Nashville is an exciting city known for its music scene, mouth-watering cuisine, and rich history. There’s much more to the city than famous honky-tonks and iconic attractions—things only locals may know about. We’re excited to share a local’s guide to Nashville, from exploring hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods to discovering the best food and drink spots in town. You didn’t think we’d leave live music off the list, did you? We’ve also included where to go for live music from a local’s view. Here are some of our suggestions for how to experience Nashville like a local.

Best Places to Eat

From fine dining to hole-in-the-wall spots, Nashville has so many great restaurants to choose from. Nashville is known for its hot chicken and southern comfort food, so we only feel it’s fit to add some places that allow you to experience eating like a local.

Waldo’s Chicken & Beer

Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is so famous here that there’s a full week of specials and deals just for it! While there are many places to enjoy delicious hot chicken, Waldo’s is a local favorite. They have two locations in Nashville—one in Germantown and another in White Bridge. Enjoy standard fried chicken here as well if the spicy stuff isn’t your thing!

Bad Luck Burger Bar

Food Truck

This food truck is worth tracking down! A delicious take on the classic cheeseburger, the Bad Luck Burger Club has it down to a science. They offer some of the best burgers with monthly specials and grilled cheese sandwiches. You can find them slinging burgers in Nashville by looking at their schedule online or via Instagram.

Lockeland Table 

Restaurant in East

If romantic date night spots are your vibe, add Lockeland Table to your list. This intimate restaurant in East Nashville serves up wood-fired pizza and entrees, including strip steak and fettuccine. With “community hour” Monday to Saturday, you can enjoy discounts on drinks and shared plates. Reservations are recommended and can be made online!

Redhead Stranger


Redheaded Stranger serves up tacos, burritos, and cheeseburgers in a casual dining setting in East Nashville. Enjoy a beer or margarita on their patio, or grab a seat at the bar. Open 7 days a week, stop in and try their green chili cheeseburger and Dr. Pepper hot sauce!


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Local Tunes

Live music is obviously a must when visiting Music City! While Broadway is a great place to experience live bands and covers, there are other great establishments that are known for local songwriters singing their own music. We suggest experiencing Nashville off Broadway to get a taste of what Nashville is all about! If you’re on the hunt for where to go in Nashville for live music, look no further.

6th & Peabody

Live Music & Big TVs

This is a bar with many names: 6th & Peabody, Old Smoky, and YeeHaw. Just like its many names, it’s known for many different things! You can experience Nashville like a local by moonshine tasting, enjoying local beers, and watching sporting events on their projector TVs. With a large outdoor seating area and plenty of high-top tables inside, it’s perfect for any big game.


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Winners Nashville

Up & Coming Local Artists

In Nashville fashion, we have to include a bar that showcases up-and-coming talent. This bar is located in Midtown and is known for its free concert series by Whiskey Jam every Monday and Thursday. Their stage hosts new singers/songwriters as well as well-known artists every once in a while. You will likely find Winners or its adjacent bar Losers on every guide to Nashville bars for a reason. They have amazing new artists and the best dive bar experience. Check out their Instagram for upcoming events!

Ms. Kelli’s


You’ll find many bars in Printer’s Alley on a local guide to Nashville. Located just parallel to Broadway, you’ll find many bars and restaurants in this bustling alleyway. While Ms. Kelli’s may not be the most well-known bar downtown, it’s at the top of our list if you want a fun night of karaoke and cheap drinks. Printer’s Alley is in close proximity to downtown Broadway, but you will feel just outside of all the craziness.

closeup of a microphone

Favorite Local Watering Holes

When it comes to our favorite bars, it’s hard to pick just a few. There are so many places in Nashville with excellent beer, wine, and cocktail menus. We have included dive bars, sports bars, speakeasies, and more on this list. Hopefully in this guide to Nashville bars, you’ll find something that piques your interest!

Urban Cowboy Nashville

Vibey Date Spot

East Nashville is home to some very eccentric bars, and Urban Cowboy is no exception! This Victorian Mansion turned boutique hotel and bar is equipped with a wine bar and spacious outdoor seating area with cozy fires. They have a kitchen serving wood-fired pizza and appetizers, as well as craft cocktails. The Urban Cowboy also caters to the music scene with live music nightly.

Old Glory


Nashville is home to some amazing speakeasies. Old Glory in Edgehill is an old boiler room from a local steam cleaning factory and is truly one of a kind. The speakeasy is open every day with Jazz night on Monday and live performances every Saturday. 

group of people holding wine glasses together

Sonny’s Patio Pub

Big Patio & Yard Games

By now you probably see a trend of Germantown spots on our list. Sonny’s is another spot tucked away in this charming neighborhood. Known for its patio and yard games, you can also find things like margarita flights and delicious bar food. This dog-friendly pub has live bands, as well as karaoke some nights!

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Take advantage of Nashville’s perfect weather by getting outside! There are plenty of outdoor activities in Nashville for folks to enjoy year-round. From parks and hiking trails to lakes and rivers, there is so much to see in Nashville and it’s all within the city limits. Here are some ideas of outdoor things to do in/near Nashville to get away from the hustle and bustle!

Centennial Park

Great Spot for a Picnic

Centennial Park is a 132-acre park located in the middle of West End in Nashville. It has many different features for guests to enjoy. From the Parthenon and other historical monuments to walking trails and dog parks, this park is perfect for escaping the city. 

Percy Priest Lake

Enjoy Fishing, Camping, or a Day Trip

One of Nashville’s many lakes is located just 20 minutes from downtown. There are plenty of recreational activities to indulge in while visiting the lake! Percy Priest has three different campsites ranging from $14–$24 per night for tent pitching or RV hookups. There are also many places for bank fishing here, as bass fishing is very popular!

Get Around Nashville Like a Local

Visiting bigger cities can be a pain without knowing how to use their transportation. Luckily, Nashville has many options for getting around the city. Nashville can be fairly easy to walk from place to place, but if you see yourself needing to get there quicker, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ways to get around Nashville like a local.

Nashville BCycle

Electric bikes are a great way to get around the city and get a little exercise. Pedal assist bikes make it easy to see the sights without overly exerting yourself. Whether you’re using them to get from one place to another or to just go on a leisurely ride, these bikes are very accessible. All bike docking locations are listed on their website.


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Bird/Lime Scooters

These scooters are the most accessible way to get around Nashville. If Ubering isn’t your thing or you don’t want the hassle, hop on an electric scooter! With all different kinds flooding the streets of Nashville, you’re bound to find one to hop on. Fares are typically cheaper than Uber and way more fun!

closeup of a scooter on a street

Hidden Gems

It wouldn’t be a true local’s guide to Nashville without sharing some hidden gems. While we like keeping these places on the down low, it’s only fair for you to experience the great parts of Nashville as we do! Here are some places that we think you’re going to love.

Sunsets & Skylines River Cruise

The Sunsets & Skylines evening cruise brings the best nighttime skyline views of Downtown Nashville. You can expect a picturesque sunset view only available aboard the Pontoon Saloon. As the sun sets, drinks flow, and the party starts to hit the dance floor, you’ll be cruising by Broadway soaking up all the city lights. Public cruises are BYOB, available at various times, and will typically host about 40 people per cruise. Reservations can be made online or over the phone.

people glowing in red light on a sunset boat cruise with nashville skyline behind

Blue Moon Waterfront Grille

Dine on the River

Enjoy a summer night in Nashville right on the water! Located in West Nashville at Rock Harbor Marina, this relaxing lunch and dinner spot is unlike anything in Nashville. With a covered outdoor patio and a brand new menu for the 2023 season, Blue Moon Waterfront Grille the perfect little getaway from the city.

Experience the Local Side of Nashville

Nashville is a rapidly-growing city with so many cool spots to explore. There are many places to discover—from up-and-coming neighborhoods to fun dive bars outside the hustle and bustle. Whether you’re visiting for a short period of time or plan to make Nashville your new home, we hope this guide will help you experience Nashville like a local!