SPRING BREAAAAAK. SPRING BREAK FOREVER.
The university gym is full of people gettin’ that beach bod and the cutoff denim is flying off the racks at Target. Not all of us can afford a plane ticket or a road trip, but you know what? Nashville has so much Spring Break fare to offer! Instead of the typical Spring Break places, go with some Nashville alternatives. You’ll have a blast discovering your city and save some cash!missing or outdated ad config
If You Wanted To Go To The Beach
Seafood, Crazy Karaoke, and YUP – A Local Beach!
Head to the chiller-than-chill East Nashville and grab a margarita at Rosepepper Cantina! The cantina lights and decor make it feel a little bit like Cabo, and odds are your waiter is going to have past-the-shoulders surfer hair (we’re talkin’ dudes here). If you’re going for the slight sense of kitsch that comes with a Florida vacation, check out the Aquarium Restaurant in Opry Mills. Great food, but the huge draw is watching a live-action Finding Nemo as you dine.
Here’s the exciting part: did you know Nashville has a beach? You can find it at Percy Priest lake. It’s $4 for a carload, so this is one cheap activity. Bring a picnic (stop at Nashville Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh supplies) and maybe a sweatshirt (this weather is giving us whiplash, y’all). Toss the football around, bring a book – it’s the beach, and you can just CHILL. While it may not be as big as the beaches of Panama City, you are unlikely to run into someone you sort of know from high school who has been heavily day-drinking. Truly relaxing! Make sure to watch for geese – we hear they get pretty aggressive. If you need a good book after all that sunnin’, head to East Side Story or Parnassus Books. If you want to feel that party atmosphere without the 24/7 craziness, we highly suggest visiting Santa’s Pub! Cash only dive bar, and the karaoke is great for making memories. Who needs an expensive trip to Florida? NOT YOU.
For that California cool, check out Free People at Green Hills or Two Old Hippies in the Gulch. Or, you know, wear all those free t-shirts you’ve been saving since freshman year.
If You Wanted To Go To The Big City
Classic Diners, A Broadway Show, & Art Museums
Start your day at dat Hermitage Cafe. A classic NYC-style diner, Hermitage is no-frills, cheap, and has an unbelievable slice of pie (you’re on vacation so morning pie is totally acceptable). For fancier, Brooklyn-esque hangtime, you have to check out Pinewood Social. It reminds us a lot of NY hotspot, Brooklyn Bowl (yeah, Questlove doesn’t DJ here, but you’ll probably see Reba bowl a strike). For the midtown-NY vibe in Music City, check out Pub 5 right across the street from Bridgestone Arena – it has that low-lit urban feel! Exposed brick walls, affordable and delicious draft beer – such a winner. The most NY-esque meal to have is at Taste Of Italy. A hole-in-the-wall Italian place in the middle of downtown that you have to walk to, this eatery feels like a place you’d stumble into off the streets of NY or Chicago. Wannado tip: Order the toasted ravioli. Never look back. It’s a bit divey, but it’s also open till the wee hours of the morning!
We may not have the MOMA, but we have the Frist. It’s an epicenter of culture for not only Nashville, but the whole art world – they bring in tons of international culture with their ever-changing exhibits. The War Memorial Auditorium (specifically the Andrew Jackson theater) has all the character of historic, urban venues – make sure you bring your camera, because the towering columns are ‘gram worthy for sure. If you’re a fan of Broadway, make sure you check the schedule at TPAC – they have the best traveling Broadway shows in town!
If you’re into retro fashion, Tatiana’s has a location in downtown Nashville – petticoats & day dresses as far as the eye can see. If you’re too minimalist hipster for all that mess, grab a leotard or an ironic scrunchie from American Apparel at their downtown branch. If all you wanted was to send your mom and dad some frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity, we suggest heading to the Omni Hotel’s gift shop and grabbing some Nashville goodies as souvenirs to send to your fave out-of-towners.
If You Wanted To Go To The Mountains
Camping, Deer Spotting, & Nashville S’mores
You can’t go on a mountainous camping adventure without s’mores. That is, if you can get a fire built. We believe in you! For the chocolate and marshmallows, we suggest gettin’ your chocolate fix from Olive & Sinclair and going with the marshmallows from Bang Candy Company. Don’t forget to top it all off with a growler of Yazoo beer from The Filling Station (or, if you’re underage, get the variety pack of old school sodas from Trader Joe’s).
There are so many campgrounds around Nashville! If you want a no-nonsense, clean, well-established place to pitch your tent, look no further than Two Rivers Campground, just outside downtown Nashville (they have a shuttle that goes into the city). A lot of RV action here, and they even have a rec room so you can go real old school and play some pool while you watch the news. Bring some binoculars to see the wildlife (deers, eagles, crazy birds have all been spotted) and go on a horseback ride! You are basically John Wayne (and if you don’t know who that is Google it, Generation Y).
There is a local convenience store, but this is about you living off the land, man. Go big or go home!
If You Wanted To Go To A Historic City
A Famous Bathroom, Civil War Museums, & The Man In Black
If we’re talkin’ historic restaurants in Nashville, you can’t get any better than The Standard. Not only is it beautifully fancy and ornate…Andrew Jackson was a fan Take that, Philadelphia tour guide! Nashville has tons of cool historic spots. For a local spot that’s been around for ages, check out Arnold’s Country Kitchen on 8th Ave South! The meat-and-three spot has a huge following and has been a Nashville staple for as long as we can remember (and farther back than that). Autographs & photos of celebrity visitors line the walls! And the chocolate pie? Life-changing.
Check out Hermitage Hotel – specifically, the men’s bathroom (hear us out). Black and green and outrageously grandiose, it’s been featured in a couple of films and has a fancy plaque outside talking about some kind of “legislation” that happened there (we’re gonna need the full story). Also, little known fact: the film Dead Poet’s Society was based on Montgomery Bell Academy, an active school for young men on West End Ave. For the obviously awesome Civil War history, check out some Franklin battle sites – Lotz House, Carnton Plantation, and Carter House. So cool and well-preserved! For music history, there’s obviously the Country Music Hall Of Fame, and we love The Johnny Cash Museum in downtown Nashville. A must-see!
Hatch Show Print at the Omni Hotel gives you a tangible piece of history (check out their historic show posters). Plus, they’ll look super cool on your dorm room wall.
If You Wanted To Go Abroad
English Pubs, Irish Music, & Scottish Dancing
Get a little slice of Paris (and HEAVEN) at Marche. Their French Bread croissant (or the “tornado of pleasure” as described by Dave Barnes) is a far cry from the stale dinner rolls of your college cafeteria. If you’re in the mood for German food, you won’t be saying auf wiedersehen to their sausage platter & German beer selection at Gerst Haus, just across the bridge between downtown and East Nashville (on the east side). Fleet Street Pub in Printer’s Alley is the PLACE TO BE for our friends from across the pond – the Nashville Brit Meetup loves this place, so you know it must be good! Try the fish and chips (with vinegar) for that authentic English taste, and don’t forget to try your hand at a round of darts, old sport. The dancing and general merriment at McNamara’s Irish Pub is only rivaled by their incredible shepherd’s pie. You gotta go.
Besides darts at Fleet Street and dancing at McNamara’s, you should get out of your comfort zone and try some Scottish dancing. There is such a thing as the Nashville Hamilton Scottish Country Dancers, and they meet at Tulip Street United Methodist Church in East Nashville on most Fridays. Bonus points if you wear a kilt. You should definitely wear a kilt.
Yeah, it’s a bit cliche, but there are tons of fancy European designers finds at – you guessed it – Designer Finds in Green Hills. Also, the Green Hills mall is full of places to drop some hard-earned cash on. You’re so exotic!
So YOLO (that’s college for “carpe diem”), Nashville, and live it up Music City style. No plane ticket doesn’t mean no fun! If you need any more specific suggestions or you want to browse all that the city has to offer, get Wannado! Awesome adventures to be had. Happy planning, and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do!