If you love music, you’ll love a weekend getaway to Nashville. Although it’s known as the country music capital, you’ll find plenty of places with live performances ranging from indie rock to 90s hits to bluegrass to country pop to the classics.
Nashville is just a 90-minute flight from our local airport in DC, so it was super easy for us to hop a 7:30 pm flight on Friday and return on Sunday evening. We had such a great time and can’t wait to go back one day and do it all again.
In our “weekender” posts, we’ll tell you where we stayed and what we did with 24 to 72 hours in interesting cities around the U.S. and beyond. Here’s what we did in Nashville, Tennessee.
Where to Stay
When we head somewhere close to home for a weekend, we’re usually looking at accommodations that give us the most value for our travel miles. On this trip, we scraped together our points from Southwest Airlines, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and World of Hyatt. So, we got to stay at the swanky Grand Hyatt Nashville, which is somewhat of a destination on its own and perfectly located to explore all the fun on Broadway. As you’ll see below, we enjoyed the restaurants, rooftop pool, and spa at the hotel while also being in the heart of all the action.
Check In and Check It Out
After you check in on Friday evening, you’ll probably have a few hours to explore the nightlife on Lower Broadway. If this is your first trip to Nashville, you’ll probably be shocked by the staggering number of bachelor and bachelorette parties that dominate the scene on Broadway: bars on wheels, wigs on Woo Girls, dudes in matching paisley sets, lots of booze, long lines, and big crowds.
Get ready for next-level people watching — but also prepare for waiting to get into any venue on Lower Broadway. A decade ago, you could bounce from place to place on the main strip, but now that seems like a useless endeavor for anyone older than 30. Pro tip: Just walk a block away from Broadway or up away from the river, and you’ll find plenty of places with live music and a crowd-size that suits you.
I know that most locals wouldn’t go anywhere near Lower Broadway on a weekend, but as a traveler, you really need to experience the madness. Think of it like the Las Vegas Strip meets the New Orleans French Quarter — but it’s smaller and has phenomenally talented musicians playing at every bar (and even at the Taco Bell around the corner … like for real).
After we checked into our hotel, we walked down Broadway to gawk at the spectacle for a bit and then settled into the Twelve Thirty Club, which was clean, had only a short line to get in, and offered a spacious bar and a great band.
If you’re hungry on your way back to the hotel, grab the most delicious hot dog you’ve ever had from the vendor out front of the Twelve Thirty Club, if he happens to still be there.
Wake Up and Explore
Nashville has plenty of museums to explore. Across the street from the Grand Hyatt, you’ll find the Frist Art Museum, which has a great collection of contemporary art. About a 15 minute walk way, you’ll find the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Patsy Kline Museum, and more. You may also want to check out the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, or the Bridgestone Arena.
But let’s be honest, a weekend in Nashville — like a weekend in Vegas or NOLA — probably needs to include some day drinking. So head back to Lower Broadway to check out the live music scene in the afternoon. We really enjoyed watching Sadie Campbell perform at Tequila Cowboy, which is right near Jason Aldean’s, Luke Bryan’s and Kid Rock’s multi-level establishments (and are all owned by the same restaurant group.
If your looking for breakfast or brunch near the Country Music Hall of Fame, check out Kitchen Notes in the gorgeous Omni Hotel. Kitchen Notes serves an elevated but classic American breakfast — and the Biscuit Bar is a nice added touch.
You’ll want to check out the view from a rooftop bar. We went to Famous for a cocktail before taking a late afternoon nap.
Dine Around the Town
There are so many great places to eat in Nashville and with only 48 hours in Music City, we’re certainly no experts.
We have to say, however, that the fine-dining restaurant at the Grand Hyatt — the Continental — was so good that we had dinner there both nights. The delightful dishes presented modern twists on classics and were so, so good.
We did have a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich for lunch on Broadway while checking out the live music scene and again at the airport (and they both were great) but we know there are many better options to seek out on Google and YouTube. So do some research or just try your luck like we did.
For dinner, note that many places were already booked, so if you have a few chefs or restaurants in mind, you’ll want to make reservations well in advance of your trip.
Enjoy a Few More Moments
When you wake up on your final day in Nashville, you’ll probably want to hit some of the spots you missed the day before — so go check out some of those fantastic museums or maybe just find a Bloody Mary and nurse your hangover after all the fun you had last night.
We opted to get massages at the schmancy Grand Hyatt spa, which was a perfect way to unwind and recharge. Then we had a bite to eat at the rooftop pool bar and enjoyed the city view for a bit before heading back to the airport. If you couldn’t tell, the Grand Hyatt really was a central part of our experience on this trip. It was pretty darn pricy but we found a great deal on points, which made it worth it. If you’re looking for something less expensive or your loyalty is with other brands, there are plenty of spots near the convention center — which is also just a short walk from everywhere we mentioned.
Have you been to Nashville? What’s your favorite thing to do? Let us know in the comments.