Nashville Trip Idea: Tin Pan South
One of our favorite times in Music City is the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. The festival has grown in size and popularity every year as it shines a spotlight on the songwriters behind some of our favorite songs. Multiple shows, each with four or five performers, are scheduled at different venues around town over the course of five nights. This is a rare opportunity for visitors and locals alike to experience the songs they love and the stories behind those songs performed by the unsung heroes who wrote them.
Kick Start Your Day
Nashville is a city full of creative types, many of whom are songwriters who don’t follow the 9 to 5 routine. That might explain why the city is overflowing with great coffee shops and breakfast spots that stay busy all day long. If a cup of joe is your first order of business in the a.m. then head to some local faves including Frothy Monkey, Bongo Java, Ugly Mugs, 8th & Roast, Crema, or Barista Parlor.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and who are we to argue? Fido has a great all-day breakfast menu and you might even see a songwriter or two....as long as you don’t get there too early. Songwriters aren’t known to be early risers. Other delectable breakfast options include Biscuit Love, Loveless Cafe, Puckett’s Grocery, and The Southern Steak & Oyster. That doesn’t even include the long list of brunch options, mainly available on the weekends.
Spend the Day Exploring
Since most of Tin Pan South’s shows and events take place in the evening, that leaves you all day to explore the city that daily inspires its incredible songwriters. Let it inspire you too by heading to places like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Hatch Show Print, Ryman Auditorium, Historic RCA Studio B, and Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
After you’ve hit some of the must-see attractions, head to one of Nashville’s many neighborhoods to get a feel for the more local side of city. Neighborhoods like East Nashville, known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, bars, and breweries, is a great place to walk around, get a bite to eat, and pick up some not-so-souveniry souvenirs. Lunch spots like Pepperfire Hot Chicken, Mas Tacos, Marche, and The Family Wash are casual and tasty. Hillsboro Village and 12South, located just a few blocks from each other, are two other great neighborhoods to stroll through, grab a cup of coffee, hit some local boutiques and music stores, and have yourself a little day drink (you definitely don’t have to wait until 5 o'clock in Nashville).
Before you see a songwriter show, head to the attractions that honor the songwriters. Places like the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery located at the Music City Center which is considered one of the nation's highest songwriting achievements. Then, there's Music City Walk of Fame, a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have contributed to the world through song or industry collaboration with connections to Music City. Some of the inductees include Kings of Leon, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Reba McEntire, and so many more.
Grab Some Grub
If you want to grab dinner before the show, stick close to the venue you’re hitting up so you don’t have to Lyft or Uber twice. If your show is downtown then grab a quick and casual dinner at Acme Feed & Seed, Rippy’s Smokin' Bar & Grill, or Bajo Sexto. For a fancier meal try Husk Restaurant, The Farm House, or Etch Restaurant. If you’re heading to the West End or Midtown area we suggest you try WestEnd Kitchen & Bar, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, or Tavern. Catching a show at the Station Inn in The Gulch? Check out Party Fowl, Peg Leg Porker, or Saint Anejo. If you’re heading to Douglas Corner on 8th Avenue then check out The Sutler Saloon, Sinema Restaurant + Bar, or M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers for a tasty, casual bite to eat.
Time for the Main Event
Ok, the reason you’re here...the Tin Pan South shows. With more than 300 performers this year, yes we said 300, playing at 10 different venues around the city, you’ll need to plan out your shows in advance. You can purchase a festival pass or buy tickets to individual shows. Either way you’ll want to get there early as space is limited at each venue. Most of the shows are performed “in the round,” meaning four to five different songwriters will take turns singing their songs and sharing their inspiration behind them. There are early shows and late shows at most of the venues every night so our biggest advice to you is to plan out what shows you want to see, map out where they are located, and get there early. Check out the schedule here.
The Night’s Not Over ‘Til the Music Stops
For all you night owls who aren’t ready for the night to end just because the shows are over, there are plenty of late night options for you. Grab a late night bite to eat at places like Cafe Coco, Merchants Restaurant, Patterson House, or Whiskey Kitchen. If you’re not quite ready for the music to stop, head to Midtown where the bands at Winners and Losers play late into the night, or head downtown where the honky tonks don’t holler for last call until 2am. Places like Robert’s Western World, The Stage on Broadway, Paradise Park Trailer Resort, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and more will lure you onto the dance floor and keep you there until they shut the lights off.