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Nashville, Tennessee. The Music City. Athens of the South. Smashville. Nashville has many faces and many nicknames. Whether it’s for being the country music capital of the country, having a life-size replica of the Greek Parthenon building, or being the hockey leader of the South, Nashville is a bustling and diverse city. Once you’ve decided you’re coming to Nashville, and you’ve figured out the best time to visit, there’s just one thing left. Where are you going to stay?
Choosing somewhere to stay, especially in a huge city like Nashville, can feel very daunting. Which neighborhood is best to stay in? What type of accommodation are you looking for? What’s your budget and what do you plan on doing while you’re in Nashville? These are just some of the questions that I am going to help you answer until we’ve narrowed it down to the ultimate place to stay in Nashville.
Neighborhoods in Nashville
Okay, so one of the first things you’ll need to decide is what area of Nashville do you want to stay in? There are a few different neighborhoods to choose from which all have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look.
If it’s your first time visiting Nashville, Downtown could provide the perfect base for you to explore all the best bits the Music City has to offer. Geographically, it’s slap bang in the middle of Nashville and really is the tourism hub of the capital with everything within walking distance.
If you’re visiting Nashville you’re undoubtedly going to want to see some live music and this is the place to do just that. With a bustling nightlife, you’ll find bright lights, honky-tonks, and first-class live music every day of the week. As if that wasn’t enough, for you music lovers out there, check out the Ryman Auditorium while you’re here. It used to be home to the Grand Ole Opry and although it has since been moved, it’s still a fantastic place to get a tour or see a show.
Downtown isn’t all music, music, music though. It’s more like music, music, food, drinks, music, food, drinks! Downtown is home to hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of delicious restaurants and bars. If you’re anything like me and you can’t decide on one thing, you have got to head to the Assembly Food Hall. Firstly, it’s on a rooftop with some awesome views and secondly, there are over 30 eateries to choose from! Hot chicken, Italian, Kurdish, Chinese, Mexican, and way more.
- Everything is within walking distance
- Live music every night
- Tons of bars and restaurants to choose from
- One of the most expensive places to stay
SoBro, or otherwise known as South Broadway, is located just outside of Downtown and offers a slightly more off-beat vibe when compared with its neighbor. SoBro is where all things music are happening. It’s the location of the Johnny Cash museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Walk of Fame Park. Even if you’re not that into country music, these are still worth visiting.
If sports are more your jam, SoBro is also home to the hockey arena! As mentioned before, Nashville (or Smashville) is well known for its excellent hockey teams from youth teams up to the big leagues.
When it comes to food and drink, SoBro is not going to disappoint. The streets are lined with some of Nashville’s best restaurants and bars. If you want something a little magical while you’re here, then head to House of Cards for a delicious steak with a side of live magic!
- Hippie/offbeat vibe
- Lots of music attractions
- Hockey arena
- Not as many places to choose from to stay
- Quite expensive
Moving slightly out of the center, to the west, is Midtown. It’s still within walking distance of Downtown but just this little bit of distance has a healthy effect on the cost of accommodation here. Midtown is known mainly for its lively nightlife, partly thanks to the large student population here. Home to both the Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, there is definitely a youthful feel to this area in Nashville.
Centennial Park, the largest urban park in Nashville, measuring 132-acres is also located here. With all that space you’re bound to find a quiet corner to escape the crowds and enjoy views of the stunning lake. This park is also home to the aforementioned Parthenon building too!
Of course, there’s plenty of tasty treats to be found here too. A couple of the most loved restaurants in this area include Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and Midtown Cafe.
- Slightly cheaper to stay than Downtown
- Lots of restaurants to choose from
- Large urban park
- Not much retail in the area
- Not as much to do as in the city center
4. Music Row
Now here is a unique and Nashville-esque place to stay. This is where the magic happens. Not literally this time though; no, these two parallel streets are jam-packed with music studios, radio stations, and record labels. Famous artists, such as Elvis Presley, even recorded here in the Historic RCA Studio B. If you’re a big music buff or an avid Elvis fan, you should definitely try and get in on one of the studio tours here.
It’s not only music studios though; snuggled in between are dozens of bars, restaurants, places to sleep, and places to hear the music that’s being made here! Head to Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern and have a cold beer whilst talking to the immensely talented singer-songwriters that frequent this much-loved bar.
Music Row Overall
- Music lovers will be in heaven here
- Totally unique to Nashville
- Probably not very interesting for those not into music
5. The Gulch
Interestingly, The Gulch is anickname referencing the railroad tracks that ran through the area however, now The Gulch has taken on a persona of its own and that’s one of high class and luxury. Packed with high-rise buildings, luxury apartments and top-end hotels this area is as glamorous as they come. If shopping is high on your priority list and you’ve got some spare cash to flaunt, then you’ll be in heaven amongst the countless designer stores.
The Gulch also boasts some of the most relaxing and sophisticated salons and spas, restaurants, and rooftop cocktail bars. Basically, if you’re on the market to pamper and indulge then this would be the ideal neighborhood to check out. It’s just a short drive from Downtown and SoBro, so you’ll have the benefit of everything those areas have to offer too.
The Gulch Overall
- Sleek, sophisticated, glamorous
- Lots of high-end stores
- Fine dining
- Most expensive area to stay
- Not as much of a music scene
6. East Nashville
Head out of Downtown and cross the Cumberland River and you’ll reach the hip and artsy East Nashville. Wander through the streets and uncover hidden coffee shops, art galleries, trendy eateries, and craft shops galore. East Nashville is a mixed-use area so finding somewhere to stay here will definitely set you back a lot less than the Gulch or Downtown.
If you’re not really into art or vintage stores, there’s plenty of less-hipster activities to take part in. Why not meander along the 5-miles of walking trails in Shelby Bottoms Park. Adjacent to the Cumberland River, there are some stunning views and some Insta-worthy photos to be taken here.
Alternatively, any football fans out there might be heading to the Nissan Stadium to see the Tennessee Titans do their thing (provided you’re visiting during football season, of course).
East Nashville Overall
- Cheaper than the city center
- Hipster/artsy area
- Avoid the crowds
- Not walking distance to the other neighborhoods
- Not as many music venues and restaurants as Downtown
7. Opryland/Music Valley
This list wouldn’t be complete without talking about the new home of the Grand Ole Opry. For almost a century, the Grand Ole Opry has been showcasing and promoting the very best that music has to offer. They still have weekly live performances and tours so don’t miss out on seeing where years of music legends have performed.
In this area, you’ll also find Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center (legendary in its own right), Soundwaves, and the Opry Mills shopping center. If you do end up staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort be prepared to have your jaw hit the floor when you enter the exquisite glass atrium; it’s like entering a whole other world. Then waste no time in heading over to Soundwaves, a 4-acre water park filled with waterfalls, lazy rivers, and slides of all shapes and sizes; you could easily spend days here and still not see it all!
Rooms at the Gaylord Opryland Resort start at around $348.
Opryland/Music Valley Overall
- A 100% unique experience
- Everything you need in one place
- Will set you back a fair few bucks
- Would need transport into the city center
Neighborhoods in Nashville: Overall
- For being in the thick of it: Downtown
- Avoiding the crowds: East Nashville
- Music lovers: Music Row
- Retail therapy: The Gulch
- Best overall for first-timers: SoBro!
Accommodation in Nashville
Nashville is a bustling, vibrant city, and thanks to this, there’s no shortage of places to stay. However, not everyone will want to stay in the same type of accommodation. A high-end hotel might not be suitable for a single, shoestring backpacker just as a shared dorm room wouldn’t suit a family of four. Lucky for all you guys, Nashville has got it all. Let’s take a look at the different types of accommodation you can find in Music City.
Of course, we will start with the most obvious; hotels! With over 350 hotels in the Nashville area, narrowing it down to one can feel impossible so we’ve done the leg work for you, and here are our top picks.
Union Station Hotel – Downtown / 4* / Rooms from $280
Union Station Hotel is located in between Downtown and SoBro, making it an ideal location for anyone looking to explore the best Nashville has to offer on foot. When are you ever going to be able to stay that you stayed in a train station that was built in the 1900s! The stunning architecture is unlike anything else you’ll find in Nashville, with the grand atrium highlighted by a beautiful colored glass ceiling and grand chandeliers.
The Union Station Hotel boasts 125 beautifully and uniquely designed rooms and suites, with even some of them being pet-friendly! If you don’t quite feel like leaving this luxurious, medieval feeling hotel, then don’t! They have their own, highly esteemed restaurant, Carters, on-site as well as nightly whiskey tastings just for good measure (and trust me, the measure is good!).
The Hermitage Hotel – Downtown / 5* / Rooms from $311
A list of Nashville hotels wouldn’t be complete without including the century-old Hermitage Hotel. Located Downtown, you’re a stone’s throw away from all the live music, activities, eating, and drinking you could possibly want. This 5* hotel will give you just that experience; valet-only parking, 24-hour room service, spa treatments whenever it takes your fancy and they’ll even walk your furry friend for you too!
The decor is in keeping with the age of the hotel, with a beautiful and ornate lobby, although it has been referred to as dated by those who don’t appreciate the history of it all! With all that experience, The Hermitage Hotel knows what its guests want when it comes to fine dining and they even have their own farm which supplies the ingredients (almost) straight to your dinner plate! It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
Graduate – Midtown / 4* / Rooms from $300
If you want to really soak up the true Nashville, you’ve got to stay at the Graduate hotel. Disclaimer: if you don’t like loud, happy, vibrant colors and mismatched patterns, do not stay here! The Graduate is channeling their inner Dolly Parton and they’re not afraid to show it. It’s fun, eccentric, and unique. What’s not to love?
Oh, and it’s also located right in the heart of bustling Midtown so get those dancing shoes on and get ready to dance the night away in one of the many, many bars in town!
Club-Hotel Nashville Inn & Suites – Opryland / 3* / Rooms from $135
Not every hotel we stay in needs to break the bank. If you want to save some of that cash for a little light retail therapy or to visit some much-loved attractions then you should do just that. The Club-Hotel Nashville Inn & Suites offers comfortable, clean rooms with all the amenities you could need. Feeling that summer heat of Nashville? Why not head outside your room and jump straight in the pool!
If you want to head further afield, you’re already right in the Opryland area and all that has to offer but Downtown is just 7-miles away too! Not quite walking distance but it’s definitely not going to be a lengthy journey.
Airbnb has taken off over the last decade, and for good reason. Suddenly, our travel possibilities extended far beyond just hotels and resorts and we could actually stay in someone’s home. We can ask their advice and find the hidden gems that only the locals know about. Anyway, I am a huge fan of Airbnb for a lot of reasons and there are some unique and cool accommodation options in Nashville too.
Stone Cottage – East Nashville / 4.89* / Entire home from $82
This listing is for the entire 2-bedroom home located just a 6-minute Uber from Downtown. Stone Cottage is said to be like being “in a fairy tale” with its adorable outside seating area, spacious, clean rooms but with some cozy, cottage decor incorporated flawlessly. There’s everything you need in this self-contained home with WiFi, 2 parking spaces, a kitchen, bathroom, toiletries, air conditioning, heating, and more.
With 120 reviews (at the time of writing this) and a score like 4.89*, you know you’re in good hands with this superhost.
Creekside – North Nashville / 4.91* / Entire guest suite from $53
Okay, if you’re looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of busy central Nashville, Creekside could be the perfect place to lay your head after a busy day sightseeing. Located in a quiet, suburban neighborhood, I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day than with a cold beer or glass of wine on the terrace overlooking the creek. You’re far enough out of the city that you’ll be able to see the stars on a cloudless night but you’re just a 15-minute drive from Downtown for when you want to step it up a notch.
This guest suite has a private entrance, self-check-in, a queen size bed, kitchenette with a mini-fridge, and microwave. Basically, it has everything you’ll need for a comfortable and unforgettable stay in Nashville. If you don’t believe me, there are 117 reviews so far that agree with me!
Treetop Loft – South Nashville / 4.87* / Entire guest suite from $99
This is one of the reasons why I love Airbnb. When else are you going to get the opportunity to sleep in an actual “treehouse”. Okay, it’s not literally a treehouse but it’s close enough for me. The charming Treetop Loft boasts beautiful views of nature, your very own fire pit for those late-night smores, and a “pretty rad” tree swing!
Included in your room is a king-size Sleep Number bed which, if you don’t know, is one of those super fancy beds that you can change each side to suit whoever is sleeping there. Cool, right? You’ll also find a microwave, coffee maker, mini-fridge, and some complimentary snacks to start your Nashville trip off right!
Hotels and Airbnb’s are great, but what if you’re like me and you travel solo? They’re suddenly not quite as affordable and they don’t offer the same social aspect that hostels do. A solo trip discovering Nashville could soon turn into a raging party with five of your new best friends if you choose the right hostel! So, without further ado.
Nashville Downtown Hostel – Downtown / 8.8/10 (Booking.com) / Approx. $100
– At the time of writing this article, the Nashville Downtown Hostel is temporarily closed due to an unfortunate incident that damaged part of the building. However, their aim is to be open and fully operational again at the beginning of 2022. I have still included this hostel in the rankings due to its impressive and longstanding reputation, however, due to this temporary closure, an exact price per night could not be deduced. –
The Nashville Downtown Hostel is located in the perfect spot, 550-yards from the Johnny Cash Museum and just minutes from the live music venues that make Nashville who it is. In this hostel there are dorm rooms (co-ed, all-female, or all-male), there are en-suite dorms, private rooms, and rooms that can accommodate 35+ guests.
Save some cash on food by taking full advantage of the shared kitchen available. There’s also free WiFi throughout the building and a shared lobby for relaxing after a long day of exploring. Oh, and there’s also billiards! Get ready to show off some skills…or learn some!
Music City Hostel – Midtown / 8.1/10 (Booking.com) / Dorm bed from $48
The sister hostel to the Nashville Downtown Hostel, the Music City Hostel is located in the fun and youthful Midtown. There’s room for 30 guests split between dorms and private rooms. The hostel’s aim is to bring the eclectic group of Nashville visitors together, not only why they stay here but beyond. With so many musicians and artists coming to stay here, it’s not uncommon to have an impromptu jam session around the fire in an evening.
Enjoy laundry facilities, a shared kitchen, garden, BBQ grill, and bike storage all to make your stay more comfortable. This place is ideal for solo travelers and couples alike. It’s probably best for those who want to be social as everyone’s welcoming and friendly at the Music City Hostel.
Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought when it comes to deciding on the best place to stay in Nashville. Ultimately, wherever you stay in the Music City, there are so many wonderful places to explore that you’re bound to have a blast wherever you stay!
Answer: Downtown (for those who want to be in the thick of it) or East Nashville (for those wanting a quieter escape from the hustle and bustle).
Answer: There’s nothing that you need to avoid. As with any big city, having common sense and knowing your surroundings should be more than enough to keep you safe.
Answer: It depends on what you’re here for. Downtown has a lot of bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Opryland is like a little world of its own with the Opryland Resort and Soundwaves.
Answer: Nashville’s Honky Tonk Highway. It is located in Lower Broadway and has live music daily until 3 am!