This page is dedicated to all of the places in the Nashville area (including Franklin, Cool Springs, Mt. Juliet, and Lebanon) that I have visited and would highly recommend! It will be updated with new recommendations as I continue to visit and explore the area, so check back often! For a summary of blog posts I have written on the area, scroll to the bottom for the complete list!
Ryan and I live about 35 miles north of the Nashville city center, so we try to go and explore 1-2 times per month. While we mostly go to grocery shop, we try to fit in one activity and one new restaurant each time we visit. There is SO much to see and do, which is why most people focus on the tried-and-true music city highlights the first couple of times that they visit!
Nashville Area Accommodations
When it comes to finding a cute, affordable place to stay in Nashville with a great location, Airbnb has some of the best options around! Ryan and I have been hosts for the past 4 years, and always stay at Airbnbs when we travel. Nashville’s Airbnb game is super strong, and many people in the city buy properties just to turn them into destination Airbnbs. Below are some of my favorite listings – check them out and if you decide to book, use my referral link to get $40 off your first stay!
- Romantic, Cozy Cottage Next to Downtown Nashville, sleeps up to 4
- Fun, Private Condo Downtown, sleeps up to 4
- Walk to Downtown From This Cute Loft, sleeps up to 6
- Cozy and Urban in Downtown, sleeps up 4
Activities + Attractions in Nashville
- Centennial Park – in my opinion, this is the most beautiful place in downtown Nashville and there is SO much to see. Whether you are visiting the art museum, coming for a festival, walking your dog, or looking to get some exercise, you can do it all here, and see the Parthenon while you are it (at least, the Nashville replica, HA!). Centennial Park is right next to Vanderbilt, so if you are visiting the school or there for a football game, be sure to take a break to walk through the park!
- Radnor Lake – this is where Ryan and I go for a 1/2 day trip when we want to relax, clear our heads, and enjoy some beautiful nature scenes. What I find unique and so special about Radnor Lake is the attention to detail and extreme care that is given to preserving it as a nature and wildlife sanctuary. No bikes, food, or pets are allowed, as the goal is not to disturb the natural habitat of the plants and creature living there. No one lives off the lake, the trails are extremely quiet, so you really can “escape from it all” here, enjoy peace and tranquility, and feel so refreshed when you leave.
- Arrington Vineyards – I love to go here in the summer for the jazz and bluegrass on the lawn. Arrington is a gorgeous property and perfect place to pack a picnic and/or some lawn games to enjoy with friends.
- Country Music Hall of Fame – while the price of admission is a little hefty in my opinion ($25!), if you are are a music buff or a true fan of country music, you will really enjoy it! Great for a rainy day activity – you could easily spend 4 hours here!
- Ryman Auditorium – whether you go for an actual event or for a tour, you’ll know the Ryman is special from the moment you set foot in the door. We have been to one event so far and just bought tickets for a second. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house!
- The Factory (Franklin) – home to artsy home decor vendors, restaurants, and a performance hall, there is always something fun going on at The Factory, so check out their calendar of events to plan your visit!
- ABLE – this place is on my list to visit, and I can’t wait to check out their handmade denim and leather goods. This is an amazing company with a powerful mission, and I’m so excited that their home base is in Nashville!
- Lemon Laine – this chic oil bar will make a custom serum for you based on your skin type, regimen, and current skin concerns. It’s a clean and inviting space with a mission to promote clean and natural beauty.
- The Mall at Green Hills – whether you make a trip to this mall to take a makeup class at Sephora, eat at the uber-plush Restoration Hardware cafe, or test your culinary skills in a cooking class at Williams Sonoma, there are so many unique experiences to be had at this mall!
- Draper James – come for a picture against the gingham blue wall and be sure to take a peek inside Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand flagship store. It will make you want to become a Southern belle!
Nashville Are Dining + Food Experiences
- Yeast Nashville – the BEST cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted and wonderful kolaches. A MUST-visit breakfast spot!
- Five Daughters Bakery – these 100-layer doughnuts are in the top 5 list of the best foods I’ve ever eaten. Really. They are so good that you will be left speechless. Pictured are my favorites: King Kong (bottom left), Chocolate Sea Salt (middle), and The Purist (top).
- Barista Parlor – very cool coffee brewing techniques, hip vibe, lots of bright light, and sausage biscuits with homemade peach jam!
Marche Artisan Foods – perfect for breakfast or lunch, this French-inspired cafe has a fresh menu that changes daily. There are major Anthropologie vibes here, and it’s very easy to just linger over a latte, tea (or two) on any day of the week. I highly recommend the savory crepe of the day and the croissant French toast!
- Nashville Farmer’s Market – there is something for everyone at the food stalls here and I’ve never ordered something I didn’t like. We love to go here for lunch on weekday visits – it gets VERY crowded on the weekends though!
- Edley’s Bar-B-Que – the bbq here is really good, but what I really swoon over is the fried catfish. Best I’ve ever had! Pictured below is the catfish sandwich:
- Puckett’s Grocery – fun, family-friendly eatery that’s great for live music. The Piggy Mac N’ Cheese is where it’s at!
- Desano’s Pizza – my favorite pizzeria in Nashville! Authentic, Neapolitan style and great, high-quality ingredients. All the seating is on picnic tables, so it’s great for large groups!
- Jamaicaway– Ryan and I have eaten here the most out of any restaurant we have tried in Nashville because it’s just. so. good. Amazing Jamaican cuisine – we love the curry chicken, turnip greens, plantains, and Jonny cakes.
- The Loveless Cafe – whenever family comes to visit for the first time, we take them here! This is authentic, country-style Tenneessee hospitality. The Loveless Cafe oozes history and charm – I’d recommend making a reservation, if you can, because wait times can be up to 2 hours. However, there are little shops and activities to take advantage of if you have to wait!
The Mockingbird – this is Ryan and my favorite new restaurant. Not only is the decor beautiful and food delicoius, the menu will make you laugh! Take my word for it and check it out – it’s fun, hip, chic, but laid back at the same time.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Jeni’s is the only dessert spot I can recommend in Nashville right now because it’s where we go every time we visit! It is AMAZING-ly good, and we love to visit every couple of months to try the seasonal flavors! So far my favorites are Sun Popped Corn, Peach, and Coffee. A Buttercrisp waffle cone is a must.
Honorable mentions (these places were just “ok” for me, but a lot of folks love them!):