Are you planning a trip to Nashville, Tennessee? If not, you should be! This place boasts great music, fantastic food, lush mountain scenery, and sweet yoga studios that will make your heart sing! Don’t waste time and energy wondering where to go or what to see. This guide to Nashville will help you generate fond memories that will last months and years to come!
On our recent road trip from Florida to California, we decided to get to Nashville via the backroads of Alabama. What was unexpected, however, was the severe thunderstorm that accompanied us on this route. The torrential rain slowed our pace tremendously, and just as we were about to pull into a campsite for the night, the check engine light illuminated the dash on the van.
The sinking feeling in our hearts was lifted by the fact that Nashville was only a few hours north, and they had a dealership that could work on our Sprinter. Once in Nashville, any hopes we had of getting back on the road quickly were crushed as we discovered the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. Parts could be ordered, but it would take 4 days to receive them.
This downturn of events led to one of the greatest weekend getaways of my life. In fact, the unexpected delay allowed me to explore Music City in a relaxed, organic fashion. This post shares some of the incredible gems and experiences that arose from this stopover.
After my 5 days in Nashville, I officially have a crush on this town. My hope in sharing these local hot spots is that you will come to love this place just as much as I do!!
WHERE TO PRACTICE YOGA
The street art of Nashville comes indoors to the walls of this bright studio. The entrance is colorful and spacious. Each of the two yoga rooms contains uplifting messages to inspire you when on your mat. Also, there are large locker rooms that conveniently allow you to stay fresh if you are squeezing in a yoga class between your other fun activities.
Parking at Yoga Soul is also convenient, as they have multiple spaces in front of the studio and in the abandoned lot to the left of it.
The warm and welcoming vibe of this studio is palpable from the moment you walk in. The place is sparky and fun, like studio owner Raquel Bueno. And Liberation Yoga also has a super cool mural that offers an extra treat for the eyes during practice.
There is a small parking lot outside of the studio, and plenty of street parking nearby. An added bonus is the large city park just across the street (in case you are traveling with a furry friend and want to take a walk with them before or after class). And, BOX bakery is just down the street for a hot tea or latte after practice.
While I didn’t have a chance to practice at all of the studios in town personally on this past trip, but the few below came highly recommended from people I spoke with around town. They include:
WHERE TO DRINK
This place has the best almond milk mocha that I’ve had in my life to date. That’s saying a lot considering I have put 65,000 miles on my van alone in the past 18 months and have stopped at many-a-craft-coffee shop along the way. And it’s not just the drinks that are high quality at Crema! Their service, food, and story are exceptional. Even the view of downtown from their spacious patio leaves you feeling euphoric.
My one suggestion? Get there early. Parking is a bit crazy and the line is known to be out the door. Arriving early, or even getting there on foot or bike, can make the start of this experience far more enjoyable.
BOX – Bongo and Bakery
While the Frothy Monkey gets loads of attention in the 12 South District of Nashville, I highly suggest that you opt for this quieter–yet equally delicious–alternative. In addition to the traditional espresso and tea offerings, BOX boasts unique signature concoctions like the Gray Skies (which actually combines espresso, bergamot, coconut, earl gray tea, and chocolate). Green smoothies and breakfast sandwiches also adorn the unique menu.
My favorite was “The hulk,” a gluten-free zuchhini chocolate muffin to pair with my cortado. It was naturally sweet and perfectly moist! Or, you can’t go wrong with the avocado toast, topped with chimichurri and coriander. YUM!
Photo Credit: Box – Bongo and Bakery
To soak up your nutrients with colorful and healthy drinks, check out the Juice Bar. Two of their signature blends–the Fresh Greens and Orange You Glad options–will make your mouth smile! There are also fantastic smoothie and smoothie bowl options sure to satisfy your thirsty (and hungry) palate. Plus, this growing, locally-started chain now has numerous locations that spread far beyond the Nashville region.
WHERE TO EAT
Butcher and Bee
I first found this delightful eatery while in Charleston for a myofascial release training, and was delighted to discover they also had a hot spot on the east side of Nashville. Butcher and Bee is a true, farm-to-table experience and uses the freshest ingredients to seasonal ingredients to life. They may have started with the goal of serving amazing sandwiches. Now, their menu boasts incredible vegetable tapas and entrees and even an outrageously delicious burger (if you’re into meat).
My top pick: The whipped feta with pita bread! It’s good to the last dip!
Additional tips: They have a sweet mural on the wall to enjoy while dining on the back patio! Perfect for a Sunday morning brunch or warm, evening dinner. And, if you know you’ll be in the area in advance, book a table. Word is getting out about this restaurant and you’ll want to ensure a comfortable seat.
Husk is another dining gem that I missed when in Charleston, but was happy to find in Nashville, too. They have local favorites–like to-die-for shrimp and grits as well as a skillet of fluffy, buttery cornbread. Husk is also known to throw down one of the best burgers around town at lunch. And, you’ll find incredible entrees like slow smoked ribs, fried chicken, or an array of vegetables atop those delicious grits!
Keep in Mind: The Husk bar is known for its bourbon selection. Just ask the bartender for some special bottles that only their restaurant keeps on hand. For those of you who on the virgin train, check out the Honey Basil Cannonborough soda. It’s decadent like a cocktail but will keep all of your mental faculties alert for the rest of the evening.
Just like Butcher and Bee, these seats fill up fast, so make your reservation in advance if you can!
Caviar and Bananas
This casual place has it all–from a wide array of prepared foods to made-to-order salads! You can satisfy your craving for unique cheeses and pair them with any wine from their boutique selection. Or, you can mix a croissant with an afternoon latte.
If you’re into meat, definitely try the Tennessee Trio. Or, for a lighter veggie option, the Zucchini Toastie. You really can’t go wrong at Caviar and Bananas!
Peg Leg Porker
I would be remiss to suggest food options in Nashville without paying homage to the incredible bbq places in this region. Peg Leg porker is one of those. The line might wrap around the entire wall of the building, but it goes fast. You can peak at their mouth-watering porky-licious options while you wait. Then, you can meet some new friends with their family style seating arrangement. (If you want to stop eating long enough to hold a conversation, that is).
WHAT TO DO
Go on a Mural Tour
By now, you know that I absolutely love the local street art in any city and Nashville has some of the best in the country. There are the well-known angel wings in the Gulch district (close to Peg Leg Porker and the Juice Bar). The 12 South district–near BOX and the aforementioned yoga studios–shines with numerous visual treats. Even the East side, close to Butcher and Bee, contains large art pieces that reflect a deep love for Nashville.
Kristen Luna has a detailed article about where you can find these stunning murals. It’s a cost-effective adventure that feels almost like an adult scavenger hunt.
Mural by Skye Walker
The Grand Ole Opry
Step back in time and witness how Americans have been entertained for generations. The Grand Ole Opry produces the longest-running radio broadcast in history and blends traditional and contemporary country music into one family. During my visit, Garth Brooks made a spontaneous appearance to induct a performer as a lifetime honorary member–an achievement highly honored in the community. It was quite the show!
However, if country music really isn’t your thing, I do suggest taking a tour of the Ryman Theater. That sacred auditorium is where bluegrass was born and where Johnny Cash met June Carter. The venue is intimate and charming. It’s magical and breathtaking. Plus it’s right down the street from Crema and Husk. Need I say more?
If you want to take some steps outside of the downtown noise of Nashville, I highly recommend a walk around Radnor Lake. The incline to get to the lake isn’t bad and is both a pet-friendly loop as well as a pet-free trail on which to hike. Greenery will envelop your senses, and the sounds of the birds will be the only music you hear in this part of the city.
Parking is easy and plentiful here. And, if it’s your first time to Radnor, may I suggest a visit to the Walter Criley Visitor Center? It will definitely give you a greater appreciation of the history of this beautiful and culturally rich region.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Nashville is a town that will delight all of your human senses. Long gone are the days where only country-music loving and BBQ-eating fans flocked to the city (although those are still two great reasons to visit). You will find amazing yoga studios, outdoor walking adventures, and friendly people everywhere you turn.
While I have taken you off of the beaten path in Music City, there are so many wonderful ways to spend your time there. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Johnny Cash Museum
- Capital Building
- Centennial Park
- Farmer’s Market
- Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, and
- Live music at any number of venues
This yogi’s guide to Nashville is just a start. It’s a way to help save you time and energy in the planning process, as well as the journey around town. After exploring this incredible city, I think you’ll love Nashville just as much as I do (and maybe even more!)