Since 2007, the Music City Hot Chicken Festival has been spicing up the Fourth of July in Nashville, Tennessee, with a parade followed by hot chicken, cold beer and live music. If you can’t stand the heat, food trucks offer cooler options, and The Pied Piper Creamery is on hand to put out the fire with ice cream. You might pick up a tip or two at the amateur cooking competition; afterward, stroll downtown to catch the annual fireworks display. For more information, visit hot-chicken.com/festival.
Urban Cowboy is a recent East Nashville addition near the eclectic Five Points district. Following in the footsteps of its Brooklyn flagship, the new Urban Cowboy lets you hunker down in a historic Queen Anne mansion, modernizing the bed-and-breakfast concept with eight contemporary suites and common spaces dressed in an art deco-Southwestern mashup. Each room boasts its own unique design, and all offer plush Wright-mattressed beds and clawfoot bathtubs.
1603 Woodland St., East Nashville, 347.840.0525, urbancowboybnb.com
The Hermitage Hotel
This luxurious downtown hotel is Southern hospitality personified. For more than a century, the beaux-arts beauty has welcomed a well-heeled clientele (including celebrities, musical legends, athletes and a number of U.S. Presidents) with a refined sense of style and timeless elegance. The swank Capitol Grille offers an exemplary fine-dining experience; for more casual eats and a curated cockatil selection, grab a seat at the Oak Bar. And don’t forget to treat yourself to a pampering massage or facial at the full-service spa.
231 Sixth Ave. N, Downtown, 888.888.9414, thehermitagehotel.com
The forward-thinking Hutton Hotel cuts a stylish figure with modern rooms and suites furnished with tech-savvy features, plus cushy amenities like custom bedding and granite-filled bathrooms. The eco-conscious hotel takes conservation seriously with sustainable products, earth-friendly practices and even electric car-charging stations. The downtown location makes it easy to walk to plenty of restaurants, shops and cultural attractions.
1808 West End Ave., Midtown/Vanderbilt, 615.340.9333, huttonhotel.com
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
The recipient of a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics award in 2009, this friendly cafeteria-style eatery is the place to go for outstanding “meat and threes” – hearty plates heaped with your choice of meat and three sides. Menu items change daily and feature a revolving selection of comfort-food favorites like chicken and dumplings, country-fried steak, roast beef and meatloaf accompanied by turnip greens, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas or fried-green tomatoes. Just make sure you save room for a slice of chocolate chess pie.
Multiple locations, arnoldscountrykitchen.com
Nashville’s grand dame of hot chicken, Hattie B’s is required eating for fans of all things spicy. Get it on a sandwich, by the wing, tender or plate, then crank up the heat level as high as you dare, from the “no heat” Southern option all the way to the incendiary “Shut the Cluck Up!!!” Pints of beer and traditional sides like greens, coleslaw, pimento mac ‘n’ cheese and banana pudding help keep the burn in check. Expect to wait in line.
Multiple locations, hattieb.com
Hot-chicken purists may cluck, but this new East Nashville spot puts a delicious Korean spin on fried chicken. A twice-fried preparation gives the bird a thin and crispy crust; it arrives with a choice of house sauces like Korean barbecue, gochugaru, sweet soy-garlic and spicy Phoenix. Brisket, salads, ssam lettuce wraps and bibimbap bowls round out the short but thoughtful menu.
726 McFerrin Ave., East Nashville, 615.928.8118, birdhousenashville.com
This hotspot in the Gulch neighborhood takes the classic Southern biscuit one step further by serving biscuit-based dishes laden with hot chicken, country ham, burgers, and peanut butter and jelly. You can also get them fried with creamy lemon mascarpone and berry compote, drenched in sausage gravy or simply plain alongside a plate of steak and eggs.
316 11th Ave. S, Gulch, 615.490.9584, biscuitlove.com
Mas Tacos Por Favor
You won’t find any alcohol served at this beloved cash-only former food truck in East Nashville. What you will find is some of the tastiest, made-from-scratch Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande. Authentic street tacos come filled with tilapia, fried avocado, quinoa, chicken or pulled pork. Meanwhile, chilaquiles, elote, pozole verde and fried plantains sweeten the deal even more.
732 McFerrin Ave. Suite B, East Nashville, 615.543.6271, facebook.com/mastacos
Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar
Goo Goo Clusters are a Southern tradition: The original features delectable chocolate-covered patties of peanuts, caramel and marshmallow nougat. Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar offers some creative interpretations including Cumberland Ridge Pecan Pie, Clark Street Original Cheesecake and The Honky Tonk Blonde sundae.
116 Third Ave. S, Downtown, 615.490.6685, googoo.com
Walk Eat Nashville
Nosh and nibble your way through the flavors of the city’s most vibrant culinary destinations and meet some of the personalities behind them, too. Three-hour tours of East Nashville, Midtown/Vanderbilt and SoBro/Downtown include six tastings and a 1.5-mile walk to keep the calories from creeping on.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
Back in the 1800s, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was the country’s largest producer and supplier of Tennessee whiskey. These days, brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson are keeping things in the family by bringing the business back to life. The Nelsons sell white whiskey and bourbon, which you can sample on a tour at the Marathon Village distillery.
1414 Clinton St., Marathon Village, 615.913.8800, greenbrierdistillery.com