Street Smart: Nashville’s 12th Avenue South

Survival of the hippest

A decade ago, the New York Times declared 12South, a ten-block east Nashville neighborhood, an up-and-coming hot spot. Today, the once-emerging district is an established destination, regarded as one of the South’s hippest strips. You’ll find original art and organic eats, guitar strings and growlers, as well as the best blue-jeans shopping in the South and one of the nicest green spaces in the city (Sevier Park). Take a stroll down namesake 12th Avenue South and discover some of the city’s favorite restaurants and cafes and trendiest shops and boutiques.

Katy K’s Ranch Dressing
Whether you’re looking for vintage cowboy boots, fifties-style dresses, or a tiny Johnny Cash onesie, this playful throwback store offers a wide  variety of Western, pinup, and costume clothing.  

Frothy Monkey
Earn your hipster cred here. The neighborhood coffee shop is known for its organic coffee, tea, and sandwiches, as well as the warm atmosphere that has welcomed patrons to the little bungalow since the early days of the district’s rise.  

A perfect one-stop shop, MODA offers an impeccably curated selection of modern clothing, trendy shoes, and unique jewelry. Browse the racks for boyfriend sweaters, leather jackets, and all of the must-have fall looks  from boutique designers.

imogene + willie
An unassuming converted service station houses jeans that have become the stuff of Southern legend. Inside, you’ll see why: Half of the clothing shop is devoted to tailoring the high-quality denim to custom-fit your every contour.  

Halcyon Bike Shop
Rent bikes at Nashville’s only used bike shop to explore the 12South neighborhood. Check out the art gallery, which features a rotating selection from local artists.  

The Filling Station
This neatly organized, dimly lit shop stacks six-pack upon six-pack and growlers of varying sizes—a craft-beer lover’s dream. Try the Calfkiller, an unfiltered Belgian pale ale from nearby Sparta.  

Burger Up
The beef at this top-notch burger joint is sourced from nearby Triple L Ranch, and home-state flavors take center stage in the bestselling Woodstock burger topped with bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar, and Jack Daniel’s maple ketchup.  

Las Paletas
This hugely popular, Mexican-inspired ice pop place offers flavors in two main categories: creamy (think avocado and pistachio) or fruit (honeydew and plum). Flavors change daily, justifying multiple trips.


Editor’s note: This article was originally published in our fall/winter 2013 issue. Since being published, one establishment mentioned in the story has closed. Please note that Katy K’s Ranch Dressing is no longer in operation.