Weekend In Nashville
When I get in to something, I tend to get ALL IN. So my recent obsession with country music inevitably led me to book a weekend trip to Nashville with two friends to binge on country music. At first, that was really all I thought it would entail- until I started digging deeper into the abyss of all that Nashville has to offer, and, well, the weekend became so much more! Great food, shopping, exploring, and yes- lots of live music, here is a glimpse at our weekend itinerary in the event you ever decide to make a trip to Music City:
We arrived at The Thompson Nashville by 8am (thanks to the one hour time difference from EST, we truly did get a full day). Highly recommend the hotel- the location in The Gulch is perfect- easy to walk around to shops and restaurants, and a 5-10 minute Uber ride to the bars on Broadway or the shops on 12th South. The Marsh House in the lobby has the best breakfast- get the cinnamon roll, and wash it down with the Marine Biologist cocktail that is light and bubbly and delicious. The staff at the hotel couldn’t have been nicer- and the design of the rooms is both very chic and super smart. We stayed in an Executive King Suite which was perfectly sized for the three of us- they brought in a roll-away bed so we all could sleep comfortably, and the oversized bathroom allowed us all to get ready together (while blasting my latest obsession- the new Florida Georgia album “Can’t Say I Ain’t Country”) without feeling cramped. The floor to ceiling windows gave us tons of light and a great view of the line each morning at Biscuit Love, a famous Nashville breakfast spot that, by like 8am, has a line 100 people deep. We attempted to go twice- and even though the second time we walked right in, we turned around and went back to the Thompson- it just felt warm, cozy and relaxed in there, as opposed to the chaotic counter-ordering situation and overflow of little kids at Biscuit Love.
At 10am we ventured out to walk around The Gulch, which is a shiny new mixed-use neighborhood with cute boutiques, sleek mid-rise condo complexes and restaurants. Parish is a beautifully curated fashion boutique- lots of sparkles but also lots of modern edgy pieces, many brands you may have heard of interspersed with lines that were totally new to me. Kittenish and e.Allen also have cute clothing and accessories, I loved the eclectic pieces at Two Old Hippies (also a great spot to pick up gifts, FYI). But the store that all three of us enjoyed most? Lucchese. Considered THE cowboy boot brand to those in the know (i.e. my Texan husband), the selection of women’s boots is incredible, and we each walked out with a pair (or two) of beautiful boots- this is the pair I got, and lived in all weekend.
In lieu of lunch, we took a power nap then hopped in an Uber to explore the bars and bands that line Broadway- which is the famous street where all the live music bars are- one after another, with multiple bands playing inside each at all times- yes, it is packed with tourists, but so what- the music is great and it is efficient- you can’t get more music per square foot anywhere else!).
We went back to the hotel around 6:30 to freshen up before heading to Josephine for dinner- fun and lively ambiance in the 12 South neighborhood. We opted to give up our table and sit at the bar which was a good call- always more fun to sit at the bar, don’t you think?
After breakfast we took a 7 minute Uber to 12 South to walk, peruse the shops and enjoy the amazing weather.- hopping out at Serendipity which appeared to be the start of the “main strip” and ending at White’s Mercantile . The retail highlights? Emerson Grace for a perfectly curated mix of contemporary labels- Loveshackfancy, Kule, Ulla Johnson- denim brands and unique accessories. Next door is HERO which is NOT TO BE MISSED! Trust me. Don’t miss Imogene & Willie either- I am having major FOMO over a t-shirt I didn’t buy there.
We were craving some noise and grit so diverted to ACME Feed and Seed which is at the bottom of Broadway, close to the river- a smart starting point if you are like us and don’t want to miss anything. That afternoon we went to many places and loved them all for different reasons- beautiful roof tops, great bands, fun crowds- you really can’t go wrong. Whisky Row, Kid Rock’s bar, The FGL House, Nudies (we went there a few times, very fun) and of course, the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. At every stop, we hit every floor, and once our drinks were finished, it was on to the next…You gotta keep moving.
Up and out early before anything was open (i.e. 9am), we went back down to Broadway to walk around. It was so quiet- in an eerie but cool way. Sure enough though, at 9:55am we spotted people toting instruments hopping out of cars and heading into bars- and at 10am, music was starting. We listened to a few songs, then headed to brunch at Henrietta Red in the Germantown neighborhood. Germantown is quiet but beautiful- lots of low-rise new condos and charming yet modern and totally perfect homes line the streets. Leave time to get a coffee and admire the design of Barista Parlor- I could stare at the interior all day long.
We did a quick hop over to East Nashville (all of the aforementioned spots were in West Nashville)- we had the Uber drop us at the Fatherland District which has the most adorable retail start up community featuring around 20 local businesses tucked into a few rows of pint-sized shops. It is worth the 15 minute ride just to pop in to Ellie Monster for the re-worked vintage Western shirts- all one-of-a-kind and just incredible.
At 2pm, we ventured to the airport for a 4:40pm flight- and I was home in my pajamas around 9pm. The perfect weekend getaway!
A few insider tidbits based on things we didn’t know until someone told us and/or we saw it for ourselves:
- The musicians in the bars on Broadway don’t get paid by the venues- they work for tips- so bring cash. And have a list of classic songs you want to hear in your head (or on your phone in the Notes app)- most bands are up to play requests (when accompanied by a tip!) but I would always blank in the moment and ask for some current popular song that they weren’t interested in playing and then get flustered and just sheepishly dance away.
2- There are so many made-for-Instagram walls, which may be a thing in cities everywhere now and perhaps I am dating myself by even thinking this is something to call out? However, the thing that we couldn’t get over was the LINE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THE WALLS AND SNAP A PHOTO! Which brings me to the next unexpected discovery…
3- There are girls everywhere. Girls, girls and more girls. 22 year old girls channeling Taylor Swift circa her country years with smooth blond hair twisted into loose waves, wearing rompers, white booties, red lipstick and the requisite felt wide-brim hat. 28 year old girls in custom-made shirts ordered off Etsy saying things like “Nash Bash” or embellished with a glitter-encrusted bachelorette party hashtag across the back. Girls (okay, fine, women…but that sounds SO OLD) clearly from NYC on a weekend jaunt away from their families wearing distressed denim jeans, Golden Goose sneakers, black t-shirts, Iro leather moto jackets, aviator sunglasses and cross-body Chanel quilted mini bags. Girls celebrating milestone birthdays in customized trucker hats. We have never seen so many girls in one city. And they all come together while waiting in line to take individual and group photos in front of each and every Instagram wall.
Have you been to Nashville? Please share your tips and favorite spots (and leave links) in the comments- because I FOR SURE plan on going back. As soon as possible.
Oh- and can you do me a solid and let me know if a recap like this is helpful? Also any thoughts on how I can improve upon travel posts in the future, because I find so much of my destination intel from lifestyle blogs, I want to make sure the ones I put out for you guys are useful and interesting! xxJF