For Chicagoans, Nashville is a really easy trip. You can arrive by noon if you leave early enough and feel as if you have reached the Deep South--charming character and southern hospitality is endless here.
At first glance, as we drove through the streets of Nashville, we really thought it had a Milwaukee type of look. The streets were filled with a lot of older architecture that you just don’t see at home (darn Chicago Fire), but do see in most cities. Their downtown area almost had as many cranes in the air as you see in Chicago, maybe a little more. We knew, something special had been going on here.
Like all our trips, we run to the hotel, drop off our things, freshen up a bit, and hit the streets within twenty minutes or less. I always feel this is the best way to capture the vibe of the city. This time was no different. Do you do this? We left a little later than we should have, but decided to hit the streets anyway.
After dropping our things off to the Thompson Hotel in a new neighborhood called the Gulch, we thought maybe we had missed the mark neighborhood wise--it looked brand new and maybe a little homogenized. But as we explored more and talked to locals, we realized this neighborhood was the place to be! Frye boots store, Biscuit Love (with lines out the door and around the building), Sunda sushi (a Chicago favorite), Milk and Honey eatery, and even the hotels adjoining restaurant were it!
It was a little too late to get into too many places in the Gluch, so we ventured off to the the stunning lobby of the old post office turned hotel nearby and checked out the courtyard of Nashville's art museum. Then there really was only place to go that late, so we headed straight to the "Times Square" of Nashville. Here’s where the bright lights big city thing comes in, blocks and blocks of lit up bars and restaurants with a glow that rivaled New York City. Now we had 4 kids in tow, it was just a stroll, so we were not checking out any of the bars, but it was so fun to see. It’s iconic and we’d never seen before. The kids eyes lit up as bright as all the lights on the main strip. Who knew a mini Times Square was so close to Chicago!
The next morning we explored Nashville's Parthenon and French styled gardens and found an adorable store for children called Plaid Rabbit Gifts.
The next day I went on my usual mansion hunt—my favorite vacation activity to do—and I found Cheekwood mansion—estate of the family that started Maxwell House Coffee. On the way there, and to my pleasing, we got to drive through the ritzy part of Nashville and the homes and lands were stunning. Huge lots, classical architecture, formal gardens, had me stunned--another surprise that I didn’t think I’d see there. We also stopped an outdoor stair climb park next door to the estate (like Swallow Cliff I see everyone doing here), but frankly, this one seemed way more chic, way more classic and genteel—the southern style was contagious. Finally, we made it to Cheekwood and the hospitality of everyone there was remarkable. We fell for the southern charm and this stunning estate! So many children activities on the grounds, including a cute storybook exhibit with homes staged after books, like Charlottes web, Peter Rabbit—our favorite. But I made sure we raced to the for the manicured gardens and beautiful terraces, fountains, and pools on the estate grounds and even snuck in a tour of the mansion and stables. And I suggest you race to Nashville and check out all their neighborhoods!
Thompson Hotel: While there are many hotel options, we like the newness and decor at the Thompson.
Marsh House: I can tell you that we are here after we did our first night's arrival stroll.
Biscuit Love: Lines were too long for us to get in, but look at their Instagram, enough said.
Cafe at Restoration Hardware: Sometimes we get a little homesick for Chicago, so its nice to have something you are use to, its right next to Nashville's premier shopping center.
Cheekwood Estate: Stunning estate with gardens and grounds abutting a forest preserve, this estate likely coined the term views for days with how it was planned and set up. Both adults and children will be able to relax and unwind at this beautiful space. This is a do not miss for sure.
The Parthenon: It may be a short trip from Chicago, but you can make believe that you are in Greece or France instead. Tours are available of the interior and all ages will love what the other parts of the park has to offer.
Plaid Rabbit Gifts: As you know, I am always on the hunt for clothing stores with classic children's clothing, this place does not miss the mark. From the dresses to socks and all the accessories and accompanying items, you will be struggling to limit your options. The store has the most darling items, not to be missed.
We encourage you to explore Chicago and the Chicagoland area with our Law Firm at our Looks Leads Lifestyle events. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to check out the law firm and the spots we explore to help you increase your business!
Children in clothing/shoes/accessories from Childrensalon.com, Olla Children's Wear, Il Gufo.
Adults in Intermix and Jimmy Choo.
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