Falling in Love With Nashville

Orchid bar in Nashville

Oh Nashville. I love you.

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve met anywhere in the States that I’ve fallen for this much, this quickly. Not even San Francisco. If Nashville was on Tinder, I’d be super-liking every day.

From the moment I turned the corner onto 2nd Avenue on a stroll towards Broadway, the city’s main party street, I instantly felt a buzz I’ve never really picked up from another US city. Country music and rock’n’roll covers drifted from the bars. Lively chatter from locals and holidaymakers alike filled the air.

In my brief visit to the more built-up central area, I felt very safe and welcome – walking back to the hostel after catching some live music, I didn’t once feel nervous or threatened. Obviously there are definitely dodgy areas like anywhere else, but in the main tourist-friendly areas of the city it really did feel like an incredibly welcoming place towards visitors.

Sit back with a snack, this is a long one…

Nashville buildingsNashville barsNashvilleNashville The StagNashville awesome carNashville Downtown Hostel

Nashville was a pretty exciting prospect for a few reasons. One, I was really looking forward to the city as a whole. And two, we were spending two wonderful nights in a hostel in the Downtown area. We’d spent the past few hot, sweaty days camped out in tents, so I was incredibly excited to get myself into a proper bed for two nights.

That meant AIR CON. Sweet heaven.

Plus, the Nashville Downtown Hostel is really, really cool. Each room is named after a famous musician/band, and the six of us girls rocked up to ‘Bob Dylan’ to dump our belongings before embarking on a boot-stompin’ Nashville night out.

Nashville cowboy bootsNashville Cowboy Boot Store

On the way to an evening of line dancing, we stopped by to pick up vital supplies for the evening at Nashville Cowboy. Yes, they sell cowboy boots. And a lot of ’em. We’re talking wall-to-wall boots, in every colour of the rainbow.

Alright…we didn’t actually pick any up because I definitely didn’t have $300 to spend on a fancy new pair. But after trying some on and strutting around, a new life ambition is definitely to own some of these babies. Yee-ha indeed.

Nashville Wild Cowboy SaloonNashville Wild Horse Saloon CocktailLive Music in Nashville Wild Horse Saloon Live Music

The Whitehorse Saloon sits on Nashville’s 2nd Avenue, and you won’t miss it due to the model horse perched outside. Line dancing

Before getting our dancing shoes on, we raided the bar for some pricey but tasty cocktails. Aka necessary dancing fuel. We sipped our cocktails from souvenir glasses while a live band played along. Nashville is THE place for live music, I swear – every bar we went to had a band playing. I guess it isn’t called ‘Music City’ for nothing! I wouldn’t place myself as a huge country fan, but it’s such easy music to listen to and enjoy.

I’ve done line dancing once or twice before, but luckily we had an instructor up on the stage to walk us all through our grapevines and triple steps. The dancefloor was absolutely packed and it was such a fun experience. Until I line danced a bit enthusiastically and hurt my feet from excessive stomping, at least…

We ended the night in Tequila Cowboy, where two other Trek groups joined us for one big party, dancing the night away and singing along to some classic rock given a country twist. And I may or may not have danced with an elderly Elvis impersonator…

Nashville Bridgestone Arena 2Nashville old buildingsNashville churchNashville Peg Leg Porker

After jumping out of my hostel top bunk (by jumping, I mean carefully scaling the very precarious ladder), we headed down for breakfast and a full day of exploring Nashville. Aiming to see as much as possible, we took a walk beyond the bright lights of Broadway to see another side of Nashville.

As we strolled past the impressive Bridgestone Arena (where Drake was playing that very night!), the scenery started to change. In place of honky tonk bars we found older buildings, like the Union Station hotel which definitely gave me vibes of London’s St.Pancras.

We were headed for the Gulch neighbourhood – formerly home to the downtown railroad terminal and now a hotspot for the community of young urbanite Nashville dwellers. Full of bars and restaurants, it’s definitely an area of the city I’d love to delve a little deeper into.

But we were on the hunt for something specific. Nashville probably isn’t the first city you think of when it comes to street art, but tucked away in the Gulch area you can find some pretty awesome murals.

Nashville Wings street art

The What Lifts You wings mural is probably one of the better known wall-painted sights in the city. Created by artist Kelsey Montague, her #WhatLiftsYou campaign focuses on creating empowering and uplifting images. These intricately painted wings are 20 feet high, and took 60 paint pens to create. There’s also a smaller pair of wings for kids and pets, if you’ve got them in tow.

If you’re a big street art fan, check out some other murals you should see in Nashville.

Nashville Third Man RecordsNashville Third Man RecordsNashville Third Man Records

So Third Man Records is super cool. It’s owned by Jack White of The White Stripes fame, and has a recording studio as well as a record store.

Aside from actually selling records, the store was filled with interesting things to look at and awesome decor. Merchandise, images, a little machine where you popped in a quarter and some monkeys did a dance…there was also a listening booth, where you could check out some of the records at your leisure.

I didn’t actually spend much or buy any records (I don’t even have a record player anyway…), just bought some stickers and guitar picks, but it was still really cool little place to have a look around. The decor is amazing, the staff are friendly and there are loads of little oddities scattered around the store.

I also picked up a flyer for a gig the next day and got sad that Joyce Manor had a Nashville gig THE DAY WE WERE LEAVING. I really want to go to a proper rock show in the states, but nothing I liked seemed to coincide with my trip. Boo.

Once we’d done our exploring, we headed back to the hostel for some lunch in the kitchen, and headed back out to see the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Nashville reflective building

On the way, we walked past this beaut of a building. The Pinnacle building is definitely the prettiest skyscraper I’ve laid eyes on. The reflective glass catching the sky and clouds almost makes it look see-through. Can we have one in London please?

In case you were getting excited for it…I’ve decided to leave the Country Music Hall of Fame for another post. Even though we were only in there an hour, I have loads of photos and this post is already pushing 1100 words and you’ve probably run outta snacks by now…

(I’ll just say, my one tip is, if you’re not a huge country fan and just want a quick look around, head there an hour before closing as we got our tickets half price and still managed to see everything I wanted to see in the hour!)

Nashville Acme Feed and SeedNashville Acme Feed and Seed 3Nashville Acme Feed and SeedNashville Nissan Stadium

I’ve already banged on a bit about how good the food at Acme Feed & Seed was in my post all about my five best meals in the States, but it really is such an awesome place, it deserves a mention in here too. Spread across multiple floors, with one dedicated to sushi(!), it offers up live music and great eats, as well as a sprawling rooftop garden with epic views over Broadway, the Cumberland River and the Nissan Stadium.

We grabbed our food from downstairs, and headed up to find a table on the rooftop. There’s a handy bar up there, mainly useful because the elevator up there can take a while to arrive with room to squeeze in.

We ended our last night in Nashville on such a high, I was really sad to be leaving – I could have happily line danced a few more days away in this wonderful place.

I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of a lot of places I’ve visited so far. One thing I’ve really loved about visiting lots of places in a short space of time is being able to find out the places I really want to explore in more depth.

And Nashville is most definitely one of those places.

Previously on my East Coast USA trip: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Sightseeing on Two Wheels in Washington, D.C.
Check out the full TrekAmerica Atlantic Dream itinerary.

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If you're visiting Music City USA, Nashville, here are some things to do!

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  • reneejessome

    Nashville was never on my travel list but it totally is now!!

    Renee | Life After Lux

    • It’s such an amazing place, I love it so much now!

  • Love the Pinnacle building! I have been to Nashville, but have never really explored downtown! I went to the American Pickers store, Gaylord Hotel, went to an Ed Sheeran concert there. But I have never really explored one of the bigger parts, downtown! Thanks for the insight!

    • I’d have loved to do a concert there, that’s so cool!

  • Nashville looks amazing! I’ve always wanted to go to the US and Nashville would definitely be on my hitlist once I was there. Love your photos chick, I hope you’re having an amazing time! x

    http://www.alwaysalice.co.uk

    • Thankyou lovely! πŸ™‚

  • oh my! makes me want to go and experience it all for myself . That ‘see through’ building looks absolutely magical.
    You standing with those angel wings is just an adorable picture, I would have done the same myself.
    Thnak you for a great post andlook forward to seeing all about the music hall πŸ™‚

    • The wings is such a cool mural, right?!

  • Christine Dodd

    What a great place – I would definitely have come home with cowboy boots

    • Haha I was definitely VERY tempted!

  • I have fallen in love with Nashville after watching the TV show. Did you get a chance to go to the Bluebird Cafe?

    • I’ve never actually seen the show (but feel like I need to watch it now!). I didn’t unfortunately, another reason to go back though!!!

  • Nayna Kanabar

    Nashville looks so lovely I love the photos and all those boots they are awesome.I would want to buy them all.

  • Sophie

    Wow every time I read your post, somewhere new gets added to my travel list!
    Sophie
    x
    A Story of a Girl

    • Sorry not sorry for being a wanderlust enabler!!

  • I am so jealous you have been to Nashville, I really want to go to here and New Orleans and all that area! Your travels looked amazing x

    • New Orleans is next! The Deep South is definitely super cool!

      • Wait, so I literally just missed you in NOLA??

        I loved Nashville: Grimey’s is probably my favourite US indie record store (ooh, post idea…). Are the boots still buy one pair, get two pairs free?

        Lis / last year’s girl x

  • Your photos are amazing! Nashville probably wouldn’t have been top of my list but it actually looks great. The food looks so tasty, definitely going to be reading your 5 best meals post next! Love your blog layout too btw!

    • It was never a huge deal for me but it just shows how places can be even more amazing than you expect. And thankyou!

  • Mellissa Williams

    We loved Nashville! It’s a shame you didn’t see a show. We went to the Grand Ole Opry and it was amazing

    • I wanted to go there but ran out of time/cash! Next time!

  • Yeee-haw! I would love to visit Nashille one day. Amazing photos. xx

    http://www.annanuttall.com

  • Jessica

    Can’t blame your affection with Nashville. It looks homey and fun to spend some days.

    • It was definitely a lovely place!

  • Kacie

    Nashville sounds so colourful and vibrant – totally my kinda place πŸ™‚

  • Nashville looks like an amazing place to visit. Love the cowboy boots

    • Still sad I didn’t pick some up!

  • Melanie Edjourian

    Wow it looks great there. I would love to go sometime. The food looks great and the boots looked cool.

  • Nashville is on my bucket list of places to visit. There is so much music and songwriting history there and I would love to experience all one day. Reading your post reminded me of that. Thanks

  • Hannah Heartss ❄️⛄️

    Gosh I would love to be able to go to Nashville one day!

  • Charlie Elliott

    Oh it’s so pretty, I’m desperate to visit!
    Cx
    Charlie, Distracted

  • What a gorgeous city – it looks like so much fun! All these photos just scream *America*, I’d love to visit one day πŸ™‚

  • I’ve wanted to visit Nashville since seeing it on Sonic Highways and this post is only making me want to visit more! It looks like such a gorgeous, music filled place, its definitely high up on my bucket list!

    -Carryonbeautiful.com

  • It sounds amazing! I’d love to give line dancing a go!