I previously posted about the flight from New York to Nashville (LGA-BNA) on American Airlines. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I always love when I get upgraded!
Originally we hadn’t planned on renting a car for the duration of the trip because when we originally were booking the flights and hotel there weren’t any great rates available. However, I had been monitoring prices for the past couple weeks and came across a rate of less than $20 all in with Advantage Car Rental on Priceline a couple of days prior to departure. I’m really happy we ended up with a car for the whole trip as we were able to venture off a bit.
I wish I could give some advice about when it’s best to book a car rental – but unfortunately I can’t. I’ve had great luck waiting until the last minute; and I’ve also ended up paying more by waiting too long. However, The Points Guy posted about have to save money on car rentals with Zalyn.com, which is definitely worth checking out.
Two friends and I stayed at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown hotel. The property itself is in a great location being about a five minute walk from Broadway where there are a ton of restaurants and bars, almost all of which have live music. The hotel is also walking distance from Nashville’s financial district and the Titan’s stadium.
We arrived at the hotel fairly early on a Saturday at around 11 AM, and rooms were not yet available. However, after grabbing a quick lunch I got a phone call that the room was ready for check-in.
We were put in a corner room on the 9th floor. The room was fairly spacious and spotless. The rooms had Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ Beds which I love.
I have no real complaints and feel like this property was typical for a Sheraton. It is worth noting that the room didn’t have a fridge – but we called the front desk and one was brought to the room within ten minutes at no charge.
Food, Drink, and Sights
In Nashville there are a ton of restaurants and bars. My favorite meal in the city was at Merchants on Broadway & 4th. It’s a little pricier than the surrounding restaurants, but the food was great and the cocktails made by the mixologists were perfection. It’s definitely worth going in twenty minutes prior to your reservation to sit at the bar and watch them make your drink (which takes about five minutes and truly is an art form).
Outside of the city was my favorite meal of the trip (which wasn’t as a surprise as I love random, off the beaten path hole-in-the-wall type places). On our way to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery (which is about 70 miles south of Nashville in Lynchburg) we stumbled across an awesome little place – which we never would have found if it wasn’t for the ‘what’s nearby’ feature of the Yelp app.
Bell Buckle Cafe is in the town of Bell Buckle – population of under 500 – and in the middle of nowhere 50 miles south of Nashville. According to one review on Yelp, this is the only restaurant in town. This place is pure country home cooking at ridiculously inexpensive prices. The service was super friendly (and surprisingly quick), and everything I ate (pulled pork + sides) was delicious.
If you’re visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery (which was pretty cool and the 1+ hour long guided tour is completely free) from Nashville (or just wandering around rural Tennessee), Bell Buckle Cafe is definitely worth the stop.
As far as nightlife goes, we hopped around to probably at least a dozen places over the course of our three nights in town. There are many options in a close proximity so if you don’t like the feel of one place it’s easy to move on to the next. Almost all the bars featured live music (which I love!). We also tried out a karaoke place… The next morning after watching a video one of my friends took of me singing, I have made a rule for myself that I will never go within a ten foot radius of a microphone again. Overall the bars had a great vibe and were reasonably priced.
Overall I had a great time in Nashville. Three days is about all you’d need to really get a feel for the city – and that would include a day trip out of the city as well. There is significantly more action on Friday / Saturday nights (as expected), so the ideal trip would be Friday – Sunday. The people are super friendly, the bars are a lot of fun (and I loved that nearly all of them featured live music), and the food was great. Being that this flight is only 15K Avios + $5 from the NYC area, it’s definitely worth a weekend visit!
As I write this I’m sitting in the Delta Sky Club (access via the American Express Platinum card) at the Nashville Airport. The lounge is standard fare as far as domestic lounges go but still will always beat sitting near the gate. Boarding begins in a few minutes … off to Las Vegas I go!