Best Places To Stay in Nashville – Tips, and Advice
- Best area for country music lovers in Nashville: It’s hard to argue against downtown (and SoBro)! The Honky Tonk Highway, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum: it’s a country music paradise.
- Best neighborhood for foodies: 12 South has the best food scene in Nashville. You’ll find everything from small street vendors to fine dining on this half-mile stretch of restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques.
- Staying in Nashville on a budget: Nashville isn’t the most budget-friendly city. Most of the neighborhoods are pretty expensive, but East Nashville, Midtown, and 12 South have some cheaper options.
- Best art scene in Nashville: East Nashville is the trendy art district of Nashville, and easily the city’s coolest neighborhood!
Music City, Nashville is the iconic home of country music. So many of music’s greatest figures have walked these streets; now you can follow in their footsteps – and you might just find there’s even more to the city than Honky Tonks and country music.
The 7 Best Areas To Stay In Nashville – A Neighbourhood Guide
1. Downtown – The Heart of Nashville
Music City’s heart and soul is in downtown. Whatever comes to mind when you think of Nashville, you’ll find it here. Neon-lights, eclectic bars, music pouring out onto the streets – it’s all in downtown.
Nashville’s Broadway lights up all your senses. The iconic Honky Tonks, music venues, bars, and restaurants that line the street are a phenomenal experience. The atmosphere is charged with energy – just being there and soaking it all in is unforgettable. This is where many legends of country music first started out.
Every Honky Tonk has an incredible story – or 20 – about a famous figure passing their halls. You never know – when you visit, it could be the next great country music star playing the stage.
Being the central cultural hub of Nashville, downtown of course has a number of excellent bars and restaurants. So many that you would be hard-pressed to even visit half of them in one visit!
There’s also the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the Tennessee State Capitol building, even the ‘Batman’ building – plenty to occupy a long weekend. Two of Nashville’s biggest attractions, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum, are in downtown.
Best Hotels in Downtown:
($$$) • The Hermitage Hotel • 0.5 miles to Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
($$) • Dream Nashville • 0.3 miles from the Johnny Cash Museum
($) • The Capitol Hotel Downtown, Ascend Hotel Collection • 0.2 miles from Tennessee Performing Arts Center
Best Airbnbs in Downtown:
($$$) • Loft Penthouse w/ City View 1 block from Broadway • Close to the Riverfront and Broadway
($$) • Music City Views Downtown Nashville – Walk to Everything. • Central Downtown
($) • Vibrant & Fantastic Downtown Condo • Walking distance to Broadway
2. Music Row & Midtown – Historic Area Popular With Students
Split down the middle by Vanderbilt University, Music Row & Midtown are a little further away from busy downtown, but still a great base to explore the city.
Centennial Park is the heart of the Midtown district. It’s dominated by the full-scale replica of the Ancient Greek Parthenon in Athens. You could easily spend a whole day relaxing in the 362 acre park. It might not compete with the Honky Tonk Highway, but as an area populated with students, there are plenty of bars and restaurants worth visiting in the neighborhood.
Music Row is the business side of Nashville’s music scene. There isn’t much you actually visit unless you book a studio tour, but it is home to nearly all of Nashville’s iconic recording studios. Everyone from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to Beyonce and Katy Perry have recorded songs in Music Row.
Some of the greatest songs ever written were recorded in this district – Dolly Parton recorded ‘I Will Always Love You’ in RCA Studio B in 1973.
Best Hotels in Music Row & Midtown:
($$$) • Hutton Hotel • 1.1 miles from Bridgestone Arena
($$) • Hyatt House Nashville at Vanderbilt • 0.2 miles from Vanderbilt University
($) • Hayes Street Hotel Nashville • 0.9 miles from the Parthenon
Best Airbnbs in Music Row & Midtown:
($$$) • 1 -Beautiful Historic Home on Music Row • 10-minute walk from Midtown
($$) • Walk to Iconic Music Row from a Rustic, Neutral Studio • Walking distance from downtown
($) • Music Row Getaway 106 • 30-minute walk to Broadway
3. The Gulch – A Central Food Paradise
Once the location of Nashville’s railyard, the LEED certified Gulch experienced a complete overhaul at the turn of the century to become one of the city’s most trendy neighborhoods.
The Gulch is now one of the most upmarket districts in Nashville. It’s in a great location, wedged between SoBro and Music Row right in the heart of the city.
The Gulch is industrial chic, full of sleek restaurants and high-end boutiques. It’s arguably the best in the downtown area for food. There are so many great food options in the Gulch – besides restaurants, there are trendy chic cafes like Milk & Honey, and popular bistros like Biscuit Love.
If you’re looking for nightlife, the Gulch has some alternatives to the sensory overload of the Honky Tonk Highway. The rooftop lounge of UP has fantastic views of downtown and has a more chill, laid-back vibe.
You can’t stay in the Gulch and not visit The Station Inn – it’s one of the area’s most iconic bluegrass music venues. There are also a number of elegant upmarket bars and a few nightclubs if you prefer to dance.
Best Hotels The Gulch:
($$$) • Thompson Nashville • 0.8 miles from the Johnny Cash Museum
($$) • Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Nashville Downtown/The Gulch • 1 mile from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center
($) • Best Western PLUS Downtown/Music Row • 1.4 miles from the Parthenon
Best Airbnbs in The Gulch:
($$$) • Sigler House- Downtown/Walk to Bars • One street away from Music Row
($$) • 1 Bedrm Loft! Centered in the Gulch! • Central location, in the heart of the Gulch neighborhood
($) • Gulch Studio • Central Location • Near Downtown! • 1 mile from Honky Tonk row
4. East Nashville – Nashville’s Coolest Neighborhood
Bohemian and offbeat, East Nashville is the epicenter of the city’s art scene. Nashville’s coolest district gets more popular with every passing year, and is known for its creative, laid-back atmosphere and thriving bar & cafe scene.
You will find live music, art galleries, local craft shops, trendy bars, and a plethora of street art in this hip and vibrant neighborhood. Many of Nashville’s most authentic small music venues are dotted around the area. It’s the perfect location to go drink a craft beer, then follow it up with some of the city’s finest live music.
The cool-kid of the coolest neighborhood is Five Points, where most of East Nashville’s trendiest bars, cafes, and restaurants are concentrated. Wherever the artsy young professionals go, cool cafes and boutiques inevitably follow – and you’ll find dozens of them in Five Points.
The Shoppes on Fatherland shopping district is close to Five Points, and is probably the coolest shopping experience in Nashville. You won’t find big brands and chains here: only the high quality of unique local businesses.
Like many of the more artistic districts in cities, East Nashville had to go through a period of rejuvenation to reach its full potential. After a series of disasters – first, a fire in 1916, then a tornado in 1998 – the neighborhood required a complete rebuild.
The injection of funds and interest since then has turned the area into one of Nashville’s most interesting and progressive districts. While in East Nashville, check out the Nissan Stadium on the bank of the Cumberland River, home to NFL team the Tennessee Titans.
Best Hotels in East Nashville:
Best Airbnbs in East Nashville:
($$$) • Victorian Home ⬙ Pool & Hot Tub ⬘ 3mi to DWTN • 3 Miles from Downtown
($$) • NashVilla Retreat – New, Private, Near Downtown★ • Riverside Village location, in the heart of East Nashville
($) • Spacious E Nashville 2nd Fl Suite • East walking distance to Five Points
5. SoBro – For Country Music Fanatics
‘South of Broadway’, SoBro is a micro-neighborhood within downtown – it’s so unmissable that it deserves a mention on its own.
Follow in the footsteps of greats like Willie Nelson and Faron Young on Honky Tonk Highway, Nashville’s eclectic neon street of iconic bars and venues.
Don your cowboy hat and follow the ultimate pilgrimage of country music. Of all the Honky Tonks on Broadway, none are more famous – or have as much history – as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The likes of Patsy Cline and Charley Pride honed their craft here.
As intimidating as it may seem, Honky Tonk Highway can be explored as a family. If you go earlier in the day – either late morning or early afternoon, depending on opening times – you can soak in the music at a relaxed pace without the crowds.
You could easily occupy your entire vacation without leaving the streets of SoBro at all. Visit the iconic Ryman Auditorium, known as the “Mother Church of Country Music”, or stop for a show at the outdoor music arena, the ‘Ascend Amphitheater’.
The Bridgestone Arena doubles as a concert venue and the home of a professional ice hockey team; the NHL’s Nashville Predators. You will also find the most popular museums in Nashville in this district.
The Johnny Cash Museum is within easy walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – exploring the whole neighborhood on foot is perfect for pedestrians.
Best Hotels in SoBro:
($$$) • The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville • 0.1 miles from Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
($$) • Hyatt House Nashville Downtown SoBro • 1 mile from Nissan Stadium
($) • Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville Downtown • 0.2 miles from the Johnny Cash Museum
Best Airbnbs in SoBro:
($$$) • Downtown| King Beds+Rooftop Lounge+Gym • A few minutes walk to Broadway
($$) • NEWLY furnished 1 bed oasis 3 blocks to Broadway! • 0.75 miles from the Gulch district
($) • Walk to Broadway , downtown bars & restaurants • 6 miles from Nashville International Airport
6. Germantown – For Quiet Luxury Close to Broadway
So named for the influx of German immigrants to the neighborhood in the mid-1800s, Germantown is an upmarket neighborhood of Nashville with a luxurious feel.
Just north of downtown, the district is perfectly located to explore Nashville’s biggest attractions. Only a few blocks from the bright lights of Broadway, Germantown is a quieter hideaway on the doorstep of the bustling streets of bars and honky-tonks.
The neighborhood’s architecture is one of the most homogeneous in Nashville. Historic townhouses line leafy streets in a picturesque district with a more suburban feel.
Germantown is one of Nashville’s top culinary destinations – and luckily, there’s more than just bratwurst and Wienerschnitzel. Southern-style breakfasts, Italian lunches, and Indian dinners; there’s a whole host of culinary cultures on offer in Germantown. It’s also arguably the best district for fine dining, with a number of award-winning restaurants in the area.
If you prefer to prepare your own food, why not visit the weekly Nashville Farmers Market? The fresh local produce is sold in a market adjacent to the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
The park, with its water fountains and meticulously maintained grounds, is home to the Tennessee State Capitol building. If you’re in town at the right time, the park is often the host of an outdoor movie series, NightLight 615 – showing everything from The Princess Bride to Superbad.
Best Hotels in Germantown:
($$$) • The Germantown Inn • 1.3 miles to Johnny Cash Museum
Best Airbnbs in Germantown:
($$$) • Sonder | Ziel Haus | Private 4BR + Balcony • 10-minute walk to downtown
($$) • Cozy, Private, in Germantown, Doorstep to Downtown • 7.4 miles to Nashville International Airport
($) • Downtown Private Guest Loft with Cool Vintage Vibe-Sanitized • 5-minute drive to Broadway
7. 12 South – For Food Lovers
12 South isn’t the bustle and neon lights of downtown – it has a quieter charm. This compact half-mile strip is all boutiques, coffee shops, and delicious food.
12 South is the best district in Nashville for foodies; it’s packed to the brim with award-winning eateries and restaurants. You can try local dishes in a more casual bar setting or head to one of the more upscale restaurants, depending on your style.
Join the winding queues outside Five Daughters Bakery, and enjoy the 100 flaky layers of pastry in their famous cronuts, or grab a warm cookie at the treasured Nashville establishment Christie Cookie Co. From Lebanese food at Epice to fine dining at Josephine, to Edley’s Bar-B-Que melt-in-your-mouth smoked meats; 12 South is the food paradise of the city.
After your fantastic meal, you can discover what makes 12 South one of Nashville’s favourite shopping destinations. Vintage clothing, local designer fashion stores (including Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James), hand-crafted jewelry shops – the district is a haven for Nashville’s best boutiques.
A neighborhood as cool as 12 South obviously has some amazing street art! The most famous is the iconic I Believe in Nashville mural, located on 12th Ave S. between Edley’s Bar-B-Que and bartaco.
The general feel of 12 South is pretty nostalgic. Many of the boutiques and restaurants are in repurposed old buildings – the Imogene + Willie boutique is in an old-timey gas station. The shabby-chic look of 12 South is one of the most attractive in Nashville.
12 South is on the doorstep of the historic Belmont Mansion, which was built in the Italian Villa style in the 19th Century. It showcases a fascinating chapter in Nashville’s history, and is well worth sparing a few hours to visit.
Best Hotels in 12 South:
($$) • Moxy Nashville Vanderbilt Area • 0.2 miles from Belmont Mansion
Best Airbnbs in 12 South:
($$$) • Charming Historic Home / Walk to 12 South • 3.1 miles to downtown
($$) • Treehouse Apartment • A few minutes walk from the center of 12 South
($) • 12 South: 2 Cozy Bedrooms, Bath & Living • 1 block from 12 South district