There is one thing I can say that many people now living in Music City cannot: I am a native Nashvillian. I know, there are so few of us left! My hometown has always been a tourist destination, but its popularity didn’t really blow up until recent years. Now, there are Airbnbs on every corner, and almost everyone on Lower Broad is a tourist.
I kid you not, one waiter I met told my friends and I that we were the first people from Nashville that he’d met. He moved here three months prior. Three whole months without meeting anyone from the 615. I love that so many people come from far and wide to see what’s been home to me for so long. In this post, I want to recommend some cool spots in Nashville that are not Broadway, or any other touristy place you can imagine. Read away!
The best neighborhood in Nashville is East Nasty, hands down. I’ve lived in this part of the city since I was seven, and it is by far the most eclectic, unique area of town. In recent years, it’s turned into hipster heaven.
I’ll be candid with you–many of the changes in this particular neighborhood were straight-up gentrification. Tons of new people moved here, and so many new restaurants popped up it would make your head spin. This area has a whole new vibe compared to my childhood, but it’s so cool.
I rarely leave East Nashville because it has all the vegan food, coffee shops, ice cream, and donuts (also vegan) that I could ever want. Some great places to check out are Eastland and Five Points. If you’re into nightlife, I love No. 308 and Southern Grist.
Also, if you don’t want to wait in line for pics at the most popular murals on 12 South, there are much better ones in East Nasty. I could go on and on about how many new cool spots there are, and just how awesome the neighborhood is in general. I’ll restrain myself for now.
Radnor Lake is one exception for which I will leave the East Side. It is a nature conversancy area with a loop around the lake for runners and walkers. It’s suitable for people with strollers and pets. There are also hiking trails, but you can’t bring your dog since there are many species of wildlife abiding in the area.
I’ve gone on a few of the trails with friends, and seen does, rabbits, and other animals just going about their business. It is recommended to not yell or speak above a quiet voice, so as not to disturb them. Get outside and bask in the peace and quiet of Tennessee nature, right smack dab in the city!
I know I’m biased, but Nashville has some of the best coffee shops on the planet. Out of all my travels, some of my fave spots to get a coffee and hang out are in my hometown. At the top of my list are Café Roze, Ugly Mugs, CREMA, Sip Café, and Portland Brew. Pick a spot, get some heavenly caffeine, and Instagram away!
Enter exception number two to my East-Nashville-only rule. I. love. Parnassus. books. I could arrive when they open, stay until they close, and still be ready to go back for more.
It’s an independent bookstore with a beautiful collection and smells like pages upon pages of new reads I can’t wait to dive into. Their display is so colorful, their staff inviting, and their dogs adorable. They even have a bookmobile and an airport location at BNA. If you’re wanting to see a relic of Nashville, you can’t miss this place!
This is my one spot downtown that I love. My high school sometimes held P.E. classes on the walking bridge due to our outdated gym. The view from it is amazing, it’s a perfect spot for pictures, and it adds that little something extra to our skyline aside from the Batman building.
If you’re wanting to walk around downtown, you can park your car in a free public lot and walk across the bridge to Broad, Printer’s Alley, 2nd Avenue, and much more!
To say I love Nashville would be an understatement. I have enjoyed showing friends to my favorite spots in the city, and I hope you get some ideas about what to see outside of the regular tourist spots from this post. Thanks for reading, and come on down to Music City!