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Nashville City Guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

Today’s Nashville City Guide update comes to us from Elise Joseph, curator, blogger, stylist and creative consultant spending her time between Nashville, Tennessee and Los Angeles, California. Today Elise offers us an update to this southern city of music, delicious dining, and wonderful sights. Thanks Elise for this great update! —Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump…

Photos by Ryan Bernal

It seems it is Nashville’s turn to shine in the spotlight… and I’m proud to call myself a born and raised Tennessee gal. It has been fun to watch the city grow and really come into its own, all the while maintaining its deep musical roots, slow-paced charm and Southern hospitality. Most recognized as the home of country music, Nashville truly has so much more to offer. While it is still catching up to bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles, it is only a matter of time until all of the holes in the market are filled, especially as new transplants continue to flood in.

The city of Nashville spans over 500 miles, with multiple neighborhoods that each have their own unique personalities and something special to offer. While in some cases you can walk from one area to another, Nashville is not easy to tackle on foot, so I highly suggest renting a car, calling a cab or getting your exercise with, the city’s new bike sharing program.

Read on to learn what GQ Magazine has referred to as “Nowville” and plan a visit to the Music City to see it all for yourself.

Check out the custom Google Map with all of the below listings.




Hermitage Hotel – A traditional, charming five-star hotel with the luxurious wood-paneled Oak Bar, perfect for grabbing a whiskey cocktail after a long day. Be sure to take a peek at the famous marbled art deco men’s restroom while you’re there (women are allowed, too!).

Hutton Hotel – An elegant, boutique hotel featuring contemporary and eco-friendly design. Gwyneth Paltrow stayed here for 3 weeks—and wrote about it in GOOP—while working in Nashville a few years ago.

Eat, Drink and Snack:

Merchants – This restaurant has been around for over 25 years and has an old-timey, classic feel with tasty drinks and fresh food. A solid option if you find yourself hungry on lower Broadway.

Robert’s Western World – Young and old flock to Robert’s, a great spot to catch some amazing live country music and do some honkytonk dancing. To really play up the Southern experience, order the “recession special:” a fried bologna sandwich, bag of chips, MoonPie and an ice-cold PBR beer.

Tootsie’s – One of the most historical country bars in town, and the former hangout of the stars of the Opry, who would slip across the alleyway and into the back door of Tootsie’s after their shows at the Ryman. Be prepared as it can definitely get crowded.

Wildhorse Saloon – Learn how to line dance while enjoying a live band, or people watch over greasy grub and drinks.

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant – Authentic Southern comfort food and grocery market that offers live music in the evenings. If you can visit the other locations (just a short drive away in Leiper’s Fork or downtown Franklin), I highly recommend it.

Jack’s Bar-B-Que – Good down-home barbecue served cafeteria-style in a casual environment. A nice, easy stop before catching a show across the alleyway at The Ryman. Don’t forget sweet tea.

Suzy Wong’s House of Yum – A conveniently located late-night spot with diverse Asian offerings. Owner Arnold Myint (Top Chef D.C.) also owns several other restaurants in town including PM and blvd on Belmont.

Crema – My favorite coffee spot on the outskirts of the downtown strip, brewing their own delicious locally-roasted beans (the new coffee soda will knock your socks off). Grab a seat on the cozy front porch and enjoy views of the city.

Husk – James Beard award-winning Chef Sean Brock brings his successful Charleston restaurant to historic downtown. The menu changes daily and boasts only the freshest ingredients, many plucked directly from their garden just before your meal.

Pub5 – Dine inside in the cozy atmosphere or make your way up to the rooftop bar for city views, complete with surprisingly delicious food and a great beer and spirits selection.

Two Boots – New York City’s pizza pioneers have just opened a location in Nashville. I haven’t been there myself, but I’m told their gluten free options are just as tasty as the regular stuff.

The Southern – Culinary meets comfort at The Southern Steak & Oyster Bar. Of course their namesake dishes are delicious, but I’m a big fan of their weekend brunch and fried chicken and waffle.


Hatch Show Print – One of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America. This place is a sight to see and a fun spot to pick out an inexpensive Nashville souvenir. I’m endlessly inspired each time I stop in for a visit.

Manuel – The “Rhinestone Rembrandt” has clothed everyone from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones. Stop by his studios to pick out your own signature gold lamé suit.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop – For over 66 years, Ernest Tubb has been offering a vast array of bluegrass and classic country tunes. They host a live WSM-AM radio show, “Midnight Jamboree,” each Saturday night at their other location (2416 Valley Music Drive).


Ryman Auditorium – One of the most beautiful places in Nashville, and an incredibly magical venue to see your favorite musician (or any musician) perform. Everyone from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan and Neil Young have graced its stage. This one-time tabernacle church is an experience you will not soon forget, and there is not a bad seat in the house. Everyone should see a show here at least once in their lives.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts – A stunning, art deco building that has hosted a spectacular array of art from around the globe for the past 12 years. The exhibitions schedule changes every 6 to 8 weeks, so there is always something new and exciting to see in the galleries. There are also frequent lectures and events, so check the calendar before planning your visit.

Downtown Public Library – Yet another gorgeous Nashville building, the Main Library features marble floors, sky-high ceilings and special collections and art throughout all of the rooms. Parking is convenient, and there is a grand reading room with a view. Take the kids for story time and have lunch in the serene courtyard.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center – A breathtaking concert hall with thoughtful architectural details, marble interior and intricate light fixtures. The grand hall is light and airy with large windows. Home to one of the best orchestras in the country, the Symphony Center also frequently hosts comedians, fashion designers and various musicians. Dressing up is not required, but why not use your visit as an excuse to put on something fancy? This venue screams class and sophistication.

Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge – A quiet respite after braving the crowds of lower Broadway. A walker-friendly bridge over the Cumberland River that offers some of the best views of the skyline. Bring your camera: people love to snap photos here!

First Saturday Art Crawl – Several art galleries throughout downtown host receptions and art openings on the first Saturday of every month. A popular event presenting both local and world-renowned artists in every genre. Admission is free and most galleries serve complimentary wine and other refreshments.

LP Field – Right across the river from downtown is LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. Try to catch a football game if it is in season!

Live On The Green – A series of free, outdoor concerts on the lawn of Nashville’s courthouse, highlighting local bands like Leagues as well as nationally-known acts like Michael Franti & Spearhead, Local Natives and more. Thursday nights in the warmer months. See the concert schedule for full details.

Country Music Hall of Fame – This legendary museum highlights the history of country music from its birthplace in the Music City to present-day.



Eat, Drink and Snack:

The Bang Candy Company – Don’t be fooled, this is much more than a candy store. Marshmallows dipped in chocolate and other forms of candy might be their specialty, but homemade cookies, scones and tasty lunch treats are surprisingly delicious as well. Pop a caramel in your brewed-by-the-cup coffee and enjoy.

Corsair Distillery – After a long day of shopping, catch a tour of this great local distillery with awesome cocktails and a lengthy local beer selection. The outdoor courtyard area has magical lights strung and a peaceful vibe. It’s a bit hard to find, so ask someone around the building if you can’t find it.


Antique Archaeology – Not only a tourist destination for the American Picker fan, this shop (from History Channel’s star picker Mike Wolfe) is filled to the brim with antique collectibles and thoughtfully repurposed pieces. You can tell each item was carefully curated and maintains an interesting history and charm. Of course you can grab fan memorabilia from the show as well!

Otis James – Otis James is a craftsman of handmade and custom neckties, bow ties and hats for both men and women. He recently opened up a shop in his studio, which is fun to browse while getting a peek at the operation first-hand. A nice stop for those who appreciate the art of fashioning raw materials into a final product.

Emil Erwin – Emil Erwin is a leather and canvas carrygoods company, with a design studio in the historic Marathon Motor Works building. While most of the space is his workshop, it’s worth walking into even just for the smell alone.


Marathon Music Works – One of Nashville’s newest locally owned and operated concert spaces, this venue has a beautiful open, loft-like feel. Parking is typically easy, but be safe and check the show schedule to plan ahead.


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Whiskey Kitchen – A boisterous atmosphere serving up typical American fare and very tasty drink concoctions. Grab several plates to share, and don’t miss the fried pickles.

Yazoo Brewing Company – A casual taproom and delicious local brewery, serving up around 8 of their own tasty brews. Be sure to reserve a Saturday tour spot online before your visit. Great spot for business meetings or fun, but keep in mind that they are only open Wednesday-Saturday.


Turnip Truck – A locally owned full-service Natural Foods Market, with a yummy hot bar, salad bar and fresh juice counter. Grab some wholesome groceries for the evening, or take a seat inside or outside to enjoy your meal.

E.T. Burk – A mid-century modern furniture gallery, featuring an ever-changing inventory of the best in 20th century design.


Station Inn – This place is an absolute must on my list for visitors to the Music City. A Nashville institution for nearly 40 years, Station Inn features live bluegrass and roots music seven nights a week. If you’re not a bluegrass believer, you will be after this experience. Admission to all shows is on a first come, first serve basis (unless otherwise noted).


Eat, Drink and Snack:

City House – A foodie’s dream and my absolute favorite restaurant in Nashville. I have never had a dish I didn’t love. An earthy and inviting interior with a rustic, Italian-inspired menu. See what all the magazines are talking about and make yourself a reservation.

Monell’s – Great southern food served family-style in a quaint Victorian home. They don’t take reservations, and everyone is seated at a table together, so be prepared to strike up a conversation with a stranger. For an unforgettable dining experience and warm atmosphere, come here.

Rolf & Daughters – Located in the historic 100-year-old Werthan Factory Building, this restaurant is new to the Nashville dining scene. Drawing on Northern Italian and Mediterranean influences, they use Southern ingredients to create a dynamic and seasonally-driven menu. The pork ragout pasta literally melts in your mouth.

Germantown Café – For a stunning view of the Nashville skyline, head to Germantown Café. Straightforward, fresh cuisine with an upscale twist and affordable prices. The Sunday brunch is my favorite.

The Cupcake Collection – Delectable treats and made-from-scratch daily cupcakes and icings.


Nashville Farmers’ Market – Divided into three distinct areas with hundreds of local farmers and artisans. The main pavilions are joined by a central food court where you can pick up fresh produce or a quick bite. A nice range of options including Cajun, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Indian. The Farmers’ Market also hosts special events throughout the year, from cooking demos to supper clubs to dance parties.


Bicentennial Mall – The 19-acre park was designed to complement the Tennessee Capitol Building, and gives visitors a taste of the state’s history and natural wonders. The park’s 31 “Rivers of Tennessee” water fountains are a big hit with kids, who love to splash around in the warmer summer months.

Oktoberfest – Every fall, Nashville’s Oktoberfest celebrates its heritage with authentic German food, beer, polka dancing, street performers and lederhosen. Free fun for the whole family.


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Margot Café and Bar – This anchor of the East Nashville dining scene cooks up some of the best meals in town, with a daily-changing menu of French and Italian dishes. A cozy interior with exposed brick walls and upstairs seating that overlooks the wine bar. A local’s favorite.

Marché Artisan Foods – A sister to Margot restaurant, this open, airy café and marketplace feels like you’re dining at a European bistro. Brunch is an absolute must – the food is gourmet yet simple, featuring the best local and seasonal cuisine in a relaxed, sunny setting.

I Dream of Weenie – The cutest hot dog stand in a converted VW Bus, but bring cash as you can’t pay with a credit card here. Have a seat in the lawn and chow down on a pimento cheese dog.

Holland House Bar & Refuge – The bartenders are very friendly and know their mixology. Great drink specials and they are open late! I normally just go for a cocktail, but the food here is actually really delicious, too.

The Pharmacy – One of the newest burger joints and beer gardens in town, boasting an impressive selection of German wurst and bier, as well as an old-school soda fountain serving phosphate libations, milkshakes and ice cream sodas. Make sure to try the tater tots and sweet potato fries!

Mas Tacos Por Favor – I frequent this place at least once a week. The tacos are phenomenal, the chicken tortilla soup is out of this world, and the Cuban-style plantains are delectable. Great selections for vegetarians, too! If you are there with friends, split the food so you can try more. Homemade aguas frescas each day and coffee with horchata. Limited hours and cash only.

Sweet 16th Bakery – Literally the most perfect, buttery cheese scone I’ve ever tried. They even make a breakfast sandwich with egg casserole wedged between said scone. Breakfast aside, they serve up pastries both sweet and savory in a small and super friendly environment.

Barista Parlor – Everything you might want in a coffee shop. Bursting onto the Nashville scene a year ago, Barista Parlor has been receiving rave reviews and press ever since. This massive converted garage space manages to still feel comfortable and inspiring. The staff really knows their coffee. Go for the bourbon barrel vanilla latte and grab a pretty bar of chocolate at the counter.

3 Crow Bar – A traditional, fun dive bar with a wide range of beers on tap and in bottles. The food’s not too bad, either.

No. 308 – It’s all about the drinks at this trendy bar – the cocktail menu is superb and I hear their new weekend brunch offering competes with other local favorites.

Family Wash – An intimate, lively neighborhood bar with music each night and a famous $10 Pie and Pint night each Tuesday. The spectacular shepherd’s pie is hearty and warm, layered with your choice of perfectly seasoned meat, veggies, potatoes and cheese.

Rosepepper Cantina – A casual, inviting setting with a huge outdoor patio. Fun Mexican décor, great margaritas and delicious chorizo queso with homemade chips.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Goat Cheese and Cherries, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Salty Caramel. With flavors like these, do I even need to say more? Jeni Britton Bauer has brought her Ohio ice cream shop to Nashville, and we thank her for that.

Silly Goose – A tiny spot with food that makes an anything-but-tiny impact. Basil lemonade, herby shrimp couscous, balsamic chicken sandwiches. Light and fresh and always interesting. Bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner (or while you wait)!

Eastland Cafe – I’ve been won over by Eastland Cafe’s famous happy hour. $5 appetizers and cocktails and $3 beer specials. Can’t beat that!

Mitchell Deli – Hands down, the best deli-style sandwich shop you will find in Nashville. They have been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Best Sandwich in America.” Depending on your mood, my favorites are the Banh Mi or the Turkey, Avocado and Bacon.

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack – It’s a long wait for good reason… and you’re not there for the ambience. The fried chicken here comes in 4 levels of hotness (mild, medium, hot, extra hot) and is some of the best you’ll find in the South. Be prepared to wait half an hour for your order, as everything is made fresh and comes straight from the shack’s tiny kitchen. It’s probably best to call-in and order ahead (615-226-9442).

Rumours East – A full-service restaurant and bar under the guise of a cozy 1900s Victorian house. Weather permitting, the backyard and patio is a great place to relax with a bottle of wine and delectable cheese plate. A little on the pricey side, but worth it.

Lockeland Table – Great pizzas and wine at this new East Nashville establishment. Sit at the bar if you can.

Sky Blue Café – A small and charming café with friendly service. The Stuffed French Toast Pancakes are incredible, and the Croque Madame is another must-try.

Porter Road Butcher – A neighborhood butcher shop providing Nashville with high quality local, grass-fed meats and other fine local and regional products.


The Groove – A very cool record and CD store located on the east side. Old and new, it’s fun to dig and discover new music. You can listen before you buy, using the record player they have set up in the shop.

Wonders on Woodland – I always find a treasure or two at this antique and vintage shop. The owners Deb and Wayne are two of the kindest people I know, and it’s easy to wander around admiring the collection for hours on end.

Hip Zipper – A great vintage shop with pieces from the ‘40s to the ‘70s. Really great pricing and a huge selection of dresses, but be prepared to do some digging.

Old Made Good – A cute spot for a unique gift from a local artist, or a one-of-a-kind vintage find.

The Green Wagon – A one-stop-shop for locally made and sustainable products. I personally love their all-natural cleaning supplies, shampoos and soaps.


Grassy Knoll Movie Nights – Held at sundown in the side lawn of Bongo Java East. Runs on various Sunday nights from April through October and showcases old classic movies as well as local films. Food, beer and more. $5/head or $4 if you bring a can for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Shelby Bottoms Greenway & Nature Park – Go for a run with the dogs down by the river, or let them loose at the friendly dog park. Afterwards, stop at Wags & Whiskers to give ‘em a bath!



Eat, Drink and Snack:

Fido – Best known as a coffee shop, but I go just as often for their incredible food. Spanning an entire block of Hillsboro Village, Fido inhabits what was once Jones’ Pet Shop (look for the adorable old sign) and is part of Nashville’s own independent Bongo Java chain of fair trade and organic coffee shops. It’s always buzzing with students, families and artists, but is a great place to spread out and get your work done while people-watching. They even serve beer and wine, so make yourself cozy.

Hot & Cold – The newest Bongo Java creation, serving up Las Paletas popsicles, Jeni’s Ice Cream and unorthodox coffee and tea treats. A little place that’s delightful and delicious, open late every day.

Pancake Pantry – A Nashville breakfast tradition, boasting a menu with 21 pancake selections. The surprising Sweet Potato Pancakes are tasty and melt in your mouth. Weekends are especially crazy at the Pantry, and the waiting line usually wraps around the building down 21st Avenue, so be prepared.

Provence Breads & Café – Parisian-style fare with crusty breads, gourmet sandwiches and decadent baked goods.

Savarino’s Cucina – This hidden gem is a family-run Italian café, serving up everything from pizza and pasta to biscotti and homemade gelato.


Pangaea, Fire Finch and A Thousand Faces each offer their own varied selection of art, jewelry, paper goods, accessories and furniture. These stores are great for unique gifts and rare finds.

Posh Boutique – A wide clothing selection of the latest styles with prices to accommodate any budget.

BookmanBookwoman – My favorite used bookstore with tight aisles stacked high, and a vast selection including Art, Architecture, Fashion, Photography, Tennessee History and more.

A Village of Flowers – An upscale florist with gorgeous arrangements and occasional sidewalk specials. Walk in to savor the smell, and treat yourself to a fresh bouquet.

SEE (Selective Eyewear Elements) – Unique, European designer eyewear. The best place to find an anything-but-ordinary frame in town. They offer eye exams, too!


Belcourt Theatre – If you desire unique entertainment, the historic Belcourt is where it’s at. Opened in 1925 as a silent movie house, the theatre now offers 2-3 independent, foreign or classic films at a time. Cozy up in a chair, grab some wine or beer at the bar and transport yourself to another era. They offer fun midnight movies outside, as well as interesting discussions and Q&As with film directors and actors.


Eat, Drink & Snack:

Bongo Java – A competent coffee shop with specialty drinks and a great porch for hanging out. The inside is convenient for plugging in and working away. The “basic” breakfast can’t be beat: $5 for eggs, hash browns, toast and a cup of joe. If you’re there during school season – beware – as it will be brimming with college students.

International Market & Restaurant – A small world market with ethnic groceries, spices, and a Thai fusion buffet. Treat yourself to a tasty red bean bun.


Local Honey – A clothing store in a charming old house that features vintage clothing as well as local fashion designers.


Belmont-Hillsboro Tour of Homes – Every year there is a home tour featuring ten beautiful homes in the neighborhood, bursting with class and charm. Even as a local, I always think this is a really fun thing to do.



Eat, Drink and Snack:

Portland Brew – One of several coffee shops in the neighborhood. I love their cold brew coffee and avocado toast with pesto.

Frothy Monkey – Another tasty coffee house with lots of food options throughout the day and specialty drinks. Have a seat on the porch outside and relax.

12 South Taproom – The Taproom is one of my favorite casual spots to meet a friend after work for a drink, or even dine solo at the bar. Stop by for a cold beer, some exceptional food, or a good time with a bit of both.

Burger Up – A community-driven restaurant perfect for a business lunch, first date, family meal or an anniversary celebration. Burger Up sources the best beef from a nearby Tennessee farm. The Woodstock remains the best seller, but I personally love the veggie options (try the Marathon, a black bean and quinoa patty and a kale salad). But don’t forget the truffle fries and homemade Jack Daniel’s maple ketchup!

Sloco – This sandwich shop serves local and sustainable sandwiches at affordable prices. The staff is always energetic and kind and there are lots of specials to try each day.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que – A tribute to all things southern, showcasing a unique Nashville personality. The barbecue nachos are top notch (made on homemade potato chips!) and there’s a special hot chicken sandwich served only on Mondays that I urge you to try.

The Filling Station – Nestled behind Edley’s Barbecue, this is your spot for the tastiest craft brews to go. Simply drop by, fill up a growler and take it with you to go.

Mafiaoza’s – Good greasy pizza and pastas. They offer a really great 2-4-1 special on Tuesdays. One of the only places in 12South that is open late, so expect a crowd.

Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles – I never knew a popsicle could taste so amazing, and I can almost guarantee that you will be saying the same thing. Bring cash and try the avocado. You can also now have them dipped in local Olive & Sinclair chocolate… yum!


imogene + willie – Invest in a quality, trend-proof pair of jeans that will last you a lifetime. The denim masters at i+w focus on classic, American-made clothing and carefully curated vintage and home goods. The jeans can be tailored to your liking right there in the store. Have a seat on the leather sofa, pet the sweet shop dog or take a peek outside at the lounge area while you’re there.

Halcyon Bike Shop – A used bicycle shop on the main drag of 12South, featuring quality products and services at affordable prices. Most of the bikes are recycled and restored custom used bicycles.

Savant Vintage – Some of my favorite vintage finds have come from this unassuming little house in 12South. The vintage dresses are especially tempting, and the selection is huge (looks can be deceiving, but this place has two full floors of vintage wears). Owner Beverly can tell you a lot about the history behind each of the pieces. Make sure to come with a full wallet, as it tends to be a bit on the pricey side.

Katy K Designs – If you’re looking for authentic kitschy western wear, this is your stop. Embroidered vintage threads, fringed leather jackets and cowboy boots, this is a fun place to play dress up in. Crinoline square dancing skirt, anyone?

Corner Music – A legendary music shop full of instruments and audio gear, serving musicians for over 30 years. They also offer guitar and bass lessons.


Sevier Park – I love going to this small park, conveniently located within walking distance to all the great shops and restaurants in 12South. There is a big open field, a couple covered pavilions for parties and play areas for the kids. The 12South Farmer’s Market takes place May-October on Tuesdays and there are various other festivals and concert series held here.



Eat, Drink and Snack:

Smiling Elephant – Some of my favorite Thai food in town. The pineapple cashew chicken is absolutely delicious. The drink options are limited, but they serve a different delicious curry every day.

8th and Roast – A local craft coffee roaster, with friendly baristas serving up bold, sweet cups. I haven’t yet tried it myself, but the Nutella Latte is supposed to be heavenly.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen – Considered by most as the best meat-and-three, if not the best lunch plate, in town. Directly across from the Downtown Antique Mall, this authentic restaurant also serves up delicious fried green tomatoes (don’t leave without them). Everything is fresh and homemade. Only open on weekdays.


Grimey’s New & Preloved Music – My favorite record store anywhere, and I’ve been to quite a few in my time. A wonderful place to hang out, discover music, and if you’re lucky, snatch a beer and in-store musical performance. Lots of notable bands pass through these doors.

Also, around the corner, an expansion called Grimey’s Too is their new space that houses Howlin’ Books (an independent bookstore) and coffee from Frothy Monkey.

If you love antiquing, don’t miss the series of antique stores strung along 8th Avenue that promise loads of historic heirlooms and little treasures. Along both sides of the street, you’ll find shops like Pre To Post Modern, Preservation Station, the Downtown Antique Mall and the Tennessee Antique Mall (just around the corner off Wedgewood). Take your time and be prepared to haggle!

Gruhn Guitars – When in Nashville… Pop in and admire the beautiful vintage instruments that this guitar guru has been selling and repairing for over 40 years. This new location houses everything under the sun, and has seen clientele such as Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash and Paul McCartney.


The Basement – My favorite small music venue for an intimate, cozy experience. I’ve seen both bigger names and lesser knowns play here, and always feel that there is something magical about the place (upstairs is Grimey’s record store).

Greer Stadium – The home of Nashville Sounds baseball. Our minor league baseball park is so fun for a night out, with Friday fireworks and dollar hot dog nights.

Zanies Comedy Club – Nashville’s premier comedy club for nearly 30 years. Lots of comedians pass through here and it’s good to know there is a two drink minimum (water bottles included). Arrive early as parking in the area can tend to be tricky.

Heading further north on 8th Avenue toward downtown, you’ll find 3 great music venues all in the same spot – Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom and The High Watt. Between the three, there is always something great going on.

Third Man Records – Jack White lovers will want to stop for a visit at TMR, his magic factory, venue and tiny music shop a bit off the beaten path.


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Bread & Company – A Nashville chain with three locations across the city. A perfect stop for a yummy sandwich or crunchy salad while running errands or shopping around the city. Beware, the fruit tea is addictive (in the best way possible).

The Food Company – A quiet lunch stop offering soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts and a refrigerated section with easy yet scrumptious take-and-bake meals.

The Greenhouse Bar – Adjoining The Food Company, this unique bar is an actual greenhouse with a great vibe. A restful place to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine among the cozy greenery.

Kalamata’s – You can’t judge a book by its cover—or, in this case—a great restaurant by the stripmall that it hides in. Kalamata’s provides simple, healthy Mediterranean food made fresh and quickly right in front of you.


The Hill Center features a pedestrian-friendly strip of shops and eateries in Green Hills, great for a day of shopping some boutiques like H. Audrey, Hemline, Billy Reid and Barton Perreira, as well as bigger brands like Anthropologie, West Elm and Whole Foods.

Tucked away behind the Hill Center is Bandywood Drive, where you’ll find several cute Nashville shops like Habit & I See London, The Perfect Pair and Woo Skincare & Cosmetics.

Parnassus Books – A cool local bookstore with a well-curated selection and great story time for kids. They also host book signings, readings and more.


The Bluebird Cafe – Shows like ABC’s hit drama “Nashville” have made this venue even more popular, but the Bluebird Cafe is one of the most storied listening rooms in the music world. Located in a nondescript strip mall, the Bluebird is the place for songwriters to play and be discovered. Call ahead to get yourself a seat, and remember that the café is technically a listening room, so a certain level of quiet is expected (you will be shushed!).


Eat, Drink and Snack:

McCabe Pub – A neighborhood sports bar with a nice patio to enjoy a beer. Get the bacon cheeseburger that many claim is the best in town.

The Local Taco – Fun, Americanized Mexican food with taco varieties like Southern Fried Chicken and Korean BBQ. I always enjoy having a margarita on the patio.

Star Bagel Cafe – Star Bagel is usually packed on the weekends for breakfast. The bagels are delicious, the coffee is great (they even offer almond milk) and their massive lunch sandwiches are amazing.

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip – Good times are to be had at Bobbie’s ice cream parlor, where you’re immediately transported back in time with the blaring doowop music and cute vintage décor. I always opt for the classic dipped cone and sweet potato fries, but you can’t go wrong with the sundaes and peanut butter milkshakes either.

M.L. Rose – Craft beer and burgers, with really delicious waffle fries. Load them up with blue cheese sauce!


Import Flowers – A traditional wholesale florist, but you are able to walk in and pick up a single rose or seasonal bundle for yourself. They import from all over the world and have an amazing selection.

The Produce Place – A tiny grocery store with a big heart. Delicious prepared foods, a nice variety of produce (both local and imported), fresh flowers, herbs and more.


Eat, Drink and Snack:

J & J’s Market & Café – A great place to get your work done, or take a break with good ole fashioned board games. An excellent selection of coffee, tea and beer!

Rotier’s Restaurant – Many will argue that this is the best burger in Nashville (order it on the French bread, trust me). A family-owned and operated joint since 1945.

Elliston Place Soda Shop – I grew up going to this classic soda shop with my dad before college basketball games. I love the nostalgic grilled cheese sandwich with a vanilla milkshake.

Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine – Indian food is a bit hard to come by in the city, but this place is top notch. A huge menu with everything you could possibly want, even if you are a meat-eater. Surprisingly great lunch buffet and a BYOB policy.

Patterson House – A dark, romantic speakeasy that makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time to Paris during the 1920s. They take their cocktails very seriously – I highly recommend the Clapless Belle or Bacon Old Fashioned. And don’t leave without ordering the cinnamon sugar donuts – they are delivered to your table hot and fresh!

The Catbird Seat – This 32-seat destination is located atop Patterson House. You are made to feel special at the interactive dining experience, where you are seated surrounded by the U-shaped kitchen. They offer a 7-course tasting menu for $100, but you better make your reservations early, as this one-of-a-kind restaurant books up fast.

Noshville – An authentic New York style delicatessen. The Reuben sandwich is amazing, or, you can’t go wrong with a classic breakfast or omelet, served anytime of day.

San Antonio Taco Co. – Lovingly known as SATCO around these parts, this hole-in-the-wall gives fast food a whole new meaning. Come here for a quick and delicious taco, and some of my favorite chips and queso in the city.


UAL – One of four United Apparel Liquidators in the South, offering big name designer clothes at a fraction of the price. They buy end-of-season clothing and accessories for men and women and resell at very reasonable prices. And the shoe selection is amazing!


The Parthenon – It may seem a bit odd, but Nashville has a full-sized replica of the Parthenon situated right downtown in urban Centennial Park. Nashville was often called “The Athens of the South,” and to give a visual to this nickname, the Parthenon was built as part of a centennial celebration in 1897 and remains a cherished and iconic Nashville landmark.

Centennial Park – The perfect place to throw a frisbee, pack a picnic, explore the garden or attend one of the many events and activities scheduled throughout the year. Enjoy all types of fun with Movies In The Park, Musicians Corner, Big Band dance nights and more. Check the calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

Exit/In – A classic live music venue highlighting local and international rock acts nearly every night. Check the movie-style marquee outside to see who is playing this week.


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Taco Mamacita – I love this place for after-work happy hour and snacks. They make the guacamole fresh at your table, and have an interesting array of tacos. The Taco Royale is a crowd favorite.

DeSano Pizza Bakery – My favorite pizza joint in town. They introduced me to peppadew peppers that have since changed my life. Go for a classic Margherita (add the peppadews!) or white Bianca pizza, or better yet: both.


Tweed Baby Outfitters – The most adorable little shop, perfect for finding a gift for a newborn baby up to 4 year toddler. The owner Maggie is wonderful and carries many unique lines (with complimentary giftwrap available).


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Baja Burrito – Baja is always one of my first stops after traveling, as I can’t get enough of their burritos and tacos and always seem to crave them when I’m away. The “tinga” spicy chicken is mouth-watering good.

Sam & Zoe’s – One of my favorite quiet places to work, Sam & Zoe’s is a quaint coffee house and café in a convenient, central location. The tasty breakfast sandwiches are served all day, and pair nicely with a cup of pour-over coffee or a chai tea latte (my favorite in town).

The Pied Piper Creamery – Delicious, handmade ice cream in a charming and family-friendly atmosphere featuring creative flavors like Trailer Trash – vanilla with Oreo, Twix, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces. Yum! The main location in East Nashville is adorable, too.

The Yellow Porch – A little bistro with amazing salads. It’s a small place and fills up quick, so be sure to make a reservation.

Gabby’s Burgers & Fries – My personal favorite burger in Nashville. Fresh, grass-fed beef and a secret menu, in a spot that’s a bit off the beaten path. Get the sweet potato fries! Odd hours so be sure to plan ahead – it’s worth it!


Designer Renaissance – A hit-and-miss consignment shop, full of designer duds for women. The staff is friendly and helpful!

The Cat Shoppe & Dog Store – A cat lover’s dream. A cute pet shop featuring natural foods and gifts for your furry friends. Love on lots of sweet rescued kitties while you are there, or even take one home with you.

Gas Lamp Antiques & Decorating Mall – A very hidden location behind Staples, just waiting to be uncovered. I have bought many a treasure at this wonderful antique mall.


Nashville Flea Market – Just down the road from Berry Hill, don’t miss the monthly flea at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Hundreds of vendors set up to showcase vintage items (and some new and repurposed). Go on a Sunday before they pack up for the best bargains!


Eat, Drink and Snack:

Siam Cafe Thai – Don’t be fooled by the rough exterior, this place has the best Pad Thai in town. Grab an order of the Spring Rolls, too.

Taqueria el Recodo – Nolensville Road is known for its many great taco trucks, but this one takes the cake. It’s tucked away beside a gas station, but don’t fret. Order the 99 cent carnitas, add avocado and enjoy. And try not to go back for more.

Gojo Ethiopian – Really great family-style Ethiopian food. Eat with your hands in this casual dining restaurant, and don’t forget to finish off the meal with Ethiopian coffee – roasted in-house and brewed on a large clay pot at your table.

La Hacienda – Authentic Mexican food at great prices. And you can snag a Las Paletas popsicle while you’re there.


Phonoluxe Records – A black sheep of the Nashville record store family, Phonoluxe offers a really large selection of used vinyl, cassettes, CDs, DVDs and more. And the staff is knowledgeable and friendly!


The Loveless Cafe – A charming country and home-cooking institution, remaining a national landmark since it opened its doors more than 60 years ago. Country ham, Southern fried chicken and homemade biscuits and jams are the staples. Call ahead if you can… the wait is known to get crazy at this tourist attraction!

Jack Daniel’s Distillery – Located a mere hour and half from Nashville, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery can be a fun and informative day trip. Tour the grounds (for free) where this famous whiskey is created, and grab a bottle to enjoy later at home. Unfortunately, no tastings here – Lynchburg is a dry county, which means no alcohol consumption.

Arrington Vineyards – Founded by Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn), Arrington Vineyards is located about 25 minutes south of Nashville, in the beautiful rolling hills. Pack a blanket and some food, and pick up your favorite bottle of wine after having a complimentary tasting.

Radnor Lake – A stunning nature sanctuary with several quiet walking trails. I normally always spot a deer, turtles or wild birds on my hikes. Radnor Lake maintains strict rules about what can be brought onto the premises, so no picnicking, and biking is only allowed on the closed-off road.

Cheekwood – A beautiful 55-acre estate with a historic home, bontanical garden and art museum. The gardens are lovely by day, but at night they really shine. Exhibits change regularly, so check the schedule before you go.

Downtown Franklin – A quick half-hour from Nashville, Downtown Franklin is a picturesque little town whose Main Street is lined with charming old houses and buildings, now home to many restaurants and boutiques. Definitely worth a day trip for window-shopping, a delicious lunch at the famed
Merridee’s Breadbasket
and catching a show or film at The Franklin Theatre.


Karen Elson, The Black Keys, Jack White, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Ben Folds, Taylor Swift, Niki Taylor, Connie Britton, Matt and Carrie Eddmenson.

Suggested For You


  • This was amazing. I lived in Nashville for four years… and can definitely see returning there later in life. Warm, wonderful town.
    I also have to tout the benefits of the various consignment shops. Kept this impoverished medical resident well dressed and stylish!

  • Thanks Lindsey. This is amazing. I’m a Nashville native myself, but I will be using this guide next time I visit home. There are so many places I haven’t been too!

  • Lindsay, you did an AWESOME job with this post!!! There’s so much to Nashville that people just don’t get and you captured it so well. Thanks! Do you have a blog?

    Grace, when are YOU going to visit???

    • tabitha

      when my life doesn’t include 7 days a week of book work i’ll try to get out of the house and down south ;)


  • Sigh. I went to school at Lipscomb University, and this brought back great memories. My husband and I met there nearly 8 years ago, and I’ve grown to really love and miss Nashville. Fantastic, comprehensive guide!

  • Wow Lindsey, this is a fantastic description of Nashville. I grew up in Franklin and moved back to Nashville after a few years in San Francisco. I’ve been back for four years and still haven’t hit all the places you mentioned (though the ones I have visited are definitely worth being on the list). I will definitely use this guide to be a tourist in my own hometown!

  • This is one of the best, detailed visitors guides to Nashville I have ever encountered. As a current resident of Nashvegas (residing in Sylvan Park!) I am thrilled to see all the greatest hotspots this city has to offer on here. So much better than just searching “things to do in Nashville” on google. This list will definitely be something I will use and send to friends who are visiting.

    Thanks for doing such a great job.

  • Wow, I’ve always wanted to visit Nashville, thanks for such a detailed guide! I want to book my flight now :)

  • Yeah nashville! I live in nashville and can’t believe you pulled all that stuff together. I had no idea about some of these places. Awesome!
    I love Wonders on Woodland. They are so knowledgeable and the prices are really reasonable!
    May I also recommend Estelle’s across the street from the downtown antique mall. She always calls me when they get new stuff in that I would be interested in.

  • wow. i’m from nashville and this guide makes me excited to go back for the holidays. she got all of the classics but mentioned a bunch of places i’m unfamiliar with.

    if you’re planning a trip to nashville – at the top of your list should be the bluebird cafe (mentioned above). it is an experience 100% unique to nashville!

  • I’m attending a conference in Nashville next month. I’m printing this out and taking it along with me!!! Awesome and so clear you love your city. Can’t wait to visit.

  • WOW! Kudos, Lindsay, on your exhaustive list. My sister went to Vandy in 1989 and never left, so while we’re not exactly natives, it feels pretty darn close. My parents have now moved to Franklin, so I guess Nashville is home.

    I cannot think of one single place that you left off your list and found several places to check out on my next visit. Thanks!

  • Yay! What a wonderful review of Nashville! I’m Hillsboro Village girl and have lived here for almost six years. You nailed my favs, plus some places I haven’t seen yet…but am now anxious to visit!

  • I was so excited to see a post about my hometown that I love so much! There were places that I was even excited to learn about! Nashville is the best little city! Great place to grow up!

  • Another Nashvillian saying thanks for representing the diversity! This actually makes me excited about leaving my art room!

  • Wow, what an amazing list! I have lived in Nashville for almost 6 years and never knew all the wonderful places. Thanks Lindsay!! Awesome . . .

  • so excited to see Nashville featured in such detail according to the design scene! I’m a Nashville designer transplant for 2 years now, and I love living here! Great job Lindsay! Thanks!

  • I am so proud to live in Nashville! I grew up in California and later moved out here with my husband. I didn’t know what the city had to offer when we first moved out here, I was a California “snob” and figured nothing was as cool as the west coast. Boy, was I mistaken. Nashville TN has so much to offer for the artist, musician, Families, Young and old. If you’re an outdoor junkie like me, there are tons of biking, walking/running trails all over the place. We have lakes and rivers, state parks ect… If you haven’t been here, stick it on your top 10 list of places to visit. Oh and I applaud Lindsay for writing this city guide, I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Also a native Nashvillian here (though living just across the Kentucky border now), and I think this is an excellent guide to modern Nashville! It’s not all cowboy boots and twang anymore :-)

  • This is a fantastic guide! Well done, Lindsay! I’m a Nashville native and moved away just last year- this guide left me missing my hometown.

    Visitors- I would highly recommend spending a morning in East Nashville, hitting Marche for breakfast (get there early!) and shop hopping. Also, if you want to take home something small gifts for your friends and family, pick up a few bars of southern artisan chocolate (www.oliveandsinclair.com) Kosher Salt and Cracked Pepper- bananas!

  • i had to race right over to read this from twitter to make sure pangaea made the list! really, anything in hillsboro village could be listed here. i love how my artsy family has a hand in so many of the things listed here. it really is a wonderful place, not just because it’s my hometown.

  • Thanks for doing a Nashville guide! My family and I are going to Tennessee for a family reunion next summer, and we are debating flying into Nashville or Memphis. I’m voting Nashville!

  • Lindsay, you totally hit every place worth visiting in Nashville. I’m impressed with how comprehensive this is. Love seeing so many Nashville people commenting on this post, such a strong sense of community in this town, I love it!

  • My friends and go go every year for the Americana Music Festival (it just ended about two weeks ago), and we always have a great time. We mostly hit the music venues, including many you mentioned (you left off the Cannery and Mercy Lounge!), but every year we get to see more and more, thanks to some local friends with cars who are kind enough to haul us around. I’ll definitely refer to this when we go next year, thanks so much!

  • Yes. Amazing. Highfive fellow Nashvillian. The amount of artists & musicians & bars & front porch hangs are why I love this town. It is one of the most homespun, creatively drenched places I’ve encountered. Y’all come visit.

  • WOW! What a list! That’s impressive. I second Carrie on Baja Burrito!

    I was also surprised to not see nashvillest.com mentioned, though. It’s THE place to go to find out about Nashville! Morgan and Christy do such a great job on the site.

  • ya know what would be an awesome addition to your city guides? a google map! i’ll be passing through nashville on my way from cincinnati to memphis tomorrow and would love to know where these places are and if anything is close enough for a quick stop.

  • What a delightful stroll down memory lane. I lived in the Lee Apartments behind The End for just one year and loved nearly everything about Nashville! I’m thrilled to see some of the transitional neighborhoods thriving now. Is 12th & Porter still there? That was one of our favorite places to see great music.

  • I was born in Nashville and 32 years later I’m still here. This is great guide – thanks for listing so many awesome places. Many of my friends own several of the places you mentioned and I know they are thrilled!
    And you can find my husband’s artwork at the Rymer Gallery! (Seth Conley)

  • How wonderful to see a Nashville list – I live there and I’m going to check out all the places I’ve never heard of. And I love that the library made the list! Our marionette show’s are the coolest.

  • Great job! As a Nashvillian, I’ll add Bosco’s (www.boscosbeer.com), “offering up to 50 different handcrafted beers each year.”

    I can’t wait to check out things on this list that I’ve missed! Thanks!

  • Locals should also check out the newish Mitchell’s Deli and a sweet little coffee shop next door at Riverside Dr./McGavock. And everyone should check out Yazoo Brewery! Very nice list, though.

  • What a comprehensive list! I’m a northern transplant who has now lived here 8 years and really loves it. Also, as someone who works at Vanderbilt University, I have to mention we love visitors to our campus, a national arboretum, with some great architecture to wander through as well. And as a resident West Sider, I must emphasize the creamy decadence that is historic Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. Their soft serve and sweet potato fries are to die for.

  • This was a nice surprise. I’m from Nashville as well, but have not lived there in quite a few years. Good to see that a few old favorites are still around (I used to work at Bong Java–when the Nun Bun was still safe and sound) and I can’t wait to try a few of these new places out on my next visit. Also, you are exactly right about the Calypso Cafe. I almost always take people there who are visiting for the first time so they can try the black bean salad as I have never found anything quite like it anywhere else!

  • Hey all and thanks so much for the posts! I am thrilled to see people adding their own thoughts and want to give a resounding “yes!” to all the things people have added (Baja Burrito, 12th & Porter, Cannery Ballroom, Americana Music Festival, Lamp Store etc.). Unfortunately I couldn’t include EVERYTHING lest I run the risk of boring everyone, so I veered toward things I have more firsthand experience of. But I am just one person! So keep it coming and THANKS!

    :) Lindsay

    P.S. Tabitha thanks for your question! A blog is in the works but it’s not up and running as yet. :) I can keep you in the loop!

  • Thanks for showing how unique Nashville is with this great guide! It is so easy for outsiders to let country music dominate their ideas of the city – but it is so much more than that!

    In addition to the Baja Burrito bid above, I’d like to mention the Yazoo Brewery in the old Marathon Automotive building near downtown and Melrose Billiards on Franklin Rd. – my favorite hangout!

  • Sadly, I just moved from Nashville for my husband’s job last month. We lived right next to (off 19th) Vanderbilt’s campus, and you did a fabulous job in this review of the city! And to echo Jenni’s rave of Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, I love their peanut butter dip. Missing Nashville after reading this post . . . =)

  • Great guide. I would like to put in a plug for City House. I think their food is a wonderful mix of traditional southern and Italian, two cuisines that use greens, pork, corn meal, tomatoes, etc. Their food is all grown locally, including the pork, which comes from pigs that have led happy lives in the Middle Tennessee outdoors. City House challenges itself to use the whole pig, which is environmentally responsible and makes for some unusual and delicious menu items. I would highly recommend their screened in porch where the lights of the skyline wink at you through the little grove of trees in the side yard.

  • though I am not a Nashville native, I was a transplant from Texas for my four years of college and this guide has me *literally* yearning to go back. Great job. You hit everything that makes Nashville as awesome as it is – it’s the small town feel with all the perks of a big city! Can’t be beat!

  • I totally love boots! I have been looking for good ones for the upcoming fall/winter season–yet ones that are inexpensive…

  • ahh! yay Nashville! i have lived here all my life, and reading this affirmed to me why i love my city – Lindsey – you did a FABULOUS job putting this together!!!

    Thanks for showing that our little city isn’t just country music and cowboy boots.

  • Great job!!! As someone who lives in the Germantown neighborhood (I love it!!) I also want the second the plug for City House! It’s one of our favorite places to eat :) I highly recommend anything with the house-cured meats especially the salami appetizer plate and the belly ham pizza (you can add an egg over easy in the center if you more adventurous :) It’s not the cheapest meal you’ll ever eat, but worth every penny. Also, don’t forget to check out The Cupcake Collection also in Germantown- just a few houses over from Monell’s! In my opinion, they make the best cupcakes in town :)

  • I might be moving to Nashville in a couple of years but have not yet been there. This is great! Is there a PDF form of this somewhere that I could download?

  • absolutely perfect, I’ve lived here my entire life, but I’m going to use this list to see more of the city before I move

  • Such a great list! I lived there for a year and a half, and my family and several close friends still do, and this list makes me want to visit for longer than the occasional weekend we get here and there.

    Grace, any chance you’ll want a Saint Louis guide sometime?

  • Thanks for mentioning us in your post! You’ve done an incredible job detailing food in Nashville. We love our town and are so happy to see its great food offerings lauded.

    As a side note, Marche is not nearly as crowded in the early afternoons. It’s a breeze to get a seat at about 2pm, if you can wait that long in the day!

  • I LOVE Nashville. Been there only once. Must go back. I have this pic I took that I love. There’s these treble clef bike racks by the opera house with a couple of women in kick ass katy k boots and striped tights in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    I stood on that walking bridge and just took a big old sigh.

  • I’m so excited about this post! I moved to Nashville a few months ago and haven’t had the time or energy to see the sites, but now that they’re all conveniently listed in one place… Well, I sense some very exciting weekends in my future. :)

  • Also, right under Mitchell’s Deli in East Nashville is a new artisan chocolate maker – Olive & Sinclair. They are the only people in the South that make chocolate from bean to bar so definitely worth mentioning!!!

  • Hey – wonderful job! I have lived in East Nashville for seven years and I cannot express enough how much I adore our little neighborhood. You did a really fantastic job with this list, and let me know if you have a blog where I can read your writing directly.

  • Thank you Lindsay!! Your description of my city made me want to jump up and give it a big hug. I’m a 4th generation Nashville native and minus a 4-year hiatus to the Bay Area for college I’ve lived here my whole life and can say with confidence that you named some real winners!

    P.S. I’d love to be kept in the loop about a blog should you start to write one :)

  • good job! but you forgot Mitchell’s Deli in East Nashville. the amazing food is addicting, it’s a must have if you’re ever here. I live in East Nashville and the historic houses are beautiful and the people are great. i love our neighborhood!

  • I have family who live outside Nashville, and they took my family to Las Paletas…. LOVE. Cucumber and chili!! I had my uncle drive out with a cooler and meet my bus on the side of the road so I could get some more a few months later!

    I would love to collaborate on Saint Louis guide (I moved to my

  • Oh, this is SO great. It’s far past due for Nashville to have such rave reviews. It’s a double edged sword – those who live here love it and want it to never change. The other side is that we certainly love the great press!
    What I love best is that you hit the really great spots, both big and small. Thanks for all the kudos to our fab city!

  • Thanks for the great post Lindsay. I live in Nashville and I love each and every place you mentioned. It’ll be great to give to friends that are coming in town so they can go ahead and pre-pick places they’d like to visit! :-)
    Would love to add Battered and Fried and Mad Donna’s as good places to eat over on the Eastside.

    Thanks again!!!

  • You guys ROCK! I love this! I can never think of the cool places to go, and now they are right in front of me. Thanks and Yay Nashville!

  • Linday-Great and fairly comprehensive job! One area you forgot was Berry Hill, though. A great area with several wonderful restaurants and lots of funky shops. Right off of Thompson Lane across from 100 Oaks Mall and close to Green Hills and 12 South.

  • Awesome job, Lindsay! I’m so happy to see a Nashville guide. I’ve lived here for 5 years and there are still so many places I need to check out. This will be my go-to guide for visiting friends and family, too.

  • What a great Nashville guide! I live here and I am using the guide to suggest new restaurants to my friends for our Girls Night Out tonight!

    One place in East Nashville worth mentioning is Eastland Cafe (across the street from Rosepepper). They have a great happy hour from 5-6:30 during the week with $5 apps and flatbread pizzas, and $5 martinis! Dressed up food and a cool, modern vibe. Can’t beat it!


  • I’m here all the time for work. my favorite city in the U.S. I visited crema coffee shop after reading this blog. sitting here now and enjoying a double cuban. it’s amazing!

  • Oh, this is making me so homesick!!

    I was born and raised in Nashville, but I’ve been living in California since 2004. I am planning to move back sometime soon… I feel like I definitely appreciate Nashville more now that I no longer live there. The city is so full of creativity and inspiration.

    Luckily I will actually be visiting Nashville in a couple of weeks, to see family, friends, and to check out some of the cool new businesses, including Crema. I can’t wait!!

  • As a former Nashvillian myself, I’d say this is a pretty thorough and amazing guide! Wonderful job!

    One thing I’d add to the Nashvegas and beyond section is The Factory at Franklin. (http://www.factoryatfranklin.com/)

    It’s an old historic factory turned event space and shopping center… very Nashville!

  • Loved your fantastic guide to shopping in Nashville and specifically for downtown Franklin. The Registry is a fine china, “table-top” abd gifts shops just next door to Rock Paper Scissors with an great mix of items for the table… They not only register brides, but birthday girls, gentlemen in their first home, etc. etc. and have had had a steady presence on Mainstreet for 5 years. Would you mind including them in your list for dtf? If you need more information on the shop please let me know:) Keep up the great blog!

  • I’m moving to Nashville in December (so soon!) and this post has gotten me so very extremely excited. Thank you for the detail! I can’t wait to get to Music City…

  • great guide to the city.. could also include more about the galleries in the arcade and there are at least 10 now i think.

  • I am from Kentucky (just under an hour north of Nashville) and LOVE to visit whenever possible. I am very excited to be going just after Christmas for a wedding. Great article.

  • this is fantastic! am planning a trip to Nashville in April this year (myself, a girl from London, and a girlfriend from Belgium with her 2 boys aged 12 and 13) so would really appreciate any tips – especially around accommodation!
    we would really like to stay in a cute/authentic/family run place rather than an anonymous concrete block/chain hotel.
    Any ideas? Cheers. Sam

  • Excellent guide of Nashville! I live up in Clarksville and you’ve given me new places to explore at my nearest city! Thanks!!

  • This all sounds so great – but where should we stay?? Can’t afford the Hermitage – what’s cool and moderately priced.
    Going this weekend, Feb.19

  • This is a fantastic guide. I check out this site all the time before I travel, and Nashville’s City Guide was one of the best. Thank you! I know they are updating them soon, so you may want to include Patterson House (Speakeasy bar). Amazing drinks and wonderful atomosphere.

  • I have lived in Nashville for 22 years, and I can honestly say that you left nothing out. This actually made me love our city even more. There are so many places that you take for granted when you have the luxury of stopping by daily.

  • fantastic guide! i am a nashville native and give a big thumbs up to the places you mentioned. additions for visitors:

    -rent a bike at halcyon bike, in the 12south neighborhood. $20 a day, and the shop itself is awesome- they refurbish vintage and used bikes and it is a real community space!

    -city house is FANTASTIC and one of the city’s best restaurants

    -patterson house has the best cocktails in town and is a cozy, classy place for a drink

    -la hacienda and the other amazing mexican food along nolensville road

  • this is an incredible intro to Nashville! I’m moving there in a few weeks and am so delighted to have the inside scoop. thank you!

  • WOOO Isle of Printing!! I’ve even called it my favorite spot in Nashville… along with a cuppa from crema ;)

  • Holland House and Mas Tacos are awesome new restaurants in East Nashville at the corner of West Eastland and Mcferrin where West Eastland becomes Cleaveland Street. It’s just two blocks off Ellington Parkway’s Cleaveland Street Exit and just a few minutes from downtown Nashville.

  • Wonderful guide to Nashville! I live on the east side (near the aforementioned Holland House, which is wonderful by the way) and there are so many great places to eat and shop. You mentioned just about every single place that I thought of. Everyone should come visit!

  • When you come back around, come through Edgehill Village again. Its really developed, and has become quite the hot spot! Taco Mamacita and Bella Napoli are amazing and they have lots of new cute shops!

  • I too would really like some tips on where is good to stay, reasonably priced and well located for atmosphere and going out, especially music… Any tips?

  • Excellent guide of Nashville! I live up in Clarksville and you’ve given me new places to explore at my nearest city.Sounds really great..
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Such an awesome post! I absolutely adore Nashville and have only been here a couple of years so I’m still exploring and there are quite a few places on this list that I can’t wait to check out! Thank you so much!

  • This is great!!! Thanks! Any tips on hotels…something artsy, a boutique or a cool bed and breakfast…in walking distance to places to eat/shops?

  • Hi there,
    really love your website. At the moment I am planing a trip to Nashville in 2 weeks time. Do you have any recommendations on nice, quiet, cute hotels or b&bs? The obvious on tripadvisor didn’t quite atract me….


  • Great guide! For those looking for a hotel, I recommend the new Hutton Hotel on West End (www.huttonhotel.com). It’s a little pricey, but totally unique, in a great location, and worth every penny! My husband and I stayed there for our Nashville wedding in July and they gave us a great deal, so it’s worth calling to ask :)

  • Amazing guide! I lived in Nashville for a few years and reading this made me want to go back and try all the places I haven’t been yet! It’s a great city.

    I also wanted to point out that the Ryman isn’t actually the first home of the Grand Ole Opry, it’s just the most famous location.

    Also, when I visited a few months ago, I found out that Mirror isn’t there anymore, sadly. Instead, you can go across the street to Mafiaoza’s for the best pizza ever.

  • I just went to Nashville over the weekend, and while I didn’t have this guide available to me I thought it would be interesting to compare where I went to it.
    I stayed in a hotel near Germantown and went to the City House for a late dinner, and it was amazing! We hadn’t made reservations so we were sat in the screened in, mosaic tiled, patio on a beautiful spring evening. I asked the waiter what his favorite on the menu was, and he suggested the Turnip Greens pizza with a cracked egg on top, I paired it with a Brother Thelonious ale, and finished the meal with a house made Almond Gelato. Fantastic. Along with the great laid back service (the waiter was more than willing to clue us in on the different whereabouts, the history of the house the restaurant is in and the sculptor who formerly lived there, and was overall just an awesome person) the experience couldn’t have been better! Also, I had heard Jake Gyllenhaal had been there not too long ago, not relative but it would have been a bonus!

    Also, Boot Country on Broadway has a, i kid you not, B1G2 Free deal on cowboy boots, -steal!

  • I was born and raised right outside of Franklin in the Leiper’s Fork area and I would have to add to the Franklin list The Franklin Mercantile on 4th ave and McCreary’s Irish Pub on Main Street. Both are family owned and have been established there for I’d say more than 15 years, and those families have been friends of my family for as long as I can remember.
    Also, if you get a chance, check out the original Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork. And if you’re in the area, try out The Country Boy. I’ll go ahead and warn you that neither are how they used to be with the original owners and help who had worked there since they were just kids. But the drive is spectacular and you’ll be driving by famous people’s property such as Winona Judd and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. You may not know which property is theirs, but that’s only for the locals to know! ;)

  • I am visiting Nashville from Southern California and last time I came through the city I was left with the impression that it seemed like a great city to live in but that there was nothing for tourists to do. This time, I came prepared after researching this little (ok, HUGE) list here and ended up being able to explore a lot of Nashville that I hadn’t seen on my last trip! Hillsboro Village (which now has a business called HOT + COLD, which offers a sort of “greatest hits” of Jeni’s Splendid ice cream, Olive & Sinclair chocolate, Las Paletas and Bongo Java– totally blew me away), 12South, The Gulch, Green Hills… while before my reception to the city was lukewarm, this guide has made me do a 180– I’ve been on Craigslist hunting for apartments and jobs in the city! Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to see Nashville like a resident while also appreciating it as a tourist.

  • i just got back from Tennessee and this guide was my travel bible for Nashville. i had such great experiences every where i went and can’t imagine trying to have done it without your guide Grace! thank you ever so much!
    went to rumours wine bar by five points – loved it!
    shopped at imogene + willis – can you say dangerous?!?! bought the most beautiful white shirt dress.
    saw an amazing band at the station inn AND Vince Gill happened to sit in that night – SERIOUSLY?!?!?! it was the experience of a lifetime.
    ate at monell’s for lunch – delicious and a great way to chat it up with some locals.
    i do have to share that i had a great experience at city house as well… we sat at the kitchen bar and the food was fantastic and the chef sweet and humble. i applaud their use of local / seasonal ingredients!
    i had such a good time i left feeling like Nashville is somewhere i could definitely live.
    thank you so much for putting so much time into this guide!

  • We are heading to Nashville and will definitely check out these recommendations. Anyone know where to go for some good honky tonk?

  • Love this guide! So helpful. We are considering a move and this has given us a great idea of the areas as well as all the city has to offer! Thanks Grace!

  • We’re heading to Nashville in September & I cannot wait to use this guide! Like others have asked, where is a cool place to stay?

  • When visiting Historic Downtown Franklin, TN you really should go to The Heirloom Shop it is a “Unique Shop in a Unique Town”. This is a really neat shop. Radko ornaments, Dept. 56 Village and so much that it will make your eyes hurt. Loved it and will bet you will too.

  • I have been living in Nashville for 5 years and this has to be hands down the best guide I have read on this amazing city. I love this city so much that I am altering my career so that when I graduate I can stay here. Thank you so much for writing a guide that highlights many of my favorite spots. There are tons of new places that have opened since this article was written, I think you should come back for a visit!

  • My husband and I are heading to Nashville this weekend from Atlanta, and I’m sooo happy that I thought to look on Design Sponge for a guide on Nashville! I’m very excited to go since you did such a wonderful job describing not just the design specific destinations, but descriptions of neighborhoods, restaurants, music venues, and things unique to Nashville! You definitely deserve kudos for writing this guide!

  • Great job on this round-up! I am so impressed with your thoroughness. Wow! You even touched on Woodbine (which runs into Berry Hill). Nashville is full of so much goodness — always somewhere to go, something to do, or some great music to listen to. We spend most of our time in the stretch from 8th Ave S. through downtown and the Gulch, over to Germantown and East Nashville. Excellent job on this!

  • i’ve lived in nashville for 18 years–and this guide is excellent! great job showcasing the city!

  • There are a bunch of really cool local shops in the Edgehill Village area: Kore + Nashville, Legato Gelato, Ani & Ari, Oliv, Bella Napoli, Edgehill Village Cafe, Steadfast and True Yoga, Olia….the area has really come along nicely.

  • The Stone Fox off of Charlotte Pike is another great spot- they serve dinner & brunch, have live music most nights, really great cocktails, and a sweet back porch/patio area. Sunday nights there are my favorite- Chris Scruggs plays traditional country every Sunday for free! It is fantastic!


  • So many good recommendations here. It should be noted that Prince’s Hot Chicken is not located in East Nashville…though those of us who live in that area would certainly welcome it!

  • To add! Fond Object Records / Dept. of Goods & Services / Black by Maria Silver is a great little record shop and design studio and clothier in Riverside Village, East Nashville. We even have two goats (Lou & Cliff!) and pig (Dottie!) in our menagerie behind the shop.


  • I agree with the comments above. I would also add 12 South Taproom, Pfunky Griddle, The Perch, and The Red Bicycle, Bosco’s, and The Well Coffeehouse.

  • Touristas: There is so much to see and do and this list is a great start! The only downsides to this amazing city is lack of sidewalks and sketchy to non-existent public transportation. You can’t get everywhere from anywhere without good friends or a car.

    Foodies: Skip places like Pancake Pantry and Loveless and go for the newer independent spots. The old institutions are coasting on decades of name recognition, but the upstarts are hitting all the right notes. The Locavore scene is exploding with fresh ideas and great food.

    Fashionistas: Elise is right. Imogene + Willie is a must for custom jeans; add in Jamie for
    high-end designers; find Jimmy Choo, LV, Nordy’s, Tiffany, etc. in Green Hills. The independent retailer scene is booming in fashion too!

    Great list, Elise!

  • Update: The Jack Daniels Distillery has expanded their tour and now offer tastings only on their property so the tour is no longer free.

  • Listening Room Cafe is a must and a great plan B if you cant get into Bluebird with tourists.

  • Enjoyed your guide, my daughter and son-law live in East Nashville. We went downtown to Boardway yesterday. We Hit all the souvenir shops. I liked Legends Gifts the best. Then had a late lunch at Pub5, it was an awesome meal and the atmosphere is very cozy. Today we looked at your guide and decided to go to Barista Parlor for coffee and shop for an antique dresser in East Nashville at 5 points. Dinner at The Pharmacy or a new restuarant, Pinewood Social. This has been the best Christmas vacation. I love Nashville.

  • How has it expanded and changed since this great guide was written? Could we have a 2014 update please? I’d love to see more restaurants, flea markets, vintage shops, young hip 30 something design oriented things, descriptions of neighborhoods etc. What about movies in the park or seasonal activities? Outdoors activities? Rodeos? Theater? Who has closed up shop since 2009 and who is new??? Thank you!!!

  • You should definitely add OAK Nashville shop to the SYLVAN PARK/CHARLOTTE PIKE section. It is an adorable home store with Southern roots and ties to local makers and woodworkers, but they also have great local foods and gifts. And, their soy candles smell soooo good.

    Also, I create itineraries with The Nashville Weekender if you ever need help getting around! Insta: @nashvilleweekender, DM me.

  • silly goose and bread & co are closed, bookman book woman going out of business, and the new first tennessee park is awesome and where the sounds play now (not greer stadium anymore).

    new and/or some honorable mentions i would add to the list:

    chauhan ale and masala house (OMG SO GOOD)
    vui’s (berry hill)
    salt and vine (charlotte/sylvan park)
    lockeland table (three-way tie with city house and rolf and daughters for best in nashville imho)
    butcher and bee (east nashville)
    epice (12th s)

    cadeau (12th s)
    welcome home (east nashville)
    gaslamp antiques (berry hill/100 oaks)