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A week after spending 4 days in Savannah with family, I booked a flight to join my cousin for a weekend in Nashville, TN. We both expressed our interest in doing more domestic travel this year and Tennessee came to mind. Chasing the deal over the destination, my cousin chose Nashville.
Being a Black American woman from NYC traveling to the South, I received a lot of questions in my DMs asking if we felt safe in Nashville. I’m pleased to say that everyone we interacted with was very nice and welcoming. Like all the trips I’ve taken this year, I didn’t have many expectations, but I had such a fun time. If you need ideas for your next trip, here’s a quick guide to spending 2 days in Nashville, TN.
Traveling to Nashville from NYC
Traveling to Nashville from NYC is about a 2-hour non-stop flight so it is a great place to visit for a short or long weekend getaway. Depending on the season, round-trip flights can be as little as $45 on a low-cost airline. I booked my flight two weeks before traveling and spent about $100 to Nashville International Airport non-stop from Laguardia Airport.
Where to stay in Nashville, Tennessee
Doing my research after our weekend in Nashville, I learned that Nashville is one of the most expensive cities in the US for accomodations. We stayed at the Radisson Hotel Nashville Airport which is about a 15-20 minute drive from Downtown Nashville.
The Radisson was very clean, the staff was nice, and there is a restaurant and lounge area on-site, and a snack station if needed. Since we only stayed two days in Nashville, it was convenient for us. For a more detailed post about where to stay in Nashville, you can check out this post and read reviews on TripAdvisor.
Getting around Nashville
With an exception of taking the WeGo public transportation bus from the airport to Downtown Nashville on our first night, we used Uber and Lyft to get around Nashville. On average, we spent between $7-18 for rides and the most expensive was about $40 getting to our hotel from Downtown on Friday night. Since we’re go-with-the-flow travelers on a short trip, we appreciated when our drivers gave food and activity recommendations.
How We Spent Two Days in Nashville, Tennessee
Since we were visiting Nashville for two days, we wanted to check out the best things to do in Nashville and as much as we could with our limited time. Instead of creating a 2 day itinerary, we decided to let the locals give us suggestions for a self-guided tour. Here is how we spent 2 days in Nashville and other suggestions that you can add to any weekend in Nashville itinerary.
Visit the Museums
We love museums and Nashville has a museum for pretty much any type of traveler. History lovers can visit the Tennessee State Capitol and Museum which is one of the oldest working capitol buildings in the United States. One of the first sites we saw on our first night was Woolworth on 5th a site in Nashville that hosted one of the first sit-ins during the Civil Rights Era. If you’re interested in learning more about Black History in Nashville or the Black Experience consider this Black-owned virtual tour by United Street Tours which has great reviews on Trip Advisor.
Visiting Music City calls for learning about and experiencing the great music that Nashville has to offer. In addition to checking out the Ryman Auditorium which is the birth of Bluegrass music, we visited the National Museum of African American Music, which is an interactive museum that shares the evolution of 400 years of Black music in America and how Black music has influenced other popular genres of music.
If you have time, you can also go to the historic Music Row to visit RCA Studio B, learn about the history of country music at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Music City Walk of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum which is within walking distance of each other and take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry house which is about 15 minutes driving distance from the downtown area.
One thing that is a must wherever I go is to buy something at a local gift shop. Part of our weekend in Nashville was spent in several local shops to buy jewelry and accessories for ourselves, friends, and family, and took fun photos at Music City Creative Co. I bought some cute bracelets from this boutique and Kris bought a hat from Trail West on Broadway.
Where to Eat in Nashville
Eat Nashville Hot Chicken: Hattie B’s vs Prince’s Hot Chicken
You can’t visit Nashville without trying Nashville Hot Chicken. When asking the locals where to get Hot Chicken in Nashville, some would say Hattie B’s has the best, while others say it is Prince’s Hot Chicken. Whichever you choose, there will almost always be a line. On our first day in Nashville, we went straight from the airport to Hattie B’s.
We shared a Large Plate that included two sides and ordered desserts and drinks each. To test, we ordered chicken with Medium heat, but it wasn’t hot enough for me. I later requested the Hot on the side, but it still wasn’t enough. Seeing my disappointment, one of the servers gave me a chicken tender with the “Damn Hot” level and I learned that Hattie B’s Damn Hot was for me.
Before heading back to the airport, I made a quick stop at Prince’s Hot Chicken and I was pleased at the first bite. On top of them understanding the assignment when it came to the heat level, their chicken was well seasoned. When rating the two franchises, I’d choose Hattie B’s for their sides and desserts and Prince’s for their chicken.
Dinner at Willie B’s
After an afternoon of exploring and shopping in Downtown Nashville, we went to Willie B’s Kitchen and Lounge for dinner. Willie B’s is one of the local restaurants in Nashville’s Buchanan Art District. After finding out it is a Black-Owned Business, we definitely had to support it. The menu contains food inspired by New Orleans; we loved the mac and cheese, menage a trois shrimp platter, and I enjoyed the frog leg appetizer.
Family Style Breakfast at Monell’s
As suggested by one of our Uber drivers, we went to Monell’s on our last day for a homemade full-country breakfast. It’s a family-style restaurant so guests sit at a full table to share a meal that includes smoked sausage, bacon, biscuits, and gravy, pancakes, scrambled eggs, cheese grits, fried chicken, corn pudding, coffee, tea, and more!
What made the experience more enjoyable was their no cellphone rule so we were encouraged to speak with each other. We had a great time chatting with our table mates about the food, things to do in Nashville, and travel, the food was terrific and the price was under $20 per person.
Whiskey & Moonshine Tasting
Whiskey tasting is another must-do when visiting Tennessee so we took a trip to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery which is a revival of the original Tennessee Whiskey company. The Distillery offers daily tours every hour. If you miss the tour or it sells out, you can still enjoy self-guided tastings. I highly recommend eating something before tasting as there is no food offered in the distillery.
Luckily for us, Bad Luck Burger Club had a pop-up at the distillery and the burgers were amazing. After our whiskey tasting, we walked over to Tennessee Legend Distillery to sample their Whiskey, Moonshine, and Cream Liqueurs. There are also many day trips from Nashville offering wine, whiskey, craft beers, and moonshine.
Enjoy the Nightlife
If you’re a country music fan, Nashville is the perfect place to be. Enjoy free live performances between 10 AM and 3 AM every day at the Honky Tonks, music venues, or a rooftop bar. Since Nashville is called Music City, you’re not only getting country music; there’s a mix of rock, pop, hip hop, and more live music.
We spent Friday night walking up and down Honky Tonk Highway letting the sounds of the music pick our stops. Some of the best spots for us were Nudies, Lucky Bastard Saloon, The Second Fiddle, and AJ’s Good Time Bar. In addition to there being no cover charge, at any given moment, a famous country music star just might pop in to perform.
I hope this quick guide to visiting Nashville inspired you to take a trip to the Music City. For our first time in Tennessee, it exceeded our expectations and I would definitely go back to see more. If you found this mini Nashville guide helpful, share it with your social community below.