The Essential Guide to Nashville
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Over the past decade, Nashville has transformed from a city of neon signs and honky-tonks to one known for its thriving food scene, top-notch museums, and excellent shopping. Music still takes top billing—and seeing a live show, whether at the Opry or a listening room like the Station Inn, is practically obligatory—but you’ll also want to make time for exploring Music City’s historic sites, outdoor spaces, coffee shops, and more.
4580 Rachels Ln, Hermitage, TN 37076, USA
President Andrew Jackson owned this historic plantation, called the Hermitage, from 1804 until his death in 1845. Located about 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, the 1,100-acre site includes a mansion that has been meticulously restored with...
5025 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205, USA
At this old plantation, you can tour a Greek Revival mansion commissioned in 1845, plus see additional historic buildings like a dairy, horse stable, carriage house, and log cabin. The mansion also has a winery on-site and hosts daily...
2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA
The radio show that made country music famous, the Grand Ole Opry aired its first broadcast in 1925 and continues to entertain music lovers to this day. Held weekly, the show involves a fast-moving, rotating cast of musicians performing onstage,...
224 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Inside a downtown complex that also houses the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the shiny, 23-story Omni Hotel sits Hatch Show Print, Nashville’s famous letterpress company. Established in 1879, the print shop created show...
401 Gay St, Nashville, TN 37219, USA
This downtown Nashville museum inside the Municipal Auditorium honors the talented musicians who have played on the greatest recordings of all time—some of them less well known than others, but certainly deserving of the recognition....
116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219, USA
After the Grand Ole Opry left the Ryman Auditorium, country legend Roy Acuff said the redbrick building with its Gothic arches and stained glass windows might as well be torn down. The Ryman had been home to performances and...
402 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
At first pass, you might think the Station Inn is nothing special, a little dumpy even—an old cinder-block box in the heart of the shiny new condos and restaurants in The Gulch. Inside, it’s dark, with a dropped ceiling and a mishmash...
215 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219, USA
Located in a historic 6,000-square-foot building downtown, the Arts Company is a fixture of Nashville’s 5th Avenue of the Arts. The popular gallery focuses on contemporary work, with everything from paintings and sculptures to photography on...
605 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
This American classic is the go-to meat-and-three restaurant in Nashville—that iconic staple of Southern cooking that consists of, well, a meat and three sides. All walks of life frequent this institution (the Dixie Chicks have been known to...
1222 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
Locals love the Sunday Supper at City House, when chef-owner Tandy Wilson serves his highly creative Italian-influenced menu, but you really can’t go wrong any night here. Wilson, a 2016 James Beard Award winner, is a Nashville native...
112 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Opened in 2012, Hattie B’s is the new kid on the block for hot chicken, Nashville’s most iconic dish. Still, what the restaurant lacks in history it makes up in flavor, proven by the long queues that don’t seem to diminish until...
1200 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
Chef Julia Sullivan grew up in Music City before moving away to study at the Culinary Institute of America and work at restaurants like New York’s Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. When she returned home, she opened Henrietta Red...
37 Rutledge St, Nashville, TN 37210, USA
With his high-concept McCrady’s and his more rustic Husk—both in Charleston—chef Sean Brock transformed perceptions of Southern cooking from heavy, simple fare to a culinary tradition that is rich, complex, and filled with...
1520 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206, USA
This comfortable neighborhood restaurant stays busy with regulars and newcomers alike, drawn by chef Hal Holden-Bache’s food and the welcoming vibe co-owner Cara Graham and staff foster at the front of the house. Arrive early for Community...
732 Mcferrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206, USA
Mas Tacos owner Teresa Mason helped kick off the modern food truck craze in Nashville from a 1970s Winnebago. Today, she runs her business out of a brick-and-mortar shop in Greenwood, but you can still occasionally find the truck on the road and...
700 Taylor St, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
Rolf and Daughters opened in 2012 in the midst of a restaurant boom, but even with all the new options in Nashville, it has remained one of the hottest tables in town. Located in the 100-year-old Werthan factory building in Germantown, the...
1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
It’s one of the hardest reservations to score in the country, but not just because of its diminutive size (22 seats in all) or limited days of operation (Wednesday to Saturday; dinner only). For one, the Catbird Seat feels both intimate and...
519 Gallatin Ave B, Nashville, TN 37206, USA
Barista Parlor introduced artisanal coffee to Nashville when it opened its lofty, art-filled space in a former auto repair garage in 2012, serving top-notch small-batch roasters from around the country such as Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, and...
33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN 37210, USA
The Goldberg brothers gave Nashville acclaimed restaurants and bars such as the Catbird Seat and Patterson House, plus a kitschy honky-tonk on Lower Broad. In 2013, they did it again with Pinewood Social, a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, karaoke...
2225 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204, USA
A guy called Santa because of his long, white beard owns this trailer painted in Christmas motif in an up-and-coming area just south of downtown. There’s karaoke every night and cheap beer for cash only. A house band plays every Sunday from...
416 Broadway B, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Storied honky-tonk joints—and tourists—crowd lower Broadway, but even locals are drawn to the classic country feel of Robert’s Western World. Two-step around the tiny dance floor to covers of songs by such favorites as Hank...
1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
A host will show you to your seat behind the thick velvet curtain at this gorgeous bar with expertly crafted cocktails. You’ll smell the house-made bitters and hear the clink of several kinds of ice created to best suit the cocktails as a...
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