World-famous music venues, legendary restaurants, charming neighborhoods, and an interesting mix of old and new architecture are only a few reasons Nashville, Tennessee, is at the top of our travel bucket list. Since the best way to immerse yourself in a new place is to shadow a local, we decided to tap a Nashville-based style blogger to show us around this exciting Southern city.
Mary Seng, the style pundit behind lifestyle and fashion blog Happily Grey, came up with a list of favorite haunts and insider tips for MyDomaine readers. Thanks to her keen eye, and the fact that she calls Nashville home, you can rely on her guide below for an authentic, au courant experience. So if you’re looking for a fun weekend road trip to plan, consider your last-minute summer getaway sorted. Or if you’re already there, you’ll want to keep this guide handy, too.
Read on to find out the best things to do in Nashville, as told by Seng, from dining and drinking to shopping and sleeping.
Eat: EIO & THE HIVE
When it comes to dining options in Music City, there are plenty to choose from. But Seng says an absolutely must is EiO and the Hive whenever you’re in the mood for something “fresh, organic, and local.” The restaurant has a sprawling menu full of healthy and delicious dishes. Having trouble choosing? “Its smoothies and macro bowls are so yummy,” Seng tells us, so you can’t go wrong with those.
5304 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN 37209
Eat: BUTCHER & BEE
For something that’s slightly more formal for a midday meal, here’s your answer. It has an eclectic, foodie-friendly lineup of dishes as well as a stylish industrial design scheme. “Fresh and seasonal, Butcher & Bee’s thoughtfully crafted menu changes frequently,” Seng says, so you always know you’re getting the best of the best. And even though it’s constantly updating the menu to accommodate the day’s freshest ingredients, Seng promises that it’s “always a great lunch stop,” and you can count on it for everything “from fresh fish to savory salads.”
902 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206
Eat: HOT CHICKEN
Hot chicken is a staple in the Nashville culinary scene, so you’ll encounter it at both upscale restaurants and hole-in-the-wall icons throughout the city. To get a taste of this iconic food, head to one of the no-frills, cafeteria-style spots like Arnold’s Country Chicken, Prince’s, Bolton’s, or Hattie B’s. For a more contemporary and dressed-up (and probably healthier) take on hot (or fried) chicken, head to Silo, a Southern bistro in Germantown.
1121 Fifth Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37208
Drink: HENRIETTA RED
Henrietta Red is a chic seafood restaurant that boasts a California-cool aesthetic and energy. This Germantown restaurant also has a separate bar area where it serves up top-notch artisan cocktails. As such, it’s one of Seng’s absolute favorite spots. She particularly loves the “amazing cocktails and incredible oysters,” which you should enjoy “on a summer night.” Oh, and don’t miss out on the cauliflower bread loaf.
1200 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37208.
Do: CHEEKWOOD ESTATE & GARDENS
Visit the expansive grounds of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens if you love exploring beautiful outdoor venues. It has a super-interesting history, and it dates back to the early 1900s when it was a family-owned mansion. Check the calendar to see if it’s hosting a fun event while you’re in town; otherwise, you can go take a look around some of the on-site art galleries (the mansion itself is now a museum), and escape the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy the peaceful garden. While you’re in the area, take a drive through the Belle Meade, one of Nashville’s most prestigious neighborhoods.
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37205
Do: STATION INN
For live bluegrass music, head to the Station Inn, which is located in the up-and-coming neighborhood known as The Gulch. In this unassuming time capsule of a venue, you’ll get to hear the best local singer/songwriter artists. For more live music and honky-tonk dance floor vibes, head downtown to Robert’s Western World.
2908 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204
Shop the Stylish Travel Essentials:
Shop: FLWR SHOP
FLWR Shop is “East Nashville’s new bloom go-to,” Seng exclaims. “From little succulents to full florals,” this flower shop has “the perfect minimal and contemporary touch that Nashville was missing.” As such, she “always enjoys popping in here to grab a fresh bouquet for [the] kitchen counter and gather inspiration for upcoming events.” So whether you’re just passing through or want to upgrade your floral arrangements at home, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
123 S. 11th St., Nashville, TN 37206
“With loads of amazing designers, Wilder has the best collection of home goods in town,” says Seng. From modern furniture, handmade pottery, “modern artwork, creative décor, and impressive textiles,” there’s something new and noteworthy each time she visits, so Seng is “always eager to see what it’ll curate next.” As such, it’s a great boutique to visit for souvenirs or decorative items to freshen up your living space.
1212 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37208
Shop: OLD MADE GOOD
“I love adding a vintage or individual touch to my outfits,” says Seng. “When I’m looking for something unique, I head to Old Made Good, which is located in a charming bungalow in East Nashville. True to its name, this boutique sells everything from vintage jewelry to repurposed home goods and eclectic clothing.” Packed with enough goods to keep you occupied for hours, it’s “a must-visit creative gem.”
3701B Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216
Goodwin is the ultimate cool-girl shop for anyone who loves minimalism with a generous splash of bold intrigue. This concept shop is stocked with cutting-edge and up-and-coming designers behind beauty, fashion, and home lines that you probably haven’t encountered yet, so you know everything you get is high-quality and personally curated by the founder, Elise Joseph, who believes in encouraging creative design and mindful consumption.
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Stay: THE THOMPSON
The Thompson Hotel in Nashville is a centrally located boutique, making it super easy to pop in and out of as you venture throughout the city. Each room is stocked with luxury amenities, perfectly styled, and has plenty of character design-wise (the handsome interiors—particularly the tiled bathrooms—are highly photogenic). The Thompson also has a stylish rooftop bar that overlooks the surrounding downtown area.
401 11th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37203
Stay: 404 HOTEL
Located in The Gulch, 404 Hotel offers what it describes on the website as “invisible service.” In other words, it’s the perfect cross between a luxury hotel and a private Airbnb. The five-room hotel offers room service and the other perks you’d associate with a luxury hotel, although there isn’t a formal concierge system. In that sense, it’s perfect for independent, style-savvy travelers.
404 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203
Instagram Moment: EXPLORE BACK ALLEYS
Since you probably want to document and share all your Nashville adventures, we made sure to ask Seng to let us in on her street style Instagram secrets. “When my photographer and I shoot in town, the alleyways are my go to,” she shares. “Nashville has such a healthy mix of contemporary and traditional architecture, so I never run out of spots to stop and take a quick photo.”
What are your favorite things to do in Nashville? Share your tips with us.