nashville weekend getaway

Ginger Parker works on Amelia’s Flower Truck. (Photo: Marriott International)


1 Nashville Weekend, 5 Ways: Locals Share Their Secrets

Nashville may be known as Music City, with honky-tonks galore, but the city offers oh, so many facets to explore. From the diverse food scene to the bustling shopping districts and a colorful art scene — and yes, plenty of live music — there’s something for everyone.

We spoke with five local heroes to help you make the most of Nashville. Read on to learn what they recommend doing with a weekend in town, no matter what your style.

For the Art Aficionado

Museum lovers will appreciate a visit to the Frist Museum, housed in an art deco former post office.

nashville weekend getaway
Get an arts fix in Nashville. (Photo: Getty Images)

But don’t overlook Nashville’s street art scene. Nathan Brown is a muralist whose vibrant palette has a strong presence in Nashville.

To find the best murals, he suggests heading to the Elliston Place parking garage. “About eight of us painted it. Every level has artwork, and I did the top floor,” he says. Other artists in the garage include Chris Zidek, Tess Erlenborn and Emily Miller.

Another great way to explore Nashville’s art scene, according to Brown, is the First Saturday Art Crawl. Head downtown the first Saturday of the month and see what the galleries along Fifth Avenue and in the historic arcade have to offer. Not only can you peep locally created art, but many of the galleries offer free wine to sip while you peruse.

For the Foodie

Kyle Patterson, executive chef of the fine dining establishment Sinema, is a fan of the city’s offerings for carnivores.

nashville weekend getaway
Inside Sinema. (Photo: Anthony Matula)

One of his can’t-miss spots is Butchertown Hall in Germantown.

The restaurant pays tribute to the neighborhood’s roots and the German immigrants that worked as butchers. Patterson says, “A lot of my food and a lot of my focus is going to be on presentation because I believe that you eat with your eyes first. But with them, it’s just, ‘Here’s your meat. It’s on the board. Eat it.’ And to me that’s just so appealing and simplistic and good.”

He also recommends hitting up the city’s best barbecue spots. “Martin’s has the best brisket. Edley’s has the best wings. And B&C Farmers Market has the best sides,” he says.

nashville weekend getaway
The team behind Sinema. (Photo: Marriott International)

Brown offers Rolf & Daughters as another alternative. Of the seasonally driven restaurant, he says, “It’s the epitome of a great atmosphere and some of the most incredible food you’ll ever eat.”

For the Music Lover

No trip to Nashville is complete without a dive into its eclectic music scene. It’s often associated with country music, but as Q. Taylor, owner of Sinema, points out, “The city is kind of embracing all types of and styles of music and artists and taking chances. It’s beyond country music now.”

The Ryman Auditorium, located downtown, is a mandatory stop for music lovers in Nashville. It was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. It sat vacant after the Grand Ole Opry moved, and it faced demolition but was saved in the 1990s.

“It’s the Mother Church,” says Taylor, “It’s got a great intimacy about it, and the people that work there have been there for a very long time, so they treat you like family when you’re coming in to get a beer or get a snack and enjoy a good live show.”

You can take a guided tour of the Ryman and catch acts like Ringo Starr and Dwight Yoakam. Other spots on Taylor’s can’t-miss list include 3rd and Lindsley, Douglas Corner Cafe and Ascend Amphitheater.

For the Instagrammer

If you have a penchant for snapping pics, Nashville is chock-full of spots fit for the ‘gram. Ginger Parker works on Amelia’s Flower Truck, a roving, build-your-own bouquet flower shop. The converted VW bus is, as she says, super Insgtagrammable, with its exposed back sporting a plethora of blooms in buckets.

Checking out the flower truck also gives you a chance to explore whichever neighborhood it’s in, like the Gulch, where you’ll find the charming Southern food eatery Biscuit Love.

The Gulch is also home to Kelsey Montague’s WhatLiftsYou angel wing mural. “That’s a coveted spot for a lot of people,” says Parker. If you want a shot with the famed wings, be prepared to wait. As Parker says, “There’s always a huge line in front of it.”

If you can’t get enough of Nashville’s murals, Parker suggests taking a guided mural tour. Don’t forget to charge your phone!

For the Style Enthusiast

In a city on the rise like Nashville, it’s no surprise that there’s a bustling fashion and style community. Barrett Ward created the brand Able as a way to give women living in poverty in Ethiopia a chance to work for a living wage.

nashville weekend getaway
Give back when shopping at Able. (Photo: Marriott International)

It started with scarves and has since grown to include leather handbags, denim and clothing. You can visit its shop in the Nations neighborhood.

When it comes to sustainable fashion in Nashville, Ward suggests visiting Nisolo in the arts district. It’s a women and men’s shoe company that works with Peruvian and Mexican artisans that are paid a fair wage and given benefits.

Down the street from Able’s store is Thistle Farms. Here, women survivors of trafficking create natural beauty products like lavender body butter and essential-oil blends.

For a one-stop-shopping destination, Ward says to visit 12 South. “It’s a very fun and established shopping district that has come to bear over the last 10 years.”

To truly experience Nashville like a local, book early and save up to 20% at participating Marriott International hotels.