man your trip sounds pretty rad. i will indeed be in town that weekend. you’re welcome to stay at my place too although it’s not as clean and fancy as y’alls. the americana music fest that week is great because you can see EVERYONE from that americana scene in one weekend. you can go one night or all weekend. it’s top notch music.
if you are wanting a cool hotel i know the union station and hermitage are two fancy old ones downtown. the hutton and hotel indigo are some new modernish ones too. otherwise i’d suggest finding any normal hotel directly in downtown nashville (you could walk to all the honky tonks and some of the AMA events) or on west end ave. avoid staying in the suburbs or anything with the word opry, opryland, or oprymills in it.
on that note, you might look into going to the grand ole opry on saturday night however due to the flood they have to bounce around to different venues each week. looks like it’s at a not-vintage church building that weekend. it’s always an interesting and entertaining show though if you appreciate schmaltz and tradition.
my list will similar to most lists you find online. loveless cafe outside of town for breakfast or lunch. pancake pantry for breakfast (be prepared for the massive line). patterson house for $11 cocktails that are somehow worth it. might as well check out princes hot chicken too. call in your order first and maybe plan to eat it somewhere else. being a texas beef brisket guy, i sorta gravitate to the few places that serve that, however in nashville it’s all about pork. one of my favorites, jacks, is actually in downtown next to the honky tonks. las paletas is a cool popsicle place. bobbie’s dairy dip, by my house, is an old school burger/shake stand.
one night you could really commit to the downtown honky tonks. they are all free. slightly touristy but authentic as well.
rock venues, due to the americana festival all the normal joints will be filled with great americana music. this is good though. everyone loves grimey’s record shop and great escape as well.
12 south is a cool area to hit up for katy k’s ranch clothes, imogen and willie clothing shop, and a beer at the 12th tap room.
hillsboro village is near vanderbilt and people like to walk around there sometimes and buy stuff or eat stuff. panckage panrty, fido, sweet cece’s, and jerry favorite women’s store, pangea.
i like to drive to franklin, tennessee and walk around their downtown sometimes. i also like this little town called leipers fork that has antiques and a general store. might sound boring but the rolling green hills make the drive worth it. while you are out in that direction it might be cool to hot to arrington vineyards for a wine tasking and relax out on the big grassy hill.
here’s where i live as a reference point.
PS – i’ve heard that when in memphis, beside going to graceland and stax museum, you’re supposed to track down a place called graceland 2 or something like that. it’s outside of town. a man’s personal collection of elvis stuff. you can show up at any hour and he’ll give you a tour. sounds bizarre but cool.