When we went to Nashville in December, I brought my camera — but I didn’t pull it out once. We were visiting friends and I decided to focus on spending time with them rather than worrying about whether I was getting the shots I needed for a travel guide (plus, I’ve written three separate travel guides to Nashville, so I’ve got most of my bases covered!).
That’s all to say, this will be my first ever iPhone-only travel post (and probably my last…I don’t want to make a habit of posting phone pics). BUT, we did try so many new-to-me spots, that I knew I wanted to share them with y’all…in the form of a travel diary.
VISITING NASHVILLE IN DECEMBER
I’ve been to Nashville in just about every season and, while it’s a temperate climate, I think winter is one of the best times to visit. Chances are, it won’t get too cold if you book a trip to Nashville in December. Plus, it’s the holidays and what city isn’t wonderful to visit when it’s festive?! I like to think December brings out the best in any and every city.
On this trip, we got to see the city through the eyes of locals. Our friends moved earlier this year and have been working their way through the neighborhoods, figuring out their favorite haunts, and trying all the trendy spots.
We got into Nashville Saturday morning — we took an early flight out of DCA and got into BNA a bit after 8 AM. I always suggest going the early Saturday morning route to find cheaper flights!
Our friends picked us up at the airport, we headed back to their place to drop our stuff and freshen up, then picked a brunch spot that opened early: Liberty Common. With a French and Southern menu, I was hard-pressed to pick a dish. I finally decided on the Waffle Madame, a choice I’d make again. They do a jazz brunch on the weekends and the decor is light, bright, and airy — with a heavy dose of French café (hence the photo overload here).
From brunch, we strolled over the 6th and Peabody, an open-air spot where we grabbed beers and cocktails. It was an overcast, mild day, perfect for sitting outside. Prince’s Hot Chicken had a food truck there, but we held off since we were stuffed from brunch. While downtown, we made a quick stop in Czann’s, a bare-bones brewery with a focus on hoppy beers and a smattering of board games to liven up your afternoon (2020 is the year we become game people).
Obviously, we had to keep the party going so we headed next to an unmarked bar called Old Glory, in the Edgehill neighborhood of Nashville. An experimental cocktail bar located in the former boiler room of a steam cleaning facility, this is one of the cooler spaces I’ve ever been in.
The bartender took good care of us and made each of us original cocktail creations based on what we said we liked. I asked for a smoky mezcal-forward drink with zero sweetness and he definitely delivered. It didn’t hurt that they were slow-ish at 3 PM on a Saturday so we had full attention on our cocktail needs.
After a long day of frolicking around Nashville, we decided our best bet was to lay low for dinner, order in my absolute favorite, Five Points Pizza, and enjoy some downtime at home before heading out for the evening (y’all, we’re old now — we need naps, or at least lounging around chugging water, before we can even dream about staying out past 10 PM).
Being as Adam and our friend are both concert aficionados, it was a given that we’d enjoy some live music while in Nashville, but we didn’t go the traditional country route. Instead, we want to local dive Exit / In to see a funk band, Turkuaz.
SUNDAY MORNING and AFTERNOON
Y’all should be impressed that we all got up early-ish on Sunday morning and went for a several-mile long hike (after noshing on some bagels from Star Bagel, of course), particularly because Adam and his friend stayed out long after I’d gone to bed. We walked the trail around what I believe is McCabe Park — it’s amazing the amount of park space that Nashville has right in the middle of its most popular neighborhoods.
We worked up an appetite from our (power) walk, so, obviously, this was the right time to fit in some Nashville barbecue. We went to Martin’s Bar-B-Cue Joint, a Nashville classic, where I couldn’t have been happier with my choice of a brisket sandwich. Add in the complimentary mini-Moon Pies and I was in hog heaven (no pun intended).
Martin’s is right near 12South, so we decided to do a little bit of window shopping that turned into real shopping (well, I ended up ordering this velvet dress after the fact). The girls went to Draper James for a little too long and the boys headed over to the Filling Station for a beer. We also popped in one of my faves, White’s Mercantile — I swear, I’d decorate and dress in only items from this store if I could.
I validated my decision to skip dessert at Martin’s when we stumbled upon the S’More Love truck. Just take a look at those beauties in the photo a few below. You can find him in 12South on Saturdays and Sundays — seriously, don’t miss it!
SUNDAY NIGHT and MONDAY
After a busy Sunday, we almost didn’t make it out for dinner Sunday night. We contemplated resigning ourselves to leftovers or going to the grocery store before rallying to try a new restaurant that opened in the gulch, The Eastern Peak. We feasted on Chinese-inspired chicken and a couple of sushi rolls while entertaining ourselves with our waiter, who was practicing his French skills on us, prompting me to ask if he was from a French-speaking region of Canada — “Nope, Boston.”
After dinner, we did a quick run-through to check out the massive 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. If I was a twentysomething looking for a Sunday Funday, this would be the place.
Monday was our last day in town, so, thankfully, we did a Pure Barre class that our friend was teaching, and then, of course, we had to fit in some hot chicken. We went to new-to-me Party Fowl and I went for the Nashville Hot — which I’d recommend assuming you’ve got a large glass of water (yes, I went over the host stand and just grabbed a pitcher to have continuous fill-ups) and a healthy side of ranch. Had it not been raining, we’d probably have strolled over to Broadway just to say we went, but, alas, it was gross out and we’ve both done it before.
Then, with our stomachs full (and questioning eating hot chicken before a flight), we headed to the airport and made our way back to DC…bringing our Southwest Companion Pass sprint to an end.
Lastly, don’t think for a second, I didn’t grab one of those donut-croissant-delicious little things from Five Daughters Bakery at some point during the weekend.