WEST END NASHVILLE: AWESOME EATS, HIP VENUES, & SURPRISING PLACES TO STAY
“Since I was a kid I just wanted to be in Nashville.” — Keith Urban
Sneak a peek at the map, and you see Nashville’s West End (aka Midtown) a stone’s throw away from Hillsboro Village.
West End is a legendary Nashville neighborhood that has a little something for everyone.
Case in point is a replica of the Greek Parthenon in Centennial Park just a couple of miles west of downtown.
A full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, the building was designed by Confederate veteran William Crawford Smith and built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
Well worth the visit, Nashville's Parthenon comes complete with a replica of the 100 foot statue of the Goddess Athena - the almost mythical statue notably missing from the original building in Athens.
What else has this eclectic locale to offer? Plenty!
But first, let's take a brief look at the area's backstory...
A Brief History of Nashville's West End
Without Vanderbilt University, the Nashville West End as you know it would not exist.
It was the driving force behind the development of the West End neighborhood.
Proposed by the Methodist Episcopal Church South as a regional university for the training of ministers, Nashville was selected as the location for "Central University" following lobbying by Nashville bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire.
However building of the college was delayed due to lack of funds following the Civil War. That was until bishop McTyeire visited Cornelius Vanderbilt at his residence in New York in 1873.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was the wealthiest man in the United States at the time, at the time had been planning to establish a university on Staten Island in New York, in honor of his mother.
However, McTyeire convinced him to donate $500,000 to endow Central University instead, in order to "contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country."
Vanderbilt's endowment was eventually increased to $1 million - approximately $20 million in today's money. The university stands as one of only two causes Vanderbilt ever contributed to before his death in 1877.
While he never asked for the College to bear his name, the school was rechristened Vanderbilt University after more fruitful lobbying by McTyeire following Vanderbilt's death.
The College's history is a colorful one with some growing pains along the way, too. (Ask some old-timers about the infamous Methodist Church demolition, and you'll likely get an ear full.)
Fast forward to today, and the sights and sounds of the locale are sure to make a grand impression.
The restaurants West End Nashville locals and visitors flock to are diverse in tasty offerings.
Live music is on tap nightly in West End, complete with impromptu performances from A-listers in Centennial Park's Musicians Corner.
Nashville's West End "Must Visit" Restaurants
Where should you grab a bite to eat?
This question is about as easy to answer as the suggestion to pick your favorite architectural style: Tudor revival or English cottage?
You can find both in the neighborhood; and many others as well!
2413 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN 37203
A Nashville landmark since 1945 this family-owned and run eatery is clearly doing something right.
The cheeseburger on French bread is Rotier's claim to fame. In fact, it's won them local and national awards including from USA Today and The Food Network.
Friday’s daily special, salmon croquettes, are a fantastic selection.
Juicy hamburgers, homemade chips, and hand-battered onion rings make up the staples.
Image Source: Rotier's Restaurant
The Grilled Cheeserie
2003 Belcourt Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212
The chef has Le Cordon Bleu training. The business is a melt shop.
The Grilled Cheeserie started life as a food truck in 2010 specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. While you can still chase down the legendary truck on Nashville's streets,(voted best in Nashville 6 years running), their bricks and mortar restaurant on Belcourt Avenue opened its doors in 2016.
And it's a good thing too. Chef Joseph De Luna-Bogan's grilled cheese sandwiches reach gourmet heights you did not think were possible and are worthy of a sit down to savor.
Sweet potato chips, pimento mac and cheese, traditional tomato soup, and a milkshake bar are some of the other menu highlights.
Image Source: David Burns on Google
Amerigo Italian Restaurant
1920 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN, 37203
When you are jonesing for authentic Italian food, this eatery is your destination of choice.
Because variety is the spice of life, the restaurant frequently adds new seasonal dishes and offers early bird specials.
Hand-made pizzas are the lure that brings in families.
Tastings and special events are also features. Each month, Chef Steven Robilio presents a five-course dinner with seasonal ingredients from the Franklin Farmers Market.
Call when making reservations for 5 or more or book using OpenTable on their website for 4 or less.
Image Source: Amerigo Italian Restaurant
M.L. Rose West Craft Beer & Burgers
4408 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, 37209
Draft beers, burgers, and spicy sides. What's not to love?
The M.L. Rose tagline, "get out without getting fancy" sums up the vibe.
This place features over 90 craft beers sourced both within Nashville and beyond. Coupled with their focus on serving up fresh, simple pub food and specialty burgers, this place could become your new favourite hangout.
Oh, and if you want to watch the game, this is where you go.
Image Source: M.L. Rose West Craft Beer & Burgers
Where to Stay in Nashville's West End
You've explored some of the restaurants West End Nashville locals visit on a regular basis.
You realize that you need a few more days to take it all in.
Where should you stay? West End Nashville has to several hotels on offer.
1719 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN, 37203
When you like a modern twist on things, you can't go wrong with Aloft.
This hotel is not your typical chain spot. The venue is a feast for the eyes and big on comfort.
If you feel the need to work off some of the calories you took in at the local restaurants, a modern gym is on the premises.
Image Source: Winston Shull, Aloft Hotels
Daisy Hill Bed and Breakfast
2816 Blair Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37212
When a personal touch matters, this bed & breakfast is a good option.
Located in the middle of a trendy residential area of the West End neighborhood, the B&B occupies a Tudor Revival Craftsman style home built in 1926 and is listed in the National Historic Registry of Places and Neighborhoods.
Common areas include a living room with working fireplace, a dining room with family style seating for breakfast, and a library.
Guests with a musical bent are also welcome to tickle the ivories on their 115 year old piano.
Choose an individual room or a family suite.
Image Source: Daisy Hill Bed & Breakfast
Home2 Suites by Hilton
1800 Division Street, Nashville, TN 37203
If you are thinking of staying for a while, consider this attractive hotel.
For the traveler with Fido in tow, booking a room at one of the pet-friendly hotels West End Nashville has is critical. This locale does not disappoint. In fact, you can bring up to two pets into your suite.
Image Source: Home2 Suites by Hilton
Savor the Music at a West End Honky Tonk
Of course, no one just comes here to eat and hang out. Nashville - Music City - is world-famous for its music scene.
But not just any run-of-the-mill music joint will do. Since West End attractions are big on local flavor, you don't have to settle.
We've listed some of the best spots below...
Springwater Supper Club
115 27th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37203
This lounge is a little piece of Americana. Pool and darts are the games of choice.
However, don’t let the dive bar vibe fool you. This venerable club has been around since 1896.
Its colorful history includes stints as a brothel and library during prohibition.
Now, it’s a coveted spot for musicians to play live. It’s not unusual to see three to four bands a night.
Image Source: James Reeves on Google
Corner of 27th Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
Local acts flock to Centennial Park and its Musicians Corner each summer.
Inspired by Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde park, Musician’s Corner is an annual program of music and arts.
Established in 2010, the program’s audience has grown from 5,000 to 65,000 people has grown to include a permanent stage, local artisans, food trucks, a Kidsville and dogs area, and the Musician’s Corner Pub.
Some 1,000 artists have performed since its inception, featuring both local and established acts like Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, The Blink Boys of Alabama and Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Regaling audiences with everything from country to jazz, if you don’t like the music today, come back tomorrow for something completely different.
Image Source: James Reeves on Google
Cafe Coco 210 Louise Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, 37203
The locale looks small and unassuming. But step a little closer, and you hear the music.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for local talent. If you like to say that you knew them when they just started out, this is where you meet the hottest new bands.
Order a personal pizza, cappuccino, or breakfast while listening to future stars.
Image Source: Cafe Coco
Join the Fun at West End Attractions!
So, visit Ancient Greece on a stroll through Centennial Park. Take in a concert as you stop by Musicians Corner. Grab some tasty bites to eat at restaurants with a colorful history. And spend plenty of time listening to the music. Nashville's West End has it all – and more!
CHECK OUT SOME OTHER POPULAR LINKS
Check out these other popular links
Additional Resources if You're Moving to Tennessee
Searching for a house can be both exciting and stressful. Here are online resources to help you plan your move.
- The Nashville Chamber of Commerce "Getting Established" page is a great resource for information on a variety of topics and is a great place to start.
- Department of Motor Vehicles instructions to re-register your out of state driver's license and vehicle.
- Check out the neighborhood! Read up on Nashville's eclectic neighborhoods and find your ideal vibe.
- Have kids? Learn about schools and their ratings before you move.