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1 City 5 Ways

Nashville, Hollis Bennett

Photo by Hollis Bennett

Welcome to Music City, perhaps the hottest destination in America right now. Cutting-edge cooking crashes into top-tier hotels and shopping destinations (think Wilder, White’s Mercantile, Peter Nappi)—all paired with a sizzling side of music and Southern hospitality. Throw in history, A-list celebrities and stunning architecture (the Parthenon!) and the combination is combustible. Music lovers will be in seventh heaven and can enjoy everything from iconic studio tours to bluegrass. Foodies will flock to the Goldberg brothers’ eateries, and history buffs will lap up the Civil War battlefields and the area’s period homes. In the words of Carol Channing, “There’s nothing like Nashville for making records."


The 404 Hotel        
A room at the 404 Hotel.        

Where to Stay: The 404 Hotel
This is the ultimate boutique hotel, a stunning, modernist gem with only five rooms that sits in the heart of the hopping Gulch nabe. Enjoy the contemporary photography, custom furnishings and chef Matt Bolus’ menu at The 404 Kitchen. 

Breakfast: Crema
Brilliant coffee and composed coffee drinks. Make sure you try the macaroons from Utterly Nashville. Also, the outdoor seating offers one of the best views in town, so kick back and relax.

Afternoon: 12South
If you’re in the neighborhood on a Tuesday, start with the 12 South Farmers Market. From there you can walk to Imogene + Willie for hand-tailored jeans and to White’s Mercantile, owned by Hank Williams Jr.’s daughter, Holly.

Dinner: 5th & Taylor
THE place to eat right now, this eatery pairs industrial stylings with an American menu in Germantown. Sample chef Daniel Lindley’s beer-can chicken as you look upon the sculpture of Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash.

Late Night: No. 308
Open until 3 a.m., this hipster lounge does cocktails just right. They also make their own colas and pair the house-crafted concoctions with live music and DJs.


The Listening Room Cafe        
Photo of the Listening Room Cafe by Chris Blair.        

Where to Stay: Loews Vanderbilt Hotel
Musical elements set the scene at this chic 340-room hotel. A wall-length mosaic of Hank Williams album covers competes with rooms outfitted with guitar straps on the headboards, nail head-trimmed curtains and concert memorabilia.

Morning: Downtown Nashville
Head downtown early to sip coffee at Frothy Monkey and snag breakfast at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant (Justin Timberlake digs the turnip greens). Then tour historic Ryman Auditorium, the so-called “mother church of country music.”

Lunch: Marché Artisan Foods
Head to East Nashville, the unofficial enclave of struggling musicians and creatives. Hit up Marché for a bite—Jack White is a regular—and get there early to land a coveted window seat.

Afternoon: East Nashville & Midtown
Stroll through East Nashville and scope out boutiques such as Fanny’s House of Music for new and vintage instruments, followed by a coffee at Barista Parlor. Then head to Historic RCA Studio B and other recording houses on Music Row.

Evening: The Listening Room Café
Nashville’s a drinking town, so if you like your libation paired with a live music performance, pull up a seat at The Listening Room and grab a local beer on tap. 


A dish at Merchant's.        

Where to Stay: Union Station Hotel
Housed within the city’s former train station, circa 1900, this hotel pairs dramatic architecture with the intimacy of 125 rooms. Lap up the glamorous, eye-popping lobby before paying a visit to nearby Music Row and The Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

Morning: Historical Tour
Take a Civil War tour through the battlegrounds near charming Franklin, Tennessee, or visit President Andrew Jackson’s stunning and beautifully restored Hermitage estate.

Lunch: Merchant’s
Housed in the circa-1892 Merchant’s Hotel, this old timer was overhauled by local culinary stars the Goldberg brothers (The Catbird Seat, Pinewood Social). Think casual fare on the ground floor (mac ‘n’ cheese, sweet tea pork loin) and more formal upstairs (grilled scallops with summer squash).

Afternoon: Historic RCA Studio B
Visit Historic RCA Studio B to learn about the recording industry in Nashville and how Elvis recorded more than 260 songs here. Then take a drive to Belmont Mansion, a historic 1853 home and museum.

Dinner: The Standard at the Smith House
Housed in the oldest home in Nashville, this elegant eatery is known for dishes such as Gerber Farms chicken with blackberry, grits and squash. 


Biscuit Love        
Biscuit Love.        

Where to Stay: The Hermitage Hotel
Open since 1910, The Hermitage has wowed generations thanks to its gracious Beaux Arts-style architecture. Foodies should head to the Capitol Grille in the basement then grab a nightcap at the iconic Oak Bar.

Breakfast: Biscuit Love
Located in the hip Gulch neighborhood, this one-time food truck gone brick-and-mortar is a must for the Princess, a biscuit with Nashville–style “hot chicken” pickles, mustard and honey. We love the bonuts and the Southern benny, too.

Lunch: Chauhan Ale & Masala House
The new darling of the dining scene in Nashville, this modern Indian gastropub is the brainchild of Chopped judge and chef Maneet Chauhan. Kick off with the Indian “meat and three” thali, and finish with the “kheer gulab jamun” sundae.

Cocktail Hour: Josephine
Located in the 12South nabe, this atmospheric spot mixes neighborhood charm with inspired libations such as the Bee’s Knees and the Chef’s Special (bourbon, Aperol, orange juice and lemon).

Dinner: Rolf & Daughters
Head to this book-well-in-advance eatery in up-and-coming Germantown. While a celebrity sighting is almost guaranteed, you’ll want to focus your attention on the food, particularly chef Philip Krajeck’s rustic pastas.


Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum        
Photo of Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum by John Russell.        

Where to Stay: Gaylord Opryland
The whole crew will love the action tucked under the sprawling glass domes at this equally sprawling resort (2,882 guest rooms!). Boat along the 1/4-mile indoor river among the tropical plantings, enjoy the fountain show or splash about in one of the three pools.

Morning: Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
While you could spend a couple of hours on the sprawling tree house jungle gym, don’t forget to feed the lorikeets, pet a kangaroo and stop into the Critter Encounters exhibit.

Lunch: Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
If you get there before 11 a.m., try the sweet potato pancakes or biscuits. Or opt for all-American favorites such as pulled-pork BBQ or fried chicken. Plus, there’s live music almost every day.

Afternoon: Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Kids can enjoy special activities such as designing an album cover, while instructors at the Taylor Swift Education Center offer guidance to budding musicians.

Dinner: General Jackson Showboat
Spend the evening “rollin’ down the river” on this cruise, which includes dinner, a toe-tapping show and gorgeous views.

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