Nashville Like A Local: The Guide to Music City Beyond Broadway

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I have lived for Nashville for 5 years, and just last night found myself on the Broadway strip playing Frogger at the downtown beercade, HQ. I had a blast, but hadn’t been there in months.

Broadway doesn’t necessarily get old, but I don’t find myself there very often because of the endless bars, neighborhoods and activities found beyond it. If you’re in Nashville for a few days, it’s mandatory to hit the strip.

But I also think it’s important to see how much the city has to offer aside from the Honky Tonks. Here is your guide to seeing Nashville as a local (organized by Neighborhood, sub-organized by activity).

East Nashville

East Nashville is just across the bridge and has a generally calm vibe. Instead of apartment complexes, this neighborhood is filled with homes and yards. The Center of East Nashville is the 5 Points - a 5 way intersection where each street that stems from it has food, drinks, coffee or retail. Everything on this list is within walking distance of each other! You can start your day in the morning and be entertained throughout the night without having to order another Uber.

Bar

Pearl Diver - tiki themed food and drink! The Yuca fries and Egg Rolls are the ultimate day-drinking sustenance while the Paloma’s are the ultimate day drink! They also host a monthly Treat Yo Self Sunday summer series along side River Queen Voyages - feat. the aforementioned Yuca Fries, Palomas AND a real Live Mermaid!

Coffee

Bongo East - Hundreds of board games, unique speciality coffee drinks, great food (meals & muffins)

Music

Fanny’s House of Music - vintage clothing, vintage instruments, next to a hot dog stand

Midtown

Midtown is where the locals go to be Broadway sloppy. There is a strip of bars on Division that is perfect for hopping. If you get bored, just go next door. What i find most responsible about Midtown is that for every bar you find, there’s a restaurant and fantastic food to match. Midtown stretches as far as Vanderbilt and has some beautiful scenery to offer along with the many opportunities to get trashed.

Bar

Kung Fu Saloon - the hub of millennial trash (in a fun way) , teeter totters, massive Jenga, ping pong, ski ball

Coffee

Caviar & Bananas - cafeteria style, great coffee, outdoor seating, full menu with bagels, sandwiches & salads

Food

Two Boots Pizza - New York Style, by the slice or full pies, open until 3am aka the perfect drunk snack

Nature

Centennial Park - beautiful pond, parthenon replica with an art gallery inside, over a mile loop

12 South

12 South is where you can find past, present and future contestant for the Bachelor and Bachelorette. It’s often busiest during the day and has 3 different murals to take pictures with. It’s a great place to take a break from partying and enjoy the (often) beautiful Nashville weather with a snack, some nice walking, or a shopping break in one of the many retail stores (including Reese Witherspoon’s store, Draper James).

Bar

Mafiozas - two-for-one every Tuesday and Sunday, pizza by the slice, great outdoor seating

Coffee

Portland Brew - the staff is nice and awesome, fantastic coffee from the PNW, cool art, great bagels

Food

Edley’s BBQ - my personal favorite BBQ in Nashviile, lots of sides, insane BBQ Nachos

Nature

Sevier Park - mile loop, great to grab a coffee or a snack and enjoy it in the park, playground for kids

These are my favorite neighborhoods outside of Downtown and definitely all worth an extra Uber ride to explore what life is actually like when you live in Nashville.

There’s so much more I wasn’t able to fit in, to explore more of Nashvile, check out, Nashville Guru. It’s a website that breaks down every single activity, bar, concert, restaurant etc that can be found throughout Nashville on any given day.

But if you MUST get downtown (which you should! It’s fantastic and has put Nashville on the map for a reason) you might as well be floating down the Cumberland River with River Queen Voyages! Enjoy the skyline and relax before you take on Broadway!