Contrary to popular belief, Nashville isn’t all honky-tonk and hot chicken. This lively southern city attracts travelers eager to discover all that the city has to offer. Whether you want to soak up some history, enjoy the natural surroundings, or stuff yourself silly with BBQ and high-end cocktails we have three ways to visit Nashville, Tennessee.
The History Buff
Where to Stay:
Cedar Creek Campground on Old Hickory Lake offers up all the charm of lakeside camping along with modern amenities. History buffs are sure to appreciate that the lake is named after Andrew Jackson. Furthermore, those looking to explore the roots of this city will be delighted to discover Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation only a short drive away.
What to Do:
Start with a tour of the Belle Meade Plantation. Not only are the grounds of this 1820’s estate beautiful, but the daily tours offers a fascinating look into the family history that practically put Nashville on the map.
Next, discover the unbelievable story of Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery. This former household whiskey in the pre-Prohibition era was all but forgotten after the doors shut in 1910. When a road trip in 2005 led the great-great-grandsons of Charles Nelson to rediscover their family’s legacy, the past was brought to life. Toady the distillery is up and running and more popular than ever. Take a tour for all the details alongside a taste of their sherry-cask finished bourbon.
Finally, don’t miss The Ryman Auditorium. This bonafide “birthplace of bluegrass” has played host to all the giants making it a must visit for casual and enthusiastic music lovers alike.
The Nature Lover
Where to Stay:
While not technically inside the city, the Seven Points Campground in nearby Mount Juliet is only a quick 20-minute drive from the heart of the city. Located alongside Percy Priest Lake with mature trees providing shade and large sites offering privacy, this campground is the perfect mix of natural beauty and convenient location.
What to Do:
Take a stroll through Cheekwood Gardens. This beautiful estate and botanical garden once belonged to the Cheeks family of Maxwell House Coffee fortune. Modeled after some of Europe’s most pristine residences, the gardens are truly a place to escape into nature. Wander the paths around the Dogwood Garden, find inspiration in the Literary Garden, and marvel at the unique combination of nature and art on the Carroll Woodland Sculpture Trail.
For a dose of nature with some exercise thrown in, Shelby Bottoms Greenway offers the most family-friendly hiking in Nashville. The four miles of paved trails are perfect for leisurely walks or bike rides. And for more adventurous types, the wooded trails offer the best chance to see wildlife.
If you find yourself in downtown Nashville, get a bird’s eye view of the city by walking across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. While you won’t find yourself immersed in tranquil nature, you will enjoy a stunning view of the city. Most Noteworthy is the 15-foot bike path that straddles the center of the bridge so cyclists and foot traffic can enjoy their own pace. The bridge is a local favorite for photography, picnics, and romantic strolls.
Where to Stay:
The only campground located in the heart of the city, the Fairgrounds Nashville puts you in the perfect place to eat your way around the city. A basic paved parking lot offering nothing more than utility hook-ups, this campground won’t be winning any style awards. It will, however, win you over for the location. Besides, with all the eating you plan to do there won’t be time to spend at the campground anyway.
What to Do:
For the food-lover, Nashville is your city! Start the day with your favorite hot beverage or sinful pastry at one of the many coffee houses. Bongo Java is a favorite among the coffee purist crowd, while Steadfast goes above and beyond the typical latte with their matchless coffee soda. This bubbly concoction of espresso infused with fresh orange peel is sure to give you a leg up on the day. For a proper breakfast line up at the Pancake Pantry where the sweet potato pancakes alone are worth the wait.
And for lunch? Did someone say barbecue? Hands down “the” place for BBQ in Nashville is Peg Leg Porker, or—because you have to—the classic hot chicken at Hattie B’s. Not a BBQ fan? Hit up the kimchi spring rolls at Avo, dive into the nachos at Wild Cow, or inhale some Mas Tacos in East Nashville.
In Nashville, dinner is a big deal. Whether you’re hitting up the historic Gulch neighborhood for some sophisticated cuisine at Adele’s, or in Germantown for a regional feast at Rolf & Daughters, one thing is certain — you’re going to need a reservation.
If you’re catching a show downtown, you can’t go wrong with the Etch, an upscale eatery that offers a menu containing a sprawling palette of global flavors. Or maybe Husk, serving Southern cuisine, heirloom produce, and regional specialties housed in a building that dates back to 1895.
Finally, it’s been a long day and you’re ready for a nightcap. Oh boy, do you ever have choices! The Patterson House is a favorite if you enjoy a speakeasy-style cocktail bar serving up unique appetizers (tater tots anyone?). For a mellow atmosphere and hip selection of craft beers check out ML Rose, for sophistication No. 308, and for classic Nashville with a side of honky tonk you can’t go wrong with Tin Roof.