Ultimate Guide to Nashville - (the email version)


So, it's been a few (okay more than a few) days since I've stopped in around here. Hope all (five) of you are having a great summer! Patrick and I just got back from vacation last week, and I've been playing catch up ever since. One of the things I'd been putting off was responding to a friend who'd emailed me asking for recommendations about traveling in Nashville. She's going to be here for a whole week in July, and wanted to know what fun things she and her family could get into. So, this morning, I sat down to write a response... and what it turned into was something I should probably be writing for Forbes, but instead—decided to post here! Perhaps this will convince some of you to come visit the Gibsons in Nashville... or better yet... move here!

So, without further ado...



Dear [insert your name here],
Okay, so I HAVEN'T forgotten you! I've been so crazy busy the last few days, but I've been thinking about your trip and can't wait to hear more!
So it sounds like you're going to be here for a week, correct? Will you be working at all or just vacationing? There is plenty to see and do here... and lots that will be great for the kiddos too. ALSO - Patrick and I would love to have you guys over one night for dinner - or to babysit (for free) while you're here. (Not kidding.)  Just let us know what you need!!
Where are you staying? If you haven't made any plans let me know - I can try to offer a few recommendations. Also - be aware that I'm telling you a lot here about MY favorites in Nashville. So... if you're interested in twang and honky tonks... you can walk down Broadway and see that... then go see new Nashville:
Kid friendly restaurants are all around. Some of our favorites:
  • BurgerUp (an upscale burger joint with lamb burgers, quinoa burgers, bison, beef etc.)- they have a great atmosphere and books under the hostess table for kids to read during dinner. I'd go between 5-7 to be seated right away. After 7 there's usually a wait.
  • Rosepepper - Mexican Cantina - some of the food is awesome (ie, the chimichangas) plus, there's a really great hack you can do during happy hour - 2 chimichangas and 2 of the city's BEST margaritas for just $20. Not bad.
  • Bread and Co. - This is a place that you order up at the counter and can take stuff to go if you want. There's one right across the street from Nashville's largest public park, Centennial Park, and you could do a picnic.
  • Edly's - a BBQ joint (there are 2 locations) - really delicious and kid friendly.
  • Wild Cow - a vegan/vegetarian place in East Nashville people rave about alot. I must admit I haven't been there.
  • Smiling Elephant - THE BEST THAI in Nashville. Hands down. Order the cashew chicken.
  • Marche - for BRUNCH... any day. Beautiful and delicious.
  • Jeni's - for ice cream. It's right across the street from Rosepepper
  • Silly Goose - a great restaurant that's kid friendly and the Chef recently won a People's Choice award for Food & Wine Mag. Just next to Jeni's and across the street from Rosepepper.
Let me know if you are looking for any date-night type restaurants, too. (The Yellow Porch, Park Cafe, and Rolf and Daughters are some favorites off the top of my head)
I don't know if you guys are obsessed with coffee like I am ... but there are a few great coffee shops that are great breakfast places around here. 
  • Barista Parlor - hipster coffee mecca. Delicious homemade biscuits. Great boutique-style pour-over coffee... don't ask for cream unless you ordered a latte. I did that once and it was bad. (Go here for the scene)
  • Frothy Monkey - there's one on 12 S and there's one in Franklin (and there's great shopping in Franklin... see below) - (Go here for the food and vibe)
  • Crema - Really great views of the city... and in my opinion, the best coffee in town. (Go here for the views and coffee)
Not sure if you like to shop, or what kinds of things you like to look for but here are my favorite Nashville treasures:
  • OMGa little off the beaten path, but worth a visit because the stuff here is pretty interesting and fun. Housewares, vintage clothes, lots of irreverent goodness. Tell the owners Kate and Ashley that Claire Gibson sent you. 
  • The Flea Market - this is only the third weekend of every month. You can check dates here, but it's a fun time. Bring cash or checks if you're thinking of going home with anything. It can get REALLY hot. take a water bottle! 
  • Shoppes on Fatherland and the Shoppes on WoodlandThese are both really close to each other and are full of some really cool "incubator" shops. Since they are so small, the rent is affordable for new entrepreneurs to try their hand at a business. I'd go to brunch at Marche, then walk up to the shops. 
  • Downtown Franklin - a little out of the way (about 30 minutes from Nashville) but this has a very cute, southern feel to it. There's lots of different shops and some great restaurants down there.
  • Parnassus - Book shop with lots of local authors and character. Usually have story time etc. for the kiddos!
Not sure that many of these places are "kid-friendly" - but they always have live music going on.
This is probably WAY more than you wanted... but there's plenty to choose from!! I'll help you sift through the madness if you need help.
There you have it folks. The Ultimate Nashville Guide - for my buddies in Nashville... what did I forget? For people traveling to Nashville... what questions do you have about planning a trip here?