Yee to the Haw, we’re talking the heart of country music and instagram lifestyle bloggers today aka NASHVILLE.
I have lived in Tennessee my entire life but have only visited Nashville 3 times (I know, its kinda crazy). I went twice as a kid and recently I went for the day with one of my friends who lives nearby.
There is a LOT to see and do in Nashville, but I think what we did in 8 hours would allow for anyone to get an overall vibe of the city and experience the perfect mix of hipster East Nash and Honky Tonk Broadway.
Our first stop of our day trip to Nashville was High Garden Tea House. This place looks like something straight out of Harry Potter and smells amazing and slightly overwhelming. Dried plants hang from the ceiling adding to the magical and whimsical environment.
There are multiple walls lined with shelves of tea ranging from fancy ceremony quality oolong to funky mixes that are filled dried roses and fruits. We spent at least 15 minutes smelling and staring at the extensive collection until I finally impulse chose a tea that was a mix of dried honeysuckle and black tea. I’ve always thought I was quite the tea drinker since I have boxes of Yogi tea stacked in my cabinets but per usual, I have no idea what I’m doing and I know nothing.
The environment of the tea house is really inviting. There are books, cards and boardgames stacked on shelves and little signs everywhere saying that it was a not a place for work and laptops but for conversation and connection. Overall we spent around an hour or so here just enjoying our tea, talking and looking around. I think this place is definitely worth the stop and gives a good intro to the *~hip~* East Nash vibe.
Shopping and Lunch
The friend I went with is vegan, so we knew we wanted to eat somewhere that would accommodate her lifestyle. I love a good plant based meal especially one made with fresh and whole ingredients. There are tons of options in East Nashville but we ended up eating at The Wild Cow and oh my gosh, it was amazing.
Since I currently don’t eat gluten, and I was a vegetarian for almost a year, I know how hard it is to find truly delicious food (at restaurants) that accommodate dietary needs but this place nails it! As an appetizer we got chips and cashew queso which we ate all of, for the main I got the buffalo tofu bowl with sautéed kale and vegan ranch. It was incredible. I don’t have pictures but I’ve linked the restaurant below. Even if you aren’t vegan this place is worth checking out!
While waiting on our table, we did some shopping. Welcome Home is a eclectic boutique in the same complex as the restaurant, they have books, candles, decor and locally made goods. Everything was beautifully curated and I wanted to buy EVERYTHING.
After a confusing search for the Grand Old Opry and a drive around a shopping mall
**pro-tip: That Grand Old Opry is not the OG Grand Old Opry**
We decided our quintessential Nashville experience would be found downtown.
Yes, above is a picture of a tractor pulling a tour group while passing by a horse drawn carriage.... I don’t know why I expected anything less.
Nashville is fun and is SUCH a musical city, every bar had live music that floated into the streets and created a really cool energy.
There are music stores and dive bars and chain restaurants lining the main road. We tried to stop at the most “authentic” areas that capture that real honky top feel. Our first stop was Ernest Tubb Record Shop. It was lined of country music memorabilia, records, and merchandise for sale. And it featured the shrine to Loretta Lynn.
I won’t lie, Nashville can be corny, especially if you’re from the south. The area brings out the southern stereotypes and people awkwardly wearing cowboy boots. Downtown is filled with bachelorette parties and girls nights and guys night outs and families and everything in between. ITS BUSY. That’s important to know before going, especially after exploring the more low-key Eastside, because it can be overwhelming. Once I started to embrace the bustle, it was a pretty good time.
Our last stop was Tootsies, a 3 story Honky Tonk with musicians at each floor and a rooftop bar.
We explored all 3 floors, each playing a different type of music, but found the first floor to be our favorite. The guy was receiving CRAZY tips to play everything from David Allen Coe to Gary Allen and Toby Keith. I’m not the biggest country fan in the world but I like old country (I don’t understand me as a person either) and when I’m Rome/Nashville... do as the tourists do.
We ended our night on the roof of Tooties,, enjoying the skyline but mentally exhausted and ready to leave the crowds. Just keeping it real LOL.
So there you have it! My guide to a day in Nashville. This is by no means a comprehensive guide but I think what we did gave us a good idea of both sides of this popular destination.
YALL COME BACK NOW, ya hear.