(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

Not a fan of coun­try music? Don’t wor­ry — there’s plen­ty for you to do with your girl­friends on a Nashville get­away week­end. And who knows? You just might be con­vert­ed by the end of the trip.

I recent­ly spent sev­en days in Nashville — half busi­ness and half girls’ get­away fun — and now con­sid­er myself a Nashville expert. To be hon­est, sev­en days in Nashville is a bit much. It becomes a bit of sen­so­ry over­load. Arriv­ing on a Thurs­day after­noon and leav­ing Sun­day evening is the per­fect amount of time for this kind of getaway.

First, a bit of advice:

You’re going to eat (a lot) and drink (a lot) when you’re in Nashville, so when you’re at home plan­ning your trip, I sug­gest also book­ing a spot in a morn­ing class at Booth­camp. Sure, you intend to go to the hotel gym, but will you actu­al­ly go? Sched­ul­ing (and pay­ing for) a class in advance will force you butt out of bed and get it to the gym and trust me, you will love it. The gym is super clean, the lock­er room is stocked with every­thing from tow­els and spray-on deodor­ant to bob­by pins and pony­tail hold­ers (nice touch!). I took a 7:30 class with Jor­dan and it was awesome.


(Also, take a look at Jor­dan. He’s pret­ty cute!) © Char­lene Ross

Where to stay:

You’ll def­i­nite­ly want to stay down­town. No need to rent a car. Down­town Nashville is just 15 min­utes from the air­port and overnight hotel park­ing will cost you twice the amount of a cab/Lyft/Uber ride. If you’re look­ing for a unique hotel expe­ri­ence, I sug­gest the  21c Muse­um Hotel. This bou­tique chain hous­es muse­ums ded­i­cat­ed to 21st cen­tu­ry art. (Yes, there is an art muse­um right inside the hotel.) The rooms were gor­geous, the staff is love­ly, and the ham­burg­er at the hotel restau­rant, Gray and Dud­ley, is not to be missed. If you’re more of a “I like to use my points” type of gal, Hyatt has the Hol­ston House for bou­tique hotel lovers and the Hyatt Place for those who like a free break­fast. There is also a brand new JW Mar­riott, Court­yard, and Fair­field Inn, a Hilton, and a gor­geous Omni Hotel.

Where to eat:

Frothy Mon­key is the per­fect place to start your day. The orig­i­nal loca­tion in the 12 South neigh­bor­hood is housed in an adorable bun­ga­low, but save that for an after­noon lat­te when you can wan­der­ing down 12 South to ooh and ahh over the cute­ness of Reece With­er­spoon’s Drap­er James cloth­ing store.

Frothy Monkey & Draper James on 12 South © Charlene Ross

Frothy Mon­key & Drap­er James on 12 South © Char­lene Ross

If you’re stay­ing down­town you can walk to the loca­tion on 5th Avenue from you hotel. And if you par­tied a lit­tle too hard the night before (easy to do in Nashville), the Farm Break­fast with its extra salty bacon is the per­fect hang­over cure. (A Bloody Mary to go with your cof­fee does­n’t hurt either.)

Frothy Monkey Breakfast Hangover Breakfast of Champions © Charlene Ross

Hang­over Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons © Char­lene Ross

Ger­man­town is known for its excel­lent restau­rants and the Ger­man­town Cafe is a great choice for lunch. Order the veg­e­tar­i­an bowl with but­ter­nut squash gratin, sauteed spinach, aspara­gus, por­to­bel­lo skew­ers, and a cran­ber­ry gas­trique or the salmon sal­ad. Both are deli­cious and you’ll feel a lit­tle less guilty about the glut­tony of the weekend.

If you like mar­gar­i­tas and hip­sters, Bar­ta­co locat­ed in 12 South is the place for you. The restau­rant has a beachy feel and a casu­al vibe, all of the employ­ees are young and beau­ti­ful, and the food and drinks are fresh and deli­cious. I rec­om­mend the Red Son­ja — a mar­gari­ta with fresh­ly squeezed lime juice, gin­ger, and jalapeño. Trav­el­ing can wear you down, and this drink will pick you right up.

Nashville is known more for its hot chick­en than its bar­be­cue and Hat­tie B’s Hot Chick­en is the place to get it. Stand in a line that goes down the block at the pop­u­lar Mid­town loca­tion or do what the locals do and take a ten minute Lyft ride to the loca­tion on Char­lotte Ave.

Hattie B_s Chicken Calories don't count on vacation!

Calo­ries don’t count on vaca­tion! © Char­lene Ross

Of course, I don’t mean to imply that the bar­be­cue in Nashville isn’t good. It is. And if bar­be­cue is what you’re crav­ing, Mar­t­in’s Bar-B-Que Joint on 4th Avenue is not to be missed. All of their meat is deli­cious (yes, I tried all of it, for research pur­pos­es, of course), but my rec­om­men­da­tion would be the whole hog sand­wich with Alaba­ma White Bar-B-Que sauce. And do your­self a favor and order the pota­to sal­ad as a side. Best. Pota­to. Sal­ad. Ever.

Of all the won­der­ful meals I had in Nashville (and it should be obvi­ous I had quite a few), by far the best was din­ner at Skul­l’s Rain­bow Room. Unless you want to hov­er at the bar and hope for a cou­ple of seats to open up, a reser­va­tion is manda­to­ry. I had the pork chop, which was to die for and my friend told me her filet was the best she ever had. Go ear­ly for the jazz or late for the bur­lesque, but def­i­nite­ly go.

What to do:

Whether you love tak­ing tours or usu­al­ly shy away from them, if you love to laugh, the Nash­Trash Tour is an absolute must. This is a com­e­dy tour of Nashville on a pink school bus, host­ed by the “Jug­gs Sis­ters.” Sheri Lynn and Bren­da Kay tell a lot of dirty jokes (if you’re eas­i­ly offend­ed, this isn’t the tour for you), spread a lit­tle bit of gos­sip, and sing fun­ny songs while show­ing you the must-see high­lights of Music City. They even feed you a snack (cheese from a can on a crack­er) and stop for a mar­gari­ta break. You MUST book this tour in advance because it sells out almost every day.

NashTrash Collage The most fun you'll ever have on a school bus

The most fun you’ll ever have on a school bus © Char­lene Ross

A trip to Nashville isn’t com­plete with­out see­ing the Coun­try Music Hall of Fame. Vis­it on a Sat­ur­day so you can attend a Song­writer Ses­sion and lis­ten to a song­writer share the sto­ries behind their music. You may not have heard of the song­writer, but you have like­ly heard their songs. I had nev­er heard of Jim­my Yeary, the song­writer for our ses­sion, but I was very famil­iar with many of his songs — “Every­thing’s Gonna Be Alright” cut by Ken­ny Ches­ney and David Lee Mur­phy, “Any­where with You” cut by Jake Owen, and “I Dri­ve Your Truck” cut by Lee Brice to name a few. With­out a doubt, the Song­writer Ses­sion was the high­light of my trip to Nashville.

Country Music Hall of Fame Jimmy Yeary telling his song's stories at the Country Music Hall of Fame Songwriter Session © Charlene Ross

Jim­my Yeary telling his song’s sto­ries at the Coun­try Music Hall of Fame Song­writer Ses­sion © Char­lene Ross

Of course every­one goes to Nashville to expe­ri­ence the Honky Tonks on Broad­way. Musi­cians per­form coun­try cov­ers while weav­ing an orig­i­nal song or two into their set. The music starts in the morn­ing and goes into the wee hours of the night. Vis­it Toot­sie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s West­ern World for a clas­sic dive bar feel or Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge or Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar for a more upscale mod­ern take. Cov­er charges are non-exis­tent, so if one bar isn’t your scene you can eas­i­ly work your way down the block and go to the next (and the next and the next). And be sure to bring a valid ID with you, because no mat­ter what your age, you will be card­ed. (Thank you, Nashville.)

Broadway Rooftop honky tonk bar with a view © Charlene Ross

Broad­way rooftop honky tonk bar with a view © Char­lene Ross

Sure singing along to cov­er bands on Broad­way is fun, but if you want to also see some orig­i­nal music (yes, please!) take a trip to the Blue­bird Cafe. You must buy tick­ets in advance and they sell out fast (as in — with­in min­utes). Instruc­tions on how and when to buy tick­ets are on their web­site. If you can’t get tick­ets to the Blue­bird (or even if you can) and you’re in town on a Mon­day or a Thurs­day night, head on over to Win­ner’s Bar in Mid­town for Whiskey Jam — a show fea­tur­ing six — ten artists per­form­ing three orig­i­nal songs. Old Domin­ion, Thomas Rhett, Chris Sta­ple­ton and Maren Mor­ris all played there before they were famous, so who knows, you might be lucky enough to expe­ri­ence the next big name in coun­try music.

If you want to unwind a bit with a unique and enjoy­able expe­ri­ence (and as a bonus take home a beau­ti­ful keep­sake to remind you of your trip that is not the stan­dard mag­net or cof­fee mug), con­sid­er book­ing a can­dle mak­ing ses­sion at the Can­dle Bar. You choose your ves­sel and your scent and get a les­son in can­dle mak­ing. The Can­dle Bar will ship your can­dle home for only $8.00 so you don’t have to wor­ry about giv­ing up pre­cious space in your suit­case that is already being hogged by your cow­boy boots.

Candle Bar Wall of Vessels Better than a coffee mug © Charlene Ross

Bet­ter than a cof­fee mug © Char­lene Ross

A tour of the Ryman Audi­to­ri­um is anoth­er Nashville must-see. Find out how a build­ing orig­i­nal­ly built for wor­ship grew into one of the world’s most icon­ic music halls. I found the his­to­ry of the Ryman fas­ci­nat­ing. And since you’re on a girls’ trip, let’s talk about Girl Pow­er — the Ryman would­n’t be what it is today with­out being man­aged by a woman named Lula C. Naff from 1920 — 1955. In fact, some peo­ple cred­it her with sin­gle-hand­ed­ly turn­ing Nashville into Music City.

Lula Naff Boss Lady of Country Music © Music City Walk of Fame

Boss Lady of Coun­try Music © Music City Walk of Fame

Heading Home

If you drank all the drinks and ate all the food and sang all the songs and danced to all the music and are exhaust­ed and ready to go home, good for you — you’ve done Nashville right. Just be sure to stay alert at the air­port, because you nev­er know who you might see. My girl­friend and I spot­ted Brad Tur­si, the lead gui­tar play­er from Old Domin­ion when we were at BNA. And since Old Domin­ion is one of our favorite bands, we found it the per­fect end­ing to a per­fect weekend.

Edi­tor’s Note: None of the links on this post are affil­i­at­ed, spon­sored or paid for in any way. The author enjoyed her­self enough to want to share her finds.

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