East Nashville just might be the coolest neighborhood in all of Nashville. Hop over the river from downtown and check out the local shops and restaurants with this quick guide! (Updated May 2020)
Referring to cities & neighborhoods as “The Portland of ___” is a pretty cliché thing to do; it also totally diminishes the originality of a place. It undermines the fact that creative people can and do live anywhere, not just in cities that are known for being quirky.
All that being said, I’m very tempted to liken East Nashville to Portland (or maybe East Side Portland if we’re really getting into it).
Whereas Nashville is generally known for being home to country music and brings all of those Southern country characteristics along with it, East Nashville is decidedly different. Separated from Downtown Nashville by the Cumberland River, East Nashville feels a little more laid-back, and a just a little bit cooler (based on my humble opinion as a visitor, of course).
East Nashville is mainly a residential area, so it’s not a tourist-focused area with attractions. That’s not what we’re here for! It is separated into a bunch of smaller neighborhoods and districts (like the Fatherland District or 5-Points) to explore, with lots of local businesses to support, including shops, restaurants, bars, yoga studios, etc. As you drive around, you’ll quickly notice the historic homes and murals everywhere.
The reason I can’t help but bring Portland into this is because it’s the easiest way to describe the vibe of East Nashville. Creative people, thriving local businesses, laid-back energy, street art, historic-homes-turned-restaurants, and super cool cafes. If you’ve ever been to (the East side of) Portland, then you know exactly what I mean.
But I’ll turn away from continuing the comparison, because East Nashville is its own place with its own story.
The more I travel, the more I enjoy exploring the neighborhoods just outside of the city center. While Downtown Wherever usually garners most of the focus, it’s the surrounding neighborhoods that are really starting to take over. It’s where people live, it’s where locals spend their time, and it’s where you’ll find unique places that feel a little less chaotic.
That’s why I really loved this Nashville neighborhood and chose to spend most of my trip there. I stayed in an Airbnb in East Nashville, every morning I stopped in at one of the local coffee shops, and I wandered the neighborhood to really get a feel for it.
East Nashville Guide
I did my best to put together a quick guide to East Nashville. I included cafes, restaurants and shops, with a mix of places I went to and a few that simply had good reviews (unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit every single place). These are the places I recommend you check out if you want to hop across the river while visiting Nashville.
East Nashville Coffee Shops
Nashville has so many great independent coffee shops, and there are lots of them right in East Nashville.
Where to Eat in East Nashville
There is so much good food in this neighborhood! And great news if, like me, you’re a vegetarian (or vegan): there are LOTS of options.
- The Wild Cow (Vegan) // 1100 Fatherland St // Website
- Café Roze // 1115 Porter Road // Website
- Five Points Pizza // 1012 Woodland St // Website
- Graze Nashville (Vegan) // 1888 Eastland Ave // Website
- Five Daughters Bakery // 1900 Eastland Ave #101 // Website
- The Soda Parlor // 966 Woodland St // Website
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream // 1892 Eastland Ave // Website
East Nashville Shops
Within each district, you’ll find lots of cool shops selling all kinds of things. My personal favorite was the Gift Horse (cute stationery, gifts, handmade items, and paper goods), but each place has unique offerings that make them worth visiting.
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