The Road to Bonnaroo: 24 Hours in Nashville

posted by Cultivora on June 06, 2012

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, happening this weekend (June 7-10) in Manchester, Tennessee, is a great excuse for a road trip. If you’re driving to Bonnaroo this week, why not take a quick stop in Tennessee’s other music-oriented city, Nashville? Stay a night in a hotel and check out the nightlife and local music scene before setting up your tent for the weekend or just stay for a quick meal and a bit of exploring during the day. We asked some Nashville locals, Vivienne van Vilet and Rob Clark, for their recommended hotspots and compiled them into a mini travel guide to help you get the most out of the city. So if you’re passing through or want to get a bit more of Tennessee out of your Bonnaroo vacation after the festival comes to a close, Nashville is the place to go.

Be sure to check out our accompanying Google Map, which conveniently lays out all of Rob and Vivienne's Nashville recommendations.


731 McFerrin Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
+1 (615) 712-9517
One of the best burgers and beer gardens in Nashville. East Nashville is the hipster up-and-coming part of town for young creative people. --RC

1222 4th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208
+1 (615) 736-5838
The Civil Wars, Taylor Swift, and Punch Brothers swear by eating at City House before they head out on tour. Classic American fare and drinks. --RC

718 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 255-6200
The appropriately named Flyte is located in the fairly-new and hip area of The Gulch in downtown Nashville. The restaurant serves “flights” of dishes and wines for tasting and light meals. Flyte provides the perfect ambience for its modern take on tapas and is a prime spot for small bites and drinks with close friends. --VVV


1808 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 340-9333
A standard sleeping spot for touring bands coming through Nashville, upscale vibe without the Ritz Carlton feel. --RC

301 Union Street
Nashville, TN 37201
+1 (615) 891-6000
Across the street from the Hutton, Hotel Indigo has an ultra-modern vibe and great live music in the lobby every night. Definitely the best bang for the buck hotel in Nashville. --RC


2601 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
+1 (615) 292-5005
GQ named I+W one of the top 10 best Men’s shops in America. Handmade, raw selvage American jeans that are custom tailored (I wear mine every day). --RC

4015 Hillsboro Pike 3104
Nashville, TN 37215
+1 (615) 292-2111
Billy Reid is known as one of the top Southern fashion designers and had a huge presence at New York Fashion Week this year. Billy is based out of Florence, Alabama, but the boutique in Nashville outfits everyone from John Paul White to Chris Thile. --RC

623 7th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 891-4393
Jack White’s private record store. Really cool/weird vibe. --RC

1604 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 254-4801
One of the best locally owned record stores in America. --RC


935 West Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
+1 (615) 262-4190
Holland House is the top pick for a fancy cocktail. With 20-foot high ceilings and 16 extravagant chandeliers, the bar was named one of the 100 best bars in the South in 2011 – just a year after its grand opening. Make sure to take advantage of the daily happy hour, from 5-7pm, which offers exceptional cocktails for just $5. --VVV

2225 Bransford Ave
Nashville, TN 37204
+1 (615) 593-1872
Not in the mood for lavish mixology? Santa’s Pub is not your ordinary dive bar; the pub is a trailer filled with $2 bottled beer, twenty something hipsters, karaoke, and lots of smoke. Brave the crowd of East Nashvillians and enjoy yourself at this bar – if you can even call it that. --VVV

416 Broadway, Suite B
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 244-9552
Never had a true Tennessee honky-tonk experience? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Make sure to drop by this staple Nashville bar, situated right on Broadway, downtown’s main street. Robert’s offers cheap beer, pub grub, and, most importantly, that amazing old-school country music that you probably won't hear at Bonnaroo. --VVV

No. 308
407 Gallatin Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206
+1 (615) 650-7344
One of the few places in town that carbonates their own soda. Mixology-level drinks for the starving artist budget. --RC

1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 636-7724
Nashville’s speakeasy is located in an unmarked dark gray building just off Music Row. A velvet curtain guards the entrance to the somewhat exclusive bar. The vibe feels like something out of the 1920‘s. Entry without reservation is rare, but the drinks are worth it. --RC

1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 251-3020
One of the most consistent live venues for local and national shows. Mostly rock, dance, hip-hop and Americana genres. --RC

Check out The High-Watt Saturdays, undoubtedly Nashville’s #1 dance party. Lines of electro-loving hipsters form around the block outside the well-known venue. Three years after its inception, the party now takes place at The High Watt on Cannery Row. Jeremy “Coach” Todd, curator of Y2K, is the man responsible for the party’s huge success; New Yorkers might even recognize him from Webster Hall, where he played alongside “Girls & Boys” head honcho Alex English. --VVV

1604 8th Avenue South #330
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 254-8006
Located in the Basement of Grimey’s record store, everyone from Metallica to Justin Townes Earle have stopped in for secret shows. Mostly Rock and Americana genres. (There will most likely be some sort of secret show before or after Bonnaroo). --RC

114 12th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 320-2754
Great for local and smaller national shows. Mostly rock, dance and pop genres.--RC


222 5th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 416-2001
Tour the facility where Elvis cut over 300 tracks. Everyone from Dolly Parton to My Morning Jacket has tracked at RCA B. --RC

Centennial Park
2600 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
+1 (615) 862-8431
The only full size replica of the Parthenon in the world. Pretty cool tourist spot, it’s a good park to enjoy on a sunny day. --RC