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For some, the gleam of hip, rediscovered neighborhoods in Nashville can outshine well-loved areas that have stood on their own for many years. One part of town that can often be overlooked by locals is downtown. While the draw of great restaurants (Etch, Merchants and The Southern included), bustling honky-tonks, tourist watching and the riverfront are reason enough to head down Broadway, we have three more reasons to make downtown your destination for the weekend.

1. Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar

116 Third Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 490-6685
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Goo Goo Clusters date back to 1912, when the caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and milk chocolate combination was first introduced. More than 100 years later (104 to be exact), this long-loved confection has become synonymous with Music City. Goo Goo Clusters’ downtown location (at 116 Third Ave. S.) has reigned supreme with sweet seekers for a couple of years, but with their recent expansion and the opening of the Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar, they have a whole new selection of offerings. More than a dozen treats are served in the dessert bar, located at the back of Goo Goo’s retail space. On the menu, you can find cheesecakes, pies, cakes, sundaes, shakes and floats, many of which incorporate Goo Goo Clusters.

Goo Goo Dessert Bar, downtown Nashville
Goo Goo Dessert Bar sits at the back of the Goo Goo Clusters Shop on Third Avenue South.
3rd Avenue Heartache, Goo Goo Clusters, downtown Nashville
Flourless dark chocolate and rich peanut butter cakes are topped with chocolate sauce and chopped Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters. This is the Third Avenue Heartache.
The Goo Goo Brew Shake, Goo Goo Dessert Bar, downtown Nashville
The Goo Goo Brew Shake is an addicting combination of Goo Goo Brew coffee ice cream, banana and cinnamon.
Cumberland Ridge Pecan Pie, Goo Goo Dessert Bar, downtown Nashville
Enjoy a taste of the South with the Cumberland Ridge Pecan Pie. This Southern-style pie is made with chopped Supreme Goo Goo Clusters and a scoop of ice cream.
Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar, downtown Nashville
Order up cheesecake, pies, cakes, sundaes, shakes and more at the Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar.

2. 5th Avenue of the Arts

If you are into contemporary and modern art, 5th Avenue of the Arts galleries offer a one-of-a-kind experience for viewing varied mediums of art. While the galleries — The Arts CompanyThe Rymer GalleryTinney Contemporary — are open throughout the week, it is especially fun to pay them a visit during Fresh Art Friday and the First Saturday Art Crawl. On the first Saturday of each month, art galleries across the downtown area are open for receptions and viewings, and folks are encouraged to pop in and out of each spot to check out works by local, regional and world-renowned artists.

The Arts Company is celebrating its 20th year in business by showcasing genres of art that are not only illustrative of the gallery’s past, but also those that are indicative of the its future. You can expect to find everything from exhibits showcasing street photography that takes viewers through the history of Nashville’s downtown streets in the 1940s and 2016 to carbon photographic prints display a connection of art and the human spirit.

The Rymer Gallery, one of the street’s largest galleries, is an urban space that has housed a multitude of artists and their works. They always showcase renowned local, regional and international artists that will ignite your inner artist and spark conversation with fellow gallery-goers. Tinney Contemporary, similarly to its neighbors, helps liven the downtown art scene with their ever-changing exhibits of photography, paintings and drawings by contemporary artists

5th Avenue of the Arts, downtown Nashville
Enjoy an evening on 5th Avenue of the Arts!
The Arts Company
Help The Arts Company celebrate 20 years in business. Image: The Arts Company
The Rymer Gallery, downtown Nashville
The Rymer Gallery’s urban space houses stunning works of art
Tinney Contemporary
Tinny Contemporary is a modern art gallery featuring works by established and emerging contemporary artists.

3. Steadfast Commons (temporarily closed)

299 Demonbreun St., Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 522-0972
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Steadfast Commons is an extension of Steadfast Coffee, which opened in Germantown last summer. The new, downtown, all-day eatery is garnering appreciation for its fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and cocktail offerings. Taking advantage of all that great Steadfast coffee, the menu features coffee creations, including specialized cocktails made with the brew.

Grab a table in the space, which is flooded with natural light, and start your day off with a breakfast sandwich piled high with eggs and fresh accoutrements, such as avocado, arugula and pickled onions, honey-nut goat cheese and sliced apple, and cured salmon. In addition to the sandwiches, the breakfast menu features sweet and savory porridge. While both are delicious, we suggest considering the savory for lunch. Additional lunch highlights include the vegetarian bánh mi sandwich, the celeriac salad and the roasted fall vegetables.

Steadfast Commons downtown Nashville Brûléed Latte
Made with rested espresso, charred milk and a flamed orange disk, the Brûléed Latte is satisfying without being too sweet.
Savory Poridge Steadfast Commons downtown Nashville
The savory porridge is great for lunch or breakfast. Confit mushrooms, ricotta, spinach, garlic and the option of a poached egg are served atop a bowl of creamy polenta.
Roasted fall veggies, Steadfast Commons, downtown Nashville
Deliciously roasted fall veggies are served with sultana grapes, cumin yogurt and sunflower sprouts, which make for a light, yet filling, meal.
Vegetarian Bánh mì, Steadfast Commons, downtown Nashville
Vegetarians will rejoice over the vegetarian bánh mì (mushroom paté, pickled vegetables, cucumber, tofu, cilantro and hot sauce on a baguette).
Celeriac salad, Steadfast Commons, downtown Nashville
Replace your boring lunch salad with the celeriac salad. Apple, celery, pecans and cheddar are tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.
Coffee cocktail, Steadfast Commons, downtown Nashville
The experts at Steadfast Commons are experimenting with coffee cocktails, and we were treated to Pour Over Night (housemade coffee liqueur, pisco brandy and heavy cream).

Enjoy your weekend! And, if you want to check out even more fun weekend events or local spots to visit, download the free SB App

And since we’re talking weekend fun, check out these 20 (Yes 20!) New Restaurants in Nashville (since our last update in October 2015).

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About the Author
Alex Hendrickson

Alex is a Southern writer known for hunting down delicious stories and traveling the world with hunger. Her passions and interests lie in food, travel, interior design and inspiring people, and her dream is to eat a dozen oysters a day.