While New York and Las Vegas are undeniably the big bachelorette weekend destinations, Nashville has quickly risen to the top of the list with an inimitable appeal that is perfect for a final bridal-themed hurrah. With its spirited honky-tonk, incomparable music history, and mouthwatering offerings of Southern food, it’s no wonder more and more groups are heading to Music City for a pre-wedding celebratory getaway. But don’t just get swept up in the flashy fun of Broadway and the piles of indulgent barbecue, there’s also plenty of polished dining and cultural activities to explore, too. Below, our guide to organizing the perfect bachelorette weekend in Nashville.
Where to Stay
In the heart of The Gulch neighborhood sits The Thompson, a hip hotel where comfortably luxe rooms have a Southern-inspired twist. You’ll notice the Nashville touches as soon as you enter the lobby, where a vintage turntable and vinyls from the local Third Man Records can be found; once in the rooms, you’ll appreciate floor-to-ceiling windows, plush beds and sliding barn doors.
Nestled inside the historic Gray & Dudley Hardware Company, The 21C Museum Hotel offers an avant-garde take on boutique hotels. As its name implies, the striking space is also a museum—which you’ll notice shortly after being greeted by the blue penguin statues in the lobby—filled with galleries that rotate artwork. Ultra-contemporary rooms designed by Deborah Berke offer stylish touches like Malin + Goetz toiletries.
Opened earlier this year, The Fairlane Hotel is also one to consider, with its sleek, mid-century aesthetic. The 81-room hotel includes a 1970s-inspired penthouse and is set to open an offshoot of New York City’s cult deli, Mile End Delicatessen, in March.
Where to Dine
Start your day with a trip to Biscuit Love, where you can order everything from “bonuts” (fried biscuit dough with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote) to savory buttermilk biscuits with cheese grits, local sausage gravy, fried chicken and eggs. Another winner in the breakfast game, Pancake Pantry attracts hordes of carb-seeking people—it’s worth the wait. Made from scratch varieties include sweet potato with cinnamon cream syrup, cornmeal with bacon, Georgia peach, and apple-walnut.
No trip to Nashville is complete without authentically Southern eats. Arnold’s Country House serves classic meat-and-three in a no-frills, cafeteria-style setting. Fill up on roast beef, country-fried steak, mac and cheese, and other traditional dishes. For barbecue, the massive downtown location of Martin’s offers plenty of seating, an open-air beer garden, and games for making unbelievable meats even better. Think tender brisket and fall-off-the-bone ribs, plus hush puppies and cornbread hoecakes. When it comes time for fried chicken, the ever-popular Hattie B’s Hot Chicken will satisfy the craving. Spice levels go all the way to “Shut the cluck up!”
When you want to throw on less casual clothing and head somewhere with cocktails, Germantown’s industrial-chic 5th & Taylor is set inside a warehouse filled with fiddle leaf trees, sleek mirrors, and vibrant, oversize artwork. Despite its sky-high ceilings and openness, the ambiance still allows for an intimate feel. Their menu of delicious small plates like truffle-honey duck wings, bacon-wrapped quail, and a citrusy beet salad make it a great place for a group dinner, too.
If you plan in advance enough, a meal at Husk is not to be missed; the Rutledge Hill restaurant set inside a 19th-century home has a bustling open kitchen that you pass on your way to your table, which will feel like dining inside someone’s home. Abiding by the principle that if you can’t find it in the South, you won’t find it on your plate, chef Sean Brock’s ingredient-driven menu changes often. There are some hearty standbys you can turn to, though, such as the creamy shrimp and grits, and Bear Creek Farm beef tartare.
To keep the spirits going, some notable bars worth checking out include Old Glory, housed in a 1920s-era boiler room and found behind an unmarked door, and Bastion, which is outfitted with built-in bleachers, vintage arcade games, string lights and eclectic refurbished décor.
What to Do
Grabbing a few beers and chilling out at some of Broadway’s honky-tonk bars is a given. Each locale is famous for its own reason and features live music daily, bringing in a balanced mix of locals and visitors. From the lavender-painted Tootsie’s to the part-time-boots-store Robert’s Western World (where you can get a classic fried baloney sandwich), each one has a different vibe. Nudie’s is decked out with millions of dollars worth of country music memorabilia, such as bedazzled costumes, while Acme Feed & Seed offers “an updated take on the classic honky-tonk” they call “funkytonk.” Don’t miss the rooftop patio, which overlooks all of downtown, providing views of the Cumberland River and Nissan Stadium.
Pinewood Social combines a lot of things in one vast, retro-inspired space awash in teal neon lights. Head over after dinner for cocktails and a few boozy games of bowling.
Country music buffs or art enthusiasts should head to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Frist Art Museum, respectively. Be sure to dedicate an evening to hearing live bluegrass at The Station Inn or the historic Ryman Auditorium, which has launched many a career and is frequently deemed one of the best performance venues in the world.