Out-and-backs are probably the most fun we have with standby travel. International trips are great, and we love them oh so much, but nothing beats impromptu travel to and from a city in the same day. Enter: our 5-hour Nashville day trip.
Day trips have lots of advantages: no dog sitter, no hotel, no rental car, and no packing. We just show up at the airport in the morning, hop on the flight, eat some great food and explore for a bit, then head on home. The key to making these trips work well is you have to pick a destination where flights are wide open. We don’t bother if it’s close, but when it works out, it’s a blast!
Our Nashville Day Trip: 5 Perfect Hours in Nashville
The first step in any out-and-back is a plan and a back-up. In our case, we had it narrowed down to two destinations: Vail, CO or Nashville, TN. Both return flights looked great (read: tons of open seats) coming home. And both outbound flights had 5-7 seats. So really, it was just a matter of which flight had open seats in the morning. We looked at transit and restaurants in each city so we wouldn’t waste any time when we arrived.
As it happened for us, both were open, but Nashville had business seats open. So, obvious choice. A Nashville day trip was happening. Getting from BNA is a snap – just take the express bus from the terminal to downtown. Couldn’t be easier!
Stop 1: Jack’s Bar-B-Que
What else can one say except that Tennessee BBQ is top notch? And Jack’s Bar-B-Que is a Nashville tradition; a well earned title. Moist, juicy brisket and Tennessee pork, creamy mac-and-cheese, flavorful sauces, and all the traditional BBQ fixins made this place a top contender for our favorite ‘que. And we lived in Texas – so we get it.
Stop 2: Legends Corner
After leaving Jack’s, we HAD to stop in at Legends Corner. There was a live country band and Olivia just started dancing right there on the street. It was a perfect place to listen to music, dance, enjoy a beer, and people watch.
Stop 3: Rise Biscuits and Donuts
You don’t visit the south without having biscuits. Rise Biscuits and Donuts is a growing franchise, so you can check them out in a few other places. Hopefully they come to Chicago, hint hint. Anyway, we had an amazing biscuit cinnamon roll and some pork belly biscuits. We split all of that because we were still full from BBQ, but a Nashville day trip would NOT be complete without biscuits. We came to eat, and eat we did.
Stop 4: Party Fowl
Nashville. Hot chicken. You can’t have a Nashville day trip without hot chicken! It’s the national dish of Nashville. And when they say hot chicken, they mean it. We got it as a poutine from Party Fowl, because why not, and it was probably the best food to pair with an ice cold beer we’ve experienced. As a reference, their medium is everyone else’s fire. Their hot is unmatched. We went with medium and holy moly, we were still sweating.
Pro-Tip: get the food to go and walk down the block to Jackelope Brewing.
Another great thing was that it was a 20-30 minute walk from our previous stop, so it gave Olivia a great time to take a nap in the stroller while we wandered. She didn’t wake up until we had chicken in hand.
Stop 5: Jackelope Brewing Company – The Den
The wait was long for Party Fowl, but Jackelope had open seating and lets you bring in food! Plus, keep the kiddos entertained with games at the table! We had a wonderful beer flight (well, Nick did) while we all enjoyed some games and hot chicken. Unfortunately, Olivia found the chicken itself a bit too hot, so she stuck to the cheese and fries. But that just meant more deliciously wonderful hot chicken for Mommy and Daddy.
Back to ORD
And there you have it! Five hours, five stops, tons of food, lots of fun, and three exhausted people later, it’s time to head back to the airport. Luckily the bus was close to where we were, so we didn’t have to go far. We knew the flights were wide open, so it was a no-stress affair through security, boarding, and arrival.
There is nothing better than getting to an airport and knowing you have seats on the flight you want!