Your Guide to the Best of Nashville

It's way more than country music

Nashville, where hundreds of country music stars have gotten their start—Dolly Parton and Blake Shelton among them—has consistently drawn people looking for a place to catch great live music while tossing back a few (or more) beers at a local honky-tonk. But ignore its other charms and attractions you'll be sorely missing out. This almost 250-year-old city boasts a full-scale replica of the Parthenon (complete with a 42-foot-tall statue of Athena), dozens of great hiking trails, a blossoming foodie culture, and more. Flights to Nashville International Airport are cheaper than ever—there's really no excuse not to take a weekend jaunt to the capital of Tennessee.

Best spots for live music

While known for its country music, Nashville also has a flourishing jazz and bluegrass scene. Dozens of bars offer live music nightly, and if you head downtown to Broadway on a weekend night you can't throw a stick without hitting a honky-tonk with a crooning musician inside. If you're looking for live jazz, you can't beat Rudy's Jazz Room, where you can nosh on creole and New Orleans-style fare while talented jazz musicians do their thing in an intimate, New York-influenced environment.

Country music fans should make a beeline to Legend's Corner, a self-proclaimed honky-tonk saloon located smack in the middle of Broadway. The walls are covered in country music records and it has almost non-stop live music from 10am to past midnight on weekends.

If you can't decide on a genre, check out Layla's, another proudly self-proclaimed honky-tonk. Musicians there play anything from country to rockabilly to bluegrass. You never know what to expect when you step inside its well-worn interior. With two bars, there's no need to worry about being jammed next to others like sardines in a tin. No matter where you sit you'll be able to hear the live music loud and clear, so stake out a stool and enjoy the ride.

BBQ that'll make you drool

The first thing you should know about barbecue in the south is that it is a very serious endeavor. Pride and heritage are essentially baked in, and people have staunch opinions on which style is the best.

While not universally revered, it's hard to argue with the lip-smacking appeal of the whole hog barbecue. And in Nashville, no one does it better than Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint. Pull up a chair at Martin's and you'll enjoy the spoils of over 25 years of accumulated barbecue wisdom, techniques, and experiments from franchise owner Pat Martin.

Everything from sides to sauces are made from scratch every day starting at 5am, but the smoking process begins the day before. If pork's not your favorite protein, they also serve up a mean smoked turkey or chicken, brisket, catfish, and sausage in a variety of ways. Try a Redneck Taco (your choice of BBQ on top of house-made hoecake and slaw), a Full Slab of Ribs (wet or dry rubbed), or fiendishly delicious chicken wings with a side of Devil's Nectar dipping sauce.

One thing is for sure: you haven't tasted Nashville until you've tried a piece of hot chicken from Hattie's. Hot chicken is essentially fried chicken with a kick, but for some reason it tastes better in Nashville than any other place in the south.

Take in some history

The Action-Jackson manor

If the only thing you know about Andrew Jackson is that he's on the twenty-dollar bill, you may want to stop by Hermitage, his 200-year-old estate. Explore the seventh president's old stomping grounds and take a tour of the house he once lived in—happily they've updated the amenities to include air conditioning, so you won't have to contend with the sweltering Nashville heat should you visit during the summer.

If you can't swing a trip to Athens, Nashville's full-scale replica of the Parthenon will give you a feel of Greek historical architecture. (Maybe nosh on some olives and gyros afterward to get in the mood before you visit.) Built at the turn of the 19th century for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, this magnificent piece of architecture was never intended to be a long-term building despite its beauty and grandeur; the city planned to demolish it after the exhibition. However, its popularity with residents and tourists and the cost of demolition saved it from its uncertain fate. Inside, it contains artwork and sculptures by 18th and 19th century American artists including a spectacular 12-ton statue of Athena.

A walk to remember

Visitors interested in Nashville's wild charms will appreciate the bevy of hiking trails just outside the city. A longtime favorite is the Mossy Ridge Trail. It's a 4.5-mile loop through lush woods and filled with chattering birds. It has enough hills and ridges for you to work up an appetite—all the better to appreciate some hot chicken. Just make sure to leave enough time to slow down and take in the sights and the sounds.

If you can't bear to leave without a souvenir

Hatch Show Print has been turning out iconic music show posters for Nashville artists for over 140 years, and now you can own a taste of the industry with a replica print. You can even tour their Haley Gallery, which showcases prints of original posters as well as interpretations from local and national artists.

Those looking to deck out their homes with some cheeky home goods should check out Apple and Oak. From a wine glass featuring "fancy as f**k" in curly gold script to vintage Turkish rugs, this is one store that will suck you in faster than your favorite Instagram influencer.

Nashville's charms extend far beyond its country music roots. With all of its history, delicious eats, boutique stores, and live music, it makes for a perfect weekend trip that could easily extend into a full week vacation.

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Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!

Travel Tips

8 of the Best Donut Spots In the United States

Celebrate National Donut Day with our favorite treats across the country.

November 5th marks one of 2020's two National Donut Days.

Occurring in both June and November, National Donut Day allows fans of those delectable yeasty treats to embrace their sweet tooth. But like any niche food group, people often take their donuts very, very seriously, and there are countless places to get your fix.

Below, we've rounded up some of the best donut spots across the country. From coast to coast, these bakeries are sure to impress even the pickiest donut-heads.

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop – Modesto, CA

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's worth taking a short trek out east towards Modesto for some of California's best donuts. Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop has remained family owned since its opening over 30 years ago, providing both tried-and-true classic donuts as well as experimental flavors and holiday specials. Even their 24-hour service doesn't diminish the line that trails out the door most mornings.

Dough — New York, NY

Dough \u2014 New York, NY

Donuts might not be the first circular, doughy treat you think of when it comes to New York City. If you've had your fair share of bagels, the Big Apple also boasts some spectacular donuts at Dough, a go-to spot for both tourists and locals alike. Here, you'll find a host of Latin American-inspired flavors that are hard to come by anywhere else; their Dulce de Leche flavor is a customer favorite, while the tangy Hibiscus donut is just as good for Instagramming as it is for eating.

Blackbird Doughnuts — Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts \u2014 Boston, MA

Boston's Blackbird Doughnuts is a no-frills donut spot specializing in both brioche "raised" donuts and old-fashioned cake donuts. With a small menu of year-round donuts and a rotating cast of seasonal flavors, Blackbird keeps it simple and classic. Why mess around?

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop — Brooklyn, NY

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop \u2014 Brooklyn, NY

For over 60 years, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has been calling the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint home. Since then, the bakery has remained a popular spot for both regulars and new visitors passing through the area. Here, you won't find uber-trendy decor or gimmicky recipes, just damn good donuts that prove the power of long-standing local businesses.

Pip’s Original — Portland, OR

Pip\u2019s Original \u2014 Portland, OR

In both their mobile catering van and brick-and-mortar locations, Pip's Original is a staple for small, sweet treats in Portland. They're known for their tiny donuts that come in inventive seasonal flavors like marionberry-lavender and mango ghost pepper. But even if you opt for one of the more traditional flavors, Pip's Original proves good things can come in small packages.

Round Rock Donuts — Round Rock, TX

Round Rock Donuts \u2014 Round Rock, TX

Founded in 1926, Round Rock Donuts—located just north of Austin—are impossible to miss. These donuts' distinct yellow-orange color, caused by fresh eggs in the original recipe, make them stand out among the crowd. While this classic outpost can easily churn out hundreds of dozens of donuts a day, they also offer Texas-Sized Donuts, which are just as ginormous as you'd imagine. Round Rock Donuts are not only delicious and easily recognizable, but they're a slice of Lone Star history.

The Holy Donut — Portland, ME

The Holy Donut \u2014 Portland, ME

In Maine's Portland, you might not find tiny donuts or a decked-out catering van, but you will find a slightly healthier alternative. The Holy Donut was founded on the premise of creating tasty donuts that used all-natural ingredients to make a treat you could feel good about eating. The secret ingredient is fresh, mashed Maine potatoes, which make these donuts delectably moist without sacrificing flavor.

Donut Friend — Los Angeles, CA

Donut Friend \u2014 Los Angeles, CA

As expected of a city so focused on entertainment, Los Angeles' Donut Friend puts an edgy spin on their inventive donut flavors. Their year-round menu features donut flavors with names like Green Teagan and Sara, Fudgegazi, and Bacon-182 that are sure to delight the rock music nerds. For everyone else, the delicious donuts speak for themselves.