Next stop on our southern road trip was the home of Country Music, Nashville, Tennessee. There were 2 big conferences in town so accommodation options were limited, but we did manage to book a Comfort Inn within walking distance to downtown.
With a lot of time already spent on the road we were pretty tired by the time we arrived in Nashville, so headed out for dinner before getting an early night (I know, crazy, Nashville is well known as a party city!)
I had been recommended by a friend to try Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, somewhat of an institution in Nashville and one of the best places for ‘Nashville Style’ hot chicken. The queue was out the door, which is usually a good sign. It’s a real sit outside, eat with your fingers kind of place but they are usually the best places to get the most authentic food. I’m not usually the biggest fan of spicy chicken but this was actually really good!
We spent the next morning wandering around Downtown and Broadway, which is an interesting sight in the day time. At night it is a buzzing party scene lit up by neon signs but in the day time there isn’t much to see, apart from the leftovers from the previous nights antics. If I had been in the market for some cowboy boots however this would have been the place to get them!
To see a different side of Nashville we picked up the car and drove about 10 minutes to an area called 12South. My main motivation for heading here was that I had read about a really good doughnut shop, the Five Daughters Bakery. Oh… My… It really was the best doughnut I have ever had! Inspired by Dominique Mansel’s ‘Cronut’ it is light and fluffy and filled with a delicious cream filling. I went for a mocha and white chocolate as I love anything coffee, while the husband had a peppermint and pretzel version. I loved it so much we went back the next day for another!
We explored a bit more of the area which turned out to be really cool. There are lots of stylish and quirky shops around here, particularly for interiors which I could browse all day. So we worked a bit of an appetite shopping and filled up at another barbecue place, Edley’s Bar-B-Que.
From here we jumped back in the car to visit another place on my list for Nashville, a poster shop. After visiting quite a few national parks last year I fell in love with the vintage style posters available in all of the shops. They are all done by a company called Anderson Design Group and are inspired by the WPA-commissioned artwork of the early 1900s. The posters are widely available on the internet, but they have one bricks and mortar store which happens to be in Nashville. We spent ages browsing the store and left with a couple of new prints to add to my collection.
As we drove back to downtown we passed another famous, but random, Nashville attraction, the Parthenon. A full scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, it now serves as an art gallery. We didn’t go inside but I stopped to take a couple of photos.
We packed a lot into the day, but still had a couple of hours spare. We were going to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, but as we were short on time we decided on the smaller Johnny Cash Museum. I love all kinds of music, and Johnny Cash is an absolute legend so I found the museum fascinating.
With just one evening left, it was time to check out what Nashville is best known for; the Honky-Tonk’s on Broadway. With live country music every night of the week, the bars on this street are always packed and you can see why it is a popular spot for a girls weekend or a bachelorette party! We headed to Honky Tonk Central followed by Nudies Honky Tonk and had great fun drinking and dancing the night away.
Nashville really was a surprise for me. Often named “Nash-Vegas” I expected it to be really tacky and it wasn’t. Yes, if that is what you’re looking for then head to the Honky Tonk’s on Broadway, but there are so many other nice areas of the city, even for those who don’t love country.
Next stop: Memphis!