My sister and brother-in-law are headed to Nashville this weekend and as I was rambling off all the places I think they’d love visiting with their kids, I realized we never got around to sharing our Nashville travel guide to accompany our post on the 404 Hotel from this past fall.
We loved Nashville. We knew we’d have a great time when we kept hearing about the city’s fantastic food scene from close friends or family members with ties to the city, but I think we were both a little surprised by how completely drawn to the city we were. The food, the people, the neighborhoods – we were totally taken with the city. In fact, I blame the streets of precious bungalows for leading us to briefly look at real estate in the city (before we realized that we’d miss Maine and the ocean a little too much).
Sadly, Nashville is not necessarily a city that will call us back in any convenient way – it’s just far enough west from our usual North Carolina road trips that I don’t think we’d be able to tack it onto one of those visits. Any future trip to Nashville for us would require a bit more intention on our part, but I don’t see this being too much of an issue for us. We were so deeply drawn to the city, and we left feeling as though we’d only scratched the surface of all that Nashville has to offer.
A late lunch at Hattie B’s was our first stop once we landed in Nashville. Silly us, as we thought a 3pm lunch would ensure that we’d get a seat at this popular spot in no time. Nope! The wait was more than worth it, and a basket of Nashville’s signature hot chicken with a large sweet tea was the perfect introduction to such a deliciously memorably weekend.
Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, The 404 is known for its amazing onsite restaurant, five impeccably designed minimalist rooms, and its invisible service, a feature we’d not experienced in a hotel yet, but one we truly enjoyed. Read more about our stay at The 404 here.
When people are visiting Portland and they ask for coffee recommendations, we send them to Tandem without any hesitation. It didn’t take long for us to get a similar recommendation for coffee in Nashville – Barista Parlor seemed to be everyone’s go-to. We started two of our mornings at the Golden Sound location, and Michael’s southern biscuit and coffee loving self couldn’t have been more pleased!
The best meal we had in Nashville was at The 404 Kitchen. To be honest, we made the reservation out of convenience, given that we were staying in the same building, but from our first bite of the skillet cornbread with heavenly bourbon sorghum butter to our last bite of dessert, we were absolutely smitten.
As the meals began to pile up, we found ourselves searching for a break from the restaurants and ended up with a beautiful hike around Radnor Lake. This set of trails, just outside of Nashville, offered us an early fall morning away from the city and gave us a brief glimpse into the natural beauty of a part of Tennessee that neither of us had visited before.
We’re always blown away when places from our travels can take something as simple as a taco and redefine it to be one of the tastiest parts of our trip. Mas Tacos is one of those spots. I asked the guy in line next to me what to order, and he thankfully steered me in the right direction of the spicy carne molida tacos. The sweet plantains and horchata only made the meal even more memorable!
We visited a handful of shops in the 12 South neighborhood, but White’s Mercantile stood out to us as our favorite. White’s is a modern-day general store, filled with an assortment of carefully selected items for everything from your closet to your kitchen. While I think both Michael and myself could’ve filled our luggage with items from the shelves, we ultimately settled on a piece from the wall – an original painting by co-owner Chris Coleman that now sits in our living room.
The girls at White’s told us to grab drinks at 5th & Taylor before our dinner reservation in Germantown. Being New England transplants, we loved that we could sip our delicious cocktails at the restaurant’s large outdoor bar in late October.
Eager to cross another place off our lengthy Nashville list, we ended up popping by City House for another round of drinks and snacks before our final meal of the night, and I’m so glad we had a glimpse of it. City House felt like a true neighborhood restaurant in the best of ways – well designed yet casual, delicious yet approachable – where both families and friends come together to share a meal.
On our radars since around the time it was named one of the 2013 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit, Rolf and Daughters was one of the reasons we’d been so eager to visit this culinary town. Our delicious dinner at R.A.D. was made even more special by the interaction with our delightful server, Wyatt, with whom we bonded over our shared love for Portland, Maine and specifically, Central Provisions. Wyatt set the tone for what was to be an exceptional meal, and reminded us how the service at truly outstanding restaurants can be as important a part of the equation as the cuisine itself.
On our radar for our next trip: drinks at The Patterson House, dinner at Catbird Seat, brunch at Pinewood Social, and breakfast at Biscuit Love. What else are we missing? We’d love to hear your Nashville recommendations!
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.