When in Nashville

Welcome to Music City! My name is Mandy Johnson, class of 2010, and I live in Nashville, Tennessee, where I work in sales for Hershey’s. Nashville is famous for its incredible singers, songwriters and musicians, mouthwatering hot chicken, and of course, the Grand Ole Opry. If you want to see Nashville like a local, check out my top five favorite spots to explore in the city:

1 Germantown Butchertown Hall is one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville. If you’ve ever been to The Smokin’ Pig in Clemson, you know it’s next to impossible to find barbecue that compares. Butchertown Hall comes pretty close. I typically order brisket, but the pulled pork, chicken and Instagram-worthy cheeseburger are also great options.

PRO TIP You can make reservations during the week but not on the weekends.

2 East Nashville Mitchell’s Deli is a favorite sandwich shop among the locals that uses high-quality, natural ingredients from local sources. The Turkey Avocado is my personal favorite, filled with melted cheese, fresh turkey and crisp Benton’s bacon. Other popular sandwiches include the Italian, Asian Flank Steak and the French Dip.

3 The Gulch One of the most popular areas of town, the Gulch is filled with tourists. However, if you drive just outside of the Gulch, you’ll find yourself on Eighth Avenue. This is where you’ll see Baked on 8th, my favorite bakery in town, filled with sweet smells and charm. It has perfectly baked chocolate chip cookies, brownies, pastries and cakes to feast your eyes on.

PRO TIP The bakery offers local Frothy Monkey coffee and free Wi-Fi.

4 Downtown I can’t write about Nashville and not mention the Ryman Auditorium. This concert venue is for locals and tourists alike. The colorful stained-glass windows and wooden church pews give us a glimpse of what this historic venue used to be: a church. The acoustics are crystal clear, unlike any other concert venue I’ve been in.

HONORABLE MENTION The bars on lower Broadway are always a blast, but if you’d like a calmer vibe, check out a writers round at the Listening Room. For a nice dinner, find Skull’s Rainbow Room in historic Printers Alley.

5 West Nashville Centennial Park, just minutes from downtown, is home to a full-scale model of the Parthenon. If you’re a history buff, you can take a tour inside the replica and learn why Nashville is nicknamed “the Athens of the South.” If you’re not into history, you can enjoy a stroll around the park or listen to live music at Musicians Corner during the warmer months.