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5 of Nashville’s Best Hidden Hotspots

Nashville Skyline

Nashville has been on the gay map for decades. Sure, there are the big sites to see like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Grand Ole Opry, but if you want the ultimate local insider experience, it’s easy to find alternative things to do.

Venture out from the city center to the neighborhoods of Hillsboro Village (near Vanderbilt University) and East Nashville -- that's where you'll find the truly unique things to see and do. And more than a few gay & lesbian hotspots, too.

Go for Drag'n Brunch at Suzy Wong's House of Yum

It's no surprise that music is big in Nashville, but there's only one place here where you can catch acts by Marilyn Monroe, Dolly Parton, and Cher all in one room. Drag brunch at Suzy Wong's House of Yum is a riotous Sunday tradition no matter your sexual orientation. The Asian-fusion food is great (wasabi deviled eggs!) and the drag performers all come from the nightclub next door Play where you can catch drag shows throughout the week (including many queens from RuPaul's Drag Race who travel through).

Shop vintage style at Local Honey

It might look like just another hair salon, but step inside the East Nashville location of this local chain and you'll find more than just hair spray. In the corner, there's a curated selection of the Local Honey vintage clothing line in addition to all the hair products you might need. It's a full-service shop where you can completely change or update your style--from heel to hair.


Dance your queer heart out at The Basement East

Every third Friday of the month, The Basement East's live music pub turns into an underground queer club called Queer Dance Party (or QDP as the true locals call it) -- and one of the city's cheapest, too! For just $1 entrance, you can catch all your favorite indie dance tunes. A young and fun crowd always makes this the hottest party in town.

Eat at The Mockingbird

Nashville has its fair share of diners and simple eats, but for something truly original, head to The Mockingbird restaurant--an upscale diner (LGBTQ-owned!) serving classic American dishes with global flair and unique flavors. Tater tots are served with a lamb chili, donuts with ice cream, and the chicken pot pie is made with truffle butter. It's pure decadence and all in a chic but comfortable setting.

Mockingbird photo courtesy of Emily Dorio

Browse the stacks at Parnassus Books

There are still a few independent bookshops in Nashville, but it's at Parnassus Books where you'll catch some of the country's (and the city's) best authors for readings and events. Roxanne Gay has even spoken as part of the regular Salon@615 speaker series in conjunction with the Nashville Public Library. Co-owned by author Ann Patchett, the bookstore also features an extensive collection of local Nashville authors and regular story times for children and young adults.

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No matter what your plan for Nashville is, these secret local gems are sure to make the trip memorable.

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Adam Groffman