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Q: What are some local spots that those new to the city need to visit?

Ahh, classic. But how to answer from the slant of this column? Do we go the route of typical touristy spots, more of a locals-only route, or what tends to satisfy me personally? They always say write what you know, so maybe that's the way to go.

Alright, so the first thing that comes to my mind is food. With such an expansive and varied cavalcade of eats in the area, it'd be criminal not to include these in any list of bests of Nashville. Now, I realize that there are always new spots popping up, so a few of these might be old news to some, but for those of you newly venturing out, I'm including some of my all-time favorites. Number one with a bullet is Margot Cafe.

Margot Cafe | 1017 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206

It will always be Margot for me. They took ownership of my big, fat, foodie heart back in the mid-2000's and have never let go. With their own unique French American flair and farm-to-table style approach, their fare is equal parts indulgent and healthy, if not always for the heart, then for the soul.

Hero Doughnuts and Buns | 4013 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN 37209

For other outstanding spots on the eastern side of town, check out Lyra's modern Middle Eastern, El Jaliciense for the best Mexican, Hearts for a stellar Aussie brunch, and if you're into coffee, snacks, and all the board games imaginable, Bongo East. Best street tacos? Otto's on the west side. Best Tex Mex? Nectar Urban Cuisine in Donelson, which also has a gorgeous outdoor space complete with stage. For donuts? Hero Doughnuts and Buns in Sylvan Park.

Okay, moving on from food, or this thing will be 1,000 words lickety-split. Seeing as you've moved to Music City, I assume spots associated with music might turn your crank. From venues to record shops, there's plenty I'd consider mandatory, and the first on my mind is Vinyl Tap.

Vinyl Tap | 2038 Greenwood Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

If a cream-of-the-crop record store had a steamy night of passion with the tastiest of craft breweries, Vinyl Tap would be its bouncing li'l offspring. Grimey's and the Groove are other must-visits for record lovers, while the Basement East, the OG Basement (off 8th), the 5 Spot, The End and, if you're down with dives, the Springwater, comprise some of the best live music experiences one could hope to have, if you're looking for ones apart from the arenas and amphitheaters.

Centennial Park | 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

And touristy or not, I can't leave out the attraction that earned Nashville its "Athens of the South" moniker: the Parthenon. Set in the heart of Centennial Park, it's hard not to be wowed by the sheer magnificence of its appearance, but don't skip the tour of the inside which deep dives into its history and features a separate art exhibit along with the spectacular 42-foot statue of Athena in all her glory.

Needless to say, I've only scratched the surface, but having lived here for a couple of decades, these are the spots that bring me the most joy. Here's hoping they do the same for you. Cheers, and happy exploring!


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