Nashville, Tennessee…when you hear those two words, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? The home of country music probably isn’t too far away from your thoughts and for good reason! But the beauty of Nashville ensures that there is so much more to experience regardless of your interest in the country music scene. A weekend in Nashville is certainly a great way to expose yourself to the inherent beauty of this city and is just long enough to leave a tantalizing feeling that you can’t wait to return and explore more!
From the bars along Broadway where many of the country legends were born to the iconic Country Music Hall of Fame, downtown Nashville is the ultimate country music neighborhood. However, as I mentioned, a visit to Nashville doesn’t just have to be about country music but why not embrace it if you cannot avoid it! Nashville is equally beautiful during the day and at night so be prepared to have an actio-packed itinerary when you visit Music City.
If you are considering heading to the wonderfully acclaimed Music City for a weekend getaway, we have a perfect 48-hour guide just for you! Whether you are looking for the perfect place to stay in the downtown district, the best local food spots to enjoy stereotypical Nashville cuisine or just the best attractions to enjoy your weekend break, we will cover everything you will need to make your visit to Music City the perfect experience.
Where to Stay in Nashville
A weekend in Nashville deserves the full experience so what better way to accomplish this that by staying in the heart of the downtown area. The main benefit of this is that you can enjoy the Broadway experience without having to worry about finding your way back to your hotel in one of the many suburbs around the city.
The Omni Nashville Hotel
We have stayed both downtown and outside and depending on exactly what you want to experience will likely determine where you should stay.
However, given that we recently stayed at the spectacular Omni Nashville Hotel, we can highly recommend this as a viable accommodation option if you opt for the downtown choice.
The Omni Nashville Hotel is created specifically to be an authentic expression of the city’s vibrant music culture.
There are always pros and cons to staying downtown, budget being one of the obvious components that we need to consider. Nashville, in general, is a relatively expensive city to stay, or at least that is what we have noticed over the last couple of years, so staying downtown is actually fairly comparable to many of the hotel options further outside of the CBD.
The Omni Nashville Hotel isn’t cheap but if you are looking for the ultimate Nashville experience, this is definitely the option to consider! We certainly enjoyed a luxurious two-night stay at this hotel and would return here in a heartbeat (as our finances allow!).
For those of you looking to enjoy a weekend in Nashville just like a country music artist, why not treat yourself to a luxury accommodation option like the Omni.
Walking through the lobby, you immediately realize that you are in a high-class establishment.
The breathtaking decor epitomizes the modern design of this hotel and some of the amenities including a library, variety of restaurants and easy access to the Country Music Hall of Fame make this an obvious choice.
But all of these amazing amenities cannot compare to the amazing experience once you arrive at your room (or suite as we did).
Incredible views of the Nashville skyline combined with a gorgeous living area separate from your bedroom immediately captured our attention and made us realize that we were experiencing “ultimate luxury.”
We have stayed at a number of stunning hotels around the world but the Omni Nashville is definitely near the very top in terms of luxury!
If you follow our advice and choose to stay at the Omni Nashville Hotel, you may find the following tips beneficial.
- Parking – To save on parking, rather than using the valet service that will cost $36 per night, opt for the self-parking option in the Music City Center parking garage that is just a block away. Overnight parking is only $18 and if you time your visit perfectly and are explore Nashville away from downtown, you can park for 10 hours for only $12.
- Bongo Java Breakfast – Enjoy a light breakfast in the Bongo Java coffee shop located on the ground floor. This local coffeehouse experience is the perfect environment to start the day and again, epitomizes the feel throughout the Omni Nashville Hotel. I can highly recommend the “Broadway” specialty drink which is advertised as “Whisper Creek Tennessee sipping cream caramel, espresso, and milk”…I will let you determine how good this sounds!
Where to Eat in Nashville
It’s a million dollar question whenever you visit any city and Nashville is no different…where are the best places to eat in Music City? Any visit to Nashville means that you have to try the local cuisine and everyone references this city is home to “hot chicken”. If this doesn’t sound too appealing, there is pretty much a variety of every cuisine type that you could imagine.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorites, starting with, of course, the BEST hot chicken spot in town!
Why not start your cuisine experience in Nashville by visiting Hattie B’s, famous for their hot chicken selection! The most difficult choice will be determining just how hot and spicy you dare to pick. Be prepared to wait in line outside this local establishment but don’t worry, it’s well worth the wait.
I love spicy food but decided to stay relatively safe this time with “hot” and Heather opted for the “medium” sauce. The “damn hot” and “shut the cluck up” will be saved for next time but if you are the adventurous type, why not go all out and try this on your first visit!
I have to admit, this place came with a pretty high reputation but it certainly lived up to and in many ways, exceeded our expectations.
Hattie B’s will definitely be on our list of restaurants worth visiting every time we visit Nashville.
McNamara’s Irish Pub
Looking for a little Irish cuisine while spending the weekend in Nashville? Don’t worry, we have found the perfect place at McNamara’s Irish Pub.
Located on Old Lebanon Road, McNamara’s offers a delicious selection of authentic Irish dishes such as Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash and of course, a typical Full Irish Breakfast.
Great Food, Great Music, Great Craic
McNamara’s is also home to some of the best Irish music in the area and whether you are looking to sample some of the appetizing cuisine options or simply want to enjoy your favorite beverage, you can be sure that a live performance will entertain your visit.
The interior of McNamara’s offers a stereotypical Irish tavern feel with plenty of decorative memorabilia representing the Irish culture. If you are willing to take a short drive out of the downtown Nashville area, this Irish pub is one of our favorite spots in the city!
Cool Springs Brewery
The town of Franklin is just a short drive south of Nashville along I-65 and if you are interested in learning about the Civil War and the iconic Battle of Franklin, this is definitely the place to go!
However, perhaps a weekend getaway in Franklin would be more suitable for this but if you are contemplating visiting the area, why not head to Cool Springs Brewery to enjoy another “pub” experience.
Craft Beer… NY style Pizzas… Good Times!
We enjoyed a late lunch here before starting our journey back home and whether you are looking to sample more cuisine from across the pond (the UK) or prefer some typical American classics, there are plenty of options available.
There is also a lunch buffet that serves a variety of pizza, pasta, salad bar and sandwiches for those that prefer the buffet experience.
Let’s head back to the heart of Nashville along Charlotte Avenue for a healthy alternative. Calypso Café is Nashville’s number one healthy restaurant and has a real Caribbean feel and style to it with a number of dishes that reflect the cuisine we associate with the beautiful islands.
Helping Nashville EAT BETTER and BE BETTER for over 25 years!
I can strongly recommend one of the rotisserie chicken dishes, perhaps the Jamaican Curry or even the spicy Barbecue Chicken option. The Cuban black beans provide a perfect accompaniment to any entree you choose while the spiced sweet potatoes topped with a hint of coconut are always a local favorite.
Mike’s Ice Cream
After experiencing a local favorite, delicious Irish and British cuisine or perhaps a healthier alternative, it’s time to sample a sweeter option and what better way to do this than by visiting Mike’s Ice Cream in downtown Nashville.
Formerly located on Broadway, Mike’s Ice Cream is now conveniently situated on 2nd Avenue just a few meters from the main street downtown.
This local ice cream parlor offers visitors the opportunity to sample handmade flavors in a variety of options ranging from a shake to a malt or perhaps a waffle cone.
Recommended flavors? You can’t really go wrong with any of them but I have a soft spot for the white chocolate banana pudding and the caramel cone which are a great combination in a double scoop!
Weekend in Nashville – Top Attractions
A visit to any city for only 48 hours will leave you with limited options, so it’s critical that you experience the top attractions before leaving and contemplating a return visit. The beauty of Nashville is that there is a myriad of things to do throughout the city regardless of whether you opt to stay in the downtown vicinity or prefer to go further afield to explore.
We covered a plethora of attractions during our recent weekend in Nashville, so we want to give a few of our top tips on places worth visiting around the city. However, if you are opting to stay downtown, perhaps our guide to the best downtown Nashville attractions would be more suitable!
Country Music Hall of Fame
What better way to start your tour of Nashville than by visiting the most iconic spot in the downtown area – the Country Music Hall of Fame. Only the iconic legends of the country music industry are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Just setting foot inside this iconic museum sends a chill down your spine as you realize only a select few individuals have made it all the way to the top echelon by being part of this elite group.
From Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash and from Elvis Presley to Glen Campbell, the Country Music Hall of Fame is the place of legendary artists and visitors have the opportunity to experience a myriad of memorabilia from these different country music eras.
An interactive exhibit toward the end of the museum tour enables all of the family to participate in a variety of activities including recording your very own performance inside a recording studio.
We don’t want to give away too much information as we will be putting together a more complete and informative post specifically on this awesome experience. The Country Music Hall of Fame is just one of those attractions that you have to visit to gain a greater appreciation as to why Nashville is renowned for the country music industry.
Belle Meade Plantation
Did you know that Nashville was once the home of a historic stud farm that bred and trained some of the best horses to run in the world’s iconic races such as the Epsom Derby in England and the Kentucky Derby?
Belle Meade Plantation is today a historic mansion that has been transformed into a guided museum tour where visitors can learn about the rich heritage here.
A guided tour of Belle Meade Plantation is not only informative but also gives visitors the opportunity to sample four delicious wines in the Belle Meade Winery.
The blackberry dessert wine is by far the most popular, though there is a wide selection to choose from if you prefer a Chardonnay or dry alternative.
Opry Mills Mall and Grand Old Golf
A visit to Nashville wouldn’t be the same without attending a performance at either the Ryman Auditorium or Grand Ole Opry.
If you are planning a visit to the ‘new’ venue at the Opry, be sure to spend some time at the Opry Mills outlet mall which offers anyone interested in a little retail therapy the opportunity to find some great discounted bargains from designer brands.
If shopping isn’t really your thing, head over to the Grand Old Golf and Go-Karts experience to challenge yourself on three different putt-putt courses.
It’s a fun-filled activity for all the family but be prepared to have a pretty lengthy wait as it’s a popular attraction.
Did you know that you don’t need to travel all the way to Athens to experience the Parthenon?
That’s right, Nashville is home to the world’s only true full-scale replica of the Parthenon and dates back to 1897 when it was constructed as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
A 42-foot Statue of Athena is an impressive sight inside the Parthenon along with a variety of historic paintings that portray the construction process.
However, capturing various angles of this architectural masterpiece throughout Centennial Park is equally rewarding and I think it’s fair to say that this is one of the iconic structures throughout the city of Nashville.
The Parthenon in Nashville may not offer the same amount of history and overall beauty as the original in Athens but it’s a pretty good alternative.
We realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to travel the world, so I think it’s great when there are full-size replicas that allow folks to appreciate what it would be like to visit the former temple on the Athenian Acropolis.
48 Hours in Nashville…it’s time to prepare yourselves for an action-packed itinerary and get ready to find the country inside you because this is a city that will immediately capture your imagination.
A weekend in Nashville is a great way to catch a glimpse of what there is to do here and of course, sample some of the finest cuisine options in the southern half of the United States.
Our recommendation of staying in downtown Nashville at the Omni Nashville Hotel is definitely the best way to enjoy the Broadway experience which we barely touched on this post. However, I’m sure you can use your imagination as to what it’s like on a Saturday night here! It’s a bustling hotspot of prospective country music legends and you just never know which performance you are watching will later become the next iconic superstar to reach the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Disclaimer – We would like to thank Visit Music City and the Omni Nashville Hotel for hosting us on this trip. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post.