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

How to Celebrate a Birthday, Nashville Style

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”20872686″]

Two weeks ago, sandwiched between trips to Georgia and Alabama, two of my dear New York friends came to visit. And not only was it the perfect weekend weather-wise, but it was five blissful days of laughter, bear hugs and—what we do best—photo shoots.

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

You may remember Josh and Trina visited me the Memorial Day before last, along with our California pal Paula—the four of us shared an office the size of a dorm room while we worked for the fall 2011 voyage of Semester at Sea; in other words, we are very close—and I was stoked to get a second shot at showing them Nashville. Wanderlust 108 brought Trina to town for work while Josh decided to join us as it would have been really awkward to celebrate what we’ll refer to as his 33rd birthday without him.

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

And since Paula wasn’t able to fly out from California, we let her tag along in spirit anyway.

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

As the majority of emails I receive from blog readers are often pleas of help to plan the perfect Nashville weekend, I figured I’d share with you what all we got into while they were here.

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

Here’s how our weekend went down:

Thursday

I was teaching a writing workshop at the Porch when they arrived, so they let themselves into our Music Row condo, then I met them at Taco Mamacita for dinner late after I was done. This casual taqueria is one of my go-tos for a quick bite and, bonus, it has delicious margaritas, too. We had planned to go to the old speakeasy bar Old Glory next door, but the margs proved to be stronger than we anticipated, and we decided to walk back to my place for a late-night giggle fest instead.

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

Friday

Up and at ’em early. After we each knocked out an hour or two of work, it was 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 Downtown, parking at the Pinnacle building (pro tip: validate your parking at The Southern, and it’s free!).

Even though I had taken Josh and Trina to the Goo Goo Shop the last time they were here, chocolate never gets old, and so we stopped by there again—plus, I had a gift certificate to use!
A Perfect Nashville Weekend: Where to Eat, Drink and Take Photos

Their last visit was over Memorial Day weekend—plus, it was raining—and so we had avoided Broadway for the most part. This time, it was a blissfully gorgeous fall day, as so many had been, 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.

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 to the George Jones Museum instead.

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

This was my first time at the rooftop bar—and no, you don’t have to pay to get into the museum to take the elevator up—and it was a total winner.

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

While the drinks are pretty basic—not a huge beer selection and just your basic wine and liquor options—the view is unbeatable. And like many spots downtown, there was live music, even midday on a Friday.
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—usually—but we unfortunately had pretty rude service this time around; I really hope this was an isolated incident, a bad day for our server and the host, as Bastion has become one of my musts on many out-of-towner itineraries.

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

Saturday

On Saturday morning, Trina had to get up at 5am to head down to Bicentennial Mall for Wanderlust. About a year ago now, she quit her job at an architecture firm to pursue teaching yoga full time and has been working the yoga festival’s one-day events all over the country.

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

Being the good friend that I am, I headed out to check out the event, as well—though not at 6am, ha, more like 9.

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

I did arrive as the runners were taking off to do their 5K and would have loved to have stayed and done some acro and aerial—Wanderlust offers them both—but they didn’t start until the afternoon, and Josh and I had big plans in store.

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

So what exactly did we have planned? Why, sabraging champagne, of course!

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

My good friend Vivek, head of the Sabrage Society, was kind enough to let us come over to his Gulch apartment for a couple of bottles of champs before we had to be at our next engagement. His parents came up from Brentwood and his cousins visiting from New Jersey also dropped in, so it quickly grew to be a very fun Saturday morning party!

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

But we couldn’t stay long, as our next stop was Nissan Stadium, home to the Titans and also host to the weekend’s Bacon and Beer Classic, for which we had won VIP tickets.

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

This one-day event travels around the United States but focuses on beer and food from the host city. We tried so many of my favorites like Ole Shed, in addition to breweries that are coming soon like New Heights.

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

We got to hang with several of my media friends and even made new ones (bonus points to those of you who recognize who this is … I didn’t!).

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

We may have had a wee bit of fun (and a wee bit of beer) at the festival. But hey, you only turn 33 once (or in Josh’s case, a couple times…), right?

SVV drove up that night to join us for dinner at the Farm House, my favorite of all the Nashville restaurants. Chefs Trey and Bobby spoiled us rotten with so many awesome 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, then SVV and I headed back to the condo around 1:30am, just in time for him to catch a dumpster and fence aflame, call the fire department and prevent the whole building from going up in dust. A very exciting evening indeed!

Drag Show in Nashville: Welcome to Play

Sunday

Somehow I’ve never been to drag brunch—like, ever—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.

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

And, well, take more photos, because how cute is Amelia’s Flower Truck? Paula sure seemed to enjoy it.

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 S’MORES. 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 before our dinner engagement with a couple of Trina’s friends, 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

Monday

We took it easy on Monday, doing a little work before heading to East Nashville for lunch where we settled in for a feast for cheap at Mas Tacos.

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’re 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 tunes in true footlight fanny style, already plotting the next time we’d all be together once more.

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

Looking for other Nashville-planning tools? Check out these previous posts I’ve written:

PIN IT HERE

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!
    Jenna recently posted..For Your WeekendMy Profile

    • 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!
    Dominique recently posted..Seoul – One Day of Palaces & CultureMy Profile

    • 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

    Great Article with amazing photography,thank you for sharing your blog….

  • November 22, 2016

    Photos are good,thank you for sharing it.

  • November 22, 2016

    Wow what a great article,pictures are Awesome,,

  • 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!
    Stephanie Craig recently posted..A Visit to the Merry Little Christmas Market in Sofia (Photo Essay)My Profile

    • 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.
    Shawna @ UnlockAdventure recently posted..Best Daypacks for Travel and HikingMy Profile

    • 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
    Ami Mulyadi recently posted..Paket Umroh Maret 2017 Penuhi Panggilan AllahMy Profile

    • 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 😉
    Alex recently posted..My Kind of Paradise On Ilha GrandeMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

GET MY POSTS DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
+ Sign up and receive your free copy of my eBook