3 Days In Nashville When You're Under 21
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3 Days In Nashville When You're Under 21

Can't go to bars? No problem. There's still plenty to do in and around Music City.

3 Days In Nashville When You're Under 21
Christine Watson

This spring break, I decided to go home instead of going to one of the crowded beaches along Florida's coasts. Although I went to high school in a Chicago suburb, home for me now is a town just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The negative of going home to a new place is not knowing anyone, but a positive is living near one of the nation's most unique, up-and-coming cities. So, because my G Big, Katie, decided to fly up to visit me this break, we had to figure out some things to do that didn't involve going to bars—which actually wasn't hard at all. If you want to take a road trip to Nashville but you aren't of legal drinking age, I've got you covered on plenty of fun things to do in and around Music City.

Day 1: Downtown Nashville

1. Eat breakfast at Fido

Start your day off by dining at a favorite of both locals and college students, located in Hillsboro Village just minutes from Vanderbilt University's campus. There's usually a line but it moves quickly, and the cafe is pretty big, so there's plenty of seating. Katie had the sweet potato french toast and I had the multigrain pancakes with blueberries, and both were amazing. The coffee is also to die for, as Fido has specialty lattes that are pretty interesting. I had the "Local Latte," which had honey and cinnamon.

2. Explore the shops in Hillsboro Village

There are many boutiques in this area that can actually work for a college student's budget. We visited Pangea and Native&Nomad and found interesting jewelry and clothing at both.

2. Tour the Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium was built after the Civil War as a tabernacle but is often known as the "Mother Church of Country Music." It was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974 and housed famous musicians, dancers, comedians, and actors throughout the years. Self-guided tours are $20 for adults, and backstage tours are $30.

3. Explore Lower Broadway

Just a few blocks away from the Ryman is Broadway street, which features many restaurants and Honky Tonks, the most popular of which are Robert's Western World and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, where you can sit down and enjoy local (or famous) country music artists from 11 a.m. until the early hours of the morning. Cover is free, and some allow people under 21 to stay until about 9 p.m.

4. Eat dinner at Hattie B's or Peg Leg Porker

If you're looking to get a taste of the local flavor, either of these restaurants will definitely be worth your time. Hattie B's boasts Nashville's best hot chicken, and the Peg Leg Porker offers some amazing barbecue.

Day 2: Hiking/Outdoors

Because I live about 20 minutes outside of Nashville, I have access to some great hiking trails. But even if you're staying in closer to the city, there's plenty to do outdoors.

1. Percy Warner Park or Radnor Lake

Katie and I did a 4.5-mile hike at Percy Warner on the Mossy Ridge Trail and I would say it was definitely worth it! The trails range from easy to hard, and are well marked and simple to follow. The scenery is beautiful and gets you out of the "city" feel. It took us about three hours to finish the loop and it was definitely a good workout.

2. Eat at Baja Burrito

During the hike, you're definitely going to work up an appetite. We were starving and craving some Mexican food, so we drove to Baja Burrito in Nashville, which is a local favorite. You can create your own burrito (just like Chipotle) but the flavors seemed more authentic and the price was just right—about $6 for a "small" (10 inch) burrito.

We were pretty tired afterwards, so we just relaxed and watched a movie the rest of the afternoon.

Day 3: Franklin, TN

This historic town, founded in 1799, is about a 30-minute drive from Nashville and offers some great restaurants, unique boutiques, and plenty of history to go around.

1. Get brunch at the Frothy Monkey

After our day of hiking, we were pretty tired and got a late start on the day. We decided to hit up the Frothy Monkey, a great coffee shop and cafe in downtown Franklin. We brought our laptops to get a little bit of work done and enjoyed lattes and sandwiches.

2. Check out the local stores

There are some cute boutiques here as well, although it seemed pricier than the shops we went to in Hillsboro Village.

3. Go on a Ghost Tour or Historical Tour

If you're into Civil War history (or just like being scared), then Franklin, TN is definitely the place to be. The Battle of Franklin was one of the bloodiest battles of the war and around 3,000 lives were lost, meaning many of those souls seem to still be hanging around. Katie and I went on the ghost tour and it was sufficiently creepy.

As you can see, there's a ton to do in Nashville, even if you're not yet 21. With its laid-back vibe, great food, and amazing hiking trails, this city is a perfect road trip destination for any college student.

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