Just east of the Cumberland River lies East Nashville, the neighborhood that is commonly recognized among locals (not to mention numerous national publications such as Southern Living and The Washington Times) as one of the city’s most ‘hip.’ And while Nashville may be something of a patchwork quilt of numerous up-and-coming neighborhoods, there is undoubtedly a plethora of things to do and see in East Nashville that lend credence to its cool-as-ice reputation. Here, a rundown of some of the best things to do, see, and consume in East Nashville.
Sure, you could wait with the never-ending tide of tourists for a table at Loveless, or you could brave the mimosa-soaked brunch rush at Biscuit Love. And while both places are certainly worth a visit for their top-notch biscuits and Southern fare, the Nashville Biscuit House is a can’t-miss for those in East Nashville looking for a no-frills spot to sample some of the best flaky pastries in town. This tiny homestyle joint won’t offer you quite as many Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, but its menu of Southern food done right — including customizable biscuit sandwiches — is hard to beat (and affordable to boot).
Located in a refurbished garage on Woodland Street, the Art & Invention Gallery is one of the neighborhood’s — and perhaps one of the city’s, writ large — best hidden gems. Owners/artists Meg and Bret MacFayden have curated a rotating collection of paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and other art that is simultaneously eclectic and immensely charming. Browse the gallery to get a sense of the immense local talent filling Nashville to the brim or even take a piece or two home for yourself for a truly unforgettable gift.
Maybe you still harbor a fondness for your childhood treehouse, or maybe you simply enjoy a speciality craft cocktail. Either way, if you find yourself in East Nashville once the sun goes down, check out the Treehouse, a restaurant/bar serving top-notch appetizers, entrées, and drinks in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. With its abundance of sleek wood paneling and airy lighting, this house-turned-restaurant feels simultaneously cozy and modern, and the restaurant is complete with a real treehouse in the backyard. Note that the food and drinks tend towards the higher end of the price range, but for a quality, locally sourced meal and a unique handcrafted cocktail, it’s one of the best spots in the neighborhood.
Bret and Meg MacFadyen — founders of the aforementioned Art & Invention Gallery — established the IDEA Hatchery in the Five Points section of East Nashville in 2011. The concept is relatively straightforward: consisting of eight tiny local start-ups, the IDEA Hatchery is a retail/office development that fosters the development of local retail businesses. The current roster of shops includes Goodbuy Girls, one of the best spots for vintage women’s clothing and accessories in town; Algeria, a never-ending source of one-of-a-kind gifts (and handmade leather goods); and Haulin’ Oats, an artisanal oatmeal company selling gourmet oatmeal kits in mason jars that make both healthy breakfast staples and wonderful gifts.
One article can barely scrape the surface of all that this bustling neighborhood has to offer. So if you have more than a day to explore, be sure to also check out: