There something captivating about Nashville, Tennessee. Known to locals as a “crazy town” of sorts, bustling with history, culture and Southern charm. The type of charm that prompts locals to scream, “bless you” from across the street if you sneeze. Home to many world-weary musicians who play for tips in the famous honky-tonk bars of Broadway and hundreds of recording studios that dot Music Row; Nashville was not named “Music City” for no reason.
For those who are not country music fans, there’s a variety of hip restaurants, shops, eateries and bars just a boot scoot away, despite the fact that the city is well-known for its twangy tunes. With so many different things to do away from the multitude of tourists who frequent the city each year, the following is a list of the top 10 things to do in Nashville even if you live there.
Owned and operated by Kix Brooks from the country music band Brooks and Dunn, Arrington Vineyards is located 25 minutes south of Nashville within the hills of Arrington, Tennessee. The location offers a variety of wines for purchase, wine tastings and different events including Music in the Vines, a live music offering that runs on the weekends from April until November. The property has a patio, deck, barn loft and courtyard complete with seating and picnic tables. Guests can bring picnic food onto the property or order a gourmet picnic from Arrington Vineyards.
Situated in Nashville’s trendiest neighborhood, 12 South, Burger Up is one of those burger joints that is constantly crowded because it is always delicious. Make sure to plan ahead as the restaurant does not take advanced bookings. The chef always utilizes local ingredients to ensure the freshest meal possible. As a bonus, the melt-in-your-mouth beef in every burger comes straight from Franklin’s Triple L Ranch. You cannot get any fresher than that!
Ditch the expensive and mediocre coffee at Starbucks and head to the Edgehill Café. This spot rivals New York City for its cool, antique-chic, laid-back and fit-out vibe. In addition to the excellent and relaxing atmosphere, the coffee is exceptional. During your visit, you will be stopping in this place every morning then going through withdrawal when you get back to your home.
Considered a Nashville institution, Fido is a hip diner-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day long. Their signature breakfast dish is the banana nut pancakes which will leave you smiling throughout the entire day. Across the street is the infamous Pancake Pantry which is there direct competition. Since both serve breakfast all day, why not enjoy each as a different meal?
Considered by many local residents as a “killer local record store,” Grimeys has new and preloved music for sale. The Basement portion of the record store is an intimate venue for jazz, rock, blues and solo acoustic performances by local artists who are trying to make it big.
Imogene & Willie
Featuring unique, handmade jeans other interesting garments, Imogene and Willie is a truly incredible shop and experience. At the back of the store, the designers have a studio where they develop all of the ideas for their handmade clothing and accessories. The store opened as a result of the owners not being able to find a jean that fits perfectly.
Paradise Park Trailer Resort
Although located on Broadway amidst the neon signs of the honky-tonk joints, Paradise Park Trailer Resort is known by locals as PPark. It is one of the cool bars in downtown Nashville. The bar servers delicacies like Spam sandwiches and Moonpies around the clock. The atmosphere is a cross between NASCAR and Sanford and Son. The decor is interesting featuring duct-taped screen doors that feel like you are in a beat-up trailer park.
The Bluebird Cafe
The Bluebird is the place to be if you are a songwriter and the ideal location for listeners. Taylor Swift and the Kings of Leon band went through The Bluebird prior to making it big. This club and restaurant is one of the world’s premiere listening rooms for some of the best unknown songwriters. You are guaranteed to hear brand new and original music at The Bluebird. The listening style has the songwriters sitting in the middle of the room performing together and telling stories about their works. This setup provides a one-of-a-kind personalized experience as to how the writers create their music.
The Family Wash
The Family Wash is a location where the hip restaurant industry meets the cool and retro music industry. This restaurant music venue allows you to listen to live music while eating and drinking interesting takes on food and beverages. The food is breakfast, lunch and dinner during the entire time they are open each day.
The Silly Goose
The Silly Goose boasts down-home Southern cooking with incredible sandwiches and meals that have been made with love. Known as the Sex, for obvious reasons, the dark chocolate mousse dessert, served with a milk chocolate vessel, is the highlight of this restaurant. Do not take a trip to Nashville without giving it a try.
Many see Nashville as a one-horse town that only focuses on country music and honky-tonk joints. 50 years ago, that may have been the reality of the city. However, times they are a changing. While that history is still alive and well, a new Nashville has developed, like in many other cities across the world. There are now many locations that are hip and cool with a laid-back atmosphere outside of the Broadway entertainment district. The locations on this list offer an alternative an off-the-beaten-path viewpoint of Music City.
If you are traveling to Nashville your first time, it is important to still do all of the touristy things that are synonymous with the city. However, try eating at or visiting the unique places on this list during your down time. You will not be disappointed and it will give you the opportunity to see the real side of Nashville and its people.