48 Hours In Nashville: Where To Stay, Eat & Play in Music City

The hum of honky tonk, bluegrass and rock n’ roll is alive and well in Music City- but this iconic epicenter offers visitors and locals alike more than its humble roots in music and authentic hot chicken.

In the last few years, Nashville has rolled the dice in welcoming boutique hotels, upscale shopping, and James Beard awarded restaurants to their authentic roster of music, history and culture. The result is an even more electric city teeming with diverse cuisine, shopping and stays that are woven into the original threads of what has always made Nashville a coveted destination. From the mural lined streets, to the cowboy slinging hats and honky tonk venues, to chef-driven dining, breweries and sacred underground whiskey bars- Nashville’s allure is ever present and always authentic.

Explore The Gulch

What was once abandoned city blocks and warehouses, has grown into Nashville’s most upscale and sought after neighborhood. Nestled between Music Row and Broadway lies the Gulch, home to the Frist Art Museum, renowned bluegrass music venues and clubs, breweries and well appointed hotels, boutique shopping and cutting edge restaurants.

“It seems like everywhere you walk, there’s great music coming out of every wall.” 

Imelda May

As the first LEED Certified neighborhood in the South, The Gulch maximizes the walkability and transportation options in a sustainable and pedestrian-friendly way. This exceedingly walkable neighborhood also offers a free bus that will take you to many attractions within the Gulch and throughout Nashville. The Gulch’s BCycle bike rental program is another fun way to tour the city. 

Where to Stay | The Thompson Hotel

Luxury Art deco meets country soul with a modern twist at the Thompson Hotel. Bedecked with southern hospitality, luxurious accommodations, an on-site restaurant + coffee bar as well as a chic rooftop bar, the Thompson exudes a sophisticated experience for its guests looking to explore all of Nashville’s finest offerings.

Located in the upscale Gulch neighborhood, minutes to live music, The Frist, countless swoon-worthy murals,  boutique shopping and endless dining options- The Thompson truly has an exceptional spot within the beating heart of Music City. 

After a day out on the town, guests can choose to hit the on-site fitness facilities or unwind in their suites with floor to ceiling windows, mid-century inspired furnishings, a fully stocked mini bar, rainfall shower and luxurious bedding. For a cocktail, head up to L.A Jackson, The Thompson’s rooftop bar with panoramic views of Nashville and then head down to Marsh House, for a southern-infused appetizer before hitting the Nashville nightlife.

Where to Eat in the Gulch

You don’t have to venture far to seek Nashville’s most tasty and trendy restaurants. Diverse flavors and cuisine are located right in the heart of the Gulch neighborhood: sushi, classic barbecue, high end steakhouses, quaint coffee shops, farm to table, Cajan and southeast Asian flavors line the short city blocks.

Farm to Fork at Adele’s

Hands down, our favorite spot in Nashville for handcrafted cocktails, exceptional farm-to-fork cuisine and southern hospitality through and through. Located in a repurposed 1930’s car garage, Adele’s is thoughtfully decorated weaving the raw and industrial with chic modern décor and serving up the freshest flavors from Nashville’s local farms. Along with seasonal alfresco dining and an intimate private dining space, the familiar scents and flavors of comfort dishes like roasted chicken with salsa verde, gnocchi, and kale salad with anchovy dressing flow through the space from the open kitchen. If available, we recommend the Chef’s table for the ultimate dining experience.

Brunch at Marsh House

Gather your crew for bloodies and a seafood tower that’s sure to please at Marsh House! This weekend brunch spot is located at The Thompson and boasts a southern inspired menu with responsibly-sourced and sustainable seafood, seasonal craft cocktails and an extensive wine list. Make reservations for Sunday brunch in the dining room. The lounge and patio are first come, first served seating.

Casual Grab-and-Go at Milk & Honey

Known for it’s breakfast, lunch and a whole host of tasty treats, Milk & Honey is a great spot to satiate your sweet tooth or grab a bite during a day out on the town. Offering a to-go or sit down dining experience, Milk and Honey was our first stop for a fresh pressed juice, specialty coffee and a beloved Lavender Honey Latte. From their healthy salads and sandwiches, shareables, wood-fired pizza, gelatos and famous biscuits and gravy, Milk & Honey is the perfect stop in for a Nashville bite.

Some other great recommendations in and around the Gulch include: Biscuit Love, The Mockingbird, 404 Kitchen, Husk, Hattie B’s, Gertie’s Whiskey Bar, Barista Parlor, L.A Jackson

Where to Play

It wouldn’t be named Music City if there wasn’t music around every corner, and there most definitely is! Located in the heart of the Gulch are two intimate spots to enjoy live music: Rudy’s Jazz Room and The Station Inn. The Gulch also offers an array of shopping from high end clothing stores to vintage guitars and cowboy boots. The art scene in the Gulch is insta-famous for its colorful murals and the rotating galleries at the Frist.

The Frist Art Museum

Since opening in April 2001, The Frist has hosted touring exhibitions from some of the most prestigious collections in the world. Housed in the city’s historic U.S Postal Building, the Frist offers a wide variety of programming, family activities, a gift shop, and the award-winning Martin ArtQuest interactive gallery, where you can learn about art and create your own masterpieces.

Honky Tonk Highway

Venturing a short ways out of the Gulch is a “must see” in Nashville. See where the legends play in this iconic, four block strip of rocking honky tonks. The multi leveled bars are open from 10 am until 3 am with live music pumping every day. The best part: its free! With no cover charge, you can grab a drink, enjoy the music and southern vibes. For a more intimate venue, the Gulch is home to Rudy’s Jazz Room and the Station Inn.

Mural Hopping in Nashville

Murals like the popular “What Lifts You”, by Kelsey Montague line the city walls and offer a visual commentary on the history, culture, and style of Music City. Get ready to be amazed at the scale, color and detail lurking around (literally) every corner. Each mural is instagram worthy and more importantly gives new meaning to street art and cred to the amazing artists behind the work.

Some other great recommendations in Nashville: The Johnny Cash Museum, The National Museum of African American Music, The Ryman Auditorium

The secret is out on Nashville being a top destination for every traveler. The heart beat of this city grows stronger with every friendly tip of the hat from strangers you meet, to the sounds of music played with soul and the vast culinary flavors that can only be found in Nashville. Explore Music City by foot and allow your self to be swept away by the wonder that exists around every corner.

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