Nashville, Tennessee has exploded in popularity for girls’ getaways and bachelorette parties. But with great Southern food, a powerful sense of community, and rich music and arts scenes, you can have an amazing weekend here as a solo female traveler. This itinerary for 2 days in Nashville, chock-full of advice from locals, will help you experience the best of Music City without the party-hard crowds.
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Table of Contents
Best Time to Visit Nashville
Nashville is a great year-round destination, but the city is most lively in warm weather. Summer is the most popular time to visit, particularly when Bonnaroo Music Festival takes place in nearby Manchester in June.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly music festival, Musicians Corner in May and June and Live on the Green in August both offer free outdoor concerts each year.
If you are visiting other parts of Tennessee on your trip, definitely go in the fall! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has amazing fall foliage. Nothing says autumn more than sipping a moonshine or Tennessee whiskey under gorgeous red, orange and yellow leaves.
I recommend avoiding the height of the summer crowds and visiting Nashville in April and May or in September and October.
How to Get to Nashville
Nashville International Airport (BNA) has a number of direct connections to major cities all over the US and Canada. To get from the airport to downtown, you can take a taxi for a flat rate of $25 or you can take bus #18 for $1.70. Lyft and Uber also serve the airport and are legal.
Nashville is also very well-connected to US highways, sitting at the intersection of I-65, I-40 and I-24. Navigating highways around Nashville can be stressful, but it is still the best way to get around.
Getting Around Nashville
Nashville is one of the few places I consider it worthwhile to keep a car, but if you do need to rely on public transportation, WeGo Public Transit offers all-day unlimited bus passes for $4 per day.
All major car rental companies are represented in Nashville and you can secure a ride at the airport.
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Nashville
Music City Hostel is your most budget-friendly option with 4-bed female dorms costing about $33 per night, which is a typical price for hostels in the US. Rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable. The location is about a 20 minute walk from Music Row.
Hostelling International has a downtown Nashville location on 1st Avenue N, just a couple blocks from Broadway and Ryman Auditorium. This is a more convenient location if you’d like to spend your evenings trolling the Honky Tonk Highway but you get far less bang for your buck. A 12-bed female dorm is $40 per night on weekdays and $50 per night on weekends.
Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Nashville
Nashville is reasonably safe for solo female travelers, particularly in more touristy areas near Broadway. In most cases, you can walk by yourself at night, but if you are in a dark, sparsely populated area and have more than 5 to 10 minutes to walk, it’s best to call a rideshare service.
Your biggest risk as a solo female traveler in Nashville is simply feeling like a sore thumb. There are plenty of things to do and most restaurants won’t bat an eye at your requesting a table for one. But especially in the popular tourist areas, you may feel surrounded by vacationing families and bachelorettes in search of the nearest hangover. All the more reason to get a little off the beaten path. Nashville is an incredibly friendly city and you’ll be welcomed in a lot of local hotspots.
What to Pack for 2 Days in Nashville
For a full list of everything I travel with, read my complete packing list for solo female travelers. These are a few items I consider must-haves for Nashville.
Nashville style is pretty laidback. You can do without the cowboy hat and boots, but it’s worth wearing a good pair of jeans. My favorite brand of denim right now is Everlane.
If you’re traveling in summer and not used to hot weather, stick to breezy sundresses.
Like most destinations, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes in Nashville. For summer travel, Teva Ysidro Sandals are a popular choice for stylish comfort. (You may want to get half a size up from your usual size.)
For day bags, I prefer TravelOn’s anti-theft cross body bags. They’re just less conspicuous than backpacks.
Day 1 in Nashville
Brunch at Saint Anejo
Kick off a Saturday in Music City the right way — with a serious glass of sangria and a breakfast burrito the size of your head. Saint Anejo is the best brunch in Nashville (and there are a TON of great brunch places in Nashville!) and is conveniently located a short walk from Broadway, the main sightseeing strip downtown. The uniquely Latin-inspired menu with dishes like horchata French toast and classic huevos rancheros is a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Dig into Country Music History
From Saint Anejo, walk to Broadway where you’ll find Nashville’s iconic string of honky tonk bars… and a sea of people sightseeing. I don’t recommend spending a lot of time on Broadway due to the crowds. Just take a brief stroll to get a taste of the area and then head for one of the country music museums nearby.
I was admittedly not impressed by the Johnny Cash Museum. I love Cash’s music and many of the exhibits were high quality, but the museum seemed poorly managed. The ticket buying process was confusing due to very long, very disorganized lines. A staffer, desperate to speed up the line waiting to enter the museum, took me and a few others in through a back door, which was a nice gesture in theory, but it meant we saw all the exhibits out of order. It was hard to get my bearings and it negatively impacted my experience. I would recommend this only if you’re a big Johnny Cash fan, and if you can visit early when the museum opens right at 9am before going to brunch. Tickets are $20.95.
So what museum IS worth visiting in Nashville? Ryman Auditorium, home of the original Grand Ole Opry, has a fabulous self-guided tour with high quality multimedia exhibits showcasing the history of Nashville’s greatest attraction. The Grand Ole Opry began as a radio program in 1925 and is responsible for launching some of the biggest names in country music. The Grand Ole Opry still broadcasts performances from a new venue, but the Ryman is its birthplace. Even if you’re not a big country music fan, this is a must-see and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of Nashville’s history and deep love for music. Tickets are $24.95.
Grab a Bite (or Seven!) on a Nashville Food Tour
Nashville has a great food scene with a heavy emphasis on Southern classics. Cobble together lunch on a DIY Nashville food tour or join a guided group. If you’re pressed for time, focus on the Nashville Farmers Market which has tons of great restaurants and shops in its indoor food hall. Try a hot dog at The Picnic Tap with pimento cheese and coleslaw, one of Brightside Bakeshop’s savory sausage and cheddar brioches, or Southern fried shrimp at Delta 61. Grab something sweet at Butter Cake Babe or the cult-worthy Jeni’s Ice Cream whose cones boast creative flavors like brambleberry crisp and sweet cream biscuits & peach jam. Batch is a great stop for souvenir shopping — pick up a Nashville themed cookbook or biscuit mix.
Catch Live Music Over Dinner
When it comes to finding live music in Nashville, you’re spoiled for choice. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World are some of the most famous joints on the Honky Tonk Highway, but be prepared for major crowds. Lots of restaurants book local musicians. Acme Feed & Seed is a popular choice on Lower Broadway. If you’re staying at Music City Hostel, the most convenient spot is The Row Kitchen & Pub, which serves good burgers, classic Southern entrees, and a huge variety of local Nashville craft beer on tap.
Sing Karaoke on Printer’s Alley
If you care to take the mic yourself, there are a lot of karaoke joints in the city. I recommend heading to Ms. Kelli’s Karaoke Bar on Printer’s Alley. It’s just down-to-earth enough to feel a little divey without drifting into sketchy territory.
Printer’s Alley is an attraction in its own right. Over a hundred years ago, this historic district was home to printers, publishers and newspaper galore. It’s been a nightlife destination for a long time, bridging the decades from saloons to nightclubs.
Day 2 in Nashville
Chase Down Great Coffee and Street Art in 12South
Spend your second morning in Music City in one of its trendiest neighborhoods. 12South is named for its main thoroughfare 12th Avenue South. It’s full of great coffee shops, boutiques and street art. When you only have 2 days in Nashville, a visit to 12South is the easiest way to quickly see a bunch of murals.
Grab a coffee at Frothy Monkey or Portland Brew and then hit the streets. Here are the addresses of major Nashville murals in 12South.
- a field of graffiti flowers lies at 2900 12th Ave S
- “Make Music Not War” 2902 12th Ave S
- “PeaceLoveGoodDeeds” 2705 12th Ave S
- “I Believe in Nashville” 2702 12th Ave S
- a set of sharp blue and white stripes mark Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s preppy cool boutique at 2608 12th Ave S
Try Nashville Hot Chicken
After a long history in the Black community, Nashville hot chicken skyrocketed in popularity about 15 years ago. The recipe is about as simple as it gets — it’s fried chicken, but extra spicy. I mean, bring tears to your eyes, make you question your morals spicy.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the OG recipe, and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish has also been serving up the cayenne-packed birds for decades. The hugely popular Hattie B’s is a more recent addition and has a couple locations around town.
A word to the wise: do not ever tempt the fates by ordering the extra hot. I’m pretty sure the spice levels above plain old hot exist only for folks in Nashville to laugh at clueless tourists.
Work a Letterpress at Hatch Show Print
Call me a nerd but this is the coolest tour in Nashville. Hatch Show Print is the country’s oldest running letterpress, in operation since 1879. The shop, now moved from its original location into the Country Music Hall of Fame, has created posters for classic country stars, rock shows, circuses, tent revivals, and political campaigns all with its well-worn vintage aesthetic. On a tour, you’ll learn about the history and operation of the shop, see some of their most iconic posters, and make your own souvenir print.
Have Dinner (and So Much More) at Pinewood Social
Pinewood Social might be hipster paradise. The expansive property in an old renovated trolley barn is an uber-trendy cafe and workspace by day and blossoms into an upscale bar and restaurant at night. The dinner menu is basic American fare and the cocktails are amazing in quality — the mezcal-based concoction I tried may have been the first time I took a sip of a drink and thought “Yeah, that’s worth $13.”
What really sets Pinewood Social apart, though, is its recreation. Inside is a full bowling alley (albeit with steep prices), and outdoors is a huge patio with table tennis, bocce, and a swimming pool. You can really spend an entire day here.
What to Do with More Than 2 Days in Nashville
Cheekwood Estate boasts 55 acres of botanical gardens and a gorgeous historic mansion.
A replica of the Parthenon presides over Centennial Park, but many visitors don’t realize you can actually go inside!
Get to know the local watering holes on Elliston Place like EXIT/IN, Corner Bar, and Hurry Back.
About 30 minutes from Nashville, Hop Springs Beer Park is a craft brewery experience worth day tripping for with dozens of taps, a sculpture garden, nature reserve, disc golf, and live music twice a week. I especially recommend the unique brews from Mantra Artisan Ales like Saffron IPA and Japa Milk Chai Stout.
Enjoy Music City after dark with one of these 21 things to do in Nashville at night.
Is 2 Days in Nashville Enough?
Barely. But after a couple days, you will have gotten the perfect introductory taste of Music City and its big down-home heart.