Bennett and I just returned from a week long trip to Nashville. Many were surprised we were headed there because neither one of us is a huge country music fan. Nashville is so much more than country music though, it is really a city of artists and that is a spirit we both love. We spent our days eating great food, seeing free songwriter and comedian showcases, and enjoying all of the art the city has to offer. To plan where we wanted to use we you the DesignSponge Nashville guide as our starting point which you can view here. If you have not used a DesignSponge city guide before, I suggest you check out all the cities available here. The guides always have great advice on what to do from locals and are free.
Here are out top ten favorite Nashville spots in no particular order.
1. Barista Parlor
Barista Parlor is one of the coolest coffee shops I have ever been too. It is located in East Nashville in an old garage. We ordered food and got a huge, beautiful wooden cutout as our table identifier. The ambiance made it feel like we were definitely in Nashville and the coffee was first class.
2. I Dream of Weenie
I Dream of Weenie is a food stand that is located in an vintage VW van. It was awesome because it had tofu dogs for me and the name is the genius.
3. Corsair Distillery
We did a tour and tasting of the Corsair Distillery. This distillery makes a variety of unique craft spirits. Our favorites included the Vanilla Bean Vodka and Quinoa Whiskey. Have you heard of Quinoa Whiskey? So cool!
4. Otis James
Otis James is designer who makes handmade bow ties and caps. It is located in a strip right next to the distillery. We went in there when waiting for our tour and Otis himself was in the retail shop. He told us about opening the store and his working space (you can see him working in the photo below) and even gave us tips on where to eat. I bought one of his lady ties. I have another tie that I wear sometimes and really love it so I thought I would try his out. I am hoping it catches on as a trend.
::you heard it here first, lady ties::
5. Antique Archaeology
Antique Archaeology is a store of Mike Wolfe one of the American Picker's stores (the other location is actually in Iowa). It was smaller than we expected but was really fun to look through the items. I found an old photograph that I loved and purchased it to go on a gallery wall I have in the works.
6. Mas Tacos Por Favor
Mas Tacos Por Favor was a successful food truck that now has a brick and mortar location. It was honestly the best tacos I have EVER had. Fried Avocado Tacos, HELLO!
7. Hatch Show Print
One of my loves is typography so when I heard of this famous Letterpress business Hatch Show Print it was at the top of our must list. It did not disappoint. There is a gallery and then a shop with fun letterpress prints. In Nashville Hatch Show Prints are everywhere and are made for all of the big shows that come through. You can see how the posters are made and even get a tour of the process.
Here are the prints I brought home for me.
8. Frist Art Gallery
The Frist Art Gallery is a wonderful modern art gallery that has rotating art exhibits. We hit it at a great time and were able to see a fun exhibit on the history of animation and one on the drawings from the book the Elements of Style. We were there for a few hours and ended our time in the create your own art section. We painted, drew, and even made our own animation figures (pictured below). I got in trouble for taking photos in the gallery otherwise there would be have been way more photos here.
9. Jeni's Ice Cream
Jeni's Ice Cream is the best ice cream I have ever had. THE BEST. You must go there. YOU MUST. They have the most unique flavors and the ice cream just melts in your mouth. We hit this place up a few times and realized there is one in Chicago which will now be another reason to venture there. My favorite flavors were Wildberry Lavender and Brown Butter Almond Brittle.
Check out the flavors!
10. The Escape Game
The Escape Game was one of the coolest tourist things we have ever done. Basically we were locked in the room pictured below with strangers and we had 60 minutes to get out of the room using the clues left for us. I can't tell you much. . . . but it involved finding lots of hidden numbers and letters that were combinations to various locks around the room. It was so interesting and exhiliarating. Only 35% escape the room within the hour and we did. We were very proud of ourselves!
Other notable favorites in Nashville included:
- Cheekwood Botanical Gardens - We lucked out as this botanical garden actually had a Andy Warhol art exhibit at the time we were there which I was completely enthralled by as he is one of my favorite artists.
- The East Room Open Mic Comedy Night- Free Event with comedians every Tuesday. It is comedians practicing their new material; Bennett was close to jumping on stage and trying out some of his own material. If you see him, ask him for his bit on plastic silverware.
- The Basement - A fun venue that hosts free Singer Songwriter showcases. Every person we saw there should get a record deal.
- Athena Statue - Huge statue of the goodness Athena.
- GreenHouse Bar - Exactly what the name says, it is a greenhouse turned into a bar!