Now that we’re living in Cincinnati, there are so many great cities that we can easily visit for a quick getaway. Seriously, I decided where we were going less than 24hs from when we were leaving!! For our first mini-vacay of the summer, we decided to hop down to Nashville for a few days! We were looking to go somewhere to just relax and eat great food – and what southern city better fits the bill than Nashville?? You know you’re back in the South when everybody is stopped at 4-way stop for forever and there’s at least one person waving you ahead. If you’re looking for what museums and country music bars to hit, you’re in the wrong place – but if you’re chilling out and want to eat, drink, and shop (mostly off the beaten path) then this Nashville getaway guide is for you!
Tacos + Margs are vacation essentials. It’s one of the universal truths I hold near and dear to my heart. Mas Tacos Por Favor is an authentic little shack that we luckily stayed about 4 minutes away from. It should be a law that margaritas come with a Tajin salt rim, but since it’s not, I’m relieved to tell you Mas Tacos is doing it right. After a few hours of driving, this was the perfect first stop. The margaritas were tasty, they have Topo, and all our food came out quick/ hot/delicious. Cue the elote craving now.
Soul food so nice, we went twice. Husk Nashville is possibly the most famous place included on this list. While Sean Brock has moved on to work on a new venture in East Nashville (v excited), Husk still demands at least one stop. I think everything has already been said about their redefinition of southern dishes, but their quality is just tops.
After devouring the johnnycakes and our fish dinners, we decided to return for lunch a couple days later to polish off their pimento cheese, catfish, burger, and fried chicken. Somehow I even got talked into having a few bites of the cornmeal cake dessert which was a dream. If that’s not enough, their house cocktails are creative and exciting – clearly crafted with the same level of freshness and attention to detail as the food. Do yourself a favor and grab the crispy fried chicken skins and the deviled eggs (if they happen to be on the nightly menu). It is now a goal of mine to make it to their Sunday brunch asap.
Not Your Basic Noods. One thing we’re a little short on at home is some good ramen. I need spicy noodles in my life, so I pretty much always check out the options in other cities. Otaku Ramen seemed like a local favorite so we checked out their spot in the Gulch. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was – that I could not finish my whole bowl. I opted for their spicy miso option with szechuan pork which had exactly the right flavor. Happiness is in a bowl here folks.
HOT CHICKEN. She needs no introduction here in Nashville. A whole lot of places do it, but Bolton’s does it right. Sure, you can stand in line at Hattie B’s with everyone else, or skip it and eat better at Bolton’s. I pretty much try to stop here any time I even think about passing through Nashville because I can’t get enough. After being featured on Bourdain’s Parts Unknown several years ago I stopped in on a work trip. I had to sit with that chicken for awhile and eat a lot of white bread – and it was everything I ever hoped for. Just don’t sleep on the mac and cheese y’all.
If you don’t gain weight on vacation, are you really doing it right? It’s a bold statement, but the best donuts ever are at Five Daughters Bakery. I’ve been telling Max about these donuts for YEARS so I was so happy he finally got see what I was going on about! Y’all know we found some killer donuts on our road trip in Seattle and Portland, but these are very different. Their croissant-style 100 layer donuts are all of the sweet flake-y dreams you never knew you had. The Purist and seasonal Strawberry Shortcake were my personal favorite weaknesses this time! Their 12 South location is a pink instagram dream.
With all this food, we’re going to need something to wash it down with, right?
Look, y’all already know we look for good breweries EVERYWHERE, and Nashville is no exception. Nashville doesn’t exactly have the best reputation for craft beer, but there’s a couple that stand out. My personal favorite is easily Bearded Iris. We also checked out Southern Grist for the first time! Their East Nashville taproom was right by our Airbnb and proved to be a perfect rainy afternoon spot.
As far as bars go, our favorites on the East Side go to Rosemary Bar and Urban Cowboy. Rosemary is a hidden gem – literally, there’s no signage. It’s located inside an older home and they’ve built out the most amazing patio with a food truck too. We hung out in the library room where all of the drink menus are bound into old books. Urban Cowboy also has a very chill vibe with a solid patio. If you’re feeling extra boujee Urban Cowboy is also a hotel and has the most stunning suites!
Don’t Work Too Hard.
On the off chance you need a break between meals here are a few spots for some fun –
Pinewood Social – Bowling anyone? Insta-worthy lanes, solid fries and drinks, plus a great city view!
Grimey’s Record Shop – Anyone else who can spend a whole day in a good record shop??
Woodland Wine Merchant – Wine is always a good idea!
Vintage Hunting – There are so many spots here, but I think The Hip Zipper is my favorite!
Live Like a Local.
“I know it’s a little soon, but I’m ready to make an offer” – My boyfriend about 0.2 seconds after arriving at our Airbnb in East Nashville. This might be a little extreme, but who doesn’t want the place they’re staying to feel like home?? Being comfortable in your own space always makes any trip so much better. We pretty much stick to Airbnb on our travels and for the most part it’s worked out pretty great! Here’s where we stayed in Nashville and a few of my other favorite listings.
East Side Favorite – Our stay!
The Cozy Cleveland Park Guest House
Modern & Crisp East Side Loft
The CUTEST South Nashville Tiny House!
Also – don’t be afraid to message hosts! I was able to save some coin on our stay after letting the host know we weren’t really going to be using the kitchen or the upstairs of the house. This allowed us to be able to not have to sacrifice on the location we wanted!
What are your favorite things to do (and eat!) in Nashville? I’m sure I’ll be back for more soon!