If you want to make like Johnny Cash and Walk the Line, then look no further than the place where he became a legend: Nashville, Tennessee. Music City may be known for hot chicken and bachelorette parties but Nashville’s most walkable neighborhoods provide surprisingly high levels of walkability, especially for a Southern city. To liberate yourself from a life spent behind the wheel, we suggest you take a look at these walkable Nashville neighborhoods.
Historic Edgefield - The Eclectic Neighborhood
At the top of Nashville’s most walkable neighborhoods is this East Nashville neighborhood, right on the other side of I-24 from Nissan Stadium. Is East Nashville walkable? With a walk score of 78, it’s about as convenient as you can get outside of downtown proper. The beautiful East Park neighborhood is home to trails, ball fields, and the impressive East Park Community Center, which sits right in the middle of the walkable neighborhood. Around this nucleus revolves an accessible assortment of shops and restaurants diverse enough that you won’t have to cross the river unless you want to (we suggest Yeast Nashville for breakfast, and Bolton’s for lunch). It’s even home to the East Nashville Farmers Market, open every Tuesday afternoon from 3:30-6:30, so that you can go farm-to-table without ever stepping inside a restaurant.
If you want to take a longer excursion either by foot, bike, or car, you can’t really do better than Edgefield’s situation. Downtown is just a mile away, and other walkable neighborhoods like Shelby Hills and East End are right down the road.
Hillsboro Village And 12 South
Music City is also renowned for its neighborhood hangout scene and the 12 South and Hillsboro Village neighborhoods set the standard for low-key comfort and accessibility. 12 South's main drag of boutiques and restaurants essentially stitches together historic boroughs, making that night out on the town feel like taking a neighborhood stroll. Here you’ll find an unpretentious mix of class and comfort, with barbecue and burger joints bookending chic boutiques.
If you feel like expanding your treading territory, take advantage of Belmont University within easy walking distance. Belmont University and the sweeping lawns of Vandy’s Peabody campus are just up the road from Hillsboro Village if you’re looking for a little relaxing area near this busy district south of the big city.
Germantown - Nashville's Hip Neighborhood
Just north of the Capitol Mall, Germantown offers a cosmopolitan mix of historic townhomes, upscale condos, shops, and restaurants—all within easy walking distance. It’s like having your own private downtown nook, without ever really having to go downtown. One of the neighborhood’s advantages is its proximity to a handful of Nashville’s premier cultural draws. Besides the Capitol Mall and the State Museum, the expansive Nashville Farmers Market is well within walking distance. This is also the best spot for Nashville sports fans. If you can tear yourself away from the awesome neighborhood sports bars, First Horizon Park, the home of the Nashville Sound plays baseball just a block away; and Top Golf is right across the river if you find yourself wanting to get a few swings in.
It doesn’t hurt that Downtown is just a stroll up the hill, right past the Capitol building. With Germantown’s walkability makes trendy coffeehouses and a hip restaurant scene a stroll away.
Downtown Nashville - The Tourists' Neighborhood
We’d be remiss not to mention the most walkable neighborhood in the entire state of Tennessee: Downtown Nashville. You may have to dodge a few bachelorette parties, but the reason people are always milling about this area is that there’s no reason to step in a vehicle (unless it’s one of those Bar Bike outfits). Downtown is the epitome of walkable neighborhoods with a walk score of 86/100 which might actually be underselling the foot-friendly experience. Sure there are dizzying amounts of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops—all set to around-the-clock live music— downtown's walkability is truly unmatched.
Grocery stores like H.G. Hill Urban Market, and barber shops like Collins and Co. allow you to have your fun with a side of functionality. And if you’re looking for a little quiet, the popular Nashville Public Library is just a few blocks down from the Ryman. Nashville is also one of the few cosmopolitan centers that offers easy escapes from the concrete jungle. Run along the Cumberland River, or hike up the hill to check out the State House’s sprawling grounds. It’s the perfect mix for downtown living, and while downtown Nashvegas rarely sleeps, at least you’ll never have to use a car to get around either.
East End - The Locals' Neighborhood
The tourists can have downtown, as long as the locals get 5 Points, the exceedingly cool East Nashville neighborhood for nightlife, restaurants, shops and pretty much whatever else you can imagine. East End’s location just to the south of this district makes it one of the most walkable (and enviable) neighborhoods in all of Tennessee. Walkscore.com, in fact, rates it as the most walkable Nashville neighborhood. Whatever trendy, high-end service or shops you can imagine are probably within walking distance, and the restaurants are so varied and niche that there’s even one dedicated to Grilled Cheese (The Grilled Cheeserie—you’re welcome). The area also drips with close, eclectic coffee shops we recommend you check out—like Bongo East and Donut Distillery—that can turn a breakfast craving into an all-day hangout. There’s no better place to spend a workday than the nearby coffee shop.
It’s no surprise that neighborhoods this walkable are also a popular place for other exercise-based forms of transportation. The neighborhood supports both a skateshop and a bikeshop, and the East Nasty Running Club meets there every Wednesday night for a community run a couple hundred strong. It’s probably a good idea to burn a few calories before walking over to Five Points for a couple of beers and some live music.
The Gulch - The Trendy Neighborhood
If you think you have to leave the South to get that true urban living experience, then you haven’t looked hard enough at The Gulch, home to Nashville’s shamelessly swanky hotels and entertainment located just a few blocks from Downtown. It's home to classic downtown living, with new highrise condos over sophisticated shops and popular breweries, you won't find any single-family homes here. The complex covers everything from nearby nightlife to groceries; and while you may put the elevator to good use, your car will wonder where you’ve been.
The Gulch even complements your emission-free choice of locomotion through its status as a LEED community. This means it was designed at the cutting edge of sustainable technology, resulting in an attractive mix of convenience, class, and conservation at the very core of Nashville.
West End And Midtown
West End is a local business district-turned high-rise paradise just west of 12 South and nestled between two urban oases: Centennial Park and the lovely Vanderbilt University. With the help of these neighbors, Midtown pulls off a laid-back, collegiate vibe that’s rare in a conventional cityscape. It’s no surprise, then, that this eclectic community is home to one of Nashville’s most diverse restaurant districts around. Sure you get a few of those chain restaurants and cheap pizza joints that cater to the college crowd (although who doesn’t enjoy a greasy late-night slice every once in a while?), but peppered among them is a loaded slate of spots within walking distance.
In the true spirit of education, coffee shops like Cafe Coco offer plenty of patio seating tailor-made for a leisurely workday. Then dinner is a veritable smorgasbord. Feeling Sushi? Go with Samurai Sushi. Crave an Indian food fix? Sitar is right down the street. Wanna load up at a Brazilian steakhouse? Try Texas de Brazil next to Centennial Park. We won’t even go into the batch of excellent less-exotic grub options (except for Clyde’s sports bar, that is), or the accessible upscale bars that dot the local area. Ultimately, Midtown is everything its name suggests, with all your needs covered within just a few city blocks.
Hope Gardens Neighborhood
With a walk score of 76, this Nashville niche just edges out Germantown—it’s nextdoor neighbor—for convenience. It’s not difficult to see why Hope Gardens gets the nod. With its location close to the foot of the Statehouse lawn, the neighborhood’s front yard is essentially the Bicentennial Mall, and the Nashville Farmers Market might as well be its cafeteria. This basically ensures that you’ll never run out of options for food or outdoor entertainment.
The best part is that all these urban amenities inlcude plenty of neighborhood feel. Most of the homes are quaint, unattached, single-family dwellings on small lots. There are a few apartment buildings, but not enough to threaten the sensation that you’ve found a cozy village in the middle of a new metropolis. Oh, and if you still want a little taste of that highfalutin cosmopolitan lifestyle, you can always hop over to Germantown. It’s an easy walk right across Jefferson Street.
Edgehill, with over 4,000 residents, makes the list as one of Nashville’s larger distinct neighborhoods. Edgehill Road offers a consistent mix of new restaurants and other community businesses right in the district’s heart. Between this main drag and the few satellite business districts that orbit it, residents are never far from fulfilling their needs.
Perhaps its greatest attribute, however, is that it provides a family-friendly alternative to Nashville’s more cosmopolitan, antiseptic areas. Parks, including Reservoir and Rose Park, take up significant percentages of the neighborhood real estate, and at Edgehill’s center is a quality elementary-middle school combination. For those who need to steal a break from the family grind, though, Edgehill still has you covered with classy touches like Barcelona Wine Bar.
Those willing to tack on a few extra steps might also appreciate the neighborhood’s unique position in the city. With The Gulch to the north, Midtown to the west, and Belmont University to the south, this sleepier residential district rests right between some of Nashville’s hippest areas. There’s nothing wrong with checking these out and then strolling back to your quieter Edgehill haven.
Want to find your own walkable Nashville residence? Felix Homes is here to take the steps with you. Give us a call at 615-354-5731, or send us an email at email@example.com. After all, it’s best not to walk alone!