What to Do if You’re in Nashville for a Wedding
I recently realized that I’ve written this exact same email to various friends, family members, and clients a million times, so I think this blog post is long overdue. If you’re wondering what to do if you’re in Nashville for a wedding weekend, I’ve got you covered!
Even if you’re not into country music, Nashville is such a fun (and popular!) weekend destination. The tourism industry has exploded in the past few years, and it seems like suddenly everyone wants to visit Music City… And even more people want to get married here! There are plenty of country music hot-spots and tourist traps around Nashville, but for those looking for a more relaxed visit to Nashville without a ton of country music (but WITH lots of good food and southern culture!) these are my recommendations! (And, surprise, you’ll even find some gorgeous Nashville wedding venues on this list!)
One quick note: This guide is designed for you to be able to move things around to accommodate any plans you might have for a wedding! All of these attractions are open pretty much all weekend throughout most of the year, so you can mix and match activities/dining options as you see fit. Each of these activities can take as long as you want them to, but can be completed in two hours or less, including travel time.
Where to stay
If it were me, I’d stay in Germantown or 12 South because they’re large, walkable, cute neighborhoods (with lots of fun AirBnBs) that are still very close to Broadway/downtown! A lot of the restaurants and activities I have listed below are in either 12 South or Germantown, so either of these would be an easy place to start and end your day!
Definitely budget for Ubers, especially if you’re not in a big group and can’t split the cost. Nashville has so many unique neighborhoods, but they’re spread out. Nashville is not a walkable city. So if you want to see the best of Nashville in just a few days, plan to catch a ride, or rent a car!
Grab your morning coffee at Barista Parlour (if you’re in Germantown) or Frothy Monkey (if you’re in 12 South – and don’t forget to saunter up the street to Five Daughters Bakery if you’re in the neighborhood to grab a donut, too).
– Location: South of Nashville, a 15-20 minute Uber from Broadway
Grab an Uber, and head down to this stunning southern plantation home for a morning tour (led by a guide in period attire!). You might not know it, but Nashville played a huge
role in the history of horse racing in this country, and you’ll learn about it here! (Let’s just say Kentucky might get a little
too much credit!) Gorgeous grounds, interesting content, and a true southern experience. (And surprise, Belle Meade Plantation is also a stunning Nashville wedding venue
Go for a leisurely walk around 12 South, shop local, and grab lunch at Edley’s BBQ.
– Location: A neighborhood on the southwestern side of Nashville, 10 minute Uber from Broadway
My favorite neighborhood to enjoy a fun, relaxing afternoon of shopping and eating is 12 South. Have your Uber driver drop you off at White’s Mercantile, and work your way up to Jenni’s ice-cream! Grab Edley’s BBQ for lunch (by far my FAVORITE barbecue in Nashville!), and shop around at Corner Music, Draper James, Vinnie Louise, Imogene and Willie, Savant, Amelia’s Flower Truck and White’s Mercantile.
Have dinner at Husk!
– Location: Just a few blocks south of Broadway
Ohhh my goodness. I can’t say enough about the dining experience at Husk. Elevated southern cuisine prepared by a James Beard Award-winning chef in a charming historic house… Every time we’ve visited Husk, we’ve been absolutely blown away. Make reservations EARLY, and don’t hesitate to hit up the bar in the basement before you sit down to eat! By far, my favorite restaurant in Nashville (maybe even in the world).
Spend an evening at Pinewood Social
– Location: Just a few blocks south of Broadway, walking distance from Husk
You can walk from Husk to Pinewood, and I promise it’ll be worth that quick little jaunt. (And pro-tip, if you rented a car, parking is free at Pinewood, which is pretty unheard of in Nashville!) Pinewood is basically designed so that you never have to leave – morning noon or night, there are people here meeting, eating, and having fun. This place has a bar, a restaurant, a bowling alley, a pool, a coffee shop, a bocce court, a vintage airstream…. so just go and explore!
– Location: One block south of Broadway
When Tyler and I first did the whole Nashville “thing” for the weekend, we had brunch here and it did not disappoint. Again, you’ll find elevated southern cuisine here (a bit more traditional than other places!), with a full southern experience. Try the hotcakes, shrimp and grits, and don’t forget the mimosas!
– Location: Just barely northwest of Broadway, about a 10 minute Uber from Broadway
If you have time to drive down to the George Dickel Distillery (or even Jack Daniels), do so! But Nelson’s is right in Nashville, and the story behind this distillery is mind-blowing. Don’t cheat and read it online, because the tour guides do such
a fantastic job of telling this story (and of course, they’ll teach you everything you need to know about Tennessee Whiskey, too). And surprise – it’s another Nashville wedding venue!
– Location: North of Broadway, about a 10 minute Uber from Broadway
Another one of our favorite restaurants in Nashville. Pretty much all the food is cooked on their massive open-fire hearth, and the menu (and drinks) are absolutely to. die. for. (Also, the space itself is sick.) Favorites include: oak roasted marrow bones, the double brisket grind burger, and any of the tacos.
Go Honky Tonking on Broadway!
– Location: Broadway. This is the heart of the city.
If you’re going to do the Honky Tonks, Saturday night is the night to do it! (And I know I said there weren’t going to be many country music things in this post, but this is such a unique Nashville experience that you should still give it a go even if you’re not a huge country music fan!) Start at Tootsie’s and work your way down towards the river! If you need a late-night snack while you’re out, check out Acme Feed & Seed, and listen to some late-night blues in Printer’s Alley at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar.
Bonus activity: Go to Patterson House – a speakeasy in the West End. Probably some of the best drinks you’ll have in your life. It is very small, but well known among locals. You will have to wait, but it will be worth it. Promise.
– Location: Germantown, about a 10 minute Uber from Broadway
Have you had enough southern food yet? The correct answer is NO, you have not. And you certainly have not until you’ve visited Monnell’s.
Meals here are served family style, so get ready to have a nice chat with your neighbors over your skillet fried chicken! This is the BEST traditional southern food I’ve ever had, and it will fill you up for a more than reasonable price.
Get out of the city to relax for the afternoon at Arrington Vineyards.
– Location: About 30 minutes southwest of Nashville (aaaand it’s another Nashville wedding venue
!). I’ve listed this last because it is a bit of a hike to get to if you didn’t rent a car, but so worth it either way!
When we have visitors in town, this is the one place we ALWAYS go. The wine is excellent, you can’t beat the super-relaxed vibe, and the grounds/the views are so quintessential Tennessee to me. Do a wine tasting, buy a bottle, and find the perfect spot amongst the vines to have a picnic lunch and soak in the Tennessee sun. (You can also buy cheeses and snacks here, too, so don’t worry if you didn’t pack a cooler!)
Ideally, you’d stay all week and check out some other non-country music tours (like the Hatch Show Print Tour – you’ll walk away with the COOLEST souvenir), some of our state parks (like Cummins Falls and Fall Creek Falls), some of our quaint small towns (like Sewanee), a few more distillery tours (like the Dickel distillery tour), some brewery tours (like Black Abbey, Jackalope, Blackstone, and Yazoo), quite a few more restaurants (like Biscuit Love, Sambuca, The Pharmacy, Henrietta Red, 5th and Taylor, Little Octopus… I could go on), some EXCELLENT bars (like Patterson House – seriously. go. to. patterson. house.) and experience hot chicken (I didn’t include it in this post because everyone in Nashville has such strong feelings on this, but personally I’m a Prince’s girl, through and through).
BUT if you follow this guide, you’ll still get to experience traditional southern food, modern southern food, old Nashville history, and modern Nashville culture, all in one weekend!
Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, Sewanee, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Sewanee wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!