Nov 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Nashville [Updated 2023]

  MIDTOWN

Midtown is pleasantly known around Nashville for its excellent restaurant scene. If you’re looking to do a bar hop in an area primarily comprised of locals, Midtown is your best option! The neighborhood is also home to some of the most historic sites in Nashville, including Music Row.

Check out some of our favorite things to do and places to eat in this trendy Nashville neighborhood!

Best Food and Drink in Midtown

Midtown has some local gems known for excellent service and some of the best food in the area. Depending on the occasion, you may gravitate towards a different Midtown restaurant. To give you a taste of what the neighborhood has to offer, here are three of the most highly-rated restaurants in the area:

  • The Chef & I used to be strictly a catering business; however, it is now a brick-and-mortar in Midtown, steps away from a recording studio! The restaurant has received rave reviews for its outstanding service and excellent food. This higher-end restaurant makes a great special occasion or date night location.
  • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a great casual spot for chicken, burgers, and sandwiches. This restaurant has become increasingly popular for its fast service and quality comfort food.
  • Henley hosts jazz brunch on Sunday, along with their selection of fantastic food and cocktails. Many locals and tourists praise the establishment because of its different style than many country-music-oriented restaurants around the city.

While most of the popular restaurants in Midtown also serve alcohol, and many have a full bar, we want to highlight the bar scene in the neighborhood with some of the most popular bars.

Best Bars in Midtown

If you’re looking for your next favorite bar in Nashville, Midtown is a great starting place for your search! There's something for every vibe, with varying types of bars in the neighborhood. A few highly rated bars that encompass the variety you can find in Midtown include:

  • The Local not only has great drinks but also live music! This is an excellent stop for a bar crawl with happy hour from 2 pm to 7 pm every day.
  • Fable Lounge is a high-end bar known for its unique menu layout. The menu is organized by alcohol type and flavor profile, with an extensive list of available liquors. This makes it easy for people to find a cocktail they’ll love. The bar also offers a selection of cigars on its rooftop.
  • HiFi Clyde’s Nashville is a sports bar in Midtown ideal for someone wanting to watch a game with some drinks and appetizers.

Best Things to do in Midtown

Midtown is located southwest of downtown Nashville and encompasses some of Nashville’s famous tourist attractions, such as Music Row, The Parthenon, and Centennial Park. Music Row is a unique attraction for country music fans as you can see where specific recording studios are located, along with some statues and tributes to outstanding artists.

Centennial Park is great for spending the day, having a picnic, running, or walking your dog. While visiting the park, you can walk to The Parthenon and see some of Nashville’s history. The Parthenon held massive rallies in favor of women's suffrage which inspired additional monuments, such as the statue of Athena inside The Parthenon.

Outside The Parthenon, you can find the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument, built in honor of the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote in 2020.

THE GULCH

The Gulch is one of Nashville’s trendiest neighborhoods and was the first neighborhood in the South to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification! The neighborhood’s focus on walkability and public transportation makes it extremely easy to get around without a car which is ideal for many city goers.

While the neighborhood is very modern, it was the main railroad yard dating back to the Civil War. After the area was neglected around the end of World War II, it had the opportunity to revamp. The popular neighborhood is just two blocks from Music City Center and full of urban dining, eco-friendly apartment buildings, and entertainment.

Best Food and Drink in The Gulch

The Gulch has some incredible restaurants, bars, and cafes within walking distance of apartment buildings to make the neighborhood features as accessible as possible. The neighborhood's varying options keep different budgets, food preferences, and restaurant types in mind. Some examples of great restaurants in The Gulch that greatly vary in style include:

  • Moto is an enoteca featuring authentic Italian pizza and pasta dishes. The restaurant is well-known for its specialty cocktails and fun interior decorating, creating a unique vibe.
  • Virago is one of the best-known sushi restaurants in the Nashville area. The restaurant has been on McGavock Street for nearly 20 years and features a late-night menu and over 60 sake labels for those catching a late bite!
  • Peg Leg Porter is a casual barbecue restaurant that focuses on supporting the local community. Found at many charitable events, their signature pork is smoked for more than 18 hours.
  • Sambuca combines entertainment with Central American cuisine. Their rooftop patio overlooks the Nashville skyline, and the restaurant features live music every evening. With a vast array of artists featured at the location, you could hear anything from rock to jazz.  

Explore a complete list of The Gulch’s restaurants and cafes on Explore The Gulch! While the neighborhood delivers quality restaurants, there are many other fun things to do and see in the area.

Best Things to do in The Gulch for Art Lovers

The Gulch has a few must-see attractions if you’re an art lover. Nashville is full of great museums, one being the Frist Art Museum. The museum was built in the former main post office, a significant historical landmark in Nashville constructed between 1933 and 1934.

The Frist Art Museum building is recognized as one of the most remarkable architectural pieces in the region and opened in 2001. The exhibits are always unique since they feature traveling exhibits and features from around the world. No permanent exhibition stays displayed at the museum; therefore, it is a place you can frequent without ever seeing the same thing twice!

If you’re more interested in getting a feel for local artists and even buying some art, visiting Art Beat is a must. This gallery is a recent addition to the neighborhood and features local artists in their gift shop. This is a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs, all while supporting local and upcoming artists.

Tourist Attractions in The Gulch

Nashville is full of tourist attractions, photo walls, and historical landmarks due to its deep-rooted history in country music. A day in The Gulch can offer a taste of what Nashville as a whole has to offer with some of these fun attractions:

  • Photowalk Nashville is a guided tour that takes participants to the most photo-worthy locations! On your tour, you’ll stop at murals and other Instagrammable spots on your one-mile walk. This professional photoshoot will give you great shots of your day in The Gulch.
  • A Trip to The Parthenon is a unique outing that most would only ever experience in Greece! Nashville’s Parthenon is a full-size replica and the only replica that exists. The building has the world’s largest set of bronze doors and plenty of green spaces for a walk or picnic.
  • Take a Photo at the What Lifts You Wings Mural. Nashville is known for its photogenic murals, and this one will not disappoint!

With all these activities and more to enjoy in The Gulch, it’s no surprise that many tourists and locals enjoy spending time in the trendy neighborhood.

 GERMANTOWN

Just north of downtown Nashville, Germantown is a popular city known for great dining opportunities. The area was named due to the influx of German immigrants flocking to the region in the mid-nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, Germantown was affected by the 2020 tornado that came through Nashville, which destroyed many buildings and restaurants. Now, more than two years later, several establishments have been able to reopen to the public bringing back some neighborhood favorites that were temporarily unable to serve customers.

Best Food and Drink in Germantown

Germantown has long been known for its culinary offerings. Thanks to the city’s lineup of award-winning restaurants, locals and tourists flock to this neighborhood for dining! Some of these restaurants are credited with giving Nashville a name when it comes to dining, and with the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown, it’s incredibly accessible.

A few popular establishments in Germantown include:

  • Rolf and Daughters is one of the most well-known restaurants in Germantown due to its ever-changing seasonal menu. The establishment is committed to high-quality meals each season and is best known for its handmade pasta.
  • 5th & Taylor has a unique ambiance because the restaurant is in an old warehouse, but don’t let that fool you. The chef, Daniel Lindley, has been nominated for the James Beard Award multiple times and is very well-known around Nashville. The menu is affordable yet upscale, with some of the best cocktails in the area.
  • Mother’s Ruin is a New York-based bar that opened its first non-New York location in Nashville. This is an excellent spot for gin lovers as their name references gin! However, you’ll find all kinds of liquor at Mother’s Ruin and some great food options to pair with your drink of choice.
  • Germantown Cafe first opened in 2003 and was closed for two years after being partially destroyed by the 2020 tornado. Now that the cafe has reopened, locals continue to enjoy its incredible dessert menu and unbeatable service. If you’re looking for a friendly neighborhood dining experience, you’ll find it in Germantown Cafe.

These four establishments cover various offerings, ambiance, and food types to fit any budget or occasion! Of course, there are too many great restaurants and bars in Germantown to name them all; however, you can find an extensive list of Germantown favorites on Eater Nashville.

Best Shopping in Germantown

Germantown is full of unique local boutiques to browse. This is a great neighborhood for anyone wanting to support some local small businesses and find one-of-a-kind items. Nashville Guru ranked Germantown as one of the best neighborhoods for shopping around Nashville because of their indie retail scene.

  • The Golden Slipper is a one-stop shop for home goods in Germantown. Stocked with plants, candles, and more, this boutique’s aesthetic makes it hard not to leave with a bag full of items!
  • Alexis + Bolt is partly a favorite because of their greeter and shop dog, Charlie. The shop's layout brings a fun, unique vibe to this shop that was once a home. This boutique has items for both men and women, including shoes, accessories, and more.
  • Bits & Pieces Antique Boutique takes old items and turns them into beautiful antiques. You can find preloved books, home decor, and clothing. Since their inventory is always one of a kind, you can continue visiting the boutique, searching for new treasures.
  • Abednego Boutique has been in the neighborhood since 2015 and has everything from women’s clothes to home decor and seasonal gifts. This shop has a variety of styles and options, making it an excellent fit for most people’s styles!

If you’re planning an upcoming wedding, stop by White Dresses Boutique for a small-business wedding dress salon! The family-owned boutique first opened in Alabama in 2013 before opening a Nashville boutique in 2015.

Other Activities in Germantown

The Tennessee State Museum is a beautiful outing in Germantown because of its diversity of exhibits for all age ranges. The museum has a children’s section making this a great family outing in Germantown. If you’re a museum lover, check out our Nashville museum guide.

Capitol Mall State Park, which is also commonly referred to as Bicentennial Mall, is another excellent excursion in Germantown. This urban park was established to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Tennessee’s statehood.

 12 SOUTH

Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood is known for its variety of shopping, dining, and fun. Whether you’re a tourist or a city resident, 12 South is a must-see neighborhood with plenty of options for people of all backgrounds and preferences. This article will cover some of the top things to do in 12 South to guide you through your next visit!

Best Food and Drink in 12 South

As one of the busiest neighborhoods in the city, 12 South has an incredible variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars. These range from high-end, to Sunday brunch, to quick on-the-go eats. As a hub for food and drink, the area is also very diet-friendly, with vegetarian and gluten-free options available at many locations.

One of the most highly-rated coffee shops in the neighborhood is Frothy Monkey. This coffee shop is highly rated because of its local coffee and fresh baked goods. Another highly rated coffee house in the community is White Bison Coffee. This shop is a bit more simplistic but just as delicious.

If you’re a beer connoisseur, try Portland Brew. This brewery brings tastes from across the northwest to Nashville with some well-known labels. This is also a great spot to get work done for any work-from-homers that like a change of scenery every once in a while.

Some of the most popular restaurants in 12 South include:

  • Bartaco: for a quick lunch or casual dinner
  • Edley’s Bar-B-Que: awarded the best barbecue in Nashville for four years straight!
  • Burger Up: for entirely locally sourced burgers
  • Urban Grub: for your fish and meat cravings

There are also some great dessert spots that are incredibly unique to Nashville, including Las Paletas, a popsicle shop. This gourmet popsicle retailer is on a mission to make popsicles appealing to all ages with its wide variety of desserts! Five Daughters Bakery is known for its impressive cronuts.

Farmers Market in 12 South

The Farmers Market in 12 South is known for its high-end produce and friendly environment. The market is open from May to October every Tuesday in Sevier Park from 3:30-6:30 pm. This is the official 12 South Farmers Market, where you’ll be able to find the most vendors. In addition to locally grown produce, you can get great meals from the local food trucks parked around the market.

Additional vendors like local crafters and plant shops can be found around the market for those looking to get a little bit of local shopping done. This is an excellent location for meeting more locals and supporting small businesses.

Best Shopping in 12 South

It may seem like 12 South is mainly filled with restaurants and cafes, but there are also tons of local shops to browse! There is a lot of opportunity for shopping, from music shops like Corner Music, with a vast selection of guitars and music equipment, to vintage clothing stores like Savant.

Another popular shop in the neighborhood is the Halcyon Bike Shop. While you can buy new and used bikes there, the shop hosts local music artists for small performances and sells non-bike-related local goods.

If you’re looking for celebrity-owned shops, you don’t have to look further than 12 South, either! Reese Witherspoon recently opened her shop, Draper James, which carries women’s clothing. Music icon Hank Williams’s granddaughter also opened a shop in the neighborhood called White’s Mercantile, specializing in high-end clothing, accessories, and home goods.

If you’re looking for an affordable and trendy shop, check out Finnley’s for women’s apparel. For those who prefer shopping for natural goods, like flowers, stop by Amelia’s Flower Truck. This truck is packed with fresh bouquets and all you need to make your bouquet from scratch.

Other Activities in 12 South

Apart from eating, drinking, and shopping, loads of other fun activities are waiting for you in 12 South. The neighborhood is full of wall art that makes for great photos, such as the famous “I Believe in Nashville” mural, which you can find next to Edley’s.

Many popular yoga studios, hair salons, and spas are located in the neighborhood, such as 12South Yoga. This studio is the only of its kind in the city certified in teaching Iyengar yoga.

If you’re new in town and want to do a little bit of everything, you can sign up for a walking tour of 12 South! This is a great way to ensure you see all the sites and learn more about the history of one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Nashville.

Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville is rich in history, music, and highly-rated restaurants. One of the best things about visiting Nashville is that the city can appeal to all age groups. So whether you’re visiting with your young children, heading to Music City for a bachelorette party, or taking a solo trip into the city, you’ll be able to find activities to suit your interests.

This article will outline some must-see attractions and must-dine restaurants that you’ll want to keep in mind before you visit downtown Nashville.

Best Food and Drink in Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville is a hub for great bars, pubs, and restaurants. Due to the high traffic of tourists in the downtown corridor, you can find fun places to eat and drink on almost every corner. Some of the most highly-rated restaurants in downtown Nashville are:

  • The Stillery: for American cuisine with a variety of local craft beers and cocktails. This restaurant doubles as a great bar to grab a quick drink!
  • Etch: for an upscale environment with delicious cuisine. It also has two private dining rooms, making it a great place to host large dinners and events. Etch has been so highly praised it has won Nashville’s best restaurant multiple times.
  • The Southern Steak and Oyster: for classic southern comfort food in a unique and modern environment. It is a popular spot for brunch, cocktails, or a sit-down meal! Chefs source the highest quality seafood that stands out from competitors.
  • Bakersfield: for traditional Mexican street food, Bakersfield serves the classics alongside its menu of over 100 tequilas and American whiskeys.

Best Bars and Pubs in Downtown Nashville

Music City has no shortage of bars and pubs for those looking for a lighter bite with unique cocktail options. Some of the most highly rated and visited establishments in downtown Nashville worth visiting include:

  • Skull’s Rainbow Room serves food alongside their specialty cocktails and nightly burlesque shows. Skull’s Rainbow Room is the place to be in downtown Nashville for drinks with a show!
  • Fleet Street Pub is a classic pub serving bar food alongside its menu of imported beers.
  • Bowie’s Nashville is located in a former brick showroom. The bar offers live music, southern food, and cocktails in its upbeat environment.
  • Gertie’s Whiskey Bar is a stylish cocktail bar serving a huge variety of whiskey cocktails, beer, and wine. Gertie’s is modern and proudly has one of the largest whiskey collections in the south.

10 Best Things to See in Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville has tons of activities for tourists and locals alike. With many museums and historic buildings, downtown is a haven for entertainment. The heart of Nashville has activities for all seasons and all interests. While spending time in the downtown corridor, be sure to hit some of these ten attractions:

  • Nashville Farmers Market
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • Tennessee State Capitol
  • Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
  • Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Johnny Cash Museum
  • Ryman Auditorium
  • National Museum of African American Music
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Frist Art Museum

Hockey fans can head to Bridgestone Arena to watch Nashville’s NHL team, the Nashville Predators, play teams from across North America. For other sporting events and concerts, take a trip to Nissan Stadium. This is the home stadium for the Tennessee Titans and the Tigers of Tennessee State University.

9 Best Tours in Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville has several tour companies that book exciting and historic city tours. Whether you’re a city local or celebrating a weekend away with friends, there are tours that will suit your Nashville agenda. Many Music City tours combine visiting historical sites, locations with musical significance, and some of the best local food and drinks. For those looking to get a good sense of the city in a short period, doing a tour is one of the best ways to do so!

Some of the best tour companies that are located in the downtown core include:

  • Downtown Segway Tour
  • Nashville Food Tours
  • NashTrash Tours
  • Walkin’ Nashville
  • Hick Chick Tours
  • Old Town Trolley Tours Nashville
  • United Street Tours
  • Nashville History on Tour
  • Nashville Ghost Tours

South Nashville

South Nashville is a popular tourist destination for those who enjoy history, just as it’s a fun region of the city for residents to explore local restaurants and small businesses. With endless opportunities to explore restaurants, take city tours, and visit local landmarks, it can be challenging to narrow down an itinerary for a weekend in the city.

To guide your next visit or upcoming move to the city, we’ve outlined the best of South Nashville! Explore some of the most highly rated local restaurants, things to see, and the most exciting city tours to sign up for.

Best Food and Drink in South Nashville

Nashville is known for good food and great music. South Nashville is no exception to the great food and drinks throughout Music City! Whether you’re a regular or it’s your first time visiting Nashville, check out some of these top seven local restaurants.

  • South Side Kitchen and Pub offers a casual environment to enjoy their homestyle southern cooking. With an extensive whiskey menu, South Side Kitchen is a popular local spot to enjoy drinks and appetizers.
  • Brothers Burger Joint has an outdoor seating area, a large beer menu, and incredible burgers. Brothers Burger Joint is praised by locals for having the best burgers in the area!
  • OSH Restaurant and Grill specializes in Uzbeki food, making it an incredibly unique spot to try in South Nashville! OSH’s menu includes items like dumplings, pilaf, and combo plates with grilled meats.  
  • The Smiling Elephant is a Thai restaurant that makes classic authentic Asian cuisine. The Smiling Elephant is a healthy choice as the restaurant prioritizes using healthy and local ingredients in its dishes.
  • Mangia Nashville is a traditional Italian restaurant with specialty cocktails served alongside Italian classics like pasta and pizza.
  • Peachtree Neighborhood Grill not only serves classic Southern comfort food but also Middle Eastern specialties like stews and kabobs. Peachtree is a great spot to enjoy on a sunny day, thanks to its picnic table-style outdoor seating.
  • Baja Burrito is a must for a quick bite or easy meal on the go! Baja Burrito has been established as the local burrito joint in town since 2000. Both locals and tourists keep returning to Baja Burrito because of their fun indoor decor and pleasant outdoor seating.

Review our complete guide to Nashville restaurants to explore more of Nashville’s best eateries. This guide covers top-rated restaurants in the city that feature delivery, outdoor seating, local cuisine, and vegan food. To stay mindful of budget and occasion, the guide also includes top-rated high-end and top-rated budget-friendly restaurants in Music City!

Best Things to do in South Nashville

South Nashville is rich in culture and history. From an old Civil War Fort to one of the most impressive car collections in the country, there is no shortage of unique sites to see in the area. For first-timers in South Nashville, be sure to hit some of these popular locations:

  • Tennessee State Fairgrounds
  • Geodis Park
  • Fort Negley Park (this old Civil War Fort features a visitors center with film showings, tours to see the ruins, and interactive exhibits to learn more about the U.S. Civil War.)
  • Lane Motor Museum
  • Nashville Zoo
  • The Escape Game Nashville
  • Nashville Flea Market

If you’re more comfortable taking guided tours than meandering around the city on your own, check out some of South Nashville’s tour companies.

Best Tours in South Nashville

Consider one of these South Nashville tours to familiarize yourself with the region and historic locations in the neighborhood. If none of these tours fit your agenda, contact one of our agents, and we will create a tour package that hits all of your desired locations!

  • Jack Daniel’s Distillery Day Trip
  • Party Bus Music City
  • Honky Tonk Party Express Bus
  • Barrels of Fun Nashville

East Nashville

East Nashville is well known for being home to the Grand Ole Opry and the surrounding attractions affiliated. However, there are so many incredible restaurants, tours, and things to do in the region that don’t get as much hype. If you’ve been skipping over East Nashville when planning days in the city, you’ve missed out on some unique Music City experiences.

This mini-guide to East Nashville will outline the best of food, drink, outings, and tours in the eastern Nashville neighborhoods to influence your next outing!

Best Food and Drink in East Nashville

East Nashville has great variety in its restaurants. You’re sure to find what you’re craving, from plant-based options to authentic Southern comfort food! Whether you’re planning your first trip to East Nashville or you’re looking to try something new, these restaurants are some local favorites worth checking out:

  • Lockeland Table serves American classics like mac and cheese, wood-fired pizza, steaks, and Southern comfort food. As a more upscale restaurant, Lockeland Table has created a beautiful ambiance in their restaurant, perfect for a special evening out in Nashville.
  • Pelican & Pig is the perfect combination of quality American food and amazing cocktails. Whether you’re looking to sit at the bar with a drink and appetizer or have a large sit-down meal, Pelican & Pig will suit your occasion.
  • Peninsula offers a modern take on Spanish and French dishes with an impressive wine list. The restaurant’s intimate, cozy vibe fits the style of food and adds to the dining experience.
  • Lyra is a middle eastern restaurant serving specialty dishes like baba ganoush, lamb kabobs, and more. Along with its unique drink menu, Lyra’s is a great place to try something new!
  • East Side Banh Mi serves the popular Vietnamese dish that has gained incredible popularity lately, the banh mi. However, if you’re looking for something besides a sandwich, the restaurant has a full menu of other dishes like salads and bowls.
  • Cafe Roze serves coffee and sweet treats, but don’t let the word “cafe” fool you! Cafe Roze is open all day and serves breakfast and lunch foods in addition to their classic cafe treats and drinks.
  • Graze Nashville is entirely plant-based. Graze serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all completely vegan. The restaurant also offers a full juice and smoothie bar, perfect for anyone looking for a healthy option on the go. For more vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Nashville, check out our full restaurant guide and favorite brunch spots.

Now that you have the perfect restaurant picked out for your outing in East Nashville, complete your itinerary by seeing some of the iconic sites in the area!

Top Things to do in East Nashville

East Nashville often gets overlooked due to all the incredible landmarks in downtown Nashville. However, many of the region’s museums and historic sites can be found east of the central city. If you’re looking to explore beyond the downtown corridor, check out some of these East Nashville excursions:

  • Madame Tussauds Celebrity Wax Museum
  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Grounds
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Opry Mills
  • Cooter’s Nashville
  • East Park
  • Willie Nelson and Friends Museum
  • Garden Conservatory at Gaylord Opryland

City Tours in East Nashville

Many of the iconic tourist destinations in East Nashville can be accessed on guided tours. This can be a great way to learn more about the history of the location you’re touring, thanks to having an experienced guide talking you through all that you’re seeing. If you prefer guided tours, these are some of the city tours to consider when traveling through East Nashville:

  • Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour
  • General Jackson Showboat
  • Mint Julep Experiences

For more personalized tips on navigating Music City, book a city consultation with one of our city experts! All of our Nashville Apartment Locators® agents are locals and know the ins and outs of each neighborhood. If you need more customized advice based on your exact location in the city, an area you want to move to, or how to plan the perfect weekend trip to Nashville, we can help.

Before your consultation, our agents will research the answers to your questions to deliver the most thorough responses to help guide you through Music City. We love Nashville and hope that after our consultation, you’ll see all the city can offer you, too!

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