The South, known for its congenial ways is the perfect place to visit as the weather warms. Below, we’re exploring three iconic cities where you can sip, savor and toe-tap your way into the spring.
Along the Cumberland River and known as the “Athens of the South,” Nashville is home to diverse grub, lush parks and fabled honky-tonk spots (after all, it’s called Music City).
First, dive into country music memorabilia at the Johnny Cash Museum and Patsy Cline Museum. Afterwards, check out live music at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World; which also doubles as a cowboy boot mercantile. For those speakeasy vibes and a Steinway piano, drop by Rudy’s Jazz Room. As for the classics? Don’t miss the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
For a spot of nature, The Parthenon at Centennial Park features a stately replica of the Athens monument. Or stroll the 55-acre Howe Garden at Cheekwood Estate for native flowers and leafy plants. Of course, cyclists love the 180-mile-long greenway that runs throughout the city (rent some wheels from Nashville B-cycle).
Hungry? The bluegrass brunch at Sutler Saloon (est. 1976) pairs live music with sangria and bottomless mimosas. Nearby, Pinewood Social serves tacos and margaritas (from an outdoor Airstream). In Midtown, nab a seat at The Henley’s U-shaped bar for small plates and cocktails made with Tennessee bourbons. Also: Chef Tandy Wilson’s buzzy City House Italian-Southern eatery hosts revolving Sunday meat-centric menus.
Welcome to the land of streetcars, jazz music, graveyards, boozy sips and French-Creole cuisine. First things first, musical venues. Walk down Frenchmen Street and slip into the wood-paneled D.B.A. for jazz and craft beers or pop by Preservation Hall for standing room shows and a liberal BYOB policy. Later, hop a streetcar to Lafayette Cemetery #1, home to crumbling mausoleums and magnolia trees, and then ramble around the Garden District’s stately Southern homes.
For sips, Arnaud’s French 75 is known for its namesake drink: a mix of cognac, champagne, lemon, and sugar. Pssst: upstairs, a small museum showcases 1930s Mardi Gras costumes. The wine-inclined love Bacchanal which also has a leafy patio with live music. Tiki vibes? Cane and Table pours rum-centric drinks alongside a pineapple Sazerac.
To feast, the classic Garden Room of Commander’s Palace dishes hearty Creole cooking, while the upscale century-old Galitoire’s (jackets required) always serves a delightful French-Creole spin. Later, it’s all about punch bowls, live music and shrimp shumai ravioli inside the mosaic-tiled Peacock Room. Dessert, of course, is fluffy beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe Du Monde.
Low-country vibes and Spanish moss-draped treetops, this riverfront town is also home to grassy squares, antebellum architecture and culinary delights.
Georgia’s oldest city is packed with edgy art. Check out SCAD Museum of Art for contemporary and traditional works while Laney Contemporary hosts emerging artists, immersive videos and photography. Next, nature calls at Forsyth Park, a 30-acre home to an ornate fountain, kids playground and weekend farmers market.
Come hungry to The Grey, where chef Mashama Bailey whips up reimagined Georgian classics like turnip bisque and collards. Later, sip lagers at Southbound Brewing Company or drop by Two Tides Brewing for IPAs and sours. For waterside seafood and sunset sips, Wyld has you covered while the Original Crab Shack is a lively spot for low country boils and a can’t-miss-alligator-viewing area. For beers and burgers, Green Truck Pub is your best bet. Pull up a patio seat at Pacci, an Italian eatery with pastas, cicchetti (Italian tapas) and wine. Of course, the swanky Mata Hari shakes martinis and hosts burlesque shows. For something sweet, Savannah Bee Company offers honey tastings while the retro-flared Leopolds scoops tasty ice cream.