My sister and I recently road tripped from Michigan down to Nashville for our second annual sister trip! We were there for a long weekend and aside from spending time on Broadway, which is a must for every Nashville trip, we also wanted to explore some of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Gulch is one of Nashville's fastest growing areas located between downtown and Music Row and is home to chic hotels, trendy boutiques, and drool-worthy restaurants.
This area has only recently become popular within the last several years but now it seems like there are new shops or restaurants popping up on every corner. And be warned, when I say popular, I mean really popular! If you go on a weekend you're likely to see lines for almost every restaurant and mural and it can be a bit overwhelming. If possible try to go on a week day, or even a Sunday, for a much more enjoyable experience. However, even with the large amount of people flocking to this area the parking is ample with multiple garages within walking distance of the sites below. The garages also offer your first hour of parking for free if you're just stopping in to a couple shops or reasonable rates per hour if you plan to be there for longer.
You could easily spend an entire afternoon here - and we actually ended up going back three different times over the course of our trip. Here are some of the highlights:
Milk and Honey: If there's one restaurant I'm still dreaming about from our trip it's definitely this one! And unfortunately I'm not alone. You can almost always expect a wait here (ours was 90 minutes) but unlike some of the other popular options in the area you are able to put your name in and they'll call/text you when your table is ready so the wait didn't seem all that bad because were able to explore the rest of the area in the meantime. This cafe style eatery got its start in Chattanooga with a focus on homemade gelatin and craft coffee. The Nashville location still stays true to its roots and offers a walk up counter for ordering coffee and pastries but there is also a large restaurant space serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ordered the Turkey and Brie flatbread and it was to die for! They are also famous for their homemade biscuits and giant cinnamon rolls. The vibe of the cafe is totally insta-worthy as well with it's black and white floor to ceiling tile, neon wall signs, and large Milk and Honey sign out front. Add this place to your list - it's worth the wait!!
Biscuit Love: Ohh, biscuit love! If there's a place more popular than Milk and Honey it might be this one. Home to the fluffiest homemade biscuits I've ever had and the iconic Nashville lighted sign it's another must see. You'll also hear people rave about their famous "bonuts" which are biscuit fried donuts tossed in sugar and topped with lemon mascarpone. Once again, I highly recommend going super early or an off day. We passed by multiple times and the line was down the street - and unfortunately this place is counter service so you have to wait in line which could really waste some valuable vacation time. We went at 7:30 a.m. on Monday before we hit the road and were able to park for free in the garage right across the street, order immediately, and have our choice of almost any seat in the place. So worth it!
Mockingbird: This chic diner has a retro vibe serving signature drinks and American fare. It's within walking distance of the main strip and we stopped here after brunch at Milk and Honey for an afternoon cocktail. The bartenders were locals and had so many great tips for where to go outside the typical touristy spots. They are known for their punchin' bag drinks which are basically adult juice bags so of course I had to try one! The flavors rotate daily and I tried the lavender lemon bag which had such a unique flavor. They also have an outdoor patio area. Unfortunately it was chilly on the day we went so we stayed inside but it would be a great place to sip a drink on a sunny day. They serve lunch and dinner with happy hour specials from 2:30 to 6:30pm each day.
Shopping - the Gulch is home to some of the more upscale boutiques in Nashville with a mix of both brand names (Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, etc.) and more unique finds. Below are some of our favorite stops.
Kittenish: I've been a fan of Eric and Jessie Decker and their adorable family for some time now and when I heard she opened her first storefront in the Gulch a few months before our trip I knew I had to stop. The store had the cutest all-pink everything vibe, was rocking 90s pop and the walls gave ode to some of the other female boss babes (Britney Spears, Sex and the City, etc.) The prices were actually surprisingly affordable and I took home a pair of earrings (only $28!). This store is also home to the adorable Nashville Stole My Heart balloon mural which is worth stopping for a photo even if you're not looking to shop.
Winky Lux: A short walk from Kittenish we popped into this store next after seeing so many girls walking around with their hot pink poodle bags. I had never heard of this luxury cosmetics store before but it was to die for. My sister and I both ended up purchasing their signature Flower Glam lipstick which has a real flower inside of it. It goes on clear and then adjusts to the PH of your skin to create a unique pink color. They are also an experiential store and the back half is filled with colorful photo stations that you can try out their products and snap some cute pics with your gals!
Blush Boutique: Located next door to Winky Lux this was your standard women's fashion boutique offering the latest trends. We didn't end up buying anything here but still worth the stop if you're already in the area.
Uncommon James: I was seriously fan-girling hard over this one! I've been a Kristin Cavallari fan since her Laguna Beach days so when she came out with her own show Very Cavallari which features her storefront in Nashville there was no doubt I'd be stopping. This is another one that you may be better going to on an off day. We stopped on a Saturday afternoon and there were so many people it was hard to even walk around. The store has the most simplistic, glam vibe featuring her jewelry, home decor, and Little James line. Here you'll also find their devil/angel wall mural and the iconic couch under the Uncommon James sign both of which make for another cute photo op.
What Lifts You Mural: Kelsey Montague is an international artist famous for her #WhatLiftsYou murals. The Gulch is home to one of the largest (and maybe the smallest) wings which stand at 20 feet high and took over 60 paint pens to complete. Located at 302 11th Avenue S. you won't be able to miss it. Just look for the line of people standing on the sidewalk waiting for what looks like nothing (until you turn the corner and see this beauty). Don't let the line discourage you thought - it moves pretty quickly as most people just run up and snap a quick photo. If you're obsessed with wall murals like me you'll definitely want to make time for this one.
Other Gulch stops to add to your list:
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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