I didn’t expect to split my Nashville Travel Guide into two parts, but, that’s what happens when you take a lot of pictures and have a lot to say. Today, I’m sharing with you my guide to East Nashville and Germantown, two of the up and coming neighborhoods in Music City. Next week, I’ll get to the Nashville classics, 12 South, the Gulch, and a mini-day trip out to Tennessee wine country (yup, it’s a thing!).
Y’all know I love getting off the main drag, so while I definitely understand why Broadway has an appeal, and I’ll share a few recommendations for it in my next Nashville Travel Guide post, I am so excited to bring these two neighborhoods to you today. We (I went with Adam’s family) stayed in 12 South while in town – which I love, but, next time I make a trip, I can definitely see myself staying in East Nashville, so read on for all my recs.
While we only had an afternoon to explore Germantown, this was perhaps my favorite neighborhood in Nashville. It’s charming and quaint, but it has the energy of a neighborhood that’s seeing new shops and restaurants open every week. There are historic Victorian homes next to eclectic warehouse spaces that are home to everything from vintage clothing to craft beer.
WHERE TO SHOP
When we got to Germantown, I didn’t know at all what to expect, so imagine my delight when I found a row of shops where each one was prettier than the last.
- Rich Hippies: a tongue in cheek (though, maybe not?) name for the lightest, brightest, most beautiful shop full of baby, children, and home shop. Need a high style macrame mobile for your little one? This is your place.
- Abednago: I picked up an awesome, and reasonably priced, pair of gold and tortoise earrings at this hipper than hip clothing and accessories store. You’ll see it in the photo below of gorgeous shoes of every shade. Also, are you starting to understand what I’m saying about every shop was prettier than the last? Seriously, how amazing is the light in these places?
- Wilder: A showroom and design shop, I’d like to transplant the entire space into my apartment, please. With a little bit of mid-century silhouette inspiration, lots of white space, perfectly placed hints of bright color, and just enough bold pattern, I couldn’t get enough of their style. Also, I just read on their website that the owners are a former Rockette and Blue Man. That’s reason enough to visit.
- Bits & Pieces Antique Boutique: Looking for a vintage pair of patriotic overalls or maybe a retro pitcher and glass set? You’ll find all of it at Bits & Pieces. I could have gone crazy in here, but restrained myself since my carry-on couldn’t accommodate anything else. Next time I’m in Nashville though, I’ll definitely come back to this warehouse style shop full of clothing, accessories, housewares, and more.
WHERE TO DRINK
As soon as we got over to Germantown, I spotted a healthy-ish looking place and ran in for a juice to try to offset all the damage I’d been doing with barbecue and donuts and the like. Apparently, I Love Juice Bar is a chain, which normally I am anti, but, hey, the Cocoa Banana hit the spot (it reminds me of my morning smoothies) and it was delicious.
After an afternoon of shopping, the rest of the family went back to the house to rest (you have to squeeze in nap time when traveling with babies!) and Adam and I went to the brewery. Bearded Iris Brewery is a huge space right on the outskirts of Germantown (you’ll have a moment where you’re wondering whether you’re walking in the right direction) and, if you’re a fan of IPA’s and pale ale’s, this is your kind of brewery. Everything is on the hoppier side, so as long as you’re good with that, grab a beer, grab a spot outside, and spend an afternoon here.
WHERE TO EAT
Full disclosure: we didn’t actually eat in Germantown, so I can’t accurately speak to this subject. However, I have heard that there are some wonderful restaurants and they’re definitely on my list for the next trip. Those include Henrietta Red, Rolf & Daughters, Butchertown Hall, and Monell’s.
East Nashville is a much more expansive neighborhood than Germantown, and, here, my recommendations actually skew in the opposite direction of Germantown. Germantown was all shopping, in East Nashville, I have all the food to recommend. Also, if you’re into street art, this is definitely the neighborhood for you. Have your Instagram feed ready.
WHERE TO SHOP
Another full disclosure moment, a lot of the shops were closed for Memorial Day when we were in East Nashville, so I have two areas to direct you towards, but we were only able to go in a handful of the shops there.
- Fatherland District has shops on shops on shops. We went in Longevity, Soak, Abode Mercantile, The Shine Project, and Rusty Rats, but several of the shops that were closed that day looked to be cool spots for women’s clothing, accessories, and home. All with that hipster vibe, of course.
- The Shops at Woodland are right up the street from Five Points Pizza, so we wandered up here right after lunch, stopping to take pictures of a few murals along the way. Unfortunately, every single shop was closed that day, but Goodbuy Girls seems to be the place to go. There’s also the Art and Invention Gallery right next door.
WHERE TO EAT
East Nashville has so.much.good.food. Seriously, you could spend an entire week eating your way through this neighborhood. This list of recommendations is a mix of places I went on this trip and had been to previously, but, if I had to pick one spot, it’d be Five Points Pizza. I’m still dreaming about it.
- Bongo Java: We actually went to their location near Belmont University, but I wanted to throw this in here since you may need a coffee fix. I had the most delicious and complex iced latte here with bergamot, coconut cream, and chocolate shavings.
- Yeast Nashville: If you’re having a carb craving, you should just swing by Yeast Nashville. Their specialty is kolaches, but you can find both savory and sweet baked goods here.
- Nashville Sweets: Exactly what it sounds like, if you have a sweet tooth, come here for cupcakes, and much more. If I remember correctly, I got chocolate covered oreos here – it’s been a few years, but that’s a treat you don’t forget.
- Sky Blue Cafe: Be prepared to wait for this busy breakfast spot. You’ll find all the breakfast classics here with no fuss. This is where you go to get an omelet or pancakes.
- Marche: If you feel like getting a little classier, but still low key (it is East Nashville, after all) with your breakfast, then Marche Artisan Foods is a good option. A European style bistro, you’ll find dishes like an avocado tartine or croissant french toast.
- Butcher and Bee: This restaurant, which is out of Charleston, was one of my favorite meals of the trip – and it’s not just because we didn’t hold back on the rosé at 10 a.m. The hummus, whipped feta, and Turkish hummus spreads were unbelievable, as was my B&B biscuit with both whipped feta and honey butter.
- Five Points Pizza: A Nashville institution, Five Points Pizza does gourmet pizza without being pretentious (though it is almost comically hip at times). Get the habanero cream sauce pizza and don’t skip the garlic knots to start. If they happen to have the cheeseburger pizza that day as a special, then get that, too – I promise, it sounds weird, but it’s amazing.