Last week was spring break here in New England but the weather felt more like winter. Desperate for some sun and above freezing temps, the kiddies and I booked a last minute trip to the warmest place I could find for the cheapest plane ticket. That place happened to be Nashville. When you don’t plan ahead your options are limited, but that’s ok. My daughter loves country music, my son loves rock music and I love all music. So Music City seemed a logical choice anyway.
Given that lately it’s become a hotspot for bachelorette parties, girls weekends, boys weekends and excessive drinking no-matter-who-you-are weekends, Nashville is not your typical family destination spot, but have no fear. Even the under 21 crowd can have lots of fun. Here’s how we spent our time:
It was nice to start our trip at Bicentennial Park because it’s pretty and there’s a great view of the city. Also, there’s a farmers market right next door. We ate lunch there and everyone was happy.
The dogwoods and cherry blossoms were in full bloom and this made my heart sing because I am starved for spring. Starved, I say.
Another great (and green!!!) spot to spend some time is on the river bank. We headed there later that day. That’s the Batman building back there. I think they call it the Batman building because it looks like Batman.
The Pedestrian Bridge over the river gives you a good view of the city, plus you might get to hear some music, see some cute dogs or high five a runner.
Here’s the view from the bridge. Rock on.
Goo Goos are goooood. You can pick some up after you’ve walked back and forth over the bridge to balance out the calories you burned.
The Ryman Auditorium is an easy walk from the river. It’s definitely worth a visit. Good step hangs too.
After you’ve spent a bit of time downtown, head to the Parthenon. It’s in Centennial Park (which is not to be confused with Bicentennial Park mentioned earlier). Why are the parks so similarly named? I don’t know, but once you get that straight, feel free to wander and enjoy. It’s lovely!
Hangin around is an art.
Nashville’s got lovely outdoor spaces but it’s also is a fantastic shopping destination. My daughter was delighted by this. My son, not so much.
When in Nashville, you must purchase Nash merch. Or at least try it on.
Also, if you’re in the market for a guitar, you’re in luck. I’m sure you could buy one in your hometown, but it’s way cooler to buy it in Nashville.
Then you can stay and be inspired by the live music so that when you take your new guitar home you practice a lot. This is Two Old Hippies in the Gulch. If you’re there- go!!!
After you’ve shopped a bit, go find some murals. It’s not hard, I promise.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take more pics in front of murals than we did.
But be warned, you will probably fail.
The kids even took one of me (after I took like 300 of them).
Mural posing might work up a big appetite. If so, turn left for Peg Leg Porker. I tend to lean left as a rule, but even if you don’t: this BBQ is worth it. We met my parents’ friends here and they live in Nashville, so they know. And now, we know too. Eat at Peg Leg.
When you wake up the next day with a bbq hangover, treat yourself to something great at Caviar and Bananas. My son opted for a breakfast burrito, but as the name implies, they also have bananas for those of us who need a bit longer to recover.
I totally loved this space. For me, everything tastes better when the aesthetic rocks.
I mean, this floor.
And, honestly isn’t it always yay for wine?
After you’re fully recharged definitely head over to the Musicians Hall of Fame. So much fun for all!
The kids found the old school equipment mind-boggling.
And the Grammy exhibit was like visiting old friends.
But the absolute best was the fact that you can actually play around with some instruments.
And dream the dream.
After lunch you can sneak in a bit more shopping. We headed to Hillsboro Village where there were lots of options.
Much to the chagrin of my son. Have book, will travel though… so it’s all good.
Nobody would ever say this…
Ah lunchtime! Luckily, Hillsboro Village is home to the Grilled Cheeserie.
My boy once declared himself half-man, half-cheese. Needless to say, he was very happy here.
After lunch, guess what? You can pose in front of more murals! It’s doubly fun when you meet up with hometown friends who also happen to be visiting Nashville.
We met them in 12th South, which is where Draper James is. You know who owns this right?
Rght! Only Reese Witherspoon would own a perfectly southern store that serves up sweet tea while you shop. Obviously.
If you love paper goods as much as I do, you will appreciate this vignette at Whites.
And if you love flowers AND Volkswagens as much as I do, you will be delighted with Amelia’s truck! This for me is goals. Gonna work on this.
Except, this kind of spoke to me too…
Also, this place: Emerson Grace. I mean c’mon, ya’ll. Could it be any lovelier? I wanted everything, even that hat which I would absolutely never wear.
This stop made him happy. He didn’t even open his book.
Don’t we all agree?
Let’s just make music and dance.
Another fantastic shop. Lucky for me this place was closed because otherwise could have been dangerous. I can resist clothes and shoes and stuff but I’m a sucker for vintage home goods.
Aaaaand, another mural, for crying out loud. I told you there were a lot.
Save time to check out Pinewood Social. It’s not too far from 12th South. Though, I found if you have a car everything is easier to get to because nothing is really that close. I’m a big walker, but with limited time that’s not really an option in Nashville. We spent a small fortune on Ubers.
It was a little chilly so we didn’t spend much time out on their patio, but we did play a quick game of Bocce.
And contemplated a quick relax in the crisp air, but nah…
Instead, we headed inside which is the real draw. But we learned that poor planning leaves you in the cold sometimes. If you want to bowl here you have to call a month ahead of time! A month! I didn’t even know we were going to be in Nashville a month ago.
For dinner, we headed to Nada for tacos. Nada means “nothing” in Spanish and I’m not sure it’s a great name for a Mexican restaurant, but it was good. And they had cachaca, which ironically I’d just learned about a few days earlier. Cachaca is a Brazillian liquor- it’s not tequila, or rum, or anything else other than cachaca. I didn’t have that drink though because I’d learned firsthand how potent it was, and I was adulting. So.
Yep, we went back the next morning. The aesthetic and all…
And then we went to the Frist Center for Visual Arts to see Nick Cave’s exhibit.
These “soundsuits” were totally amazing.
and this was trippy.
And this was awesome.
And then we tried to create our own masterpiece.
Ah yes, Broadway. Were you wondering when we’d make it down that way? 11:00 am and the mayhem and debauchery had already started. Much as I love mayhem and debauchery, I couldn’t in good conscious hang out anywhere down there with my kids who think I’m the pillar of decorum (ah hem).
But we did check out a few boot shops. Because cowboy boots are cool.
Also, there’s a candy store. Which obviously we had to check out.
We really, really, really wanted to hear live music but it just didn’t feel right.
Until we found the FGL House. Now, this is how we roll! It was kid friendly with live music, AND it had a great vibe. Also, my daughter LOVES Florida Georgia Line (the band) so even though it was kind of kitschy it was kind of cool. Anything that makes a 14 year old excited is kind of cool.
These guys were good, even though they mostly played covers.
You can’t visit Nashville and not go to a thrift shop. We loved this one (Smack)!
What’s not to love about this?
And then later we went to hear live original music, which was amazing (thank you Maybe April, Stevie Woodward, and Jason Duke). This is the place to go if you really want to hear good music away from the party scene. It’s the Listening Room and it’s kid-friendly until 10:00 pm. The only drawback is the food is terrible but if you go here for the food, you are definitely doing it wrong.
And, well that pretty much sums up our little trip to Nashville. We did do some other stuff- like walk around Vanderbilt University (which was beautiful), swim in the pool (which was freezing), and visit some bookstores and music shops (which were really cool). But the best thing we did was just BE together. Away from the distractions and obligations of everyday life, we could block out all the noise and actually focus on each other. And that was beautiful. I felt closer to them than I have in eons, and I know they felt the same about me, and about each other. This last pic I’m going to share is my favorite. I didn’t ask them to pose. I didn’t orchestrate it. It just happened. And for me, it says it all.
What lifts YOU?