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A mecca for musicians, producers and other artists, Nashville has long been a destination that lives up to its nickname “Music City.” However, Tennessee’s capital has much more to offer than country music legends and classic Southern cuisine. While both of these things are still available in spades, Nashville has become one of the country’s hottest destinations in recent years. From gourmet restaurants and antique shops to Broadway honky-tonks and botanical gardens, people flock from all over the world to this elevated and exciting city that has something new to offer every day.
To explore this destination and all its wonders in style, follow our weekend guide below. Here’s what to do in Nashville if you only have a weekend to visit.
For the ultimate luxury hotel, close to the action yet quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, stay at the Conrad Nashville. The hotel, which opened in 2022 and was designed by New York-based Champalimaud Design, effortlessly combines contemporary design with the comforts of home (think: Frette bedding and Byredo toiletries).
If you’re hungry after your morning of travel, sit down for a quick breakfast at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, Blue Aster, to start your trip off right (the ultra-crispy breakfast potatoes should not miss).
If you need the perfect outfit before heading out on the town, you can also book an appointment at Nashville’s Fifth Avenue Club located within the hotel. The unique shopping and styling experience is done in collaboration with Saks Fifth Avenue, and you can book an appointment in advance online.
Once you’ve settled into the hotel, it’s time to head out and start dressing like a Nashville native. Head to the Gulch and stop at Rustler Hat Co.. Here you can design your own custom cowboy hat to wear around town. With the ability to add personal touches that make your hat unique, you will greatly enjoy this tailor-made experience and cherish this memory long after your visit is over.
Now that you have the proper gear, you can explore the Gulch and all the fabulous restaurants around it for a quick bite to eat. There are plenty of options in the area, from Biscuit Love to St. Vito Focacceria, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices.
After refueling, it’s time to go hunting. Not far away is Patina + Co., a popular antiques destination, as well as Gaslamp and Gaslamp Too, both of which are staples of Nashville’s vibrant interior design scene. From antique art and furniture to pottery and home accessories, treasures can be found on every corner of these boutiques.
After returning to the hotel to freshen up, it’s time to spend the evening enjoying what the city is famous for: its food and music scene.
Plan to make reservations for an early dinner that evening at one of Nashville’s many delicious restaurants. One of our favorite places in town is Rolf and Daughters, which serves innovative Italian-inspired dishes. Other great dinner options include Rolf and Daughter’s sister restaurant, Folk, and chef Sean Brock’s Audrey Restaurant.
After dinner, take a drive to the Grand Ole Opry for its Friday night show, which begins at 7 p.m. You can find out who’s performing while you’re there by checking the events calendar.
Start your day at a local’s favorite place: the Nashville Farmers’ Market. During the warmer months, the open-air farm sheds and market stalls are bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, but year-round you’ll find restaurants such as Farm City Coffee, Farmer’s Deli and Grill , as well as internationally inspired menus at Jamaicaway, Bowl & Roll and Music City Crepes, all of which are great options for a quick morning bite before a day on the town.
Spend most of your day immersed in the music and its history. Learn a comprehensive history of the music the city is known for at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, then head to Broadway to visit the National Museum of African American Music. Take time to shop and grab a lunch of Nashville staples at the Assembly Food Hall. The original hot chicken restaurant, Prince’s Hot Chicken, has a location here, or you can choose from other stands that serve everything from ramen and burgers to cocktails and shaved ice.
Continue exploring the area and end your afternoon with a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum. For those who love sweet treats, stop by Goo Goo Chocolate Co. next door and create a custom candy bar.
Let your musical afternoon turn into a song-filled evening. Stay local and enjoy a delicious dinner at Husk Nashville, which is a short drive from Broadway. The restaurant’s menu changes daily, but it is known for its creative celebration of local produce. Afterward, enjoy all the honky-tonks the city has to offer, but locals still love Robert’s Western World on Broadway.
Start your final day by exploring another part of what makes Nashville so special: its incredible academic institutions. Before leaving downtown, head to Adele’s for brunch which is just a short walk from the hotel, then head to Vanderbilt.
Regardless of your age or academic loyalty, you will enjoy walking around the main campus and learning about the history of this great university, which has been in existence since 1873.
Since you’re in an academic mood, head to an iconic Nashville bookstore, Parnassus Books by author Ann Patchett. Full of classics, local authors and signed copies of Ann Patchett’s books, it’s worth stopping at this beautiful shop.
Heading out of town, head to Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. Beautiful in any season, Cheekwood offers something unique for everyone in your group. Whether they’re interested in gardening, art or history, it’s the perfect last stop to make before heading home.