East Nashville is one of the trendiest and most creative neighborhoods in Music City. With numerous local restaurants, shops, and a beautiful park and natural area, there’s something for everyone. Also a big residential area, East Nashville features charming cottages and quaint homes. Once thought of as a rougher area of Nashville, this neighborhood has transformed into one of the hottest areas to live, so while roaming the streets, you’ll cross paths with many locals.
When exploring East Nashville, everything seems local from the cafes and bars to the shopping areas. And if you need any more reasons to cross the Cumberland River to East Nashville, it’s also an epicenter for creativity. You’ll come across street art, galleries, and locally-made products. When it comes to the food, drinking, shopping, and hiking and biking spots in East Nashville, here’s what you don’t want to miss.
With a booming restaurant scene, it’s easy to grab a local meal or treat in East Nashville. Many of Nashville’s gems can be found right in this neighborhood.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden is known as one of the best burger joints in town, which also serves tasty traditional wursts. Additionally, the restaurant has Nashville’s original beer garden with a big selection of German brews, and an old-school soda fountain for ice cream sodas, milkshakes, and phosphates.
Five Daughter’s Bakery has 100-layer cronuts, a mix between a croissant and donut, that’ll absolutely rock your world. It takes three days to make this decadent treat. The variety of flavors are constantly changing. Five Daughter’s Bakery’s price of $4.50 for one 100-layer cronut may seem steep, but as soon as you take a bite, you’ll see it’s worth every penny.
Edley’s Bar-B-Que is one of the top BBQ spots in Nashville, a city where its BBQ joints are becoming well-known around the United States. This restaurant also keeps with the Tennessee tradition of meat and three meals, consisting of a choice of meat and selection of side dishes. Edley’s 8 to 10 options for sides are made fresh daily, including grits casserole, bean salad, and macaroni and cheese.
Pepperfire is the top restaurant in East Nashville for the city’s famous hot chicken, featuring a mix of flavors from cumin to pepper. Their chicken ranges from no heat “Southernfied” to “XX Hot!”, which they say “will jump on you and won’t let go,” and is served with a piece of white bread and pickles.
Olive & Sinclair is Tennessee’s first and only cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate store and sells chocolate bars, brittle, and caramels in a variety of flavors. Olive & Sinclair calls their Southern Artisan Chocolate “the new old-fashioned chocolate.” They stone-grind their chocolate in their on-site factory. You can take tours on Saturdays for $5.
The nightlife in East Nashville has a laid back atmosphere but that doesn’t mean the bars skimp on quality. Some of the best cocktails in Nashville are crafted in this cozy neighborhood.
The Treehouse is a restaurant and bar aptly named with a treehouse bar located out back. Who’s inner child wouldn’t be itching at the thought of having a drink in a treehouse? The menu features local beers on tap and unique cocktails, in addition to small plates and shareable options.
The Family Wash was a laundromat that has now been turned into a funky bar with live music nightly and a full coffee bar. This spot offers beers, wines, and cocktails on tap. The Family Wash also serves hearty meals; the shepherd’s pie is very popular.
Bar No. 308 is probably the hippest bar in Nashville. The extremely knowledgable bartenders serve top-of-the-line cocktails with house-made sodas. You may notice the names of their “writer’s block shots” sound very familiar as the concoctions are named after literary greats.
In East Nashville, there are plenty of opportunities to shop local. The neighborhood is full of creativity, making it easy to find unique souvenirs.
Shoppes on Fatherland is a retail community with an eclectic mix of more than 20 locally-owned shops and boutiques. You can find anything from cooking spices and hand-crafted soaps to beautiful home decor and trendy clothes. So take your time wandering Fatherland Street between 10th and 11th Streets, which is known as the Fatherland District.
The IDEA Hatchery is a retail development including eight start-up businesses that are each independently owned. Vintage cowboy boots, beautiful artwork, and locally-designed clothing and jewelry can all be found in this unique corner of Nashville. East Side Story is my favorite shop, which is the city’s first all-local bookstore. Owner Chuck Beard, a freelance writer, author, and editor, felt there was a lack of opportunities for local writers, so that’s where he came up with the idea behind East Side Story.
Fanny’s House of Music strives to be the most comfortable music store, selling new, used, and vintage musical instruments, including handmade ukuleles. The store also has unique vintage men and women’s clothing from local stylists and collectors, bringing music and fashion together in one place.
Being so close to downtown, you wouldn’t automatically think you could get out in nature so easily in East Nashville. But Shelby Park and Shelby Bottoms Greenway & Natural Area makes that a breeze.
Shelby Park is an urban park with 336 acres to explore. It’s located along the Cumberland River and has softball and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, golf and disc golf courses, a dog park, and Sevier Lake. It’s also a great spot for a walk and picnic with trails, picnic tables, and green lawns.
Shelby Bottoms Greenway & Natural Area is adjacent to Shelby Park. The natural area has 960 acres of forests, wetlands, streams, and open fields with hiking and biking trails. Bikes are available right in the parking lot, and costs $5 for one hour. Shelby Bottoms Greenway offers five miles of paved biking, hiking, and running trails. It even connects East Nashville to downtown through the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. So get out there and explore!
Visiting Nashville? Download the TripScout mobile app on your phone and purchase the Nashville guide for a local and authentic self-guided city tour curated by me, TripScout, and local food and travel experts. The app is free, and the guide is $4.99.