A Black Woman’s Guide to Visiting Nashville
Getty Images

A bucket list of places to visit in the South should now include Nashville. You may have had a coworker or two attend a bachelorette trip to Nashville, but beyond the bustle of bridal parties lies a fast-growing city with a lot to offer. In addition to great southern hospitality, Nashville has a little something for everyone. Music City boasts a diverse music scene where Gospel labels are headquartered, and artists like India Arie and Jill Scott call home. There are plenty of venues to hear live musicians or visit historic landmarks like the Ryman Auditorium. Still, it is also home to an attractive food scene, from country cooking, hot chicken to elevated dining. “As a native, Nashville is a cool place to check out because of the history you can explore, and our growing culinary scene is really top-notch,” shared Ashley Currie, founder of Urbaanite, a Nashville guide of Black Nashville. The city also has a rising number of Black entrepreneurs, many of them who are working to revitalize some of Nashville’s historic Black neighborhoods with shops, restaurants and galleries. 

Take a look at this guide to add that features a little bit of what makes Nashville a great trip for Black women:

SEE: National Museum of African American Music

Explore the impact of Black music and artistry at the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). NMAAM is the first of its kind to be dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating Black music. This 56,000-square-foot facility showcases more than 50 music genres and styles created, influenced and inspired by African Americans. The museum is located in downtown Nashville. It sits on Broadway, the famous street that houses popular and historic honky-tonks and bars for country music lovers, and sits across the street from the Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry. 

EAT: Fifth + Broadway 

After you spend your day learning about Black music, visit the Fifth & Broadway food court and shopping complex surrounding the museum. What’s unique about the complex is that it houses two of Nashville popular Black-owned eateries Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria and Prince’s Hot Chicken, which makes these two restaurants the first Black businesses to occupy the famous Broadway strip. If you make multiple trips back to this mixed-use property, try an elevated dining experience. Have a meal with views of Broadway by visiting Sixty Vines for their on-tap wines or Eddie V’s for seafood, banana foster and cocktails that taste as good as their presentation.

STAY: The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Black women deserve luxury and relaxation, and you can find it just on the outskirts of downtown Nashville, at The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel. It’s within walking distance to the convention center, Bridgestone Arena and Broadway for events and a night out on time, but far enough for a relaxing experience in the Italian family-inspired hotel. 

There is intentionality with the experience you will have as a guest at The Joseph. Even the napkins that accompany your beverages at their rooftop restaurant, Denim, have a fabric texture in ode to its name. Get pampered at the hotel’s spa and salon, Rose, and visit the rooftop fitness center to keep up your workout routine on some of the latest equipment, including the Peloton, while taking in city views. There are also great photo opportunities throughout the property with grass walls and the 1,100 pieces of art found throughout the hotel. A few of the art pieces are from the Pizzuti Collection, one of the world’s top private collections of contemporary art.

BREAKFAST: Yay Yay’s on Jefferson

Before taking a tour of Nashville’s four HBCUs: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, American Baptist College and Tennessee State University, stop by Yay Yay’s on Jefferson in the historic center of Nashville’s Black community. The coffee bar is known for alcohol-infused coffee drinks and Chef Charlotte Miller’s world-famous homemade biscuits. A go-to favorite is the chicken biscuit, but you can get your biscuits and grits with a twist by adding ingredients like mushrooms, steak or avocado.

EXPERIENCE: Nearest Green Distillery

Rent a car to get into the spirit of Tennessee whiskey with a trip to the Nearest Green Distillery, the first distillery in the world to commemorate an African American, Nearest Green. Green, a former slave, is the first known Black master distiller who refined the Lincoln County Process that uses charcoal chips to filter whiskey. The 323.12-acre property can be enjoyed by everyone in the family and includes a farm with walking horses, a barbecue restaurant, a tasting room and the world’s first non-alcoholic speakeasy. There is also a Master Blender House, where Nearest Green’s descendent, Victoria Eady Butler, mixes and blends the award-winning whiskeys. 

Loading the player...

EAT: Yolan

The intimate Italian dining experience at Yolan is led by James Beard Award-winning, Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano and wine expert Cathy Mantuano. Choose from an innovative five to eight-course tasting menu or an al carte menu of traditional yet refined pasta dishes. If gluten is a problem, don’t let it stop you from trying a seafood dish or other dietary options to meet any needs. Take your meal up a notch by adding a wine pairing of Yolan’s expansive collection to your experience with an onsite sommelier. As always, leave room for a seasonal dessert.

 SHOPPING: Emerson Grace

Leave room in your suitcase for the items you buy during a shopping trip to the 12 South neighborhood in Nashville. Take a break from downtown and visit the blocks of boutiques and restaurants on this popular strip home to Reese Witherspoon’s boutique. One of the first stores you will see on the street is Emerson Grace. Owned by former fashion executive Kimberly Lewis, Emerson Grace features contemporary women’s clothing inspired by global trends and local designs. Within the same block as Emerson Grace is Josephine’s, owned by Lewis and her husband. Stop by for brunch or dinner.

EXPERIENCE: Abundant Life Adventure Club

Get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors of Tennessee with the Abundant Life Adventure Club. The organization thoughtfully curates a variety of group adventures for Black people to connect while showing off the natural beauty of Nashville and surrounding areas. Every weekend married couple, Dr. Kim Walker and Claude Walker plan activities like bike riding in Nashville’s landmark parks, bonfires, meditation hikes and kayaking. Activities welcome all skill levels. 

DRINK: EG & MC

Lounge and indulge in crafted cocktails for the culture at EG&MC. Meet other Black professionals while nibbling on Southern tapas like their popular mac and yam or stuffed lamb meatballs with asiago cheese grits. Look through old Tennessee HBCU yearbooks or skim a passage from a book by a Black author that can be found on the shelves in the lounge while sipping on a cocktail. Popular drinks include Green is the New Black, or the CBD infused Running in Place.

EXPERIENCE: Cë Gallery

Cë Gallery is an inspired speakeasy studio that hosts art exhibitions, figure drawing sessions, dance parties and a weekly holistic healing sound bath event facilitated by Tonisha Gordon. The exhibits change monthly, featuring abstract art on canvas and work from multidisciplinary artists who add the usage of sculpture and video projection to their shows. You can visit the gallery by appointment or attend one of its sound bath sessions or infamous parties like the 70s themed Foxy Brown Live.

DESSERT: The Cupcake Collection

Make your way to the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville to try one of Mignon Francois’ sweet potato cupcakes. Since opening The Cupcake Collection in 2008 has become a popular destination in Nashville and ranks in the top 10 cupcake shops in the United States.

Other Black-owned businesses to try in Germantown include Rolled 4 Ever Ice Cream, Monell’s and Germantown Pub.

TOPICS: