Weekend Wanderlust in Nashville, Tennessee

I Believe in Nashville Mural in 12 South
I never turn down an opportunity to visit a new place. That's why I visit people in different cities, tag along on friends' business trips, and try to make the most of my own work travels. I have no intention of "quitting my job to travel the world" or "quitting my job to become a full-time blogger" (I see these blog post headlines way too often), so I'm a big advocate for #WeekendWanderlust and maximizing your travels while maintaining a standard nine-to-five.

I get the opportunity to travel for work a few times a year, so when I learned I was going to Nashville, I knew I had to make the most of it. Two days before I left, I asked my friends/followers for their recommendations and I received so many responses! As I normally do when visiting a new city, I created a Nashville map in google and tagged all of the places they mentioned. This time, I'm sharing the Nashville map with you to reference on your next trip to Music City, U.S.A.

I've broken my weekend up by the four neighborhoods I visited. I did a lot of eating, shopping, wandering and mural hunting in each of them: Downtown, 12 South, East Nashville and The Gulch.

Downtown Nashville

I was working a conference at the Music City Center, so I stayed within walking distance at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown (I always book SPG and Marriott hotels to maximize my points!).

Lobby views at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown

The hotel was nice. I loved the glass elevator overlooking the lights in the lobby, but I wouldn't choose this location unless you need to be in this neighborhood. However, the free shuttle to whisk guests around the downtown area was a good perk of staying here!

In the mornings before work, I enjoyed stopping at Frothy Monkey. The coffee shop was close to the hotel and they make a great latte and serve quick breakfasts.

Redneck Taco at Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
While in Tennessee, I had to get barbeque. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint is massive with GPS trackers that show food runners where you're seated. Don't let the line intimidate you, there's plenty of seating inside. Order a Redneck Taco and head up to the Beer Garden and Upstairs Bar for the best atmosphere.

If you have any room left in your stomach after Martin's, stop by Mike's Ice Cream. This old-fashioned ice cream parlor has classic and unique flavors - like banana pudding and blackberry cornbread.

One evening after work, I took the recommendation from my Lyft driver, who was not a fan of the bars on Broadway, and stopped into Gray & Dudley for a drink and appetizer. If you're looking for a unique atmosphere that's far from the honky-tonk theme, stop in here. It was the perfect place for a solo drink with some people-watching at the bar. If you're hungry, I recommend the seared octopus. Before you leave, visit the free contemporary art galleries in the attached 21c Museum Hotel.

East Nashville

I wandered around East Nashville one afternoon and fell in love! When I go back, this is the neighborhood I want to explore more. It's further from downtown and more spread out but has good shopping and so many restaurants to try!

I Dream of Weenie hot dog stand
East Nashville Mural outside of Attaboy cocktail bar

A few of the favorite shops I stopped in were Hip Zipper for fun vintage finds, Project 615 for Nashville-inspired graphic tees, and Lemon Laine for natural beauty products.

Chicken tortilla soup and a pineapple cilantro agua fresca at Mas Tacos

I grabbed a quick lunch at Mas Tacos. It's a cool, quick-service spot that's cash only. I ordered a deep-fried avocado taco with chicken tortilla soup and a pineapple cilantro agua fresca. Yum!

12 South

This is a neighborhood not to skip. Plan a brunch, lunch or dinner here with plenty of time to browse the shops and see the murals.

Corner Music Mural
Mural by @RelaxMaxApparel

I've listed the locations of the murals on my map: I Believe in Nashville, Draper James Stripes, Make Music Not War, Flowers at Green Pea Salon and Tie Dye Nashville at Corner Music.
Amelia's Flower Truck outside of White's Mercantile in the 12 South neighborhood
As for shopping, your first stop should be White's Mercantile. Browse the accessories and home decor in the modern-day general store. Pick up a bar of Olive & Sinclare chocolate or rainbow bark from Bang Candy Company - they make for great gifts! 

Other shops to visit are Serendipity (cute gift shop with local goods), Draper James (Reese Witherspoon's clothing line) and Savant Vintage (for vintage stuff, duh!)

Before leaving this area, I stopped in Five Daughters Bakery for a lemon blueberry doughnut. The doughnut was delicious but the bakery is worth a stop just for the decor and colorful patio. Bonus: they have vegan and paleo option!

Craving something sweet other than a doughnut? Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and Las Paletas are both close by!

The Gulch

I originally went to The Gulch to visit the tourist hotspot Biscuit Love for breakfast. The line was out the door and my time in Nashville was ticking, so I wandered into Barista Parlor instead. I am so glad I did!

Barista Parlor in The Gulch

Breakfast at Barista Parlor
My latte was delicious and the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich was simple but perfect. I loved the open atmosphere and enjoyed people watching in this space.
Two Old Hippies: good shopping in The Gulch
After breakfast, I wandered around the neighborhood a bit admiring more street art and did a little window shopping before stopping at Two Old Hippies. It's a guitar store with unique gifts and books and also some great clothes and boots. I could've walked away with a lot more than just the matchbox I bought for a souvenir!
#WhatLiftsYou wings mural by Kelsey Montague

My final stop in The Gulch neighborhood was to get a photo with the Kelsey Montague wings. I've seen @KelseyMontagueArt in a few cities now and I love how her work reflects the different locations. See the guitars and cowboy hats in this one? Just be prepared for a line when you stop by.

Don't forget to check out my map of Nashville for the places I've mentioned here as well as more recommendations from my friends and followers. Let me know of any spots that should be added to the map to complete the perfect weekend in Nashville!

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