It's hard to believe that any half-mile stretch could be considered a "destination" but the 12 South neighborhood in Nashville will certainly prove you wrong! While a majority of this area is residential the main strip, which is completely walkable from one end to the other, is packed full of delicious restaurants, gorgeous murals, and some of the trendiest boutiques. This area has only become popular in the last five or so years but is honestly one of my favorite areas in all of Nashville. It's easy to see everything in one afternoon so I highly recommend including some time on your itinerary to grab lunch here and walk around for a few hours. We were lucky enough to book the cutest Airbnb only a few miles away so we stopped to explore here two different times on our trip.(Get $40 off your Airbnb stay here)
Parking in this area is a little harder to come by here than in the Gulch, but there is a public lot and if you go on an off time (which you definitely should) it's easy to find free street parking. Below are some of the must sees of the 12 South area.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Bar Taco - we had been driving for five hours and as soon as we got to Nashville tacos and margaritas were the first thing on our mind. Like most places in Nashville, there will likely be a wait here so we put our names in and wandered around for a bit. We were lucky enough to score a seat on their outdoor patio (totally worth the wait) and started with some guacamole and a pitcher of their house made margaritas. Normally I'm not a big tequila fan but these margs were heavenly. They have a smaller menu but are famous for their mix and match tacos. They are smaller so you're able to try multiple varieties. The shrimp taco was my favorite! They also have "secret" menu items that you have to ask your server about as you won't find them on the menu.
Draper James - located right down the street from Bar Taco, this adorable boutique is Reese Witherspoon's lifestyle line and the definition of southern hospitality. Like where else do you get offered sweet tea upon walking in the door?! Everything in this store has the cutest southern flare and while we didn't end up buying anything it was still fun to browse. Be sure not to miss the iconic blue and white striped wall and Draper James bench which are located on the wall to the right of the store and perfect for a photo op.
Amelia's Flower Truck - if there was one must see on my list for Nashville it was this adorable vintage Volkswagen flower truck. There are actually multiple trucks parked throughout the city but you're almost guaranteed to find one in 12 South located outside of Imogene and Willie's or White's Mercantile. This truck is every flower lovers dream and the buckets are loaded full of the most gorgeous blooms. You can either mix and match stems to create your own bouquet or ask them to help you create one. They also often have a bouquet of the day already made up if you're in search of some inspiration. We also saw another truck near Biscuit Love on our day exploring the Gulch. You can view their full truck schedule online so you're sure not to miss them!
Five Daughter's Bakery - ahhh donut heaven! This insta-worthy bakery serves up a wide variety of delicious treats. They are famous for their 100 layer donut which is a cross between a croissant and a donut rolled in sugar and filled with cream. Beware they do sell out quick so go earlier in the day if you can. We went around 3:30pm and there were very limited options left. They have outdoor patio seating and a play area for kids as well as their I Heart Donuts wall mural which is perfect for those donut selfies before you chow down.
Murals - 12 South is loaded with street art and you're likely to find a new mural hiding behind every corner. Even though this is a popular area we never had to wait in line to get a good shot and were able to easily hop from one to the next (and we didn't even see them all!) A few of our favorites were:
Shopping - There are so many great boutiques in this neighborhood so if you're looking for some unique shopping this is definitely where you should head. Most of the boutiques are higher end fashion but there are some shops where you can find some traditional souvenirs. The aesthetic of many of the shops is enough to make you want to just wander inside and check them out but a few of the ones we liked the best were:
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream - Holy smokes! Hands down the best ice cream I've ever had. And trust me I eat a lot of ice cream (Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head is a close second). You can smell the handmade waffle cones wafting from the store when you walk by so you can only imagine what it's like stepping foot inside. Order the half scoops (they are larger than you think) so you can try multiple flavors. I am still dreaming about the Brambleberry Jam with granola clusters. I also tried the Salted Peanut Butter with chocolate flakes. The bowls also come with a mini waffle cone triangle if you don't want to commit to a whole cone.
Have you visited 12 South area before? What are you favorite sites or places to shop, eat, or drink? Share them with me in the comments!
4/10/2019 02:50:29 pm
I hadn't heard of 12 South before but it looks so cute. I would visit just for the street art, do a bit of shopping, and then of course stay for a drink (and ice cream)!
4/10/2019 04:03:17 pm
wow I've never heard of 12 South but it seem super trendy! I would love to visit for the street art and the yummy food!
Well, now I think I need to go back to Nashville because I missed ALL of this! (crying emoji) You've beautifully captured and made a compelling argument for visiting 12 South! Everyone I speak to, including thinking about my own experience, is always so surprised by how trendy Nashville is...you've captured the stunning beauty perfectly.
4/10/2019 10:46:33 pm
Looks like such a cool neighbourhood and oh so photogenic - I love how colourful and clean everything looks. Would love to rent a sweet Airbnb here and explore the area more.
Ok, first can I say I absolutely adore your photos style! This neighbourhood looks lovely, I have to say I had never heard about it before though, (like a lot of 'lesser known' part of the U.S being European ahah). Walkable destinations are the best, if I ever go to Nashville I will make sure to visit 12 south!
4/11/2019 09:31:56 am
I’ve never been to Nashville before, but will absolutely make a trip there for the fun food alone! It all looks so delicious, and fun (Frothy Monkey?!). Love all the pictures, great post!
4/11/2019 10:26:29 am
Wow, it seems like this place was built for Instagram lol! I've never been to Nashville when in the US, and now I'd love to visit 12 South. All the colours there and street art is so pretty!
11/2/2019 07:45:50 am
This looks great
11/2/2019 10:30:38 am
Hi Marlena - the great part is all these stops are within 1/2 mile walking distance on the same street. I would suggest parking on a side street near Tabernacle Baptist Church and then start down 12th Ave heading south. You'll pass 5 Daughters and Frothy Monkey first to get coffee or breakfast and end near White's Mercantile and Green Pea Salon which has great murals. Hope this helps!
1/10/2020 02:45:35 pm
We are visiting Nashville in June 2020 and your article will definitely help us see and experience some great things! Thanks a million!
1/13/2020 05:02:59 pm
I'm so glad you found it helpful! Nashville is a great city - you will have a blast!
8/30/2020 04:03:11 am
We are going to Nashville for our 20th anniversary. Thank you for this information; it sounds like something I would like to do.
8/31/2020 05:53:29 pm
I'm so glad you found it helpful! I hope you guys have a great trip - Nashville is the best.
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