This article was sponsored by KIA Motors U.S.A. who provided us with a 2017 KIA Optima Hybrid XL to test out on our road trip to Nashville, a hotel and things to do in Nashville. It in no way shaped my opinions in this post.
I’ve been a part of the KIA family since my birthday last year when I bought myself a 2012 KIA Sorento. It was the best car choice I ever made. I love my car. And that’s even without all the fancy bells and whistles. When I was given the opportunity to test out the brand new 2017 KIA Optima on a road trip to Nashville, I was beyond ecstatic. But, even better than that, I was able to bring one of my best friends Emma Loggins, CEO of Fanbolt.com and our dear friend Ming Chen, podcaster and TV personality on AMC’s Comic Book Men along for the adventure. Talk about epic!
We were all super stoked about the trip. This would be our first road trip with Ming, who Emma and I know from our work with Walker Stalker and who has become an amazing friend.
Nashville is such an epic city with tons to do in the way of music, culture and nightlife. These are some great ways to sample one of America’s most famous cities.
Things to do in Nashville in 48 Hours
When you don’t have a lot of time to dig into a city, you can still get a decent sample of the local culture. KIA hooked us up with some pretty legit things to do in Nashville that allowed us to taste, explore and experience a bit of what Music City, U.S.A. has going on. Check them out here:
Where to Stay
KIA hooked us up in the lovely Loews Vanderbilt Nashville, where we had very comfortable accommodations. I loved the lobby design and Mason Bar. I especially loved getting together with the group over craft cocktails! On the club level where my room was, Emma, Ming and I would meet up in the concierge lounge for pre-dinner wine and cheese. The lounge overlooks the city and has all the comforts of a well-designed space including a reading room and fireplace. And of course, the light fare and drinks are complimentary.
Where to Eat
We had some pretty amazing meals while we were in Nashville. From legendary pancakes to steaks, we had a pretty well-rounded sampling of Nashville’s culinary offerings.
Union Common (Nashville’s Steakhouse) – Union Common is Nashville’s small steakhouse with big flavor. With offerings on the menu like pork belly and lobster slider small plates to just about any steak your belly could want. Its upscale contemporary vibe joins southern cuisine for any special dinner occasion, and it’s located right at Broadway and district.
Pancake Pantry – Locals know that the Pancake Pantry is the best of the best breakfast and lunch in Nashville. Lines for this place can easily wrap around the front of the building so get there early! Sometimes it’s all about tradition and that’s exactly what they offer. Traditional American breakfast and lunch yum for your tum.
Merchants – Established it 1892, Merchants is another upscale dinner option in Nashville with a sleek and elegant classic atmosphere offering steaks and seafood as well as gourmet southern sides and starters. I especially loved the white truffle mac and cheese and the herbed wild mushrooms. Bonus, it’s located on Broadway in the middle of world-famous Honkey Tonk Highway. So, you can get dinner and then get to drinking!
Honest Coffee – I found this little coffee spot at the Factory in Franklin. I loved the hipster vibe, everyone was super nice. Emma, Ming and I chilled here after checking out The Factory (see below). Honest Coffee is a microroastery, espresso bar, and pour-over station inside of The Factory.
Check Out the Music Scene
Custom Guitars at the Factory in Franklin – Take a ride over to historic Franklin and check out The Factory. It’s an indoor boutique shopping center where you can find record shops, antique stores and even a super cool custom guitar store where Brad Paisley himself gets his guitars.
Live Music on Nashville’s Honkey Tonk Highway lower Broadway – Of all the things to do in Nashville, a visit to this incredible city wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt along Nashville’s Honkey Tonk Highway AKA lower Broadway. Here you can grab yourself a few adult beverages, watch live music and enjoy Nashville ‘s world-famous music culture.
Enjoy a Wine Tasting in Franklin at Arrington Vineyards
Probably one of my favorite things to do in Nashville is visit Arrington Vinyards. Not only is the property beautiful, but it’s teeming with southern charm. Owned by Brooks & Dunn music artist Kix Brooks, the vineyard offers tours, tastings and specialty tastings paired with perfect bites.
I especially loved hanging out on the big porch and sipping on wine with Ming and Emma. Give yourself a couple hours or stay all day.
So what’s it like to roll out in a 2017 KIA Optima Hybrid?
Coming from a KIA Sorento driver I have to say it was pretty elegant. The KIA Optima Hybrid had all the bells and whistles. These were my favorite features:
Super smooth ride. I felt like I was on a cloud every time I hit the road.
Seat warmers and coolers. This is a feature I can appreciate all year long. There’s nothing quite like a warm bum in the winter months, or a cool on for that matter in the summer. Warmers in the back seat too.
Loads of leg room in the back. We all took turns driving this babe of a car when exploring things to do in Nashville. When I took to the backseat, I was amazed as to how much room there was! A super comfy ride for any road trip for sure.
Save loads on fuel. One of my absolute favorite things about this car is the hybrid feature. It automatically recharges itself while it’s driving. When you stop it turns off. When you go under a certain RPM it uses electric. I can’t believe how far we drove before getting gas!
Sleek interior design. I always say the inside of a car is more important than the outside because it’s where you spend all your time. I loved the sleek design in the Optima, the custom driver seating, the massive sunroof that stretches through the back of the car and the navigation system with rear camera.
The little things. Now that I know about the little things the KIA Optima Hybrid offers, I’ll never be the same. There’s a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling I get when I approach my car and it knows I’m coming. With LED door handle and interior lighting that turns on as the car is approached you’ll get the warm and fuzzies too.
Whether you’re spending a week or to days in Nashville, road tripping with KIA is a must. I’m a true loyal customer and proud to be in the KIA family. You’ll find all its up class designs and spacious cabin comfortable for any length of trip you take. Already a KIA fan? Check out The Curve Ahead, a countdown to the world release of their top secret new ride!
For more information on the 2017 KIA Optima, check out the KIA Motors USA site here.