With Vanderbilt’s packed schedule, full of information sessions and faculty lectures, Family Weekend can be overwhelming. Between a football game, Fall for the Arts and a slew of organizations’ open houses, take the opportunity to show your relatives what Nashville has to offer besides Vandyland. If you cycle through all your favorite spots around Music City, check out the alternative schedule below for more ideas that might be more your speed than the official programming:
Breakfast: Edgehill Cafe
- A spacious cafe close to campus is ideal for bringing family to catch up over a cup of coffee and sandwiches.
- This must-try BBQ restaurant downtown is less busy at lunch than dinner, so a nice afternoon meal is a great way to try their great Fried Green Tomato BLT or Meat & 3 with less of a wait.
Afternoon activity: Game Point
- A recent addition to East Nashville, this board game cafe has coffee and snacks, along with an extensive collection of board games from Monopoly and Risk to Smash Up and Pandemic. Their large selection offers games that can keep your family entertained for hours.
Dinner: Barcelona Wine Bar Edgehill
- Located only a few minutes from Commons, this dinner destination offers tapas and more. Select from a variety of dishes like Spiced Beef Empanadas, Stuffed Cherry Peppers and Chorizo Migas to share with your entire party.
Nighttime activity: Laser Quest
- Take your whole family to battle it out with an evening of adventurous and exercise-filled laser tag.
Breakfast: Proper Bagel
- A staple of the Nashville breakfast world, be prepared to wait in line for your delicious bagels. Sample one of their rich cream cheese while you wait to order, and enjoy the potentially nice fall weather by sitting outside.
Lunch: The Grilled Cheeserie
- Enjoy your bougie grilled cheese in the bright and clean environment, which just opened in 2017. I personally recommend the Pimento Mac & Chee for a wonderful carb overload.
- Even if you don’t end up purchasing anything, looking at the cute, quirky and fashionable products at these stores is an adventure in itself.
Dinner: The Mockingbird
- This new Nashville restaurant offers creative dishes with names like “Don’t Worry, Brie Happy” and “Rice, Rice, Baby.” Their multi-level venue has modern, art deco-esque vibes that make it a classy yet fun spot to bring a group.
Nighttime activity: Lonnie’s Western Room
- Maybe you’ve never been to this famous karaoke bar and want to try it for the first time with family. Or perhaps you haven’t set foot in there since freshman year and want to relive the shambly memories now that you’re older and wiser. Either way, a night of singing and watching other wild performers is a definite win for everyone involved.
Brunch: 5th and Taylor
- With delicious dishes like the chicken sausage scramble or chorizo omelette, this is a solid brunch choice in Germantown. Their spacious environment has room for a large family gathering.
Lunch: Hopdoddy Burger Bar
- An on-the-card burger joint in Hillsboro, hopdoddy has amazingly crispy Parmesan Truffle Fries and an array of burgers and milkshakes. You can even substitute a chicken or bean burger instead of a beef patty.
Afternoon activity: McKay’s Books
- This haven of used books, CDs, vinyls, board games, puzzles, instruments, movies and more is ideal for anyone looking for super cheap but unique products. Browsing for a few hours is a great way to strike up a conversation over an interesting title you spot or search for the perfect read.
- Located a little past downtown, this converted house restaurant offers a changing menu using Southern ingredients. Past options have included chicken skins, catfish, beef tartare and more.
Nighttime activity: The Soda Parlor
- Close out your Family Weekend with massive dessert creations to share in East Nashville. Enjoy their retro arcade games while devouring a Waffle Mondae or a Moonshake.
Of course, not everyone will have family in town or have the time and energy for this much Nashville exploring. Choose your favorites, or mix and match with Vanderbilt’s programming and your own ideas.
Cover photo provided by Greg Fombelle Photography.