Long revered for its music scene, Nashville has a new creative industry to boast: Fashion. We’re lucky to work with a few amazing people from the city’s tight knit creative community and we’ve discovered that constant good vibes and a true collaborative spirit are always in the air. On top of this positive energy is a beautiful city that offers a vibrant downtown and easy escape routes to gorgeous parks, lakes and vineyards. What more could you ask for? To narrow things down, we asked the experts to give us the lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, take in the outdoors and people watch.
Bonus: We also got the deets on the rad city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is only a two-hour drive away. It’s home to a couple of our favorite boutiques and are closely involved in the Nashville fashion community.
Above from left to right: Elise Joseph, Ivy and Josh Elrod, Brittney and Jessica Wooten, Patrick Woodyard, Ceri Hoover and Han Starnes. Photo by Zachary Gray.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
In a city like Nashville there is no shortage of amazing eats and one-of-a-kind restaurants, so deciding where to go can be, well, difficult. But don’t bother with Yelp or Trip Advisor because we’ve got something even better: local experts.
“Rolf and Daughters (above)… for both. They have a special drink called the Absinthe Father with bourbon, ginger, lemon and a rinse of smoky absinthe, and it’s delectable. Order the sourdough with seaweed butter, a few small plates and finish with a big bowl of the garganelli verde,” says Elise Joseph, owner of Goodwin boutique.
Rolf and Daughters, 700 Taylor St
Ivy and Josh also recommended the Little Octopus (above) –a bright and airy spot that serves tapas-style bites and creative cocktails – as a great place to grab a bite. Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, owners of imogene + willie confirm: “We had an amazing sit down dinner at Little Octopus that was next level!”
Little Octopus, 505 12th Ave S
Lindsay Clark, who heads up sales and customer service, crowd-sourced a top five from the whole Ceri Hoover team: “The Grilled Cheeserie, Five Daughters Bakery (below), Steadfast Coffee, The Treehouse, and Salt & Vine.”
The Grilled Cheeserie, 2003 Belcourt Ave
Five Daughters Bakery, 1110 Caruthers Ave
Steadfast Coffee, 603 Taylor St
The Treehouse, 1011 Clearview Ave
Salt & Vine, 4001 Charlotte Ave
Patrick Woodyard, designer and founder of Nisolo, has been hitting up the “rooftop of the Thompson hotel” but he also notes that the City House will always be at the top of his list.
Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S
City House, 1222 4th Ave N
WHERE TO CATCH A LIVE SHOW
With such a massive and influential music community, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of beautiful venues to see live music in Nashville. The Ryman Auditorium (below) is a favorite of many: “It’s our ‘Mother Church’ here in Nashville – it’s truly magical,” says Elise. She also adds that her “most intimate music experiences have been at The Basement. Two very different vibes, but both equally cool and special.”
“Two words: THE RYMAN,” say Matt and Carrie.
Han reveals, “The Ryman will always have a special place in my heart.” Lindsay and the Ceri Hoover team also listed The Ryman and The Basement as their top places to go and noted 3rd and Linsley as well.
Ryman Auditorium, 116 5th Ave N
The Basement, 1604 8th Ave S #330
3rd and Linsley, 818 3rd Ave S
Ivy and Josh love the American Legion in Inglewood – a hidden gem that has great music and drinks.
American Legion, 3204 Gallatin Pike
BEST WAY TO ENJOY THE OUTDOORS
Looking for a long, hot summer? Nashville is your place. When the sun is shining it’s easy to spend your whole day outside soaking up the rays. “I love going to Beaman Park, just north of Nashville. It really feels out of the city, but isn’t too far of a drive,” says Han. “Also, Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville is pretty great on a sunny day.”
Beaman Park, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd
Shelby Bottoms Park, 1900 Davidson St
The perfect outdoor day for Patrick is “rollerblading along one of Nashville’s many greenways or taking a bike ride with friends to Mas Tacos’ patio for a bite and cocktail.”
The Ceri Hoover team lists their favorite ways to spend Nashville’s beautiful days: “Percy Priest and Radnor Lake (below), Live on the Green music festival, and Arrington Vineyards (above). Live on the Green is a free, environmentally-friendly outdoor music festival that showcases Nashville’s emerging artists and many well-known national acts. That’s right, free. Then there is Arrington Vineyards, which also has live music every weekend from April through November. Wine, music and the outdoors… we’re in.”
Elise reveals that she, too, loves “the Ganier Ridge Trail at Radnor Lake (below). It’s near the center of town but feels a million miles away from everything. I go here to hike with my husband and always see beautiful wildlife. It’s so peaceful and impossible to leave without feeling refreshed.”
Radnor Lake, 1160 Otter Creek Rd
Live on the Green, 350 Deaderick St
Arrington Vineyards, 6211 Patton Rd
“We used to live on the east side of town and we really enjoyed spending time in Shelby Park,”says Matt and Carrie. “It has a great dog park with plenty of room for the dogs to run around and the walkway there is something to marvel. We also enjoy hanging outside at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, but then again, Shelby Park is free!”
Shelby Park, East of Downtown
Cheekwood Botanical Garden, 1200 Forrest Park Dr
Ivy and Josh are on a mission to keep cool in the comfort of their own home. “We’re trying to build a pool in our backyard. Until then: windows down.” Simple yet effective.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT HONKY TONK
It’s almost like the elephant in the room. The Honky Tonk Central has a reputation, so we got the real down low.
“I don’t really have much to do with honky tonk – it’s not really my scene, but if I do go down to Broadway I love popping in to Robert’s Western World,” says Han. Elise has similar feelings, “Tourist trap! Locals tend to avoid the swarms of bachelorette parties and hang in neighborhoods like East Nashville or Germantown instead. If you’re really wanting the Broadway experience, head to Robert’s Western World for dancing, beer, live music and a really fun time.”
“Musicians on every corner and in every bar, neon lights, The Bachelorette/Bachelor Capital of America! Anything and everything. The energy is crazy on Broadway – there is something for everyone, from music, to shopping, drinks, museums, etc.,” explains Lindsay. She does note that her favorite part is “Acme Feed & Seed.”
Acme Feed & Seed, 101 Broadway
Patrick echoed Elise and Han’s pick. “Robert’s is consistently at the top of the list for Broadway bar hopping.” Matt and Carrie add that their favorite part of Robert’s Western World is the “Recession Special. It’s a bologna sandwich with chips and a PBR for like a dollar or something!”
Robert’s Western World, 416 Broadway B
“Comfortable,”says Elise. “There’s a slowness to the south that really can’t be replicated anywhere else. Nashville is my hometown, so it’s great to see people from all over the world moving here and broadening the style horizons.”
Han agrees. “I think it used to be really motorcycle/denim/boots — but I think in general it’s progressing to be a bit more experimental as the town grows.”
Ivy and Josh explain that “Nashville has the third highest concentration of fashion designers per capita in America after NYC and LA. There stands to be a 9.5 billion dollar fashion industry in middle TN by 2025 (currently at 5.9 billion and swiftly growing). But it’s weirdly true that everyone still wears cowboy boots.”
“We have everything from the stereotypical (rhinestone cowboy boots) to the innovative (budding fashion brands) that influences the city’s style,” adds Patrick.
“I’m not sure ‘Nashville Style’ can be described, but if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it’s a mix of blue jeans and sports coats, dresses and cowboy boots. We can just settle for good ol’ jeans and tees,” Matt and Carrie chime in. Lindsay sums it up: “Fresh, new-Southern. A total mix of fashion.”
BEST PLACES TO PEOPLE WATCH
“I always enjoy people watching at coffee shops like Barista Parlor (above) – so many people coming and going. The Gulch is also a bustling area, where you can probably spot a photo shoot happening around the corner,” says Elise.
Barista Parlor, 519 Gallatin Ave
The Gulch, South-West Fringe of Downtown
Han goes for Centennial Park, one of the city’s greatest treasures. It can be spotted by the iconic Parthenon which also serves as Nashville’s art museum. Patrick also loves this spot: “Centennial Park, hands down. On any given day you can catch folks taking iconic landmarks, live outdoor music, and even the occasional Nisolo team bubble ball soccer match.”
Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave
“Well Wilder (above) of course! And Opry Mills Mall,” say Ivy and Josh. We couldn’t agree more. Boutique shopping often doubles as people watching and is such a rad way to meet new people, discover style and get inspired.
Wilder, 1212 4th Ave N
Oprys Mills Mall, 433 Opry Mills Dr
“We just stayed at the amazing Thompson Hotel in the Gulch a few weeks ago. We had the best time sitting on the couch, eating homemade ice cream people watching in the lobby! That might to be the best place to people watch (this week anyway),” admit Matt and Carrie.
Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S
DAY TRIP: CHATTANOOGA
Just over two hours south east of Nashville and home to Uncommon Deux – a rad concept shop run by sisters Brittney and Jessica Wooten – Chattanooga is not to be missed. They describe their hometown: “An up and coming city for young entrepreneurs, creatives and tech innovators. It’s a small city snuggled between mountain sides and rivers.”
“There are a ton of great locally owned coffee shops and juice bars, The Local (above) and Wildflower Tea Room are favorites of ours,” reveal Jessica and Brittney. The Local seems like that perfect spot to kickstart your Monday morning or cure those hungover Saturdays.
The Local, 48 E Main St
Wildflower Tea Shop, 1423 Market St
Nashville isn’t the only place to see great live music. Jessica and Brittney tell us that “big name acts travel to Chattanooga” and that the best places to go are “Track 29 (above) and Revelry Room.” Both venues are small and intimate which makes seeing your favorite bands all the more special.
Track 29, 1400 Market St
Revelry Room, 41 Station St
These sisters clearly know what’s up when it comes to fashion. So what about Chattanooga style? “Electric and a bit outdoorsy.”
Jessica and Brittney’s fave spots are “downtown on the river walk or hanging out in Coolidge Park (above).” A beautiful area along the river, basically perfect for that sunny day stroll.
Coolidge Park, 150 River St
When it comes to people watching, “the Southside (up and coming neighborhood with shops, art galleries, music venues, local eateries)” is the place to go.
So, ready to book your plane ticket? While you’re waiting for that trip shop the Nashville boutiques and designers at home right here. Don’t miss our unreal flash sale, February 15 – 28. Two weeks, up to 60% off. Ready, set, go >