Historically, Nashville has mostly known for one thing 鈥 country music, y鈥檃ll! 鈥 but in the last few years, the city has been attracting artists of all genres and mediums, from chefs to musicians, helping to bolster the city鈥檚 reputation as a trendy, must-visit destination for the cool kids of the South. Whether you鈥檙e looking to make some sweet music or you鈥檙e after another creative endeavor, Nashville鈥檚 growing arts and makers scene is hitting all the right notes.



Union Station Hotel: Step back in time at this train-station-turned-hotel. The architecture of the early 1900s Romanesque building, the primo location (within walking distance of The Gulch and other nightlife hot spots) and the newly updated modern-meets-historic rooms make this one of the city鈥檚 swankiest spots to crash. Plus, holy cow鈥 check out that lobby! We almost wish we could just sleep right by the reception desk!


Hotel Indigo: The exterior of the hotel looks like something you might find in New York City, but the inside is Nashville all the way. The homey lobby draws inspiration from Nashville鈥檚 letterpress history and casual-cool, down-home vibes, plus the rooms are super cozy. It鈥檚 also within walking distance of lots of attractions, and it even has live music some nights.


Hermitage Hotel: Get ready for a taste of Southern hospitality. This hotel may be historic, but stuffy it ain鈥檛. The Hermitage Hotel has managed to combine its illustrious past and tradition of excellent service with a funky, modern twist for an authentically Nashville experience.


Bongo Java: The location on Belmont is Nashville鈥檚 oldest and most revered coffee shop. They鈥檙e fully fair trade and roast their own beans. The upstairs has an intimate theater for open-mic nights and other small shows, from dance troupes to comedians to musicians and more. Plus, there鈥檚 an entire page on their website dedicated to the shop鈥檚 Saga of the NunBun, a cinnamon roll that looked vaguely like Mother Theresa; it鈥檚 a truly fascinating read.

Jackalope Brewing Company: Nashville has more than its fair share of rad breweries, but Jackalope is one of the raddest. For starters, it was founded by two women (not the norm in the beer scene). They host yoga on the weekends as well as trivia nights, and their taproom feels less like you鈥檙e drinking in a factory. It鈥檚 got more of a relaxed, coffee-shop-type feel. Oh, and the beer is delicious, especially the Bearwalker Maple Brown.


Eighth and Roast: There are a lot of coffee shops in Music City, but this one is a true hidden gem. The space is open, with exposed brick walls and big tables (perfect for spreading out if you鈥檝e got work to do), and the coffee is delicious. They import and roast top-quality, specialty beans and have a pour-over bar, where you can learn different ways to brew the good stuff. They also offer all kinds of pastries (and lots of vegan options). Basically, this place is the perfect pitstop to refuel while exploring the city.


Corsair Artisan Brewery Taproom: These guys are the mad scientists of the distilling world. From their take on classics, like spiced rum and artisan gin, to more experimental libations, like quinoa whiskey and red absinthe, you鈥檒l want to try it all. Plus, their Nashville location has a craft brewery attached, if you鈥檙e really in need of a drink鈥 or three.



The Catbird Seat: We鈥檒l start with the bad news: There are only 32 seats, you don鈥檛 know the menu in advance and it鈥檒l set you back over $115 a person. Yet, this place is one of the most talked about in Nashville. If you鈥檙e lucky enough to score a seat at this trendy eatery, be prepared to have your mind blown. The tasting menu changes every day, but usually features 12 or so small plates of truly innovative food. And since it鈥檚 so small, you get to chat with the chef and sous chefs about where every ingredient came from and how it was prepped.


I Dream of Weenie: Okay, so it鈥檚 technically a VW bus with a grill in it on a grassy lot in the trendy neighborhood of East Nashville, but you won鈥檛 find a more delicious 鈥渨eenery鈥 in all of Music City. It鈥檚 the perfect place for lunch after exploring all that East Nashville has to offer. Order your hot dog of choice (the Rebel Yelp is legendary, as is their mac and cheese hot dog and their weenie brunch on Sunday mornings), borrow one of their picnic blankets and enjoy some awesome sunning and people watching while you wait for your delicious weenie.


Rolf and Daughters: The food here is so delicious, the atmosphere is so cool and the cocktails are so divine. Every drink has at least five ingredients (which range from the expected, like bitters and fruit, to the obscure, like orange cream soda syrup, whey, coffee and more). They鈥檙e seriously complex, with layers of flavor. And they鈥檙e so smooth, you鈥檒l forget that they鈥檙e made with copious amounts of liquor. You鈥檝e been warned.


Las Paletas: This shop, opened by two sisters, serves up paletas, which one sister learned to make from a paleta expert in a small village in Western Mexico. There really is no better way to cool off on a hot Nashville day. They offer traditional Mexican flavors, like tamarind, chili pineapple, avocado and more, plus they鈥檒l take customer suggestions to make new flavors, like peanut butter, pumpkin spice and chocolate banana.


Third Man Records: Jack White鈥檚 ubercool record company was originally founded in Detroit, but its first physical location is in Nashville 鈥 an appropriate allegory for the music scene in general. While it鈥檚 definitely hipster heaven, the staff are surprisingly chill and friendly. They鈥檝e got a vintage recording booth, a retro photo booth and lots of music-themed stuff to browse through, from t-shirts to trinkets. And yes, plenty of hand-pressed vinyl too.


East Nashville Farmers Market: This weekly get-together occurs every Wednesday evening during the spring, summer and early autumn at Shelby Park. Here, you鈥檒l find locally grown fruits and veggies, homemade bread, fresh pasta, jams, nut butters, baked goodies, fresh-cut flowers, herbs, soap and more. There are also food trucks, so bring a blanket and turn your shopping trip into a picnic.


Old Made Good (OMG): The name of this vintage boutique pretty much says it all. They repurpose antiques and thrift-store finds into something extra special. From furniture to jewelry to clothes and other assorted gifts, this shop is unlike any other. We鈥檙e especially fond of their 鈥渘aughty needlepoints,鈥 adorable cross stitches with sassy sayings embroidered on them.


Hatch Show Print: If you shop at one place in Nashville, make it Hatch Show Print. This renowned letterpress company has been around since the 1870s, and their iconic style has defined printing, especially those classic concert posters for acts like Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and tons more. Today, even though it鈥檚 changed ownership and location several times, Hatch has not only survived the digital age, but they鈥檝e managed to thrive. Supported by the County Music Hall of Fame and Museum, they鈥檙e able to keep printing. Stop by to check out their gallery and buy an authentic print; if you鈥檙e lucky, the letterpress machine will be running while you鈥檙e there.


atmalogy: This maker space has tons of different rooms for any need you may have. And that鈥檚 not the only way atmalogy lets you connect with the creative scene in Nashville; attached, they have a cafe that serves up fresh, organic, locally sourced and healthy snacks, and a shop that sells local artisan goods. Few places allow so many different ways to support and engage with the community.


Art and Invention Gallery: There鈥檚 no better place to delve into Nashville鈥檚 arts scene than at this gallery and art studio. They put on five to six popular shows a year, host workshops and sell all kinds of locally crafted gems. Their most popular show each year is in the summer and features works inspired by the tomato, with contributions ranging from 鈥渢he exquisite to the hilarious.鈥 If that鈥檚 not punk rock, we don鈥檛 know what is!


Bluebird Cafe: This unassuming little cafe has a huge reputation for having big names stop by for their shows featuring up-and-coming singers and songwriters. On any given night, you might watch the next big thing or maybe even a huge star or industry bigwig perform. The place is tiny, and it鈥檚 usually packed now that it鈥檚 been featured on the show Nashville. If you can鈥檛 get a reservation, you might be able to squeeze into the back.


The Skillery: This maker haven not only has co-working space (with a super cool vibe, might we add), but they offer classes 鈥 for fun and for entrepreneurs. Sign up for lessons in website design, photography, branding, crafting, legal consultations, letterpress printing and more. Everyone involved is super well connected and totally willing to help advise and inspire the next generation of creative geniuses.


Douglas Corner Cafe: Seriously, while you鈥檙e in Nashville, you really should check out the music scene. This legendary venue hosts open mic nights, release parties and shows by artists on the rise. The atmosphere is all Nashville, all the way. And, most importantly, the beer is cheap and cold.


Fort Houston: Whether you鈥檙e a member here, or you just want to learn something new at one of their many, varied classes, Fort Houston is all about creating something new. Members get access to either a desk, the mechanical shop, the print shop or the wood shop, and the chance to meet people who share their passions. You don鈥檛 have to be a member to take a class though, which is perfect if you鈥檙e just curious about dabbling in glassblowing, silkscreening, 3D printing, and more.

Have you checked out Nashville鈥檚 growing makers scene lately? Sing the praises of Music City in our comments!