Back in May, Sam and I made a trip to Nashville, Tennessee! We had such a busy spring with travel and moving that it almost feels like the trip was a really happy dream, but I can assure you it was very much a reality and it’s a city we both absolutely fell in love with! It’s been so fun to look through all these photos and give y’all a travel recap here today!
Nashville is a city with so much to do, see, hear, eat, drink, learn, etc. so this travel guide won’t be able to cover it all or else it would be the length of a small book! Between Sam’s friend who lived there for a few years and Sam’s Aunt and Uncle who lived there as well, we felt like we had a ton of good recommendations going into the trip. I have saved the lists they sent us so as my tour guide will be a brief overview, let me know if you’re planning a trip and I’m happy to pass along those extensive lists to you! So here’s my own (still fairly lengthy) highlight reel of the trip!
Where We Stayed
Sam and I have become big fans of Airbnb! It’s far more affordable than hotels and it feels a bit more private. In the past, we had only stayed in Airbnb’s that were a private home, but this trip we couldn’t find anything that we loved in our price range so we decided to broaden our search for something within a home. I’m so thankful we did! We ended up finding this gorgeous home in a perfect location! We had an entire side of the absolutely stunning beautiful Southern home which was decorated so beautifully and impeccably maintained. The owner of the home, Kay, was one of the sweetest and most hospitable souls we have ever met! We found ourselves having long daily chats out on her big beautiful Southern porch and talking about everything from the South to life. We were so blessed to get to know Kay and stay in her gorgeous home! If you’re headed to Nashville, you MUST stay with her and give her a huge hug for us! She also rents out another room in the house as well as her back house, so you can’t go wrong!
Views from Kay’s gorgeous Southern Porch…
Our Favorite Places We Ate
Oh my goodness, Nashville has some of the best food we have even tasted! I love Southern food in any way, shape, or form… but Nashville not only has the classics but hip twists as well! I could recommend about 50 places to eat and drink, but I’ll just list which spots were the shining stars to us:
Loveless Cafe: A Nashville MUST! It’s out a ways, but 100% worth the drive. This was our first meal in Nashville and it certainly set the tone of our Southern eating adventure! The homemade biscuits and jam are to die for (like, ‘should I stuff these in my purse?’ to die for)and you probably can’t go wrong with a single thing on the menu. The portions are ginormous, but I don’t consider that a bad thing 😉 ‘Burn off’ your meal by walking around the property afterwards! They have darling little gift shops!
Five Daughters Bakery: The most decadent donuts I’ve ever tasted and also the cutest little shop! They also had gluten free options! It’s a must!
Juice Bar: A chain, but they only have 1 location in California and it’s in So Cal! I so wish we had one here! We got a smoothie a few mornings to ‘balance out’ all of our Southern food bingeing and it made us feel like we were at least getting some fruits and veggies in!
Edgehill Cafe: We had a little breakfast and coffee here on a slow Sunday morning! The decor is so lovely and it was fun to see everyone slowly come in after church! I got ‘The Nap’ which features smoked cheddar grits….. heavenly.
Proper Bagel: Bagel heaven! Every combo of spreads you could ever dream of! Cutest decor and super popular. Be prepared to wait, but it’s worth it! It would be great for lunch, too!
Lunch & Dinner:
Hattie B’s Fried Chicken: Be prepared to wait in a long line and also be prepared that when they say ‘hot’, they mean it! I’d say play it safe with choosing ‘mild’ unless you really love things spicy! The sides were amazing, especially the Pimento Mac n’ Cheese and Banana Pudding! Salivating while I type…
Peg Leg Porker: Hello, Southern BBQ! Get the ribs! So. Good.
Mission BBQ: This may be a chain in the South, but it feels like it’s local. It’s right next to The Opry, so it’s the perfect place to dine before you go see a show and you can park in their parking lot and walk on over! Their brisket is amazing and the entire spot is SO incredibly patriotic which Sam and I absolutely loved!
The Grilled Cheeserie: An entire restaurant devoted to grilled cheese. Need I say more?! This place is ridiculously yummy! The combos of grilled cheese are all so unique, the tater tots are perfect, and ‘The Hopscotch’ milkshake is probably the best milkshake I’ve ever consumed. Brb, drooling again…
Bar Taco: officially one on my new happy places. Again, there are a few locations but all either on the East Coast or in the South. The decor is blue and white and coastal. The tacos are out of this world. The margaritas are all unique and hand crafted, and the fried plantains are melt-in-your-mouth yummy. This was our final Nashville dinner and we had the best date! One of my favorites, ever! Take us back!
Five Daughters Bakery
Bar Taco (I wish I had taken pictures of the inside… so cute!)
Favorite Area to Walk Around
Nashville is bursting with charm around every corner, so you won’t have a lack of cute places to explore! But my absolute favorite area to walk around was 12 South. This is where Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s store, aka the cutest store you’ll ever visit/blue & white heaven on earth) is, as well as so many other cute places to shop and eat! We went back here a few times because I loved it so much! Park in the surrounding neighborhood to spot lots of charming homes with darling porches!
Sights around 12 South
Franklin is just 21 miles south of Nashville and one of the most charming little towns I have ever visited! There’s a ton of history, darling shops, charming homes, friendly people… you must make the trip! I found a darling antique store that I loved so much that Sam graciously let us go back to pick up a wooden bowl I couldn’t stop thinking about! #typical #blessmyhusband . I’m so grateful we made the trip out (twice, ha)!
Sights around Franklin
Places to Hear Live Music
Sam and I love country music! It’s nearly all we listen to and Nashville is full to the brim of talent and live country music! So much so that it’s almost overwhelming! Downtown Nashville is bar after bar of live music, but we’re old souls so we don’t love the bar scene as much as most twenty-somethings. For a casual laid back spot to hear some seriously talented singer/songwriters, we absolutely loved The Listening Room. We couldn’t get over how talented everyone who played was! And of course, you can’t go to Nashville and love country music without going to The Opry! Going to the Opry was a life long dream come true for me…. and I totally cried happy tears while there. So much history, so timeless, such a fun experience! We also wanted to go to The Bluebird, but the tickets were sold out (even with me waking up at 5 am to try purchase a week before our trip!). My biggest tip with seeing live music in Nashville? Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of the artist playing or if you’re in a venue that isn’t necessarily “famous”. Everyone is so incredibly talented, it doesn’t matter! And you never know what famous artist could pop into these shows all around the town! Wherever you end up, you’re going to have the best time regardless, I promise!
Neighborhoods to Drool Over & Other Sights to See
The neighborhood in which we stayed was absolutely stunning and had some of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen! The Belle Meade area was incredible as well and I couldn’t easily move into any home there! If you do make the trip to Franklin, take Natchez Trace Road. You’ll be on the most beautiful drive through the country and looking at the most amazing properties you’ll have ever seen! This is where a lot of the stars live! So much is gated, but just driving through is enough to make you drool. Plus, the lush landscape everywhere is so spectacular! Also, there are so many beautiful churches everywhere! That’s not something you see a lot of in California, so I loved being in awe at the traditional architecture and steeples of each church I spotted!
I miss it so much!!!
Our trip was so much fun and one of our favorites that we’ve been on together to date! If you love the South as much as we do, you must go! As I said above, I have even more recommendations than in this post so I’m happy to pass along any more tips I can if you find yourself planning a visit! Just comment below or email me!
Have y’all been to Nashville? If so, any favorite spots we missed and should go to next time we go?! Please let me know!