Music and history intermingle as locals and visitors discover the diverse selection of arts and culture Nashville’s downtown neighborhood holds. With arresting architecture, inspiring art, and delicious eats, what more could you want? Beth embraces the energetic pace of downtown but welcomes a reprieve from the crowds provided by the downtown honky tonks. Continue below to see her top picks for places to visit on a trip to the city’s core.
Doubling as a contemporary art museum and boutique hotel, 21c Museum Hotel falls at the top of Beth’s list of favorites in Nashville. “Downtown introduces a unique perspective on hotels and the 21c personifies that with its treatment of the hotel’s common space. Adding contemporary art to a hotel is an interesting and unexpected way to bring people into the hotel and gives the hotel guest an easy way to see creative art,” Beth says. Stroll through the galleries to see the rotating exhibits, dine at the hotel’s Gray & Dudley restaurant, or book a night in one of the stylish rooms.
The Noelle, thanks to a handful of Nashville’s top creative minds who brought new life into the historic building, has received recognition for its well-designed spaces and cool atmosphere. Three bars (one on the rooftop), a coffee shop, and an all-day restaurant, as well as Keep Shop, a store curated by Nashville’s Libby Callaway, are reasons to visit. While you are there, admire the original art deco design, which was thoughtfully preserved.
Another boutique hotel with stylish interiors, Bobby Hotel, boasts an edgy-yet-refined design style consisting of an European cafe, a glamorous lobby and a gritty garage bar. One of the more interesting design elements sits atop the roof: a repurposed 1956 Scenicruiser bus. The bus is part of the lively outdoor venue that draws crowds each night of the week.
Arguably the trendiest of Downtown’s new hotels, Dream Nashville opened earlier this year with six food and beverage concepts, as well as 168 rooms. Each dining and drinking destination within the hotel has something special to offer, but we are partial to sushi under the skylight at Stateside Kitchen (pictured above). See you there?
The Hermitage Hotel, which opened in 1910 with its notable Italian Renaissance and beaux-arts design, continues to reign supreme as a go-to hotel in Downtown. After admiring the grand lobby, head to the men’s restroom to see the famed art-deco design, the much-talked-about color scheme of lime green and black, terrazzo flooring, and shoeshine station. Snap a photo while you are there.
An often-overlooked architectural beauty in Downtown, the Presbyterian Church is one of Beth’s most-loved sights in the city. Egyptian Revival architecture defines the structure, which was built rebuilt twice following two separate fires (the last in 1848). The interior is just as striking with wooden pews, a spectacular pipe organ, trey ceilings, and painted columns. The church is also supportive of local contemporary art, giving artists a place to create and displaying their art throughout the historic building.
Fifth Avenue of the Arts
Celebrated for introducing local and world-renowned artists and artwork to Nashville, the galleries that make up 5th Avenue of the Arts attracts art lovers each month during the First Saturday Art Crawl. The monthly event offers the opportunity to see the city’s dedication to art. Rymer Gallery, The Arts Company and Tinney Contemporary are three of the city’s biggest champions of contemporary art. Mark your calendar for next month.
Explore these stops in the heart of the city, and let us know any Downtown spots that inspire you!