A few months ago, my younger sister made the very wise decision to move to Nashville. Wise because it’s a city sparkling with potential and wonderful career opportunities, yes, but also because it’s just a one-hour and generally cheap plane ride away from me and John! (And if we feel like staying on the ground, Asheville is only a four-hour drive away for each of us!)
Needless to say, we are looking forward to many Nashville adventures in our future! We kicked things off with an inaugural visit in September, and though the weather was generally dismal and rainy, we made the most of it and checked off several restaurants and shops from the list I’ve been growing for a few years. It was just a start, for sure, but I thought I’d share for those who might be planning a trip, as well! You’ll see we stuck fairly close to the East Nashville neighborhood, since that’s where Kim lives, and for the most part avoided downtown (too much neon).
— Barista Parlor: We stopped by this open air, converted transmission shop for breakfast on our first day. There are two locations — we went to the East Nashville one. The atmosphere rated high on the Hipster Meter :) We split two donuts and a biscuit sandwich, and the coffee drinkers had fancy coffee.
— Marche Artisan Foods: Marche, also in East Nashville, was breakfast on day two. It’s a European-style cafe, with crepes, croissant French toast, and a croque madame on the menu (I had an egg salad sandwich). We waited for at least a half hour for a table on Saturday morning, FYI!
— The Frothy Monkey: The Frothy Monkey was breakfast on day three. They have several locations throughout Nashville; we chose the Franklin one. This is another popular spot, and we probably waited about 20 minutes for our food (you order through the line). We tried an omelette, the granola parfait, and buckwheat waffles.
— I Dream of Weenie: We split three chargrilled dogs at this alfresco East Nashville Volkswagon bus for lunch on day two. There’s no indoor seating, but there are picnic tables as well as picnic blankets ready for you to pull up a grassy seat! Their daily specials are super creative and delicious: we tried the Rebel Yelp (jalapeños, mustard, red onions, and Tennessee chowchow), the Guaco Taco (taco filling, shredded cheddar, sour cream, guacamole, and crushed Fritos), and the Chili Cheese (spicy chili, cheese, mustard, and onions).
— Pharmacy Burger Parlor: The wait was loooooong at Pharmacy when we showed up on a Friday night, but that was likely due at least in part to the fact that it was raining, so the outdoor half of their seating was out of commission. Kim and I loved our burgers, and John loved his bratwurst (and our selections are pretty representative of the menu: burgers and German meats!). We all loved the fries. In addition to beer, they also have lots of neat old-fashioned soda options, like phosphates, rickeys, and egg creams. Almost everything, from the sausage to the condiments, is made in-house.
— Five Points Pizza: Clearly, we did not go to Nashville to sample the health food! This pizza, though, was completely worth any negative health effects. It tasted like the best pizza you can get in New York. And do not skip the garlic knots! I know they are kind of a throwaway at some restaurants, but they were DELICIOUS at Five Points!
— Jeni’s: We went to Jeni’s twice :) Those lucky Nashvillians — they have three locations to choose from!! I had my favorite combo (wildberry lavender + darkest chocolate) one night and split an ice cream sandwich with Kim the other.
— Las Paletas: Paletas are delicious frozen treats similar to an ice pop. We tried both cream and fruit based ones, including chocolate-dipped strawberry, blueberry dark chocolate, and lime.
Other things to do and places to go:
— 12 South neighborhood: This neighborhood is definitely my favorite in Nashville! We walked the adorable streets to peep at the houses and ducked into White’s Mercantile, my favorite shop we visited. The famous Imogene + Willie is also on the main drag if you want to stop in!
— Welcome Home: This little shop right around the corner from the East Nashville Jeni’s was a close runner-up to White’s! I purchased more than one Christmas present here.
— Walk the pedestrian bridge. If you have kids, there’s also a really neat park (Cumberland Park) right under the bridge with a climbing wall and playground.
— Downtown Franklin: Downtown Franklin, about half an hour outside of Nashville, is the quintessential American main street, with adorable independent shops and the best national brands, like Anthropologie. I wouldn’t recommend going on Sunday morning, like we did, or even Sunday at all, as many shops are open only in the afternoon (if they’re open at all).
— Narrows of the Harpeth: Harpeth River State Park has many trails, but we chose the Narrows, a quick out and back with a fun waterfall tunnel and a cliff overlooking a beautiful valley. Fun and easy!
— Church of the City: John and I started listening to Darren Whitehead’s sermons when he was a pastor at Willow Creek, and have loved following the progress of the church he planted in Nashville. It was a dream to hear him speak in person at CotC’s Franklin campus instead of via podcast!
Things on our to do (or to eat) list for next time: Mas Tacos Por Favor, Husk, Martin’s BBQ Joint, Rose Pepper Cantina, Lockeland Table, somewhere for hot chicken, and Scarlett Scales for vintage shopping! I would also LOVE to stay in this Airbnb!
And that’s about it for our first Nashville weekend! If you’ve been before, I’d LOVE to hear what tops your list – restaurants, shops, or activities!