Apr 16, 2022 - Things to Do

Newcomer's guide to Nashville

The Nashville skyline

Photo: John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Growth is a fact of life in and around Nashville.

The intrigue: Music City has been the end of the yellow brick road for generations of aspiring musicians.

  • But it's also become a hub for health care, technology and other big businesses, leading to a wave of opportunities and challenges that are redefining the region in real time.

Flashback: The New York Times infamously dubbed Nashville an "it city" in 2013. Things have not slowed down since then.

The big picture: Cranes are reshaping the skyline. Celebrity chefs are setting up shop while mom-and-pop businesses are closing their doors. Tourism revenue has skyrocketed, but so have rent and home prices.

The bottom line: Constant change can be hard to navigate, whether you're a Nashville native or a newbie who just got off the bus with a guitar case and a dream.

Zoom in: Navigating Nashville's neighborhoods like a pro takes time. Here are some of our favorite spots in different parts of town:

East Nashville

β˜•οΈ Coffee shop: All People

πŸ₯‘ Lunch: Mitchell Deli (Trust us: Get the turkey avocado sandwich.)

🍺 Happy hour: Mickey's Tavern

πŸ₯© Date night: Lockeland Table

🏞 Outside activity: Shelby Park


β˜•οΈ Coffee shop: Steadfast (Fun fact: You might find the Axios Nashville team planning our next newsletter here.)

πŸ” Lunch: Germantown CafΓ©

🍹 Happy hour: Butchertown Hall

🍝 Date night: City House

⚾️ Outside activity: Nashville Sounds games

The Nations

β˜•οΈ Coffee shop: Frothy Monkey (For our money, the best of the local chain's locations.)

πŸ₯ͺ Lunch: 51st Deli

🍷 Happy hour: Otto's (Purists might say this is outside of The Nations, but it's worth the quick stroll down Charlotte Avenue.)

πŸ• Date night: Nicky's Coal Fired

🚢 Outside activity: A walk down 51st Avenue, which can take you from dinner to drinks and dessert in the span of a few blocks.

Lockeland Table. Photo courtesy of Forrest Havens
Lockeland Table. Photo courtesy of Forrest Havens

Meanwhile, our historic city is full of must-visit landmarks, including:

πŸ› The Parthenon: Originally built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897, this replica of the famed temple in Greece is one of the most recognizable structures in the Athens of the South.

🎡 Country Music Hall of Fame: A must for any fan who has ever sung along with Reba, Garth or Trisha.

πŸŽ™ National Museum of African American Music: A sprawling tribute that traces the influence of Black artists across genres β€” including the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who earned Nashville its Music City nickname.

🎀 The Ryman Auditorium: The Mother Church of Country Music is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. Sitting in the pews before the stage where Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash once performed is worth the price of a ticket on its own.

🐦 The Bluebird Cafe: Our city has no shortage of amazing venues. But The Bluebird is special. It's where the songwriters behind radio hits get to step into the spotlight in an incredibly intimate setting.

Nashville's Bluebird Cafe
Photo: John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Quick take: Every true Nashvillian has one thing in common β€” a poster from the legendary Hatch Show Print.

  • The letterpress print shop has been in operation since 1879 and has produced posters for everyone from Elvis to Carly Rae Jepsen.
A selection of hand-printed posters for sale at Hatch Show Print. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images
A selection of hand-printed posters for sale at Hatch Show Print. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

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