Photo: Jody Domingue

Your Music City Trip Isn’t Complete Until You Explore East Nashville

Nashville Travel
by Vicki Denig Jul 25, 2022

While many Nashville visitors set their sights on Broadway, those in the know — particularly the locals — will inform you that East Nashville is where it’s at. Located on the opposite side of the Cumberland River, this area is beloved by creatives, foodies, and new business owners alike, thanks to its bustling ambiance and neighborhood feel. Known for vintage shops, artisanal boutiques, and some of the best restaurants and bars in Nashville, it’s no surprise that this charming neighborhood is the go-to destination for those who love good food and good drinks.

Traveling to Tennessee? Check out Matador’s top Tennessee accommodation guides:

What to do in East Nashville, Tennessee

Shop local boutiques in The Fatherland District: Countless up-and-coming creators call East Nashville home. The best way to peruse and support their crafts? Shopping locally, of course. Head to Fatherland Street between 10th and 11th Streets to browse through a handful of trendy boutiques, including Rusty Rats (antiques), Baxter Bailey & Company (pet items), Gift Horse (design and paper goods), The Nashville Blanket Project, and more.

Where: Fatherland Street between 10th and 11th

Views of Bridges and Pathways along the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Natural Area Cumberland River frontage trails, bottomland hardwood forests, open fields, wetlands, and streams, Nashville, Tennessee

Photo: Jeremy Christensen/Shutterstock

Get your nature fix at Shelby Bottoms Park: For a nature-focused booze break (trust us, you’ll need one in Nashville) look no further than Shelby Bottoms Park. This environmental oasis has historical exhibits, beautiful gardens, and numerous trails, perfect for walking and biking alike (and bike rentals are free). The Center’s public exhibits are perfect for all ages, so feel free to bring the little ones along.

Where: 1900 Shelby Bottoms Greenway, Nashville, TN 37206

Snap a photo in front of the Kelsey Montague Art Mural: For a perfect souvenir photo fit for the ‘gram, head to Nashville’s Kelsey Montague Art Mural. Pose in front of the mural’s famed wings—whether solo or with a friend—for a keepsake memory to last a lifetime. At 20 feet high, Montague’s “WhatLiftsYou” mural is the largest of her creations to date – it took 60 paint pens to complete.

Where: 302 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Check out the art at Red Arrow Gallery: For a dose of culture, head to Red Arrow Gallery, located on Gallatin Avenue. Situated in an industrial-style space, this female-operated venue highlights contemporary artists in an approachable and accessible way. Whether seasoned collector or art novice, Red Arrow promises to please a variety of preferences and provide a lovely experience all around.

Where: 919 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Make a custom souvenir candle at The Candle Bar Gulch: Who doesn’t love a good souvenir candle, especially one that you can make yourself? At The Candle Bar, let your souvenir-crafting dreams come to life. This Paddywax Candle Bar is the perfect backdrop for gathering with friends, connecting with locals, and creating something long lasting and unique to take home. Customize your perfect scent and let the friendly staff lead the way.

Where: 408 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Where to Eat and Drink in East Nashville

Nashville Biscuit House: Asking after Nashville’s best biscuit can get a bit heated, though many locals will tell you that Nashville Biscuit House is where it’s at. Known for its homestyle cooking and emphasis on the classics, this robust breakfast joint is absolutely not to be missed. Expect fast service and ample food served up by a team of friendly, hospitable staff – and be sure to grab the classic chicken biscuits. Note: Nashville Biscuit House is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; hours from Thursday through Monday are 6:45 AM until 1 PM.

Where: 805 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Audrey restaurant sean brock in east nashville

Photo: Emily Dorio

Audrey: Located on a quiet street in McFerrin Park, Audrey is an absolute must for those seeking good food, great wine, and unforgettable hospitality. The flagship restaurant of celebrity chef Sean Brock, this Appalachian-inspired restaurant offers a well-curated tasting menu, with a focus on seasonal produce and innovative fare. Expect innovative takes on classic favorites, including Jimmy red corn grits, Maine lobster, and greasy beans. Named for his grandmother, Audrey, this unmissable restaurant is one of Brock’s most personal yet. Fine dining lovers, don’t miss this one (and be sure to partake in the menu’s fantastic wine pairing options, curated by renowned sommelier Jodi Brochtein).

Where: 809 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207

Southern Grist Brewing Company – East Nashville Taproom: Local breweries are a good stop in any major city in the United States, and in Nashville, there are plenty to choose from. In East Nashville, Southern Grist’s taproom is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s also one our picks for the best breweries in Nashville. Although the company was founded in 2016, their taproom opened its doors in December 2021 and focuses on creative, small-batch brews in an ever-rotating lineup (non-alcoholic options are also available). The taproom’s vast outdoor seating makes it the perfect place to grab some fresh air and kick off a long night of eating and drinking.

Where: 754 Douglas Ave, Nashville, TN 37207

Photo: John Troxel

June: Situated above Audrey, this newly opened restaurant from Sean Brock’s team features a five-course menu broken down by canapé, water, land, dessert, and petits-fours. Along with world-class food, there’s a focused drinks program that offers curated drinks only available during the course for which they’re intended to pair with – think tasting-sized drinks crafted to flow with the flavors and ingredients of the course. With only 32 seats, June offers an intimate journey for every guest that walks through the door. Brock states that his goal for June is to “always push the boundary with what is possible for Southern food and hospitality.”

Where: 809 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207

Dino’s Bar & Grill: For late night noshing, Dino’s Bar & Grill is a long-standing local favorite that has been vetted by countless neighborhood residents. It has grown into the go-to place for late night burgers, fries, and cheap beer. Fair warning, seating is limited and you may encounter a wait, but when the drunchies call, greasy food is simply the only response.

Where: 411 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206


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Folk: Set in a large, airy space with exposed brick walls and high ceilings, this beloved Italian restaurant is known for its seasonal fare and woodfired pizza (insider tip: the clam pie is not to be missed). Spearheaded by Chef Philip Krajeck, the chef and owner of Rolf & Daughter’s, Folk’s impressive menu is only outshone by its stellar wine and cocktail list. Best of all, the restaurant is literally right next door to June and Audrey – post (or pre, no judgment) dinner pie, anyone?

Where: 823 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207

Pearl Diver: Known for tropical drinks and tasty snacks, Pearl Diver is a must-visit for fans of tacos, sammies, and hearty bowls alike. Local fan favorites include the Tijuana fries, veggie egg rolls, pineapple fried rice bowl, and hot chicken tacos. The bar’s extensive cocktail list is organized by base spirit (sugarcane, agave, and grape & grain are the major ones), with a hearty classic cocktail list to boot. You won’t leave here hungry — or thirsty, for that matter.

Where: 1008 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Where to Stay

dive motel in nashville

Photo: Jody Domingue

The Dive Motel & Swim Club: For an instant escape to the funky 1970s, look no further than The Dive Motel & Swim Club. Located on Dickerson Pike, this retro-style motel is beloved for its cold drinks, heated pool, and unmatchable vibes. It’s one of the accommodation options that’s making Nashville a hotspot for quirky-cool boutique hotels. Each room comes outfitted with a Party Switch, which activates 1970s classics and disco lights with the flick of a switch. Simple and quaint, the rooms come equipped with an on-site mini bar, featuring snacks, drinks, toiletries – and even condoms and mini vibrators for purchase. Oh, and then there’s the fact that each room has its own disco ball.

In addition to the groovy bar, The Dive Motel also has an on-site food truck, featuring Bao biscuits and Asian-inspired comfort food favorites. Grab a frozen bevvy, post up at the pool, and let yourself be whisked away on a journey back in time.

Where: 1414 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207

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