The perfect healthy day in Nashville, TN
An herbalist-approved alternative to honky tonks and hot chicken.
Taylor Swift? Old news—at least, she is in Nashville. Head to Music City and what you’ll find instead is…wellness.
Yes, healthy everything is having a moment in the South. Just ask Lauren Haynes, founder of Wooden Spoon Herbs, a sustainable, US-sourced herbal wellness brand. Based in northwest Georgia, Haynes travels about once a month to nearby cities (think Chattanooga or Atlanta). One of her faves is Nashville, in part because it’s become such a vibrant health-centric destination.
“It’s a lot friendlier and has better restaurants, but also: There’s a lot of young, excited energy going towards [wellness]. When you’re on, say, the West Coast, it’s been happening for a long time, but here it’s this new eggshell being cracked open, which is exciting,” she explains. “No one’s jaded on it yet.”
That means you’ll find bakeries that serve up Paleo donuts, beauty stores that are totally clean, and plenty of cafes serving coffee alternatives. “There’s a lot of golden milk and matcha,” notes Haynes.
Other developments have helped expand Nashville’s appeal beyond honky tonks and meat and threes. Take, for example, B-Cycle, a bike-share program that has stations across the city—making it easier than ever to explore without having to get in a car, even if you’re just in town for the day.
Of course, you’ll probably want to afford yourself a little more time. (And if you’ve got more than a weekend, Haynes recommends making the drive east to Blackberry Farm, a “super-fancy wellness retreat” that has lots of guided hikes.) Just find yourself an Airbnb in East Nashville, get a 24-hour bike membership, and pedal around this hand-picked healthy itinerary.
Here’s how to have the perfect healthy day in Nashville, TN:
Breakfast: Cafe Roze
“Their menu’s amazing—they have super-healthy brunch options and they source locally. Plus, they have these cool lattes: matcha and golden milk, of course, but also a black sesame milk. I like to either build my own breakfast and get berries and coconut yogurt, or the smoked trout toast.”
1115 Porter Rd., Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 645-9100
Move: Inner Light Yoga
“It opened recently and it’s super great. The classes range from Vinyasa to a restorative one, and the studio design is pretty minimal, but high energy. Emmy, the owner, has these really motivating playlists that feature hip-hop for yoga.”
2227 10th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204; (615) 873-1460
Relax + Read: High Garden
“It’s the coolest place in the world. It looks like if a hobbit opened a tea house/apothecary. When you walk in there are bulk herbs and beauty products, and then another wall is all tea—every variety you can think of. My favorite is a milky oolong, it’s the best thing I’ve ever had. You can get any herbal tea you want from the wall, or go to the back and it’s their fermentation bar with all these locally sourced fermented goods: coconut kefir, kombucha on tap, fermented pickles. In the middle is this little seating area, where you can have your tea. It’s a wifi-free zone, and they ask that you don’t go on your laptop there. I’d hang out there for a couple of hours and read a book or meet a friend.”
935A Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 919-4195
Lunch: Mas Tacos Por Favor
“It’s one of my favorite places because it’s still pretty healthy. They have tacos and the most amazing soups—black bean, tortilla. I usually get a fried avocado taco and a bowl of soup and it’s perfect. If you’re on a wellness kick, order a salad and a soup.”
732 Mcferrin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 543-6271
Shop: Lemon Laine
“This clean beauty boutique is the cutest place. They have really bright colors and patterns on the wall, and it’s all organized by skin need. They carry a lot of our products, clean skin care, makeup, wellness products…. I spend hours there putting on makeup and trying products. They also have a customizable, build-your-own-face-oil bar, where they take a skin survey and walk you through building your own oil.”
1900 Eastland Ave. #102, Nashville, TN 37206; (629) 702-6940
Snack: Five Daughters Bakery
“Next door [to Lemon Laine] is this donut place with Paleo donuts, so I usually get one for the road. They’re dairy-, gluten-, and refined sugar-free, but they’re still fluffy and have icing on top. They have a double chocolate one that’s amazing. If it’s summer, there’s also Koko’s Ice Cream, which has dairy-free, coconut milk-based ice cream and tables outside where you can sit and eat.”
1900 Eastland Ave., Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 891-1293
Spa: Poppy & Monroe
“Take an Uber over to Poppy & Monroe, which is a clean, nontoxic nail salon. It’s cute as a button, and they also do facials, lash treatments, sugaring, and have a ton of nontoxic beauty products. We’re working on creating an herbal tea bar for them, too, so it’s a very wellness-centric nail spa.”
604 Monroe St., Nashville, TN 37208; (615) 640-0604
“I’m vegetarian-ish, and this upscale vegetarian restaurant is a great spot in the same complex as Lemon Laine. It’s a good date spot, since it’s hip but also pretty dark and candle lit. It’s not the healthiest thing on the menu, but the patty melt is the best thing in the world. I’ve been on a Saturday night without a reservation and didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes.”
1888 Eastland Ave, Nashville, TN 37206; (615) 686-1060