Back in March, Steve and I decided to spend the day exploring Nashville. It’s only about four hours from Oxford which isn’t exactly close, but it was a worthwhile excursion when we felt the tug of spontaneity. When we arrived, we parked near the river for $5. We walked all over the downtown area and walked in and out of boot shops. Every other bar had someone singing country songs. We walked from the pedestrian bridge to The Gulch in search of the angel wing mural. That evening, we ate at a place called Taco Mamacita (as per our friend, Rebecca’s, recommendation) and visited the famous Bluebird Café just to say we saw it. We were fans of the show Nashville for a bit and this café is often featured.
At the end of September, we spent a weekend in Nashville with a group of international exchange students. This allowed us more time to explore, eat, and check out all the major Nashville to-dos. After a workday and a bus ride, we arrived in Music City at about 11:30pm starving and ready to explore. We found a place called Fleet Street Pub. This British inspired pub features darts, decent burgers, and the restroom doors were made to look like phone booths. Steve enjoyed the music selection as the Pub was blasting Rage Against the Machine when we walked in. It was a pretty cool find.
When we woke the next morning, we had a lot on our list of things we wanted to see and do. We walked from our hotel near the Nissan Stadium to East Nashville, which wasn’t exactly meant for pedestrians. Along the way, we found a few murals, stopped into little shops, and saw a treehouse bar.
We were headed for a place called Mas Tacos that Yelp and our Uber driver the night before recommended. Mas Tacos was a place that got us in and out, served water out of a gaterade container, and only accepted cash. It wasn’t the best tacos we’ve ever had, but the double wrapped tortillas are a thing we’re fond of.
We made our way back to the city center to meet up with our friends before going to the Parthenon, a full scale replica of the one in Greece. It was built in 1897 as a part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. This structure is massive and seems kind of random, but there was a Taco Festival happening nearby. The park is clearly used for big events and draws a crowd. If you’re wondering why we weren’t at the Taco Festival, it’s because it sold out before we could even get tickets.
We then headed to find the “I Believe in Nashville” mural which is located right next to Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James. While walking around the area by the mural, we spotted a little RV that said S’more Love Bakery. How cute! Steve and I shared a “happy camper” s’more. They even had little moist towels for when you get sticky.
Last time we were in Nashville, we were told we just had to try Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. We made sure to fit this into the weekend’s itinerary. Steve and I shared a triple scoop bowl of churro, roasted strawberry buttermilk, and mocha black cherry. I sure am making it sound like all we did was eat. But, we also did a ton of walking. It’s called balance.
We made a point to check out the state capitol building, the park near it, and the pedestrian bridge. All Nashville staples. We learned a bit about Tennessee and just beyond a fountain display were dozens of quotes and facts about Tennessee rivers. For dinner we shared a pizza at The Stillery (thanks, Yelp) where we also heard a couple of singers rotate out to play live music. Ahh, the essence of Nashville.
I am really glad that before calling it a night, we went to Pinewood Social Club. This was SO cool. It features a coffee bar, a beverage bar, tables that look like they’re meant for studying, dining tables and booths for eating, a bowling alley, and an outside area with bocce ball, ping pong, a pool, and dozens of comfy chairs to relax in. I mean, they have it all. If I lived in Nashville, I’d be here every weekend.
Nashville feels like a breath of fresh air to us. It’s an American city with country roots, honky tonk bars, but a metropolitan skyline and vibe. There are bachelorette parties everywhere, pedal taverns and bike bars, and music trickling from every doorstep. After the first day we spent in Nashville, I didn’t know how to describe it well. But, with a few more days of experience in Nashville, it seems like a modern place with an eye for typography. Nashville seems split between the southern, honky tonk, “yes ma’am” culture that runs parallel to a love for hockey, electric buses, and breweries. It’s no wonder that Nashville is one of the fastest growing American cities.