Moving to Nashville Guide
Revealed by the Nashville Guru on 03/02/12
Are you moving to Nashville, but don’t know where to begin? Figuring out what each unique area in Nashville has to offer can be hard. This Moving to Nashville Guide was designed to make your decision about what area to live a little easier!
The guide focuses on 12 main areas in and around Downtown Nashville. We do not focus as much on the suburbs of Nashville such as Brentwood or Franklin in this post.
Urban & Walkable
The Gulch is located a little bit south of Downtown Nashville and has an upscale, trendy vibe. The Gulch is extremely walkable because it’s located between several different areas. You can walk to shops and restaurants in the Gulch as well as other areas such as Downtown Nashville, Demonbreun and Midtown. The Gulch is a small area with the only housing being highrises and apartment buildings. The Gulch is not ideal for families, but rather for young adults or people who want to be in the heart of the action in Nashville.
There are over fifteen bars and restaurants, one grocery store, a yoga studio, two music venues and four clothing stores in the Gulch. There are two condo buildings and five apartment buildings, see the living options. The Gulch has very upscale living options, restaurants and shopping. The future of the Gulch is expansion and growth with a Greenway in the city plans!
Downtown Nashville is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. With the famous “honky tonks” on Broadway and 2nd Avenue, which feature live music every day of the week, and the constant events going on at Bridgestone, LP Field, the Ryman, and Riverfront, Nashville has earned the nickname “Nashvegas”. If you live in Downtown Nashville, you can definitely walk everywhere in the vicinity of downtown and maybe to a few of other areas such as The Gulch, Demonbreun and Midtown, but it is a bit of a hike to get to any other area. One great thing is that you can jump in a taxi for a cheap fare and get to the other amazing areas. You should expect to be a part of the tourist scene in Nashville and you will be affected by many of the events going on downtown.
Downtown Nashville is not good for families, but is great for people who are new to Nashville and want to experience what Nashville is known for. If you have already experienced Nashville, either as a local or a passionate tourist, you may want to opt for living in another area so you can choose when to experience the Nashvegas energy. Downtown Nashville has well over sixty bars and restaurants varying from local hotspots to national chains. Shopping in Downtown Nashville consists mainly of boot shops, western wear, souvenirs, and music stores. As for living in Downtown Nashville, there are mainly highrises and apartment buildings. Downtown Nashville has an Art District on Fifth Avenue, which expands annually. Also, the brand new Convention Center currently under construction is sure to bring new people, events and opportunities to downtown.
Hillsboro Village is urban, walkable and has more housing options than the Gulch and Downtown Nashville. Hillsboro Village is located between Belmont University and Vanderbilt University. You will see a lot of college students, young adults, and families. Hillsboro Village tends to be more family-friendly due to the amount of single-family homes available. Since Hillsboro Village is right between Downtown Nashville and Green Hills, you are really close to everything, but you may drive more than you would in other areas.
If you live in Hillsboro Village, you can enjoy over 15 bars and restaurants including Nashville staples like Pancake Pantry and Fido. Hillsboro Village also has some great shopping including several unique boutiques and a local bookstore. It is home to the Belcourt Theatre, which is a theater house with productions like classic, independent and foreign films, musical performances, and live theater. Although you can walk to restaurants, the theatre, and shops, you would probably have to drive to get to a grocery store and the other areas around Nashville.
Residential & Unique Culture
Germantown is one of the oldest areas in Nashville with an awesome, eclectic vibe. The area is fairly small and is undergoing a neighborhood revitalization, so be sure to check it out before you make your move. Germantown is known for its annual Oktoberfest, when the entire city shows up for tours of the historic churches, German traditions, and live music.
Germantown offers several different types of living options such as single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes and lowrises. Germantown is a slightly cheaper area to live compared to others, though upscale options are available. Germantown has over 10 restaurants, including local gems like City House and Mad Platter. The night scene in Germantown is mild with most of the restaurants closing by 10:00pm. There is very minimal shopping. People who live in Germantown love being near the Nashville Farmers’ Market and being able to exercise at the local state park, Bicentennial Capitol Mall.
Sylvan Park is so cool and has a great “know your neighbor” culture. People who live in Sylvan Park tend to be very involved in the community and are very supportive of their neighborhood businesses. Of course, it’s easy to support your neighborhood businesses when they rock! A few Nashville favorites in Sylvan Park are Local Taco, Park Cafe, and Star Bagel. There are about ten bars and restaurants in Sylvan Park, but from the coffeehouse to the romantic restaurant, they are all incredible. There are also a couple shops, a natural foods market, and a salon.
If you are an active person, Sylvan Park may interest you. With the McCabe Community Center, Climb Nashville, the Richland Greenway, and the proximity to Centennial Park, there is some serious exercise potential. From Sylvan Park, you can easily walk to West End, but would have to drive to the other areas in Nashville. Sylvan Park is wonderful for families of all types or single people wanting to be in a more residential area.
Belmont Blvd is a beautiful, mainly residential area located right next to Belmont University. Nestled between Hillsboro Village and 12 South, Belmont Blvd proves to be a desirable, central location in Nashville. From incredible million dollar homes to more affordable fixer-uppers, you will see all types of people along Belmont Blvd. This area is great for anyone, although, you do see a lot of strollers and tricycles in front yards. Belmont Blvd is a mile strip with wide sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the road making it superb for walking, jogging or biking.
Belmont Blvd has about five restaurants including the well-known coffeehouse and roaster Bongo Java, which has a huge patio filled to the brim when the weather permits. There is also a great local clothing store, a salon, flower shop, and animal hospital. The mix of people on Belmont Blvd creates a great, energetic culture that keeps you guessing. If you choose to live on Belmont Blvd, you can walk to 12 South and Hillsboro Village pretty easily, but plan to drive to most of the other areas.
12 South is a great area comprised mainly of young families and free-spirited individuals. You will find freelancers and musicians at the local coffeehouses and moms with strollers walking to the nearby Sevier Park. There are some awesome restaurants in the 12 South area including Burger Up, Sloco and Frothy Monkey. There are two main places that make up the “late night” action in 12 South including Mafiaoza’s and 12 South Taproom. 12 South also has several apparel shops that sell everything from vintage to modern styles. From 12 South, you can walk to Belmont Blvd, but would need to drive to the other areas in Nashville. There is a mixed-use apartment building under construction, 12 South Flats, which should make renting a little easier. Currently, most people live in houses along the perpendicular side streets of 12 Avenue South.
Edgehill Village is an up-and-coming area located parallel to Music Row. This is one of the smaller areas in Nashville with only a few eateries and shops, including popular spots like Taco Mamacita and Bella Napoli. There is a coffeehouse, dessert shop, yoga studio, personal training studio, salon and spa. The housing around Edgehill Village varies greatly, but is comprised mostly of single-family homes. This area would be suitable for young couples or singles looking for a good central location and more affordable living options. Edgehill Village focuses mostly on commercial space and less on residential living, but if you can find a nice home in this area, you can enjoy the location and awesomeness in Edgehill Village.
Demonbreun is a small area of town located adjacent to the Gulch and just South of Downtown Nashville. The area is only about a quarter mile long with big outdoor patios hooked to most of the restaurants and bars. When the weather is nice, the patios fill up and create a fun city energy. Demonbreun is most well-known as the “going out” spot for college students and young adults, who stay out late and sometimes over indulge in beverages at local hotspots like South, Dan McGuinness and Tin Roof. There are several bars and restaurants, most of which are open until 3:00am. Demonbreun also has a couple shops, two salons and a spa. The only living option on Demonbreun is the Rhythm, which is a very upscale condo building. This area is ideal for young adults who don’t mind the party atmosphere and want to be able to walk Downtown and to Midtown and the Gulch.
Midtown is definitely a bar-hopping mecca, but has also recently added some culinary treasures. There are over 15 bars and restaurants, with at least seven of the bars staying open until 3:00am. Midtown gets a lot of attention thanks to Patterson House’s speakeasy theme and the unique dining concept at The Catbird Seat. The vibe in Midtown is a little more relaxed and less touristy, and is a popular area for locals that enjoy a vibrant night scene without mingling with the honky tonk visitors. As far as living, Midtown has two condo buildings and one apartment complex. Midtown is not ideal for families, but would be great for young adults or single people still partying from time-to-time.
Have it All
Out of the other areas mentioned, Green Hills is located the furthest south of Downtown Nashville. Green Hills is an area you can live in and not have to leave. You can’t walk to any other area from Green Hills very easily, but you can walk around most of the Green Hills area. This is one of the bigger areas in Nashville that has pretty much everything you need, from restaurants to grocery stores to clothing boutiques. The area is well-known for its high-end shopping scene due to the designer-filled shopping mall and the Hill Center, a section of Green Hills filled with local boutiques and well-known clothing stores such as Anthropologie and Johnston Murphy. Every type of person lives in Green Hills, but the majority seem to be wealthy families and adults. Living options are mostly single-famly homes, condos and apartment complexes.
East Nashville also has everything you could need, but is the polar opposite of Green Hills. East Nashville is probably Nashville’s most eccentric and liberal area, especially embraced by artists and musicians. The area has undergone extreme revitalization over the last decade, drawing a lot of attention to an assortment of newcomers who enjoy a laid-back community and culture. East Nashville has a huge list of amazing businesses, from restaurants to shops, that are undoubtedly some of the best in Nashville. So many people live in East Nashville, but expect to see mostly young, hip adults and families at the local spots. There are all types of properties including houses, townhouses, duplexes and small apartments. Walking from East Nashville to the other areas is pretty much out of the question, so be prepared to stay on that side of the river or be willing to drive a little.