It’s always a good time to take a road trip to Nashville, home to a plethora of music, delicious food, rich history and lots of opportunities to take in the scenery. Here are a few ways your whole family can enjoy the city during your excursion.
The grandfather of all hot chicken, Prince’s Hot Chicken serves up the flaming stuff to eager locals and travelers alike. Order yours however hot you want it: from plain to mild, medium, hot, XHot and XXXHot. This mouthwatering chicken isn’t for the faint of heart, but it sure will have you coming back for more.
Some of the best brunch items you’ll ever taste can be found at Garden Brunch Cafe. Serving up omelettes stuffed with fresh vegetables and herbs, fluffy pancakes, champagne apple French toast, fish and grits, grilled chicken and apple salad and more you’re sure to find your new brunch favorite. The coffee and mimosas are always flowing at this inviting establishment.
Nashville's first 100% plant-based, southern-style eatery is The Southern V; and it's where you go for comfort food. Gluten-free and vegan options of southern classics include made-from-scratch biscuits, fried chicken, patty melts, chicken salad, Nashville hot chicken, barbecue nachos and so much more. Cap your meal with one of their fresh donuts, biscuits or other sweet treat.
Speaking of sweet treats, Shugga Hi Bakery and Cafe knows how to get your mouth watering. Stop in for delectable baked goods from cookies to coffee rolls. Be there for brunch very Saturday and Sunday to dive into their signature chicken & waffles, omelets, breakfast bowl and steak and eggs. Be sure to order a side of cheese grits, breakfast potatoes, country ham and so much more.
For a sweet start or end to your day, head over to The Cupcake Collection where locals and travelers come for the sugary confections packed with flavor. These aren’t your everyday cupcakes as Mignon Francois and her team craft delicious cupcakes in a variety of flavors from sweet potato, red velvet, cookies n’ cream, strawberry lemonade and birthday cake.
Started by three Nashville natives and Tennessee State University graduates, Slim & Husky’s serves up deliciously cheesy pizza and local craft beers. You can build your own pizza or choose one of the artisan pizzas like Rony, Roni, Rone that has three types of pepperoni on top, Red Light Special, their take on a Margarita pizza or the Nothin But A “V” Thang which includes vegan cheese, onions, peppers, corn and a bean Ragu.
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish is the place to go when you’re craving catfish, hot chicken, wings, ribs, seafood or sandwiches. You can’t order wrong here. Try the hot chicken sandwich or tenders with potato salad, spaghetti or mac and cheese. The spicy catfish plate is a must-try while the slab of ribs will have you wanting seconds.
Some of the world’s most respected artists perform at City Winery. The establishment’s eclectic list gives visitors ample reasons to return. Audio acoustics are prime thanks to Meyer Sound. Guests are treated to an intimate setting and comfortable views of the stage. A full menu and drink list is available for you to make it a concert to remember. A balcony area and attached skybox are also available.
Take in late night jazz music from renowned musicians at Rudy’s Jazz Room. The venue serves up New Orleans-style atmosphere, food, libations and music all night long. The kitchen turns out dishes and drinks until 11 p.m. Sundays to Wednesdays, midnight Thursdays and 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Seating for shows is first come/first serve and tickets are usually sold at the door.
Kick back and have a laugh! Go to Zanies Comedy Night Club to catch touring comedians like Brad Sativa, Arnez J, Chelsea Handler, Bruce Bruce, The Hodge Twins, Nick Mullen, Tommy Davidson and so many more. Located on 8th Ave S, outside of downtown Nashville, Zanies is an intimate, phone-free venue. Before each show guests secure their phones and smart watches in Yondr cases, accessing them only at Phone Use Areas in the venue. This ensures a quality comedy experience for everyone.
Kick back and take in a show at 3rd & Lindsley with music like rock, country, Americana, soul and blues. See performances by The Time Jumpers, Kyla Jade, Don Flemons, Emily Hackett, Vinyl Radio, The New Respects, and many more. With a full list of draft beers, wine and cocktails, it’s easy to make this venue your new hangout spot.
See bands and artists like H.E.R., Tamia, Dirty Heads, Elle King, 6LACK, Kamasi Washington, Jungle and many more at Marathon Music Works, a versatile venue with wide spaces, exposed brick walls and a cool steel beam ceiling. Enjoy an intimate performance from some of your favorite artists while enjoying Tito’s Lounge and William Collier’s which is connected to Marathon Music Works.
Serving up blues, soul and rock music with a side of signature drinks and ribs, shrimp and grits and burgers, BB King’s Blues Club is an iconic Nashville venue. Get ready to dance the night away as BB King’s Blues Club All-Star Band know how to get the party started and keep it going all night. Other musicians include Ping Rose, John Salaway, Carl Stewart and Mike Hayes among others.
Experience the Outdoors
Spend a relaxing day on the green at Ted Rhodes Golf Course located in North Nashville, named after famous African-American professional golfer Theodore Rhodes. Here, the 18-hole course features bunkers, lakes and large greens that provide a great experience for golfers. As you play, you’ll likely see fish, beavers, turtles and more.
In the heart of historic North Nashville is Hadley Park. The park, which opened in 1912, is on 28th Avenue in North Nashville, between Fisk and Tennessee State universities, two of Nashville’s historically black colleges. The park hosts numerous family-oriented activities and community events throughout the year and has a walking track, open fields, tennis courts and plenty of picnic tables. Hadley Park is next to the Hadley Park Branch of the Nashville Public Library and the Hadley Park Community Center, which has a full service fitness center with a dance/aerobics studio, offers exercise classes, and includes an indoor swimming pool with locker rooms.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile route that runs from Mississippi, through northwestern Alabama and ends far west of Nashville. Take a scenic drive along the parkway to experience waterfalls, small towns, historic sites and state parks tucked away in the rural areas surrounding Music City. Start or end your adventure by savoring the delicious biscuits and Southern food served up at Loveless Cafe.
The 55 acres that encompass Cheekwood Estate & Gardens - a circa 1929 estate home originally built by Leslie and Mabel Cheek - are filled with a botanic garden, sculpture trail and art museum, plenty to keep you occupied for a full day! There are 12 distinct gardens to explore along with the Cheek Mansion, now the Museum of Art that has preserved family rooms, galleries filled with Cheekwood’s permanent collections and even traveling exhibitions.
This easy-to-access state park in downtown Nashville, next to the Farmer’s Market, is filled with Tennessee’s history, natural wonders and is a permanent monument to Tennessee’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1996. Here, you can walk the 19-acre park and discover the 200-foot granite state map, a Pathway of History, the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains, a 95-Bell Carillon and a World War II Memorial. Native plant species are planted in 11 planters along the Walkway of Counties. Check the state park’s calendar of events to see if your visit coincides with a concert in the 2,000-seat amphitheater that offers breathtaking views of the skyline or with an event that is hosted on the expansive green space.
Step inside the immaculate Nashville Public Library and climb the marble stairs to the second floor where you’ll find the Civil Rights Room, a space for education and exploration of the Civil Rights collection which includes black-and-white photographs of the events surrounding Nashville during the 1950s and 1960s. A symbolic lunch counter can be found along with a Ten Rules of Conduct protestors adhered to during their peaceful sit-ins and a timeline of local and national events. You can even see the intersection of Church Street and Seventh Avenue North through the library’s large windows where nonviolent protests against segregated lunch counters occurred. The Room is open during regular library hours to the public.
After the home of Z. Alexander Looby, a lawyer for civil rights cases, was bombed, students and others met and marched to the Davidson County Courthouse where they met with Mayor Ben West who conceded segregation was immoral and the city's lunch counter should be desegregated. Located next to the Courthouse, Witness Walls, created by artist Walter Hood, tells the stories of the events and the people who made civil rights history in Nashville. School desegregation, marches, meetings, Freedom Rides, lunch counter sit-ins and economic boycotts are represented on the concrete walls. Witness Walls was dedicated in 2017 and is a project of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s Percent for Public Art Program.
The historical education center tells the story of Nashville’s relationship with the federal government during the Civil War. At Fort Negley Visitors Center and Park guests can enjoy two 20-minute videos, interactive exhibits, self-guided walking tours, and information on the building of Fort Negley. Walk the grounds and enjoy the expansive views of downtown Nashville.
Stop by the Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore & Gift Shop for gifts, African American literature, clothing, skincare products and much more. The shop also hosts lectures by authors, professors and experts of topics like history, culture and more.
Book a tour with United Street Tours and you may come away with a few pieces of knowledge you might not have known about Nashville. The immersive walking tours touch on the history and architecture of downtown Nashville. Take a 90-minute, 1.5-mile walking tour to learn of the stories of the first settlers, slavery and Civil Rights Movement that occurred in Nashville.
Visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Fisk University is the oldest university in Nashville. The first African-American university to receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Fisk University students were instrumental in many of the sit-in demonstrations throughout Nashville. You can learn about the university’s history and some of its famous alumni including Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Thurgood Marshall (the first African-American Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) and U.S. Representative John Lewis. You can also visit the extensive art collection in the Carl Van Vechten Gallery.
American Baptist College started as a seminary for black students in 1924. It became the center for non-violent training and activity in the Nashville area, especially the Nashville sit-in program during the Civil Rights Movement. Tours are available by appointment only.
The Alma Mater of Wilma Rudolph, Olympic sprint champion, Tennessee State University was founded in 1912 and has a rich Olympic history. Wilma Rudolph was one of the first nationally-famous track runners and was the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. Additionally, former track coach Ed Temple is in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
This historic institution began in 1876, admitting its first 11 students and was the first medical school in the South to have four-year training. Dr. James Monroe Jamison was the South’s first African-American physician to be formally trained in the medical field. Dr. Georgia E. L. Patton was the first female graduate to receive her degree in 1893.