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Things To Do In Nashville: A Weekend Of Black-Owned Businesses & Experiences

Updated: Apr 15

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I always try to look up what a place is known for before I visit to get a sense of what histories and developments I should know about. For Nashville, my searches returned over and over again to hot chicken, the city's nickname "music city" (especially related to country music), and, of course, to whiskey.

What I learned upon further research is this: Nashville is Black as f*ck

Anela crouches down in front of a mural at the Nearest Green Distillery, an essential stop on this Black excellence in Nashville itinerary!
Anela in front of a mural at the Nearest Green Distillery

With a population of about 700,000 people - a third of whom identify as Black or African American - it's not in the least bit surprising that so much of what Nashville is known for (including hot chicken, music, and whiskey) is deeply rooted in Black history and culture. What is (and maybe shouldn't be) surprising, though, is how little we see of Nashville's indelible Blackness in mainstream travel guides and reviews. The exception to this for me and an amazing resource I found when planning my trip to Nashville was Urbaanite, a curated cultural guide to the city!

Nashville is a lot of things. But whether you're visiting to see live music, get a taste of Southern hospitality, go out drinking with friends, or get a local meal, you'll probably be intersecting with some aspect of Black history.⁠

Getting To And Around In Nashville

There are direct flights to Nashville International Airport (BNA) from a host of locations, including London, Washington DC, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and more. Once in Nashville, you could easily navigate the city using taxis or Uber for a weekend trip. However, for this itinerary specifically, I recommend renting a car or at least arranging transport to the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville. About an hour outside of Nashville, the distillery is the highlight of this itinerary and a must, especially for whiskey lovers!

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Things To Do In Nashville: A Weekend Of Black-Owned Businesses & Experiences

The below would make for a perfect weekend trip exploring Black Nashville at its best - from Black businesses, museums, music, art, and more - with a bit of Black history *sprinkled* in.

Black-Owned Restaurants & Cafes In Nashville To Check Out

No Free Coffee is more than just a coffee shop; it's a vibrant hub for community and creativity. The coffee is excellent, and the vibe is impeccable. When I was there, a local radio show was spinning and people were constantly in and out of the shop to say hi to the staff and owners, which I love to see.

Click here to see more from my visit to the No Free Coffee.

About an hour's drive outside of Nashville, Uncle Nearest's Nearest Green Distillery honors the legacy of Nathan Green - known by his nickname Uncle Nearest. Green, the oftentimes overlooked godfather of Tennessee whiskey, was a formerly enslaved master distiller who taught the founder of Jack Daniel's how to make whiskey!

Green's legacy is integral to the development of Tennessee Whiskey, and this stop, though outside of Nashville, is a must-visit! The distillery offers 1.5-hour walking tours throughout the property, with a whiskey tasting for $35 per person. While you can visit the distillery without a tour, I highly recommend taking it. The storytelling alone on the tour is worth it. The distillery also often offers special bottles for sale on-site that you can't find elsewhere!

Prince's is said to have invented hot chicken! According to the story, Nashville's famous hot chicken was invented by a scorned lover of Thornton Prince, who tried to seek revenge on him by serving him fried chicken loaded with fiery spices. To her dismay, Prince loved the new recipe and perfected it to open up the OG Hot Chicken joint in Nashville, Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. More than 100 years later, the establishment is still going strong, with Prince's great-niece, Andre Prince Jeffries, at the helm. Note, you can choose your heat level at Prince's, and their spicy is truly HOT. I recommend ordering medium spice or below if you're not a fan of spicy foods.

Touting “food so good you’ll slap yo mamma!”, Big Al’s Deli & Catering serves up Southern comfort food and is known for its diner-style breakfasts and lunches. At Big Al's you'll find friendly service, generous portions, and great food. On weekends, there may be a bit of a wait.

Founded by three friends and Tennessee State University grads rooted in a shared love for hip-hop culture, Slim & Husky’s offers a "fast-gourmet" pizza experience with locally sourced ingredients, local craft brews, and decadent cinnamon rolls. Founders maintain their mission to “have a footprint” in the community through community events supporting local artists and causes. There is a small patio for outdoor seating as well.

Swing by HiFi Cookies in Nashville for classic nostalgic cookies as well as a rotating selection of creative and fun flavors, like strawberry shortcake, or the blackberry song, and oatmeal cream pie with cream cheese, buttercream, and a blackberry jam. Be sure to visit one of their two Nashville locations for a taste of nostalgia.

And Don't Miss...!

The only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the diversity of Black music in the U.S., the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is a must-see on any trip to Nashville. Did you know that Nashville’s reputation as a hub for music originated with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a Black choir from a local HBCU founded just one year after the abolition of slavery? The NMAAM will not only remind you of the many contributions of Black folks to contemporary culture but also allow you to dance, sing, and rap along with your faves in interactive exhibits. I had a blast!

I haven't taken this tour yet but a friend did and it looks amazing! Soul of America tours explore the influence of Black people on Nashville's development and rich history.

The Art museum is housed in the city's historic U.S. Post Office building. Exhibits rotate, but it's worth checking to see if any of their exhibits focus on or feature Black artists! Southern/Modern Exhibit and Carving a New Tradition.

Nashville has so much to explore and this guide is just a starting point to an incredible weekend exploring Black-owned businesses, history, and culture! If you have any questions drop them in the comments below.

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I can’t believe you were here last May! looking forward to meeting you in 2023 or whenever the Universe aligns it! Enjoying my 1st day in the Feed the Malik community!


Welcome again!

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