12 Hours In: Nashville, TN

Discover the treasures of 'Music City', like scrumptious taco spots, microbreweries, to-die-for barbecue, and local clothing caches
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Sep 2, 2015 | By Jon Gaffney

Tennessee is known for music — that's why, after all, they call it the Music City. Grand Ole Opry, Third Man Records, Willie Nelson, and a myriad more. While tune-making is certainly the bedrock of this southern city, it’s only a slice of what makes Nashville Nashville. The place has got a lot to offer whether passing through for 12 hours or a week-long get away. Be sure to explore outside of downtown and the city’s offerings really get interesting. 

With two locations in the city, Climb Nashville is accessible no matter where your morning finds you. Bright, airy, and clean it’s the kind of climbing gym that you’ll enjoy sweating out the night prior’s libations. The price is right and the locals are open with providing beta (advice) on any route you go after. If climbing isn’t enough for you, they even have a great gym to get a lift in, or yoga classes to limber up.

Mas Tacos Por Favor is a Nashville institution. Fancy it is not, but the long line snaking out the door says you've chosen wisely. Read the chalkboard menu before you get to the counter to order quickly and be on your way. The selection is short, but you can’t go wrong with anything they offer. A couple tacos and a fresh aqua fresca to wash it all down will have you primed for the rest of the day. It’s cash only, so remember to hit an ATM.

Tennessee’s Microbrewery scene has exploded in the last five years. Fat Bottom Brewery is a newer addition to the scene, but growing fast. Their East Nashville Taproom is the perfect place to catch up with friends over a flight in their spacious beer garden. We’d recommend their Knock Out IPA.

The beauty of being in the Music City is that nearly any establishment has live music a few nights a week. Drifter’s BBQ has two giant patios with live music rain or shine every night. Grab the Hickory Smoked Sampler Platter, a beer, and prepare to rock for a few hours. Oh, and hush puppies, definitely get the hush puppies.

Whether or not you’re in the market for denim, Imogene & Willie's 12th Avenue converted gas station turned real life inspiration board is a must see. There’s something cool tucked away into every corner begging to be Instagrammed. If it’s time for new denim, you’re in the right place. I&W’s staff knows their weft, weave, and selvage and will help get you into the right jeans to last you for years to come.

Barista Parlor isn't the quickest, but its coffee was the best we had in Nashville. The wait gives you time to scope out your seat and drool over the jaw dropping cafe racers parked by the bay doors. Go in the late afternoon with a book and cool down with a cup of cold brew as the golden light streams in the doors. [H]


Jon Gaffney is a man of the road who enjoys testing the recommended use limits of everything he owns. 
When he's not taking photographs, he's hiking, skiing, swimming, or gripping the wheel of his Sprinter Van. 
You can follow his continuing cross-country adventures as the Van Man here.  

Images © Jon Gaffney