With two founders based in Music City and so many people vacationing down south, we knew we had to give our Ciao Gals a first-hand glimpse into the new tourist hot spot, Nashville, Tennessee. Where one may have previously only thought of country music, cowgirl boots, and honky tonks, Nashville has quickly joined the ranks of other hip and booming destinations like Los Angeles and Portland with its indie music scene, killer restaurant game, and exponentially growing population. Take a look, below, to get the scoop on all you need to do and see in this vibrant vacation destination.
Nashville is a driving city! Rent a car or take an uber/Lyft.
Nashville is full of independent music venues. Take a look at Bands In Town prior to arriving to score tickets to a show!
The Thompson Hotel is located in the center of the Gulch—one of the most popular areas in Nashville. One step out the front door and you're within walking distance of plenty of amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. The hotel itself is beautifully decorated, with modern touches that will leave you feeling as if you just entered a West Elm catalogue. To top it off, it comes complete with a killer (no pun intended) in-house coffee shop called Killebrew, and an amazing rooftop bar—L.A. Jackson—that has one of the best views in the entire city.
Urban Cowboy is a smaller boutique hotel in East Nashville, which some might argue is the hippest and most colorful part of town. It goes without saying that this place is insanely cool, and typically has a celebrity or two on the guest list. The best part? There is an awesome bar that is always full of locals. So, you won’t even have to leave your hotel to grab a drink or two with some of Nashville’s most interesting and trendy characters.
In our opinion, the best way to see Nashville like a local is to rent an Airbnb in one of the city's many great neighborhoods. Specifically, we recommend looking in the 12th South, Germantown, Gulch, or East Nashville areas. There is no shortage of fun and trendy rentals available that can fit any group or size, but do your research to discover what you want to do most in the city, and which areas are safest. Try and book as far in advance as possible to secure an Airbnb in the best locations. They fill up quickly! And, if you're looking for the Ciao stamp of approval, we love this one, this one, and this one.
This trendy bistro may be located in an unassuming area, but don't be fooled, Le Sel is an all around Nashville favorite, and one destination you must visit on your trip to the city. An elegant and fun treat for brunch with the girls, post-work cocktails, or date night with your honey, Le Sel is as versatile as it is delicious. And, the European cuisine is sure to satisfy your taste buds, as well as your inner desire to be Parisian.
Moules Frites and Peach Jam Stuffed Beignets
1922 Adelicia St.
Little Octopus is a beautiful restaurant also located in the heart of the Gulch, one of Nashville’s most popular neighborhoods. Complete with touches of velvet, white marble, and gold, this Caribbean-inspired dining experience is so much more than a pretty face. Treat yourself to a date night or GNO to share and enjoy small plates that pack flavor, variety, and a bit of punch. It's on the pricer side, but worthy every penny—a must!
Market Ceviche & Masa Cornbread
505 12th Ave South
C&B is a gourmet market and café in Midtown. It’s the perfect spot for a quick lunch, coffee with a friend, or for wine and cheese prior to heading out for dinner. It has plenty of options including a BYO salad and sandwich bar, a full coffee and dessert counter, and even pre-packaged options that you can take on-the-go. Not to mention the interiors are absolutely pin-worthy, and come with plenty of places to score the perfect 'gram.
The Usual Sandwich or the Gramercy Salad
Henrietta Red is one of our go-to date night spots in Germantown. It has the most photogenic bar in Nashville, and comes complete with an exquisite menu of simple and fresh ingredients. To be in Henrietta Red feels like a dream in and of itself. With whitewashed walls, a wood-burning oven, and tasteful pops of deep blue, you’ll wish that you could enjoy every meal in its warm and picturesque establishment.
Cauliflower Steak and the Seared Sea Scallops
1200 4th Ave N
Five Daughters Bakery is located in an adorable white house with pops of pastel right off of 12th South, one of Nashville’s most visited streets. With paleo, vegan, savory, and sweet options, it has something for everyone! If you're staying on the East side of town, be sure to check out their location on Eastland Avenue as well.
King Kong & Maple Glaze Donuts
1110 Caruthers Ave
The peach tartine is absolutely to die for, and while it’s only available in the summer, the apple and brie tartine is just as good.
A great brunch option in the Gulch. Their french toast will keep you coming back again & again!
A healthier take on brunch. The owner used to be a consulting chef at a Ciao New York favorite, Jack’s Wife Freda.
Pinewood Social offers a wide variety of menu items and a great coffee bar. The social scene isn't half bad, either!
This food truck turned brick and mortar has some of the best Mexican in town. The chicken tortilla soup is a Ciao favorite, but just remember to bring cash!
Hot chicken is a Nashville must! And, while there are plenty of great places to bring on the heat, Hattie B's sides make it queen. Check out their multiple locations to see which is closest!
Edley's is a great Nashville-favorite for BBQ. Head there on the weekend to indulge in a plate of their barbecue nachos, or catch their 2-for-1 special on Thursdays!
A great ambiance in an even better part of town. You have to get the chicken ramen!
A crowd favorite for burgers, so be prepared to wait! Grab a beer or in-house soda in the biergarten if the line is too long.
They have a great happy hour and in our opinion, the best burger in town!
Doesn’t quite taste like hot chicken, but if you’re vegan, it’s a close second. If you go, you must order the kimchi spring rolls, an avocado margarita, and the "burger" on a gluten-free bun.
Great wood-fired pizza with an even dreamier outdoor sitting area. Bella Napoli is perfect for a date night, or lunch in the afternoon, as there are also lots of local boutiques in the area—check out Wilder, Castilleja, & Kore.
If you're looking for a nice dinner in Nashville, this is it! Book reservations far in advance—it’s worth it.
Suggested Sip: Bourbon Vanilla Latte
Suggested Sip: Butterscotch Latte
Pinewood Social is unofficially named the “Hipster Country Club”. There's really no better way to describe it! And, heads up: it tends to be an all-day event. In the morning, you’ll find people chatting business over breakfast and coffee. Midday, you’ll see friendly individuals lounging poolside or lunching on the outdoor patio. Finally, at night it turns into a great bar scene complete with the most visually appealing bowling alley you’ve ever seen. Pinewood is a must-do for every Nashville visitor. Ciao Insider Tip: If you want to bowl, be sure to make reservations in advance!
Bastion is our favorite place in the city for a late night drink and bite to eat. It's tucked quietly from the craziness of Broadway, but still close enough to the city to make it easy to get to. And, an added bonus? You never have to worry about paying for parking—a pain point in many 615 locations. They have a great cocktail menu with reasonable prices, and the absolute best nachos in the city. Sit on the risers in the back with your friends or play a round of vintage video games. You'll love every minute you spend here! And, if you're into spicy drinks, ask for a Tecate "Dressed Up". They'll know what we mean!
If you’re not into the honkey tonk scene on lower Broadway, then Acme is a great alternative. It’s a three-story bar found on the corner of Broadway and 2nd that is the perfect choice for any night out. Each floor has its own unique vibe that changes from night to night. You can usually count on finding at least one floor with a live band for easy listening, and another with a DJ for when you’re in the mood to dance. Play pinball, order sushi, or mingle with locals and visitors alike on the top floor. Whatever you look for when it comes to nightlife, Acme is sure to please.
Bar Sovereign, otherwise known as "Bar Sov", is a Ciao favorite, and a hidden gem in the city. Located in SoBro, or South Broadway, "Bar Sov" proves to be an eclectic cocktail bar that is the ideal setting for intimate conversations late into the night. It doesn't look like much from the outside, as it's tucked away in a strip mall just a few blocks from the downtown craziness, but step inside and you'll immediately fall in love with the warm and inviting atmosphere. Trust us, you'll want to stay here all night long!
What’s not to love about Lemon Laine? It’s your one stop shop for all things health, beauty, and wellness in East Nashville. One of our favorite things about Lemon Laine is their oil bar, curated by Clary Collection, which allows you to create and walk away with a custom facial oil, all while sipping a glass of champagne. It’s the perfect way to “treat yourself” in Nashville! Ciao Insider Tip: Be sure to ask the owner, Laura, for her top recommendations. She's insanely knowledgable and sweet!
American Threads, located in Edgehill Village, makes the top of the Ciao "Where to Shop List" for many reasons. With its fashion-forward, reasonably-priced bohemian clothing, it’s the perfect place to put together an outfit for a night on the town in Nashville. All of the sales associates are incredibly helpful and make shopping at American Threads such a fun and easy experience. You’ll hit the Nashville streets in style after a stop at AT!
You’ve probably seen Amelia’s Flower Truck all over Instagram. Who wouldn’t want to make their own bouquet from the back of a vintage pickup truck? Be sure to check their Instagram to see where their mobile flower stops are going to be parked each day. It changes day-to-day, but you can usually count on finding one parked on 12th South or in the Gulch. Grab a few blooms and have a friend snap your photo, or create something special for your honey or friend.
White's Mercantile is self-proclaimed general store for the modern tastemaker, and we couldn't agree more! Housed in an old gas station, this trendy, highly-curated spot is the perfect destination to pick up a gift made from local artists & designers for all your friends back home.
Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from White's, and on the same popular street of 12th South, Imogene + Willie is the place to hit for custom denim. Not only is this insanely stylish town favorite great for clothing, it's also impeccably decorated and hosts events in its outdoor space from time to time.
Castilleja is every Ciao Gal's dream. Not only does it have the cutest and most colorful products, like vintage rugs and disco ball mugs, it's also filled to the brim with tons of affordable clothing and body products. If you're in the Edge Hill area, it's a definite spot to see!
If you're looking for a bit of New York in Nashville, Two Son offers a beautifully curated selection of your favorite hard-to-find brands. Be sure to check out if they have any fun pop-ups or events happening in-store, while you're there.
The "I Believe in Nashville" murals are located at various locations throughout the city, and are a great way to document any trip to Nashville. The most popular one is located on 12th South in an alley way between Draper James and Sprinkles Cupcakes. Be warned: the lines can grow insanely long! Best to grab a cupcake or sweet tea from Draper James, while you wait.
2608 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204 |
The angel wings are located in the Gulch and are definitely one of the most Instagrammed spots in Nashville. There's usually a line you have to wait in, but it's 100% worth it! You can head over to the Thompson Hotel directly across the street post photoshoot for drinks at the rooftop bar.
302 11th Ave. S. Nashville, TN 37203 |
The "pink wall", as we like to call it at Ciao, is located in East Nashville and is a perfect, but less-frequented spot for Instagram with your best Ciao gals! It's on the side of the Beauty Supply store, and might be tough to locate at first. Ciao Insider Tip: Be sure to swing by Barista Parlor in East for a coffee before or after you snap your pic.
714 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 |
The iconic blue and white stripes at Draper James, Reese Witherspoon's flagship clothing store, are the perfect spot to snap some colorful photos. After you get the perfect 'gram, be sure to shop around at Draper James where they serve you complimentary sweet tea as you browse.
2608 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204 |
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