Nashville's Lower Broadway in the afternoon.

Discovering Nashville: Bucket List Things to Do

See Nashville's more "local" hot spots like charming 12South.

Not a day goes by that I haven't missed the slow mornings, welcoming accents and sweet details that line the charming streets of the American south. And Nashville has a great mix of this and booming excitement. 

There's just something about the pace and lifestyle of the south that captures my heart a little more each visit.

To kick off the summer, Brian and I set out to escape the San Francisco fog and see what local Nashville, Tennessee had in store.

Full of music, bars, barbecue and boutiques galore, here were my favorite local finds from a week in town:

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1. Nights at the Hutton Hotel

Have a boutique stay at the Hutton Hotel.
Photo Credit: Christina Morgan

After a quick pop into the Hutton during a cross-country road trip a few weeks before, there were no questions about where to call home base for our stay. Smack in the center of downtown, across the street from Nashville's most famous hot chicken at Hattie B's and near famed music row, the Hutton oozes with music city hospitality, in a modern way.

From the very entrance where trendy neon lights line the valet to signal the welcome of entertainment, to the contemporary southern decor in the lobby and bar, and the sleek pop art and skyline views from the rooms, closing out long days of exploring here is an absolute highlight.

The pop-up espresso bar to kick off those slow mornings doesn't hurt, either.

2. Barbecue (All of It)

Mornings run a little later around here (and we weren't around long enough for a Sunday brunch), so barbecue tended to be our first meal of the day.

Spread across the city, Edley's, Hattie B's and Acme Feed + Seed are each highly recommended stops. You can't leave the city without trying at least one.

3. Pinewood Social

This may easily be one of my favorite restaurants/bars/coffee shops/bowling alleys I've yet to find. In fact, I'm sure it is, because it's the only one! Whoever came up with this hipster-trendy-combination, rec.-center-on-a-hillside idea with great food, coffee, cocktails, decor, bowling and a solid vantage point is genius, and every city everywhere deserves one.

The talk about the town is that Pinewood Social was seen as a peculiar concept at first, and people weren't really sure what to expect of the "social club," but now the 13,000 square ft. center stays packed (but not too packed) with cafe go-ers, study hall-ers, meal seekers, cocktail indulgers and bowling novices and enthusiasts, just about 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day.


4. Boutiques Galore

If there is one thing that will bring me back to Nashville, t is the shopping. Every boutique and country corner store is seeping at the brim with charm, and I really had to hold myself back to keep our explorations moving along!

Draper James, White's Mercantile, that adorable outdoor flower shop next to The Frothy Monkey coffee shop, every other door in the 12South neighborhood.

Dear Nashville boutiques, I'll take one of everything.

Love, Christina.

5. Music!

No trip to Music City would be complete without a taste of its namesake, and I am always in search of the local flavor, so off into the crowds of CMA Fest we went.

The city was packed on our first night in town for the close of CMA Fest, and wow does the place light up! All of downtown around Nissan Stadium was swarmed with people, not to mention the 88,000 fans inside. It was the largest stadium event I'd been to since a Florida State football game, and the crowd was just as pumped.

Our final venture into the local scene was a night at the Grand Ole Opry, the live music radio show that made country music famous. We missed out on a Dolly Parton appearance, but sitting in the crowd of this tradition is definitely a "visit to Nashville" rite of passage for any American.

Next time, we'll have to build in room for brunch, honky tonk bars and more boutiques!

Is Nashville on your list? Where would be your first go-to spot?

@currentlyexploring was welcomed as a guest of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. All opinions and local finds are my own.