We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we say “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac & cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are the types of questions you have. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today, we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Nashville International Airport (BNA).
Located eight miles southeast of downtown Nashville, BNA is one of the fastest-growing airports in the U.S. It largely features routes throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, with several hundred daily flights. It’s served as a hub for American Airlines in the past and is currently a focus city for Southwest. BNA has just one main terminal, with 45 gates spread over three concourses. The Route 18 Nashville MTA bus serves the airport from downtown, with most people taking a taxi or renting a car from the new consolidated rental car facility, which is served by 10 of the major rental car companies. Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered throughout the Nashville airport.
While Nashville might not have as many dining options as larger international airports, the restaurants it does have are a reflection of the great food destination Nashville has become. Many of the Nashville airport’s restaurants are longtime Nashville landmarks such as Swett’s (Concourse C), a meat-and-three that has been serving Nashville since the 1950s, and Whitt’s Barbecue (Concourse C), considered one of the best barbecue restaurants in Nashville for years. Continuing with the local trend is Noshville Delicatessen (Concourse A/B), a New York style deli with Nashville roots. For local Mexican options, there’s La Hacienda (Concourse A) and Blue Coast Burrito (Concourse C). Hissho Sushi (Concourse C) is a chain of sushi restaurants and one of your better airport sushi restaurants. BNA also has a number of more recognizable franchise restaurants including Burger King, Famous Famiglia, O’Charley’s and Popeye’s.
Where to drink at Nashville International Airport also has a strong local emphasis—most notably with Tootsies Orchid Lounge (Concourse C), one of the Music City’s most famous honky-tonks. Here you’ll find a full drink menu that includes a couple local craft beers and long list of classic cocktail recipes. Gibson Café (Concourse C) is a music-themed café and bar that comes from the renowned, Nashville-based guitars makers. It’s only appropriate that Tennessee whiskey brand Jack Daniels has a themed bar, Tennessee Tavern (Concourse B), which features a full bar and, of course, plenty of Jack Daniels. Local brewery, Yazoo, has a beer cart in the Concourse C food court, where you can grab a sampler flight or order a pint to-go to take to your gate. Last but not least, Vino Volo (Concourse C) is a series of airport wine bars featuring wine by the flight, glass or bottle.
What to do at BNA first starts with live music, since after all Nashville is the Music City. Many of the bars listed above, such as Tootsies Orchid Lounge and Gibson Café, feature live performances frequently from local musicians. Additionally, there are other stages located around the terminal, with the airport playing host to about 100 bands each year.
Like most international airports, the Nashville airport has an art program that features both permanent and rotating exhibits. BNA has two massage bars (Concourse B/C) that offer quick 15- and 30-minute massages as well as happy hour discounts during select times. If you have even longer between flights, BNA is just a few miles from a number of outdoor areas such as Stones River Greenway.
The Nashville airport has a couple of different airline lounges, American’s Admirals Club in Concourse C and Delta Sky Club in Concourse B.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.