Paint the Town
Nashville may be known for its music, but there is no doubt that it is one of the best cities for finding funky and cool murals. Our friend Libby Gifford scouted out some of the most fun murals across town and paired them with outfits from our local boutiques. The fashionable and precious former Miss Louisiana, Jaden Leach Hubbard, met us on the road for some excellent shots in the Music City.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARTIN G MEYERS AND MUAH BY MEKA BENNETT
Mural: Guitar and Birds / FREE BIRDS BOUTIQUE
Located at Carter Vintage Guitars, 625 8th Ave South
Downtown Nashville is the hub of Music City’s live entertainment. You’ll find everything from live music to national sporting events, long-standing venues to new hot-spots, dive-bars where you can sing yourself to museums honoring those musicians who paved the way.
Live Music: While any honky-tonk along Nashville’s Broadway will do, Robert’s Western World is a long-standing place to drop-in and hear old country or bluegrass. During warmer months, the Ascend Amphitheater hosts nationally-known acts on its stage, where you can see the city skyline looming overhead. A trip to Nashville is not complete without a trip to the historic Ryman Auditorium, also known as the “Mother Church” to country music fans. If you are unable to buy your concert tickets in advance, the Ryman also offers a behind-the-scenes tour.
Food: Downtown is the most touristy area of town, so getting into restaurants without a long wait can often be difficult. If you’re willing to fight the crowds, Acme Feed and Seed offers three floors of food, entertainment, and views of the Cumberland River. Dining at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant feels like sitting in your grandmother’s Southern kitchen while listening to the live bluegrass pickin’ party out on her front porch. You’re met with Southern food and hospitality. To get off the beaten-path, stop in to Frothy Monkey Downtown for a lighter meal and a great cup of joe. A few blocks off the main downtown strip, Pinewood Social is a must-stop. It’s an all-in-one location for drinks, coffee and all day meals from brunch to late-night snacks. Plus, with its built-in bowling alley and outdoor patio including a wade pool and bocce court, you can spend all day at Pinewood without getting bored.
See and do: For avid music lovers, the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-see, although the Johnny Cash or George Jones Museums will also do. Take a stroll on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to see the best view of the Nashville skyline. Nashville also has its share of professional sports teams, all showcasing their talents in downtown as well. Depending upon the time of year, watch the Tennessee Titans play at Nissan Stadium or cheer on the Nashville Predators hockey team at Bridgestone Arena.
Murals: Make Music Not War / Hemline
Flower’s / Cara’s – Both located at Epice, 2902 12th Ave South
If you have only one afternoon to spend in town, head over to 12th South. Park your car, wander the sidewalks, stop in locally-owned shops and grab a bite to eat at any of the restaurants on this 10-block stretch.
Shopping: Imogene + Willie offers a unique shopping experience with their custom jeans, while the Reese Witherspoon-owned Draper James serves sweet tea while you shop their Southern-inspired clothing. Be sure to visit White’s Mercantile for everything from locally-made cookbooks and paper goods to Nashville themed clothing and décor.
Coffee: Frothy Monkey is a must-stop for Louisiana natives, as it got its start in Ruston. Plus, Nashville locals revere it as an originator of the city’s now vibrant coffee scene.
Eats: Visitors can’t go wrong with any restaurant on 12th South. Try Burger Up for one of the best burgers in town and be sure not to miss the truffle fries. Josephine describes itself as “an elegant hangout without the fuss” and is a sought out date night spot for locals. The 100-layer donuts at Five Daughters Bakery are worth a stop for breakfast, an afternoon snack, late night dessert or all of the above!
Other highlights: During warmer months, 12th South is home to a daily Farmer’s Market and Amelia’s Flower Truck, a mobile build-your-own-bouquet florist. After all the walking and shopping, rest your feet and do some people watching at the nearby Sevier Park.
Tips: Parking can be tight in this area, so look for a spot on a nearby side street and walk in. Restaurants on 12th South can have hour-long waits in the evenings and on weekends. Many take reservations, so call ahead or try to eat during off-peak hours.
West End / Midtown
Mural: Black & White Heiroglyphics / K-Sera Located at Three Brothers Coffee, 2813 West End AveNUE
West End is centrally located with numerous hotels, making it a popular place for visitors to stay. Nearby Midtown is a bit less touristy, with an active nightlife.
See and Do: Centennial Park, Nashville’s largest urban park, includes the iconic Parthenon, a one-mile walking trail, historic monuments and more. Centennial also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including Musicians Corner, an outdoor concert series every weekend in the spring and fall.
Food: Nashville is famous for its hot chicken, and Hattie B’s serves it up fresh along with an assortment of craft beers. For a more unique dining experience, the chefs at the reservation-only Catbird Seat prepare your 7-course meal in a U-shaped kitchen surrounded by countertop seating, allowing you to interact with them, while your food is being prepared. At DeSano Pizza Bakery, you’ll enjoy a wood-fired, hand-crafted pizza that tastes straight out of Italy. Nashville is also home to a wide variety of food trucks. On a beautiful day, many of them can be found parked at Centennial Park.
Drinks: Patterson House offers more than 50 cocktail recipes in what feels like a pre-Prohibition era setting. For more than 70 beers on tap, stop in to Broadway Brewhouse.
Murals: Pink AND White / Fleurty Ginger – Located at Beauty & Beyond, 710 Gallatin Ave.
Bears / Mr. P’s Tees – Located at Eastside Cycles, 103 S 11th St.
East Nashville is a laid-back, more eccentric area of town that has undergone extensive revitalization over the last decade. Its streets lined with historic homes, locally owned businesses, and dive bars have made this area a hub for musicians, artists and young families. East is also home to many locally-owned restaurants, both new and old.
See AND Do: Shelby Park is a great place to get outdoors and spend an afternoon. With its golf course, access to the Cumberland River, playgrounds and nature center, you’ll find something for the whole family to enjoy. Rent a bike to ride along the Shelby Bottoms Greenway, over 5 miles of paved trails for running, biking, skating and hiking along the Cumberland River.
Food: The neighborhood, and city-wide, favorite is Mas Tacos Por Favor, known for street-style tacos and corn. Don’t let the line out the door scare you. It’s always worth the wait! Across the street, The Pharmacy Burger and Beer Garden serves house-made sodas and gourmet burgers. For a more neighborhood vibe, visit Lockeland Table, where the chef cooks dishes you grew up eating but with a modern twist. East Nashville also offers some of the best brunches in town. Choose between the European-style bistro Marche Artisan Foods, lauded for its crepes, or Sky Blue Café, where you share a community table and enjoy omelets all day.
Cocktails and Drinks: Holland House Bar and Refuge houses one of the largest cocktail menus in town in a setting that feels like a speakeasy from the past. East Nashville’s newest after-hours hangout is Urban Cowboy Public House. Located in the stable house of the bed and breakfast of the same name, Public House is known for its Hot Toddy, bonfire pits and ornate bar.
Coffee: Setting the bar for coffeeshops across Nashville, Barista Parlor’s original eastside location serves drinks in an atmosphere that feels more like an old mechanic’s shop than a coffeeshop. For a spot off the beaten path, try The Post East, particularly on Sundays, when a live bluegrass ensemble plays.
Shopping: Start your East Nashville shopping at the Shoppes on Fatherland, a retail start-up community with a mix of local businesses, including Project 615, a Nashville-themed apparel company, and the Gift Horse. Next, move on to the Shops at Porter East, where you’ll find boutiques, home goods and vintage shops. Neighboring Vinnie Louise and Moto Moda are clothing stores not to be missed.
Mural: Sunflowers / Herringstone’s
Located at Import Flowers, 3636 Murphy Rd
The majority of Sylvan Park is quaint residential neighborhoods, however, a few oft-visited restaurants and parks; are smattered throughout the area.
Food: The Sylvan Park restaurant is where Edley’s Bar-B-Que smokes and cooks all of the meats for the other locations throughout Music City. Locals have voted Edley’s the best barbecue in Music City for the last 5 years. Gourmet market, wine bar and restaurant Salt and Vine serves snack, small plates and large shareable plates, each intended to be paired with one of the 25 wines offered. Enjoy a margarita and casual lunch on the patio at Local Taco.
Coffee: At only 9 feet wide, the former storage closet turned Headquarters Coffee is a cozy place to enjoy a cup of coffee over good conversation. Nearby, Dose specializes in coffees, teas and baked goods.
Drinks: Locally-owned Fat Bottom Brewing Company has a restaurant and bier garden on-site, as well as brewery tours and a bottle shop.
See and Do: With a day-pass, traverse the indoor climbing walls at Climb Nashville.
Berry Hill and Melrose
Mural: Dolly Parton / J & H boots and jeans, Circles THE Nude Nomad
Both located at House of Blues Studio, 518 E. Iris Drive
The less urban Berry Hill area is an eclectic mix of recording studios and local business operating out of 1940s bungalows. A neighborhood within a neighborhood, Melrose is a strip of historic buildings in Berry Hill that have been given new life over recent years. New developers and restauranteurs saw potential in these once overlooked pieces of history and have given patrons new reasons to frequent the now bustling Melrose.
Shopping: With its two warehouses of finds, Gas Lamp Antiques is a must-stop for avid collectors. The Nashville Flea Market is also open on the fourth weekend of every month at the nearby Nashville Fairgrounds. Over 1,000 vendors set up each month for what is considered one of the top flea markets in the nation.
Live Music: The Sutler is part venue, part restaurant and always a good place to spend the evening. Most events are free and feature up-and-coming musicians.
Cocktails: Enjoy a drink at Sinema, housed in the historic Melrose Theater. While movies are no longer shown, the atmosphere in the recently updated space feels like stepping back into Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Eats: Baja Burrito is a locally owned burrito shop famous for its fresh ingredients and fruit tea. You’ll likely have to share a table and make new friends in this tight space, but it’ll be worth it. For a lighter lunch of sandwiches and salads, as well as the best coffees in the area, visit Sam and Zoe’s next door. Fenwick’s 300 features modern takes on diner classics, including brunch served all day.
Mural: Hillsboro Village / Beehive
Located at Kay Bob’s Grill, 1602 21st Ave South
This quaint area of town near both Belmont University and Vanderbilt is ideal for an afternoon of shopping while feeling like a local.
Food: The heart of this area, is Fido, a long-standing coffeeshop and eatery. Pull up a chair near the large windows to enjoy your coffee and watch the locals. Around the corner, you’ll find the newly opened Grilled Cheeserie Melt Shop. Besides serving a wide variety of the restaurant’s namesake sandwiches, this food-truck turned sit-down restaurant also serves gourmet milkshakes. If you’d like something a bit “greener,” give the Juice Bar a try. For dessert of the best kind, get a couple of scoops at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Shopping: This four block stretch on 21st Ave is an eclectic mix of shops, including boutiques Native + Nomad and Dress Up, children’s shop Arcade, and gift shop Pangea.
See and Do: The Belcourt Theater is a non-profit film center featuring independent movies, as well as weekend showings of classic films.