401 11th Ave. S, The Gulch
Nashville’s hip factor reaches new heights at this hotel in the Gulch. The city’s relentlessly cool neighborhood is adjacent to both Music Row and Downtown, and the Thompson’s central location means there’s easy access to landmarks like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Frist Art Museum. Inside, guest rooms epitomize rustic chic—hardwood floors, repurposed sliding barn doors, and subway-tiled bathrooms give off a Brooklyn-meets-Dixie vibe. And Marsh House draws in the locals with a menu of fried oysters, gumbo, and snapper crudo.
Proper Sake Co.
628 Ewing Ave., Pie Town
Sake may be rooted in Japan, but the stuff served here has a taste of the South. Brewmaster Bryn Stithem ferments rice grown in Arkansas in a slew of barrels—some left over by local distillers—for a distinct yet subtle flavor. Stop in for a tasting and to learn about the process. It’s a pleasant surprise in a town more associated with beer and whiskey.
123 S. 11th St., Five Points
“This is my favorite place for flower deliveries,” Aldridge says. Owners Alex Vaughan and Quinn Kiesow’s space in East Nashville is filled with arrangements that include bunches of wildflowers and romantic combinations of blush- and peach-colored roses and dahlias. There are also shelves filled with potted greens, succulents, and terrariums that make great gifts.
200 4th Ave. N, Downtown
This gift shop (at the Noelle) is “a great place to find a curated collection of local products and gifts,” says Aldridge. Inside the pretty store you'll find a tightly edited selection of painted ceramics, jewelry, bags, and clean beauty products and hosts various pop-up events throughout the year.
516 Hagan St., Wedgewood-Houston
This Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood standby is usually full of locals, who feast on crunchy baguettes with butter, mushroom and ricotta toasts, pickled veggies and salads, and authentically French croissants. Grab a box of chocolate chip pecan cookies on your way home for the perfect late-night snack.
High Garden Tea
935A Woodland St., Five Points
Leah and Joel Laravell are longtime herb and tea obsessives and the partners behind High Garden Tea. Leah brews her own tonics and tinctures inspired by old Appalachian remedies, and the rustic, cabin-style shop is the kind of place where you want to linger for hours (something the Laravells heartily encourage). Shelves and counters are stocked with herbs, spices, and whole-leaf teas, and everything is sourced from organic and ethically wildcrafted sources. There are also house-made kombucha and cactus kefir available, and the owners host monthly workshops for those looking to learn about herbalism, tinctures, and the simple beauty of a good cup of tea.
516 Hagan St., Wedgewood-Houston
This Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood standby is usually full of locals, who feast on crunchy baguettes with butter, mushroom and ricotta toasts, pickled veggies and salads, and authentically French croissants. Grab a box of chocolate chip pecan cookies for later—they make the perfect late-night snack.
Mop/Broom Mess Hall (Closed)
1300 3rd Ave. N, Germantown
“This Germantown restaurant is run by the same team as another favorite, City House. It’s family-friendly and a must-visit,” says Lily Aldridge. The healthyish, Southern-inflected food here includes chili cheese chickpea fries (made with cashew cheese sauce and vegan chili), charred collards with garlic and hot sauce, and roasted cauliflower with chorizo, pickled red onion, and pepitas.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
410 4th Ave. S, Downtown
If nothing else, come here for the Redneck Taco. It’s famous in Nashville—and not just for the controversial name. It’s not so much a taco as a heaping pile of brisket, sausage, pulled pork, fried catfish (whatever you like) and coleslaw on top of a cornbread “hoe-cake.” We’ve never seen anything like it. There are long communal tables, and the huge space has a rustic cabin feel (plus dartboards and Ping-Pong tables), so it’s ideal for large groups and families.
1115 Porter Rd., East Nashville
Our favorite breakfast spot in the city is found in East Nashville, at Café Roze. Grab a seat at the long marble bar and settle in for a crazy good avocado shake (made with kale, banana, almond milk, and bee pollen) before a bowl of savory oats, served with a poached egg, mustard greens, and roasted shiitake mushrooms. The space itself is light-filled and cheerful, and it’s an ideal place to start the day.
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