It’s no secret that Nashville is a bachelorette hotspot, and it’s claimed that title for good reason – the enticing combo of great food, great drinks and great music make for an excellent time perfect for celebrating the bride-to-be.
But with the power that bachelorettes hold comes great responsibility. How do you plan a trip that guarantees fun for all your girls, respects local spaces and avoids the pitfalls that can plague a group trip to Music City? Ask yourself these questions before you book and you’ll have all those bases covered.
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What’s the accommodation situation in Nashville?
Nashville’s hotel options are booming these days, so you’ll find plenty of characterful places for your stay depending on what part of the city you’re in.
For downtowners, boutique hotels like the 21c, the Bobby and the Noelle offer unforgettable perks – The 21c literally doubles as an art gallery and the rooms have fun artsy quirks, while the Bobby’s rooftop might be one of the best in the city. The Noelle revels in old-school glam and is home to a unique hidden surprise – inquire once you check in.
The Bobby Hotel boasts stylish rooms and one of the best rooftop bars in Nashville © Lisa Diederich
If you’re staying out East, check out the Russell, a boutique hotel in an 115-year-old church that gives a significant part of its proceeds to nonprofits helping those experiencing homelessness in Nashville (if they’re all booked, they also have a sister property up the road called the Gallatin). If you have a smaller group, check out the Urban Cowboy or the Dive Motel to live out your 1970s rockstar fantasies.
A note about Airbnbs: We all hear the siren call of Airbnb and other vacation rentals, but if you’re booking one of these, book mindfully. Short-term vacation rentals have caused serious issues in the city – neighborhood disruptions, raising long-term rental costs, contributing to housing shortages, etc. – so we only recommend booking if you plan to show the utmost respect to the neighborhood you’re staying in.
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What’s the weather like?
Due to its southern location, you may think the weather in Nashville is relatively stable and without extremes – an assumption that is, in a word, wrong. Since you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and exploring, it’s important to make educated choices about when you book your trip.
Spring brings the threat of severe weather, while peak summer can reach temps and heat indexes over 100 degrees, a circumstance that can be extra dangerous if you’re, ahem, dehydrated. Winter is normally pretty mild with the exception of February, which is cold and wet. The best time to visit Nashville is in the gloriously comfy fall (September through mid-December) and early spring before storm season kicks into gear (March through early April).
All this to say you can totally book year-round, but come prepared – don’t forget your umbrella, your personal fan, sunscreen and your biggest water bottle.
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What are my transport options?
Nashville consists of several neighborhood hubs that are walkable within themselves, but you’ll need a car if you want to travel between them. These pedestrian-friendly areas include downtown and Germantown (though these areas are hilly, so be prepared!), the Gulch, 12 South, 5 Points in East Nashville and the Nations – stops here yield plenty of food, dining and entertainment options in a small radius.
Exploring all these different parts of town is the best part of visiting Nashville – each one has its own distinct personality – but as always, travel responsibly if you’ve been imbibing. While public transport leaves something to be desired, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are plentiful.
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There’s been some local backlash against party busses and barges and pedal taverns in Nashville © Jake Giles Netter / The New York Times / Redux
How can I avoid tourist traps?
There’s no easy way to say it – skip the majority of Broadway. While there are exceptions to that rule (we’ve got nothing but love for Robert’s, Acme and Assembly Food Hall), drink prices here are sky-high compared to the rest of the city, and most locals avoid the area. If you want to get a taste of what Nashville is really about, explore the hidden corners of downtown and venture out into the neighborhoods.
While they are a huge part of the downtown tourism machine, popular “transportainment” like party buses and pedal taverns have caused a lot of local controversy – recently the students of downtown Hume-Fogg High School protested them as disruptive to their learning environment, and many community leaders have been fighting to limit their presence in the city.
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Prices in the heavily-touristed Broadway pub district are sky-high © benedek / Getty Images
Should I make a dinner reservation?
The answer to this one is simple – yes, especially if your party is over four. Nashville weekends are full of great energy, but this can mean long dinner waits if you don’t plan ahead.
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A bachelorette party is a great excuse to get dolled up © Getty Images
Where can I wear my fancy dress?
You’re out celebrating your friend’s big day – if there were ever a time to splurge on some swanky spots, it’s now! Get dolled up and hit the town at these stylish stops:
If you fancy a good cocktail in gorgeous digs, we love Old Glory in Edgehill, a hidden bar tucked away in a stunning, high-ceilinged historic building and Attaboy, an east-side speakeasy that was recently dubbed a finalist for the 2022 James Beard Awards (plan ahead for the latter – the space is small and waits get long late-night).
Want to splash out on some good eats? Make a reservation at Bastion for a chef-curated meal that just may be the best in the city, or hop into atmospheric Rolf & Daughters for creative house-made pastas that will knock your socks off.
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Kayaking on the Harpeth River © Bailey Freeman
Is there anything outdoorsy to do?
While most visitors come to eat and drink, Nashville is actually an outdoorsy city with tons of adventure options for those looking to explore the beauty of middle Tennessee.
If you’re rolling with mermaid vibes, we suggest renting a kayak from Foggy Bottom or Canoe Music City for a float down the nearby Harpeth River or booking a stand-up paddle board sesh with Nashville Paddle Company. If you want something a little more low-key organization-wise, head to the beaches at Percy Priest Lake or book a day at one of the pool clubs around town (we like the Dive Motel or the pool club on top of the Virgin Hotel).
Nearby municipal and state parks abound, so hikers will have plenty of opportunities to dust off those boots and enjoy the trails. For short walks, Percy Warner Park, Radnor Lake State Park and Bledsoe Creek State Park are gorgeous options, especially when the leaves start to turn; if you’re looking for longer hikes, we recommend Beaman Park or Long Hunter State Park.
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Country Music Hall of Fame viewed from Music City Walk of Fame Park © Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
Are there any museums we can’t miss?
Nashville is called Music City for a reason, and you can learn all about it at the various music museums around town. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a staple – learn about the rise of country’s biggest stars and tour the city’s most historic recording studio. The National Museum of African American Music is another mandatory stop, and we also recommend swinging into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, which celebrates artists of every genre.
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And there are some great museums outside the music realm, too. The Frist Art Museum is an art museum and cultural center housed in a gorgeous art-deco building, and the new Tennessee State Museum dives deep into the state’s past.
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