Have you been to Nashville recently? Thanks to a population spurt, a thriving indie music scene and an influx of creative restaurants and coffee shops, it may be the coolest city in America right now. Here are the latest tunes from Music City.
By Sarah Khan
Photo by Acme Feed & Seed
Center of the Action
The slick new 21C Museum Hotel may be steps from the action on Honky Tonk Row, but the art-filled interiors are a world away—and Gray and Dudley, with its sculptural plates of shrimp noodles, hearth-roasted cauliflower and smoked catfish dip, is the hottest table in town. If you want to soak in the lively vibe of Broadway, do it from a pleasant distance on the rooftop at Acme Feed & Seed, with its sweeping views over the Cumberland River.
Neighborhood to Explore
The 12 South district is great for a stroll, with stops at Reese Witherspoon’s Southern-chic Draper James boutique and the gas station turned concept shop White’s Mercantile. Sample Mexican-style popsicles at Las Paletas and take your requisite Instagrams of Nashville’s famous murals (keep an eye out for the iconic “I Believe in Nashville,” opposite Draper James’ signature blue-and-white-striped façade).
Photo by Las Paletas
Photo by Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Taste the New South
For a really unexpected meal, try the Indian-Southern fusion at Chauhan Ale & Masala House: Food Network chef Maneet Chauhan’s tandoori shrimp and grits and her chutney-laced take on chicken-and-waffles will redefine your concept of brunch. Another spot with a modern outlook is Henrietta Red in tony Germantown: the monkey bread drizzled with orange and honey and the buttermilk biscuit stuffed with sausage, eggs and fennel marmalade are solid favorites.
As refined as Nashville’s dining scene has become, locals still queue up for the tried and true. Prepare yourself for long waits to sample the superb biscuits—whether in sandwich form or as a sweet “bonut”—at Biscuit Love, as well as the famous Nashville-style hot chicken at Hattie B’s. And no trip to Music City would be complete without a show. The legendary Grand Ole Opry may be a ways outside the city, but it remains a classic. You’ll watch a long lineup of classic crooners and up-and-comers alike, and if you’re really lucky, Blake Shelton or Garth Brooks might drop by for a surprise performance.