Welcome to the kick-off of our Nashville Neighborhood Series, brought to you by us, the folks at Blissful Horizon Vacation Rentals. First stop: 12 South in Nashville, a lively and friendly district that’s got it all—from cool boutiques and scrumptious eateries to awesome murals that’ll light up your Instagram feed.
Just a half-mile stretch but packed with fun, 12 South is the perfect place to chill with a coffee and spend a morning browsing unique shops. And the best part? It’s a quiet, kid- and pet-friendly haven right in the heart of the city.
But… why 12 South? It’s simple—it’s south of downtown Nashville, running along 12th Avenue South. It’s where the old meets new and local charm meets modern chic. From its indie businesses to its restored homes, from the tree-lined streets to the coffee shops and boutiques, every corner of 12 South has something special to offer. We even recommend it as a must-stop spot in the first iteration of the perfect Bachelorette weekend.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into one of the best neighborhoods in Nashville, just waiting for you to explore!
A Trip Back in Time
12 South’s evolution from a quiet suburb to a buzzing cultural hotspot reflects Nashville’s transformation as time goes on. When you walk through this neighborhood, you can really feel its history in the buildings and landmarks, each one whispering its own tale. Here are a few places to get better acquainted with 12 South’s past:
- Sevier Park: Named after Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier, this park is an urban oasis with a rich history. Its pride and glory is the grand Victorian home on the grounds of Sunnyside Mansion, which dates back to the 1850s. Not only does it evoke a bygone era of Southern charm and hospitality, but it lives up to that vibe, now serving as a community center.
- The Filling Station: This one-of-a-kind craft beer shop was once a service station in the 1920s, and its transformation into a modern retail space epitomizes this neighborhood’s commitment to preserving its past while embracing the new. This is the ideal spot to sample a wide range of local craft beers, each with its unique flavor profile.
- Belmont Mansion: Just a stone’s throw away from 12 South, the Belmont Mansion is a stunning example of Italianate architecture. Built in the mid-19th century, this historic house museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Nashville’s antebellum society, with intricate interiors, beautiful gardens, and a vast collection of Victorian art and furnishings. A real must for history buffs!
What to See
As we said, 12 South in Nashville may be small, but boy, does it pack a punch. This neighborhood is home to an eclectic mix of attractions, which speaks volumes about its vibrant, diverse culture. So, what should you check out first?
- I Believe in Nashville Mural: This iconic piece of street art, painted on the side of a building between Halcyon and Montrose, symbolizes the city’s resilience and spirit. Not only does the mural make a real statement, but it also makes the perfect backdrop for Instagram-worthy pictures.
- 12 South Nashville Farmers Market: Sevier Park transforms into a bustling farmers market every Tuesday, showcasing the best of Nashville’s local produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, and gourmet food trucks—it’s every foodie’s paradise. The market also features handmade crafts, making it a great place to shop for original souvenirs!
- Nashville Looks Good On You Mural: Located in a quiet back alley between Beechwood and Sweetbriar, this bold black-and-white piece contrasts with colorful outfits. Bring your wildest hats for photos that truly encapsulate the mural’s message!
- Looking Pretty, Music City Mural: Another mural…. but what can we say? 12 South is just such a hotspot for creatives! This charming wall is another cute reminder of Nashville’s spirit and deep connection to beauty and music. If you’re looking for a happy-go-lucky pic from your vacation—this is the place.
Where to Shop
The 12 South Nashville shopping scene is a delightful mix of high-end fashion boutiques, locally-made goods, and quirky finds. Each shop adds to the neighborhood’s distinctive character, and most attract thousands of visitors each year…
- Draper James: Anyone who’s anyone knows this boutique, ask actress Reese Witherspoon… she owns the place! They say Draper James is the picture of sophisticated Southern living, and we are inclined to agree since it offers a range of clothing and accessories that blend traditional Southern elegance with modern style. This is a great place to find stylish dresses and elegant home decor.
- White’s Mercantile: A far cry from the hustle and bustle of a typical mall, White’s Mercantile is a modern general store filled to the brim with a variety of goods. From locally made artisan products to gourmet food items, every corner of the store invites exploration. The shop is housed in a beautifully restored historic building, adding an extra layer of charm to your shopping experience.
- Emerson Grace: A haven for fashion enthusiasts, Emerson Grace features a carefully curated collection of contemporary clothing and accessories from established and emerging designers. The store’s minimalist aesthetic allows the pieces to shine, creating a shopping experience that’s both chic and inviting.
- Imogene + Willie: A definite go-to for high-quality denim. What started as a dream in 2009, with an email and a pair of jeans, quickly turned into a globally recognized brand. Its story, from a humble launch in an old service station to its current success, embodies Nashville’s spirit of community and commitment to quality.
- Stoney Clover Lane: The owners of Stoney Clover thought Music City could use a little more color, so they opened a Stoney Clover Lane store in the always-vibrant 12 South neighborhood. Their store features a performer-ready stage that often showcases local talent, as well as a custom mural created by a local artist. Come see them for a taste of Nashville’s best and bring your kids!
Where to Eat
No visit to 12 South in Nashville would be complete without indulging in its diverse culinary scene. From hearty Southern comfort food to innovative culinary creations, the neighborhood offers a dining experience to suit every palate. Make these spots a priority—you won’t regret it:
- Butter Milk Ranch: This popular spot elevates the most important meal of the day with its cubic croissants and thoughtful decor reminiscent of an Alpine chalet. The service is as enjoyable as the food, making it a warm and welcoming spot to start your day.
- Urban Grub: From fresh seafood to succulent ribs, Urban Grub is where Southern cuisine comes out to play. The restaurant’s shareable menu encourages a communal dining experience, whether you’re seated in its cozy interior or charming outdoor patio. The crab beignets and shrimp and grits are local favorites!
- Edley’s Bar‑B-Que: One of the best barbecue joints in the city. Edley’s is all about authentic taste in a laid-back atmosphere—perfect for a delicious and comforting meal. The aroma of smoked meats wafts through the restaurant, whetting your appetite for its melt-in-your-mouth pork platter or the crowd-pleasing BBQ nachos with smoked chicken.
- bartaco: In the words of the New York Times, “As a neighborhood drop-in place for lunch, a casual supper or anything in between, bartaco is hard to beat.” This taqueria is a hit for its fresh and flavorful tacos in a wanderlust-inspired setting. Make sure to pair your meal with one of its signature cocktails!
- MAFIAoZA’s: A neighborhood staple since 2003, MAFIAoZA’s pizzeria and pub is a bit of a time warp with its 1920s New York-style Italian ambiance, making it an ideal choice for family dinners or date nights. Here you can get some of the finest stone-oven pizza in the Southeast, and all the dishes are crafted from fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients.
- Frothy Monkey: This neighborhood coffee shop is a favorite among locals. Known for its artisanal coffees, it also has a breakfast and lunch menu that’s tough to beat. The relaxed vibe makes it a great spot to refuel while you explore the neighborhood! Oh, and it’s very, very pet friendly.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: This is more than just an ice cream shop—it’s a Nashville institution. Known for its creative flavors and smooth, buttery texture, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is the perfect way to cool down after a hot, Southern day.
- Five Daughters Bakery: This family-owned bakery is famous for its 100-layer donut, also known as the “Quinnamon.” But that’s not all it’s good for! From paleo to vegan options, there’s a lot to choose from at Five Daughters—just be sure to get there early, as its popular items tend to sell out quickly.
- Wanna Spoon Cerebal Bar: Wanna Sppon is a cereal bar in Nashville that offers a variety of cereals, milks, and toppings to create custom cereal bowls! They also offer cereal ice cream swirls, milkshakes, and coffee. The bar has a fun and vibrant atmosphere with multiple murals to take pictures. They also have a backyard with firepits for s’mores, picnic-style tables, cornhole boards, and a cow named CoCo.
A Day in 12 South Nashville
Got just one day to cover all this ground? No sweat, here are some ideas of how you should spend your time…
Start your day with breakfast at Butter Milk Ranch, kicking back with a croissant and a good cup of coffee. After breakfast, take a leisurely walk over to Sevier Park to enjoy the serene setting and explore the historic Sunnyside Mansion.
Head toward the iconic murals in 12 South: first stop, the “I Believe in Nashville” mural for a photo op. Next, head toward the “Looking Pretty, Music City” mural, a vibrant tribute to the city’s aesthetic. Afterward, don’t miss the “Nashville Looks Good On You” mural tucked in a back alley. That’ll be you, photo’d out for the day, we reckon!
For lunch, head to bartaco for a slice of Mexico-meets-Brazil. If day drinking is your thing (or maybe it could become your thing), get a margarita to go with it.
Spend the hotter hours darting in and out of boutiques. Stop by Draper James for a clean and fresh take on traditional Southern style, then discover local goods at White’s Mercantile, and browse the latest fashion trends at Emerson Grace.
After shopping, spend some time wandering the neighborhood, soaking in the atmosphere, and enjoying the local art scene. Visit the Belmont Mansion for a fascinating look at 19th-century Southern society.
As the evening approaches, make your way to MAFIAoZA’s for some delicious Italian fare. The relaxed setting makes it a perfect spot for a family dinner or a casual date night.
Finally, end your day on a sweet note. Visit Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for a scoop of its creative flavors, or head to Five Daughters Bakery for a decadent 100-layer donut.
To Wrap Up
12 South is like a little slice of Nashville’s spirit, where the city’s rich history meets its creative energy. From its boutiques to gastro delights, this neighborhood promises an immersive and unforgettable experience that leaves visitors with a lasting impression of Music City’s warm hospitality. It’s a place where every turn reveals a new discovery, whether it’s a mural that perfectly captures the local vibe or a restaurant serving up some of the best food you’ve ever tasted.
If you’re already plotting your getaway to Nashville, make Blissful Horizons your go-to home away from home! Our luxury vacation rentals provide a perfect base for your exploration, just 15-20 minutes from the center of the city. With us, you’re not just visiting Nashville, you’re living it! You’re waking up to it, returning to it, and immersing yourself in its distinctive rhythm and energy.
Contact us today to book your Nashville stay and experience the best of Nashville neighborhoods.