Nashville is known as Music City. And for good reason. The city’s recording studios and honky tonks have made their mark upon music history forever. But there’s much, much more to Nashville than its music scene. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with about 100 people packing up and moving there every single day.
But (of course) not all of these people are musicians. Although there’s plenty to see in Nashville surrounding the music scene — and you should definitely check it all out! — there’s a whole other side of Nashville for visitors looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience. Whether you’re more of a foodie or a fashionista, here are 13 less-visited spots in Nashville to hit up next time you’re in town.
1. The Thompson Hotel: If you’re looking for a hotel with certified cool vibes, The Thompson in the newly certified must-see neighborhood, The Gulch, is the place to book a stay. The hotel is a study in cozy cool, with friendly staff and plenty of homey touches, including a record player in the lobby where anybody can put on their favorite LPs and get the whole hotel dancing. (Because, you know, after the party, it’s the hotel lobby…)
3. L.A. Jackson: It’s a running joke in Nashville that the city’s mascot bird is the crane. But not the actual bird — more like a construction crane. For those looking for ultra cosmopolitan vibes while down in Nashville, check out the rooftop bar and restaurant at the top of the Thompson Hotel for beautifully conjured cocktails and a shot of the city that puts any crane’s eye view to shame. (Although you’ll be able to see all the cranes peeking out of the skyline.)
4. Duke’s: If you love to travel a bit off the beaten path, we highly recommend making a trip out to East Nashville, where the cool kids hang. This divey bar hosts a perfect mix of creative types from around the city. AND to top it all off, there’s a deli counter in the back that churns out some of the best bar sandwiches in the world. Plus, like any good Nashville bar, there is live music.
5. The Back Corner: When you’re more in the mood to go dancing, head to this chic lounge that turns into a dance party as the clock approaches midnight. There’s live music, DJs, and so many yummy bar snacks to fuel your night.
6. Arnold’s: For those looking for no-fuss quality Southern cooking, Arnold’s is the place to be. If you’re looking for a classic, dive into the “meat and three.” It’s been a Nashville staple for over 30 years, and after you’ve loaded your bounty onto one of the red serving trays, you’ll know exactly why.
7. Biscuit Love: This restaurant is regularly cited as the most Instagrammed place in Nashville, and after one meal in the joint, it’s easy to see why. But a word of warning: If you go, you’re going to have to brave an hours-long line. You’ve got a few options: Either go super early in the morning right when they open, late in the afternoon before they close, or come armed with refreshments. We recommend waiting in line with a friend and picking up something at Killebrew, the coffee shop right across the street, once you’ve made it about halfway through the line.
8. Henrietta Red: On the opposite end of the spectrum, step outside of Nashville for a seafood dinner. The newly opened restaurant features a must-try oyster bar and a beautiful selection of cocktails. However — because no Southern menu is truly complete without it — the restaurant also features a mouthwatering cooked chicken.
9. Imogene + Willie: We are absolute suckers for classic Americana. This Nashville brand pays homage to one true American classic, denim. Go peep a look at the cool space (inside a former gas station), and get ready to find your perfect pair of jeans that you’ll (no doubt) want to pass onto your kids.
10. Hero: High fashion in Nashville can be found here. The boutique has a cozy feel, but beneath its ceiling are some of the hottest and most chic brands on the circuit today. The shop specializes in a sort of ’70s southern bohemian glam, perfect for bulking up your wardrobe with multi-purpose, comfy, and luxurious pieces.
11. Savant: If you’re looking to take a piece of Southern history back home with you, make a point to stop by this expertly curated vintage shop in 12 South. There’s an incredible selection of blankets, denim, jackets, cowboy shirts, hats, and other perfectly selected Southern pieces available on the shelves.
12. The Frist: Not surprisingly, Nashville has also got a pretty cool up-and-coming art scene. We love the city’s art museum, housed in this beautiful Art Deco former post office. The museum specializes in special exhibits, so there’s a constantly changing program of art coming through the city.
13. The Nashville Parthenon: Although Nashville’s Parthenon was built in 1897, it feels like you can step back centuries earlier than that. The structure is part of the city’s Centennial Park and was created to be a near-replica of the parthenon in Athens, Greece. Be sure to check inside for a collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th century before spending the afternoon lounging on the lawn.
Are you planning a trip to Nashville? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Biscuit Love)