So, you and your posse have decided it’s time for a little girls’ weekend getaway. Or maybe your in-laws have volunteered for some quality kid time and you and your boo can’t pack your bags fast enough? But where to go when you only have a few days but want to make the most of them? Try Nashville. There’s something for everyone in Nashville – history buffs, live music fans, foodies, fashionistas, and more. Here are our recommendations for where to go, what to do, where to stay and what to eat for 48 hours in Nashville:
Arrive Nashville. The flight from New Jersey is super easy, less than two hours, and the Nashville airport is manageable and simple to navigate. Uber and Lyft are your best bets for getting around the city, though rental cars are also an option.
Drop your bags. Hotels abound in Nashville and there’s one to fit every budget. Check out the brand new Bode concept hotel. Spacious suites can accommodate almost any size group and the laid back hipster vibe is for real. A three bedroom, two bath unit also features a kitchenette a comfy living area and a balcony. The outdoor courtyard offers travelers the chance to unwind around firepits, play a game of corn hole or ping pong or hang out on a porch swing or rocking chair while the “Hub” offers yummy, fresh baked snacks, games on all the tables, and a coffee bar that turns into a cocktail bar as the day goes on. Bode would also be great for families. Or try one of these hotels for your stay: the Hermitage Hotel, the Hutton Hotel, the Lowe’s, 21c Museum Hotel or the Germantown Inn (also a suites hotel).
Get your country music on. If you’re staying downtown, the country music scene isn’t ever far from where you are. Head to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum for a walk through the history of country music from its earliest influences to memorabilia from current stars. Check out the impressive wall of gold and platinum records and participate in the interactive displays. Also, don’t miss the Hatch show prints store and printing operation in the lobby. Tours of Hatch are available daily but must be purchased in advance. Watching the printers at work is fascinating and customized Hatch signs are available. Still need a country music fix? Head to the Johnny Cash museum, the Patsy Cline museum or book a backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry.
It’s happy hour! Well, on Broadway (Nashville’s answer to Bourbon Street) it’s always happy hour. But save your honky tonk crawl for later and head to the downtown Hilton for a cocktail and some potential star watching. Or, grab a cocktail at the divine Pinewood Social. This place is doing everything right, a spacious indoor lounge area with comfy sofas arranged for optimal socializing, an amazing menu, a bustling bowling alley and an outdoor space that makes you want to stay forever, complete with a plunge pool and airstream serving nibbles to the crowd hanging around on the bocce court or at the ping pong table.
Time for supper. Book a table at Etch for a terrific, upscale dinner that includes veggie sides to die for. Craft cocktails, inventive mains and maybe a dessert to share will ensure that you’ll want to walk back to the hotel. Other dining options to consider include: Husk, Rolf & Daughters, Adele’s, or Urban Grub. But as someone recently said, you can’t get a bad meal in Nashville so you’re going to be great with anything you choose.
Saturdays are for history. Wake up Saturday and, after a quick live music brunch at Acme Feed & Seed, learn a little bit more about this particular area of the South. Belle Meade Plantation or Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, give daily tours (Belle Meade also does wine tastings) where you’ll learn about how Nashville’s location on the Natchez Trail affected it’s growth and that though Kentucky is considered horse country (and yes, we know that one of the largest horse farms in the US is in New Jersey!), Nashville was the home to a stud horse from whom almost all Kentucky Derby champions have been sired.
Saturdays are also for shopping. Hit up Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James in the 12 South shopping and dining area, then head to Imogene & Willie for jeans and don’t forget to grab a 100-layer doughnut at Five Daughter’s Bakery while you’re there. Then head to the Hillsboro area near Vanderbilt for more shopping and a coffee break at the adorable Fido. If you’ve got a few extra minutes and you’re a word nerd, don’t forget to make a stop at Parnassus Books, the independent bookstore owned by Karen Hayes and author Anne Patchett and considered to be a pilgrimage that all readers and writers must make while in the area.
Don't forget the murals. If you know anyone who's been to Nashville recently, you have probably seen them posing in front of a giant pair of wings. This mural, WhatLifts You, was made popular by Taylor Swift and is a huge draw for tourists and locals alike. Pssst - A new butterfly wings mural was just unveiled on 4/25 in conjunction with the release of Taylor's song, "ME". But that's just the beginning. There are murals all over the city. So keep your eyes open on your travels. Your Instagram will thank you!
Time for Tunes. Saturday night head out to hear some of that amazing live music that makes Nashville great. You can’t go wrong at Tootsies, Legends, The 5 Spot, or Rare Bird and then, late night, make a stop at either The Stage or 3rd& Lindsley in The Gulch.
Where did the weekend go? Sunday morning, you’ll want to travel on a full stomach so head to brunch at either Biscuit Love Gulch, The Marsh House, or Marche then bid Nashville a fond farewell and head for home.