The “Country Music Capitol of the World” offers plenty of intriguing attractions and points of interest, as well as incredible live music and cold brews. However, arguably the most exciting features of the city are the little-known hidden gems. From the grotto and spring tucked away in Shelby Park to the vegan entries at the Wild Cow, you can spend your getaway exploring this iconic Tennessean city without the crowds. After settling into your Nashville vacation rental, head out to find these amazing secret spots.
1. Cooter’s Place
Indulge the Dukes of Hazzard’s fans in your crew with a tour of Cooter’s Place, a museum and shop originated by Ben Jones, the actor who played Cooter on the hit TV show. Located at 2613 McGavock Pike in Nashville, this museum features artifacts and memorabilia from the popular TV show such as Daisy’s jeep, the General Lee, Cooter’s tow truck and Rosco’s patrol car. Take a family photo next to the bright orange car and enjoy an afternoon of browsing pictures, props, and costumes with the family.
2. Shelby Park
Soak up the scenery and a little bit of nature with a walk or hike through Shelby Park. This hidden gem near Nashville vacation rentals is home to a spring and grotto that is buried deep in the park and has been in existence for more than 100 years. Stay cool during the heat of the summer while dipping your feet in the spring water that comes from this small grotto. Shelby Park offers green grasses and picnic areas ideal for an afternoon lunch, as well as playgrounds for the little ones to enjoy. Catch views of the Cumberland River when visiting this park located on Shelby Park Drive.
3. Bongo Java
Enjoy a cup of Joe from one of the oldest coffee houses in Nashville. Located right across the street from Belmont University in the Belmont and Hillsboro Village neighborhood, Bongo Java achieved celebrity status when the owners created a cinnamon bun in 1996 that some believe resembled Mother Theresa. You can now order the Nun Bun at this quaint cafe that also houses the Bongo After Hours Theatre, a music venue featuring dinner theaters and live music.
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4. Hail, Dark Aesthetics
If you crave attractions that are unique and unforgettable, Hail, Dark Aesthetics’ taxidermy shop delivers. This specialty shop features taxidermy items that are rare, such as moose hoof ashtrays, shrunken heads, and human toes. Browse the aisles to find the perfect gift for your friends with eclectic taste, or sign up for a taxidermy class where you can learn to properly preserve a Jackalope head that you can take back to your vacation rental to admire. While this hidden gem may not be a typical attraction, the taxidermy shop, located at 2410 Gallatin Avenue, provides you with an experience you won’t forget.
5. Bobbie’s Dairy Dip
When traveling to Nashville during the summer months, cool down with a tasty soft-serve cone from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. This specialty ice cream shop, located at 5301 Charlotte Avenue, is famous for its chilling ice cream, but you can also get a hearty meal when ordering one of the specialty burgers, fries, and a homemade shake. This low-key, walk-up ice cream joint offers colorful picnic tables for families to gather around while savoring the sweet cream. Get your fill through the week and on Saturdays because Bobbie’s is closed on Sundays.
6. Beaman Park
Within minutes from your Nashville vacation rental, you can explore approximately 1,700 acres of natural area while hiking, biking, or jogging on a sunny morning. Beaman Park, located at 5911 Old Hickory Boulevard, is home to uncommon animal species you can spot on your morning run, as well as unique plant associations. Venture along 6.6 miles of hiking trails and stop in at the streams along the path to cool off when the Nashville sun beats down.
7. The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant
Fill up without indulging in meaty entrees when dining at the Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant. This Nashville hidden gem, located at 1896 Eastland Avenue offers vegetarian meals and snacks for lunch or dinner every day. Enjoy fajita-style nachos, smothered in vegan queso or opt for a Caesar salad with homemade dressing. This Nashville restaurant offers a variety of vegetarian soups and vegan desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
8. Hey Rooster General Store
Get ready to take some selfies next to historic and unique merchandise when visiting Hey Rooster General Store in Nashville. Located at 1711 21st Avenue South, this specialty store on the east side of Nashville offers homemade gifts made by locals. Find ready-to-enjoy small batch food, painted art, handmade clothing, and body and skincare products formulated with natural ingredients. This general store is adjacent to a row of locally-owned shops so you can spend the day getting in some retail therapy while patronizing small businesses in Nashville.
9. Broadway Boot Company
Broadway Street in Nashville is lined with music venues and scrumptious restaurants; however, hidden between the bars is the Broadway Boot Company, a premier shopping outlet for your inner cowgirl or cowboy. You can find this hidden gem at 301 Broadway on the same block as Legends and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Shop for western wear, sturdy and stylish boots, and homemade gifts when stopping in at this locally-owned specialty shop in the heart of Nashville.
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