A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Nashville Weekend Guide: How to Celebrate a Big Birthday, Music City-Style

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It’s not uncommon that I have visitors to Nashville; it’s one of those places you live where people just want to come visit you. So I was more than happy to plan a Nashville weekend for two of my best New York friends to celebrate a big birthday with food, cocktails, laughter, bear hugs and—what we do best—photo shoots.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

This post was last updated in January 2022.

Planning a Nashville weekend is easy; the hard part is narrowing down what you’re going to do. Are you coming to Nashville for the restaurants? The music scene? Nashville’s murals? A little bit of everything? I always ask friends what their priorities are before I plan them their perfect Nashville weekend itinerary.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Your Perfect Nashville Weekend Guide

Whether you’re staying three days or five, here’s a rough guide to planning your Nashville weekend.

Where to Stay in Nashville

Nashville hotels aren’t cheap, so a lot of what neighborhood you choose to stay in while in Nashville is dependent on your budget. If you’re coming to do the tourist thing, you may be inclined to stay downtown. Personally, I prefer the neighborhoods with more personality: Five Points, Lockeland Springs, Germantown, Music Row, 12 South.



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Nashville in One Long Weekend

Here’s our play-by-play of how we spent a four-day weekend in Nashville.

Day 1: East Nashville

You can’t come to Nashville without taking a taco crawl (seriously, it’s a thing), and Mas Tacos has the best tacos in Nashville. After eating an early dinner at this East Nashville staple, you can either head to Five Points to check out the local bar scene or venture into downtown for the Honky Tonks. As a local, I will not go to Lower Broad on a weekend, so a Thursday is my limit when visitors come to town.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Day 2: Hillsboro Village + Broadway

Up and at ’em and off to Fido Cafe for breakfast. This Hillsboro Village restaurant is one of my favorites as it offers a delicious all-day breakfast menu, but it’s so ridiculously crowded on weekends that I’ll only go during the week.

That sweet potato French toast is no joke, though I opted for the huevos rancheros this time around.
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Since we were already in Hillsboro Village, we walked around a bit as I showed them some of my favorite walls and murals.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

From there, we hopped in my car and drove to Downtown Nashville where I parked and we explored the area by foot.

Even though I had taken Josh and Trina to the Goo Goo Shop the last time they were here, chocolate never gets old—plus, the shop got a major glow-up—so off to Nashville’s own Willy Wonka factory we went!
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

On Josh and Trina’s last visit, we avoided Broadway for the most part. This time, it was a blissfully gorgeous fall day, and even though the street was already packed at just lunchtime on a Friday, we decided to take a mosey anyway.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Trina, who could make a garbage bag a style statement, picked herself up a new outfit with some boots to match. If you’re looking to buy cowboy boots in Nashville, there’s no shortage of options along Broadway and 2nd Avenue.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

I, on the other hand, decided hats just aren’t my thing. (You’re welcome.)

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

By this point, we needed a drink, and to escape the masses on Broadway, we walked up Second Avenue and stopped in at one of the many bars that were open midday and had seating galore.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

I hadn’t made dinner plans for the evening as I anticipated us being pretty wiped, and I was right: Instead, we arrived at Bastion the minute it opened, had a couple rounds and some nachos and called it a night. This is one of my favorite bars, but there’s also a restaurant component for which reservations are required. You can always go to the bar side and order nachos, though.

Drag Show in Nashville: Welcome to Play

After heading back to the condo and crashing—midday drinking is tiring, y’all—we all woke up around 9:30, planned to get up and head out, then went to bed for good at midnight instead. I guess this is the difference in celebrating a birthday in your mid-20s vs. your mid-30s: You’d much rather spend your Friday night catching up on sleep than losing even more of it!

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Day 3: Germantown + Nashville’s gay bars

On Saturday morning, we went down to Bicentennial Mall, one of my favorite green spaces in Nashville, for a yoga festival. There’s almost always something going on down here at the mall, but even if not, Nashville Farmer’s Market is open seven days a week and worth a visit.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

 
 

From Germantown, we went to the Tennessee Titans’ Nissan Stadium for a back-eating event. The cool part about our NFL team’s stadium is that it is connected to downtown by a pedestrian bridge, meaning you can be out and about and then walk right over to the game or event without ever needing to get in a car.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

That night, we all had dinner at the Farm House, my favorite of all the Nashville restaurants. Chefs Trey and Bobby spoiled us rotten with so many decadent fall dishes, and we wound up sticking around after to have a round or two of beers with them.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

After that, we toyed with the idea of going home as we were all nodding off into our beers, but then we rallied and went to Church Street, home to Nashville’s small collection of gay bars and also home to Play, where the drag queens congregate.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

We had a blast watching Deception and the other queens do their routines and could not wait to come the next day for drag brunch. 

Drag Show in Nashville: Welcome to Play

Day 4: drag brunch + Shops on Porter

Somehow I’ve never been to Nashville’s famed drag brunch, and Josh’s actual birthday seemed like the perfect time to go to Suzy Wong’s House of Yum. I was surprised to find that not only was this brunch a whole lot of fun, but the food was pretty tasty, too.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

We ordered the fishbowl drink to share, and quickly polished it off.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

And Josh even got a little serenade from Dolly herself (who had played Taylor Swift the night before at Play … Nashville’s a small town!).

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

I’d seen on social media that the Shops at Porter East were having their First Sunday market, so we swung by there to support my friends. The Shops at Porter East are one of my go-to stops for gifts: at Apple & Oak and all the surrounding small business.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

After the market, SVV and Ella went home, and Josh, Trina and I went down to the Entrepreneur Center for another winter market, where we were sidetracked when we saw a s’more truck. Naturally, we had to get some.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

We had a couple hours to kill, so popped over next door to Pinewood Social for cocktails in the meantime. Is there anything better than a lazy Sunday Funday with your best people? I can’t think of anything.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
From there, it was up to Germantown for Sunday Supper at City House, which is a must for any visitors coming to see me who stay through to Monday. Even Paula got to enjoy it!
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Our dinner ended pretty early, then it was back to the condo for an early bedtime.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Day 5: East Nashville + Cornelia Street Airpark

Last time Josh and Trina were here, I’d taken them all over East Nashville, so we skipped the Eastland Avenue corridor and the shops on Woodland and made our way to Cornelia Street Airpark. Every band needs an album cover, wouldn’t you say? I think this is our new one.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

This former airport was acquired by the city five years ago and is now part of Shelby Park. It’s also a popular spot for runners, bikers and—if you are us—photo shooters.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

We stopped by Barista Parlor, one of my favorite Nashville coffee shops despite its snobby hipster vibe, for a tea before we continued onto the Gulch for one last stop.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

I’d been meaning to swing by the Gulch to check out Kelsey Montague’s WhatLiftsYou wings mural, and it was truly worth the wait. At 60 feet tall, it took Kelsey 60 paint pins to create! Cool, right?

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Then, it was off to drop these two at the airport, and since it was the height of rush hour, we had a good 45 minutes ahead of us, in which we picked up Hattie B’s hot chicken for the drive and belted out 90’s tune. It seemed an appropriate goodbye.

A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Looking for other Nashville travel tips? Start here:


 

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Have a long weekend in Nashville? Here's what to see, eat, drink and do in Music City, Tennessee's capital.
Have a long weekend in Nashville? Here's what to see, eat, drink and do in Music City, Tennessee's capital.
Have a long weekend in Nashville? Here's what to see, eat, drink and do in Music City, Tennessee's capital.
COMMENTS
  • November 19, 2016

    I’m going to be in Nashville in January. I can’t wait to check out some of those places!

    • January 11, 2017

      Let me know if you need additional tips for your visit! My email is CamelsAndChocolate AT gmail =)

  • November 20, 2016
    Dianne Darlington

    Kristen, I continue to LOVE reading Camels & Chocolate!! So much info in this one for work connections, friends and relatives who come to Nashville and ask – Where should we eat? What should we do? Thank you for sharing!!

    • January 11, 2017

      You’re too kind, Dianne! I plan to add more Nashville content this year because this city changes SO fast!!

  • November 20, 2016

    I swear you could make a day of grueling chores look stylish and fun. This post makes me want to visit Nashville. So much color and life and nice views, too!

    • January 11, 2017

      And this is why I love you! I need a cheerleader in my life. Thanks, Jenna =)

  • November 21, 2016

    This looks like another amazing and well-planned weekend trip. Especially, the food pictures look delicious as always!

    • January 11, 2017

      I really hope you make it to Nashville! I will create you a Dominique’s Most Excellent Music City Adventure itinerary 😉

  • November 22, 2016

    I love those Instagram Street Art Installation Wings. Those are so cool! I’ve seen a little interactive street art with instagram hashtags, but nothing like that!

    • January 11, 2017

      And she made it with paint pens, too! Mind-blowing.

  • November 29, 2016

    Great photos! I grew up in Nashville and haven’t been back in probably 7 years. Looks like a LOT has changed and maybe I need to plan a trip back home sometime soon.

    • January 11, 2017

      It has changed SO much! I came back in 2012 after a decade gone and it’s a whole different city.

  • December 8, 2016

    I am as a person who lives outside USA, with this article I can find out many things about Nashville. Thanks for sharing

    • January 11, 2017

      I hope you come visit us here someday, Ami!

  • December 21, 2016

    You are truly the Queen of Nashville! I can’t wait to return and see what you plan for me next 😉

  • February 25, 2018
    Erica Murdoch

    Faboulous! Great food (and drink) for thought for my next trip to the US which MUST include Nashville!

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