A Local’s Guide to Nashville Food and Fun

A Local's Guide to Food & Fun in Nashville

Hey there! I’m a Nashville local (Actually, I grew up right outside Nashville, and I live in Nashville now.), and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a little Nashville guide for my website. There are a ton of great Nashville guides out there on the internet, but I wanted to call your attention to a few of my own favorite places that I think deserve more credit!

Some of these places are off the beaten path and a little less touristy than the places typically mentioned in Nashville guides, but they are all places that I absolutely love and go to fairly often. (And most of them offer food because, well, I’m a foodie.)

Nashville-local-guide-to-food-and-fun

I’ll save this blog post as a permanent tab in the menu on the top of my website under “Nashville Guide” so you can find it easily, and I’ll update it from time to time as I find more Nashville restaurants and attractions to introduce to you!

Food

Smiling Elephant

Not only is Smiling Elephant our favorite Thai restaurant around here–it’s hands-down our favorite Nashville restaurant in general!! Order anything, and I’m sure it will be incredible. One of our personal favorites is the Pad Kra Pao (That’s stir fried pork and basil! I actually have a similar recipe here.) Pictured below is the Chicken Cashew Stir Fry. Regardless of what you order for dinner, I wholeheartedly recommend finishing it off with sticky rice & mango for dessert!

Chicken cashew stir fry from Smiling Elephant, Nashville

DeSano Pizza Bakery

This is probably my favorite pizza restaurant in Nashville. (And for the record, I’m 100% a New York pizza kind of girl rather than a Chicago pizza kind of girl.) Oliver and I actually had our wedding rehearsal dinner here!

Nashville Farmers Market

Y’all, I’m really serious about the farmer’s market, especially in the summer. As if the fresh local produce weren’t already enough to make this place phenomenal, there’s also a food court with some really great restaurants–Greek, Indian, Chinese, Jamaican, Mexican, Korean, Southern food, pizza–what more could you want?

Oh yeah, there’s also a Jeni’s Ice Cream in there. If you’ve never had Jeni’s… well, you need to have Jeni’s. They carry amazing flavors like Wildberry Lavender, Goat Cheese with Cherries, and Cream Puff. There are a few Jeni’s locations in Nashville, but I’m recommending this one so you can also experience the wonder of the Nashville Farmers Market.

Baja Burrito

When I was in college, my roommates and I frequented Blue Coast Burrito, a local chain based off of this particular restaurant. While some Blue Coast Burrito locations are better than others, Baja Burrito is the real deal. Obviously the burritos are amazing, but I don’t recommend leaving without trying the pineapple salsa and fruit tea!

Vui’s Kitchen

Alright, I’ll go ahead and throw this one in right now because it’s located right behind Baja Burrito. We just tried this place for the first time recently, and I already know we’ll be going back soon. They offer a really fun selection of Vietnamese food with fresh & fun ingredients. Now the only problem will be trying to pick between two of our favorites with them so close to each other!

Vui's Kitchen banh mi and Vietnamese noodle salad

High Garden Tea

All credit goes to my sister-in-law for introducing me to this place. Walk in and buy tea & spices in bulk, or select a tea variety and enjoy a cup right there in the store. They also have kombucha on tap here!

Marche Artisan Foods

This place is seriously adorable. It’s the perfect little brunch spot in East Nashville with a European flair.  And they get bonus points because they source tea from the aforementioned High Garden Tea.

Fun

Gaylord Opryland Resort

This is the hotel located right next to Opry Mills Mall, the Grand Ole Opry, and all the fun that you’ve probably read about in other Nashville guides. This hotel is huge and absolutely beautiful. It has several large rooms of indoor gardens, plus shopping areas and restaurants. Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hotel, it’s worth visiting for a few hours!

If you happen to be visiting Nashville around Christmastime, you’ll definitely want to go visit this place at night. They fill the gardens with Christmas lights, and it’s pretty magical.

Pro tip: Park in the back of the Opry Mills mall parking lot rather than in the hotel’s parking lot to avoid paying for parking.

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Centennial Park & Sportsplex

You might have seen Centennial Park and The Parthenon mentioned in your Nashville research, but in case you haven’t, go ahead and Google it… Yep, we have a replica of the Greek Parthenon in Nashville. If you happen to be here in the fall, you can enjoy Shakespeare in the Park on select nights at Centennial Park.

The real reason I bring all this up, since you’ve likely already heard about the park and the Parthenon, is that perhaps the Centennial Sportsplex across the street hasn’t been brought to your attention. They have an ice skating rink, and it’s fairy inexpensive to visit. Perhaps this is not what you had in mind for your Nashville visit, but then again, perhaps it’s summer and you’ve been surprised by the 90-something degree days and the 10,000% humidity… Ice skating sounds pretty good right about now, doesn’t it?

McKay’s

This is a massive used book store that also sells music, movies, and games. Need I say more? I mean, McKay’s is basically an amusement park for bookworms. I could browse the aisles of this place all day long.

Save this post, and I’ll keep it updated as I find places in Nashville to recommend to you!

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8 thoughts on “A Local’s Guide to Nashville Food and Fun”

  1. I just left Nashville two weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! I did not visit any of these though that you mentioned. I will be saving this for my next trip to Nashville because I didn’t want to leave. Such a fun place!!

  2. I loooove Nashville!! It’s been a few years since I’ve been but I’d love to go back later this year and explore some more. I’ll keep this post safe for when we visit again!!

  3. Yum, the food looks sooo good. I visited Nashville exactly three years ago and I loved it. The vibe is awesome and the food was too. I’m trying to remember which (back then) new restaurant we went to, but it’s not coming back to me. Ah well… I would love to visit Nashville again someday. It’s just not easy, being on the other side of the ocean and all 😀

    1. It makes me so happy when I hear that people are visiting Nashville from other countries! We’re not a huge city, but I’m glad to know we’re even on the radar for so many people. It’s nearly every Sunday that my church has guests who say they’re from out of the country who just wanted to visit Nashville!

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