For those of you who follow my social accounts, you probably saw I just spent a long weekend galavanting around Tennessee. Like any good social gal, I looked up tons of cute places to visit, but as always some are a hit and some are a miss. I also always make a point to mingle with locals on my trips. My tip for any adventure; find a few people who would probably be great friends if you were from around town and ask them where to hang out, those will probably be your best tour guides.
Of course it’s awesome to visit the classics in each spot, like Graceland in Memphis and The Opry in Nashville, but since it’s hard to find the hidden gems I figured I would help you out!
Here are my top 5 unconventional spots to visit in Memphis and Nashville.
1. The rooftop of the Madison Hotel
This rooftop overlooks the Mississippi River and is a perfect spot to watch the sunset. With good music, a nice breeze in the heat and a fire pit in the cooler weather, this spot is a Mississippi heaven. Tip; check out the phone booth art on the way to the hotel featured on Main street.
2. Kings Palace Cafe Courtyard
If you are looking for a good local jam (in the heart of touristy Beale Street) this outdoor bar and picnic patio features Memphians jamming to local talented artists. Grab a fishbowl and dance away. Sometimes celebs from the neighborhood even hop on stage. We got to see Johnny Hallyday!
3. Paula & Raiford’s Disco
Visit this disco spot for a tacky “heart break hotel” dance party. Closing later other bars, Paula & Raiford’s is red, sparkly, has a light up dance floor and sells fortys of beer all night long. And on top of all that, spins the best dance tunes.
4. American Dream Safari
If you are looking to visit a few key spots in Memphis (and not the typical touristy way), this guy will take you around town in a 55′ Cadillac, jam with you and show you local street art. Awesome way to see the city!
5. Stock and Belle
This new spot is a bit further down main street and is a design dream. The interior design is all done by the owner Chad. The main floor features a mix of both local designers and outsourced talent. From clothing to furniture, this place has tons of great finds. Bonus; the second floor is a trendy salon where you can get a mean blow out and highlights. Plus the owners girlfriend runs the salon. Adorable.
1. Winners and Losers
Everyone knows Broadway has great live music, but if you are looking to get away from the typical tourist scene, check out the bars in Midtown Nashville. Two bars next to each other called Winners and Losers are great spots to spend your night. On Monday nights, Losers has a whiskey jam with young locals and awesome performances. You may even spot a few local celebs. Lucky for us, we headed to midtown for their Cinco de Mayo block party and caught performances on the closed off street by singer/songwriter Will Hoge.
2. Pinewood Social
This place is absolutely genius. Known as a place to meet, a hang spot for friends and awesome eats, Pinewood Social has it all and then some. With a coffee spot, cocktail bar, specialty eats, a bowling alley and did I mention a pool lounge with bocce ball and a food truck, this hang is nothing short of perfect.
3. Saint Anejo
I may be a little bias since we hit up this spot on Cinco de Mayo (and my favourite food happens to be Mexican) but this restaurant is a booming gem. Garage door walls, half inside and half out, margaritas and tacos to kill, it’s a must try in the Gulch (another local area to visit).
4. White’s Mercantile
This gift shop meets clothing boutique, is actually in a refurbished gas station. In the heart of 12 South district, with tons of awesome finds, there is plenty to explore here. (And a homemade Popsicle spot across the street called Las Paletas. I tried a coconut pop dipped in dark chocolate. Yum.) PS. The goodies in my cover photo are all courtesy of my purchases at White’s Mercantile.
There are a lot of great coffee shops in Nashville, but Crema stole my heart. With a great brew, avocado toast and original beans, this spot is worth the visit. Tons of cool locals to be found on site.
There are so many more places I could touch on but these 5 were worth the mention. With only a few days in each spot, I’m already planning my return. Luckily my family is down in Tennessee a lot so I’ll be returning soon and I’ll be sure to send through more recommendations! Hope you have a chance to visit!