The older you get, the harder it becomes to find a weekend to get away with just your girlfriends. So when my friend, Ali, suggested a few of our other friends and I book tickets to Nashville over Labor Day Weekend, I couldn’t have been more excited. Not only had we never been, but we were looking forward to a break from the breakneck pace of the Big Apple.
Where to Stay
We did our research prior to booking our trip and knew we wanted to stay somewhere that covered the three C’s: chic, clean, and close to everything. 21c Museum Hotel is one of the few places we discovered that covered our bases. Situated just a few blocks away from Broadway (in other words: you can safely walk home from ALL of the bars and restaurants), this modern boutique hotel is an absolute dream.
Our Deluxe Double Queen room was incredibly spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortably fit all four of us ladies–plus our luggage, which is no easy feat. There was even a little office area, tucked away in it’s own nook, perfect for the gal on the go who may need to pop open her Macbook and do some work on her weekend getaway. The bathroom was massive and immaculate, and came with plush robes, which we gladly took advantage of during our stay. We had a wonderful stay, complemented by incredibly attentive service.
But perhaps the most unique thing about 21c, that makes it stand out far and above any other hotels in the area? It doubles as a contemporary art museum. They offer site-specific exhibits across all seven of their locations across the U.S., all curated by Alice Gray Stites. The bottom floor of the Nashville location, just below the lobby, is purely dedicated to the museum, while there is also artwork peppered throughout the entryway, as well as each floor of the hotel–plus a mini art show in each elevator. The halls of 21c are particularly bustling in the evenings, when locals and tourists alike grab a drink from Gray & Dudley and roam the exhibits, free of charge.
Where to Eat
Brunch with Girlfriends
Whether you’re staying at 21c Museum Hotel or not, you simply must swing by Gray & Dudley for brunch. The space is expansive, with incredibly lofted ceilings–a welcome reprieve from the small, cramped spaces we Bitches are used to in New York. And whether you’re looking for a party brunch for a friend’s bachelorette (pro tip: order the Party Juice!) or a low key brunch to kick off a long day of touring the city, Gray & Dudley’s seasonal menu has something for everyone. The stone fruit & cheese, the Eggs Benedict, and the Dutch Baby were just a few of our favorite things we tried over the summer. 21c Museum Hotel, 221 2nd Ave. N, Nashville, TN 37201. Read our review here.
Another brunch spot that can’t be missed is one you’ll probably read about ten times over when you’re researching your trip to Music City: Biscuit Love. Worth a visit for the Bonuts alone, Biscuit Love was born out of an airstream trailer and eventually grew into two Nashville locations. Now known by tourists–and locals–as a brunch staple, there’s bound to be a line, so be sure to get there early! Various locations. Get more information here.
A Culinary Behemoth, With a Side of Live Music
We had heard a ton about Acme Feed & Seed ahead of our trip, but didn’t quite make it in (there is just SO much to do in Nashville, it’s impossible to make it everywhere). However, we passed by multiple times and it looked like such a fun spot. Nestled at the end corner of Broadway, this multi-floor locale is a bar, restaurant, and live music venue, all rolled in to one. The first floor focuses on fast-casual cuisine and craft beer with communal tables, while the second floor has more of an intimate, lounge vibe. The third floor houses The Hatchery at Acme, dubbed “the largest one-level event and music venue on lower Broadway.” Lastly, the vast rooftop looked like it would provide an epic view of nearly the entire downtown area. This is definitely at the top of our list for a return trip. 101 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201. Get more information here.
When in Nashville, BBQ is Queen
Before we were even wheels up on the way to Nashville, we knew we had to try all of the BBQ and Nashville hot chicken we could muster. One of my dear friends’ family owns Edley’s Bar-B-Que, a local staple, so that was at the top of our list. All of Edley’s meats are smoked fresh daily, and they’re also known for a number of other Southern favorites. We hit up the 12th South location, the original spot, and shared a few things. The pulled pork sandwich and the brisket platter were delicious, but the Tuck Special was the standout. Freshly smoked brisket was topped with homemade spicy pimento cheese, an over-easy egg, red and white sauce, and pickles. Need we say more? Various locations. Get more information here.
Where to Drink
Go Brewery Hopping
Believe it or not, the craft beer scene in Nashville is thriving. With more than 20 craft breweries now operating in Middle Tennessee, there is no shortage of amazing beers–or specialty beer bars–in the area. From Jackalope Brewing Company to Yazoo Brewing Company to Tennessee Brew Works, be sure to step out of your comfort zone and try some local brews! Various locations. Get more information here.
Visit a Local Distillery
Beer isn’t the only scene thriving in Nashville. In fact, spirits reign supreme. The city is known for mixed drink specials, like the Bushwacker. Head straight to the source and visit one of the many distilleries, like Greenbrier and Corsair, peppered throughout the city. You can even make a side trip to the Jack Daniels distillery, the oldest registered distillery in the U.S., just slightly outside downtown. Various locations. Get more information here.
Sip on Some Wine
City Winery is brainchild of Michael Dorf, founder of the iconic Knitting Factory, one of New York’s longest running music venues. There’s actually a City Winery in NYC as well, but we haven’t had a chance to check it out quite yet. But the Nashville location is a great spot to grab a more upscale bite to eat, sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) on tap–or perhaps even a wine flight! 609 Lafayette Street, Nashville, TN 37203. Get more information here.
What to Do
Or what isn’t there to do, really?!
People Watch on Broadway
Broadway is the main drag, going right down the middle of downtown. Spend a few minutes just walking and then stop and listen to all of the musicians, watch all of the street performers, and look around at all of the bars and restaurants that line this iconic street.
Pedal Your Way Around the City–or Hop on a Tractor
We saw countless numbers of pedal bars and tractor wagons going up and down Broadway, and all over the rest of downtown. Seriously, they were everywhere! This is clearly a very popular way to explore the city. A lot of the patrons were celebrating bachelorette parties, which seemed like a fun way to spend one of your last weekends as a single lady. We tried to book one of our own pedal tours, but they were unfortunately sold out for the weekend we were visiting, so we’d recommend booking yours as far in advance as you can.
Discover Music City’s Roots
Our mission on this particular girl’s weekend may have been to eat and drink all of the things, but Nashville has a deep history that’s worth exploring. The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry are both musts, and a trip here isn’t complete without a photo at the Parthenon. Nashville also has a very active art scene, and beautiful, unique murals are around nearly every corner. Make an effort to seek them out!
BitchBiz: This article was written independently. 21c Museum Hotel did have The Bitches as a guest for a portion of our stay. Thanks, 21c!