City Cheat Sheet: Nashville, Tennessee

With its famous honky-tonks, lively food scene, and country-cool vibe, Nashville has a lot to offer out-of-towners. An increasingly popular destination, the city is home to a growing number of chic boutiques and hip hotels, as well as institutions celebrating its music heritage. While the city has year-round appeal, a special draw for the design-minded will take place in the city February 3 – 5, when the Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville brings design luminaries, top antique dealers, exquisite displays, and more to the Music City Center. According to The Scout Guide Nashville Editor Christi Gibbs, the event is the perfect excuse to schedule the “ultimate girlfriend date,” thanks to awe-inspiring garden displays, booths of fabulous finds, newsworthy speakers, and conveniently located bars serving festive daytime spirits. Here, Gibbs shares a cheat sheet for her city filled with recommendations that design-lovers in particular won’t want to miss.

If you’re coming into town for the Antiques & Garden show, then you’re likely staying at The Omni Nashville Hotel (250 5th Avenue South) located right across the street from Music City Center, which is connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Just steps away, don’t miss Hatch Show Print (224 5th Avenue South), a working letterpress print shop that has been printing show posters for entertainers from Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton since 1875. Today you can take a tour, watch the letterpress at work, and shop their selection of historic prints.

For a true Nashville experience, stand on the same stage as Grand Ole Opry legends at the Ryman Auditorium (116 5th Avenue North), also known as “The Mother Church of Country Music;” take a tour of the Johnny Cash Museum (119 3rd Avenue South); and brave the lines of lower Broadway honky-tonks, like Tootsies Orchid Lounge (422 Broadway), where photos of its famous patrons like Patsy Cline and Waylon Jennings line the walls.

If you’re looking for a hotel with a Nashville vibe, the recently opened Thompson Nashville (401 11th Avenue South) located in The Gulch is a great choice. In addition to chic accommodations, it has a fantastic restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh called Marsh House. Pro tip: even if you’re not staying at the hotel, get a table there for its fabulous brunch.

Right across the street from the Thompson is e.Allen (312 11th Avenue South), a boutique where you’ll find carefully selected, of-the-moment designer pieces. Also in the neighborhood is local favorite Adele’s (1210 McGavock Street), a restaurant that focuses on seasonal fare sourced from local farms.

A popular tourist neighborhood that’s appealing for both its hipness and history, East Nashville is home to eclectic shops and local food favorites. You can get a sampling of Nashville’s growing craft beer breweries on the Nashville Brew Bus (505 North 17th Street), which starts its trip in East Nashville. For lunch, wait in line at Mas Tacos (732 McFerrin Avenue) or The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden (731 McFerrin Avenue) for house-made sodas and shakes—it’s worth the wait. For a delicious cocktail in a speakeasy-style environment, visit The Holland House Bar and Refuge (935 West Eastland Avenue).

Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood is where you’ll find the world-famous Bluebird Cafe (4104 Hillsboro Pike), a listening room where you hear the stories behind some of country music’s greatest hits, through performances of legendary songwriters.

While in the neighborhood, visit Providence Interiors (2209 Bandywood Drive) for home and decor inspiration in a gorgeous, high-design space, and be sure to browse their dynamite collection of unique finds. Across the street is Brooke Worthington’s eponymous jewelry shop (2182 Bandywood Drive), which features au courant pieces in understated Nashville style (you might have seen some on the CMA red carpet). Nearby, Corzine & Co. (4003 Hillsboro Pike) offers an extensive collection of tableware and gifts.

Experience the magic of the impressive gardens found on the 55-acre estate at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (1200 Forrest Park Drive). Find precious treasures for the little ones at Magpies Baby and Children’s Shoppe (6019 Highway 100), and tween trends at The Girl’s Shoppe (6027 Highway 100). For high-end furnishings and décor, go to G&G Interiors (6033 Highway 100) and be sure to shop its impressive tabletop collection. Re-fuel at The Fix Juice Co., a cold-pressed organic juice spot that Nashvillians frequent.

An excellent shopping destination, 12 South is an ideal place to spend an afternoon. For Nashville style, shop the latest trends at Emerson Grace (2304 12th Avenue South) or find the perfect pair of jeans at Imogene + Willie (2601 12th Avenue South). Drop by Ceri Hoover (2905 12th Avenue South, #105) for the leather boots you need to complete the look, and top it off with unique handmade jewelry from Judith Bright (2307 12th Avenue South).

Don’t miss the flagship store for Reese Witherspoon’s lifestyle brand, Draper James (2608 12th Avenue South), in this neighborhood, and everyone simply must go to White’s Mercantile (2908 12th Avenue South), a tasteful gift shop owned by Holly Williams (granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams). And if you need a divine sugar kick to keep you going, stop by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (2312 12th Avenue South).

Germantown is a great place to get your caffeine fix and find delicious fare. For a top-notch cup of coffee in an undeniably cool environment, visit Barista Parlor (1230 4th Avenue North), which has three locations.

Make a dinner reservation at Fifth and Taylor (1411 5th Avenue North), which features farm-to-table refined comfort food in a lovely setting and boasts a beautiful bar. Also in the neighborhood are Rolf and Daughters (700 Taylor Street) and City House (1222 4th Avenue North), which offer excellent fresh, seasonally-driven fare.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a 25-minute drive to downtown Franklin. It’s a true antique hunter’s dream, from its charming historic setting to the endless shopping possibilities. While there, hit The Iron Gate (338 Main Street) for soulful home decor in a magical atmosphere. Scarlett Scales Antiques (246 Second Avenue South) is a rustic shop in Franklin’s antique district, jam-packed with a unique selection of modern and antique finds. Then there’s The Factory at Franklin, which has a slew of shops and places to eat along with an antiques warehouse where you can find authentic Chinese pottery and other one-of-a-kind treasures.

Find additional information on what to do and see in Nashville here