Off the Beaten Path

Our guide to the great spots where locals go in four of the country's best music destinations

Nashville, TN

Though it's long been known as the capital of country music, Nashville is far more than just the "Home of the Grand Ole Opry." These days, the state capital of Tennessee is also home to a wide variety of non-musical industries, inspiring Forbes to proclaim it the U.S.A.'s 4th Best City for White Collar Jobs in 2015.

Nashville's thriving economy, and its increasing cultural diversity, is most obviously reflected in the city's booming downtown districts. Featuring everything from chef-driven restaurants and high-end art galleries to funky mom-and-pop shops and (of course) raucous honky tonks, downtown Nash is the perfect place to stay for anyone looking to fully immerse themselves in the sound and vibe of this rapidly growing metropolis on the Cumberland River.

Barista Parlor Golden Sound


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From classic roasts to creative coffee cocktails, this Gulch district mainstay has what it takes to kick-start your day.

Located on the site of a defunct recording studio, this huge-but-homey café is packed with java junkies thanks to owner Andy Mumma (the property also happens to be co-owned by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys). Feeling adventurous? Try a signature coffee cocktail like their Spro Fashioned, an espresso stirred with sugar and bitters.

Two Old Hippies


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Clothing, footwear, jewelry, art and stringed instruments are just some of the goodies you'll find at this friendly and festive boutique.

Whether you're in the market for a high-end acoustic guitar, a pocket-sized souvenir of your Nashville visit or just about anything in between, Two Old Hippies is a great place to browse. The store is 8,000 square feet in size with an impressive inventory to match, including men's and women's clothing, music memorabilia and artisanal gifts.

Grimey's New & Preloved Music


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A cornucopia of musical treasures await your diligent digging at Nashville's premier independent record store.

Craving new country? Digging for dusties? Grimey's can hook you up with nearly any music you desire. The shop is split into two spaces, with new vinyl, CDs and DVDs in one and their "preloved" counterparts in the other. It also houses Howlin' Books, an excellent source of music and pop culture-related reading material.

Robert's Western World


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If you want to party the night (or day) away, Nashville-style, look no further than this always-hopping honky tonk.

The self-described "Home of Traditional Country Music and Brazilbilly" — the latter being the house band fronted by Jesse Lee Jones, Robert's Brazilian-born proprietor — this Lower Broadway honky tonk has been a mecca for fans of old-school country since the early Nineties. Live music starts every day in the late morning, and continues straight through to 2 a.m.!