The 12 South area has a vibe unlike any other in the Metro Nashville area. It’s got beautiful parks and a host of diverse restaurants. But what makes it truly unique is the smattering of locally-owned boutiques, western-wear and vintage shops lining the main drag.
There’s certainly a lot to see and do. It’s no wonder so many new Nashvillians choose 12 South to put their roots down. So let’s take a look at the cool things 12 South has to offer and what to expect if you decide it’s the place for you!
Where is 12 South?
Bordering Belmont Blvd and Melrose, with a splash of 8th Ave S. to its northeast, 12 South is actually one of the city’s smaller neighborhoods. Its main drag is about ½ mile of 12th Ave S. It’s a highly residential area, with lots of bungalow-style homes lining the shady streets. There are a lot of apartment homes in the community’s hub as well.
People move to the area for its distinctly southern personality, walkability and its close proximity to plenty of other neighborhoods in greater Nashville.
Like many other neighborhoods in Nashville, 12 South has had its ups and downs. Before the 2000s, it wasn’t the fashionable hotspot you’ll see today. In fact, there wasn’t much to see there at all but some older single-family homes.
Now, many of those homes (some from the very early 1900s) have been restored. Within a decade, well over 20 new businesses have opened. Needless to say, today’s 12 South neighborhood is a thriving hub of commerce and activity.
Very family-oriented, the sidewalks of the 12 South area are full of young families with strollers. You’ll see plenty of young singles also frequenting the many trendy bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. The vibe is very laid back, fun and friendly.
Things to Do
Whether you’re in the mood for some shopping, playing on the playgrounds and green spaces of Sevier Park, or bar hopping at many of the strips’ fun establishments – there’s a lot to do in 12 South.
12 South is a mecca for fun and funky western wear and a ton of other diverse specialty shops. So many, in fact, we’ll just point out a few. You’ll have to come and see the rest for yourself. Reese Witherspoon’s southern-inspired clothing store Draper James is in the heart of the main drag. As is Imogene & Willie, a store devoted almost exclusively to denim in all its best forms.
Serendipity is also a neighborhood staple, offering up all kinds of eclectic clothing, jewelry, gifts and books. They also offer the Dolly Parton prayer candle we could all really use right now. You’ll find Judith Bright, a specialty jewelry boutique with a cult following throughout the Southeast. You can also duck into Ceri Hoover for luxury leather shoes, handbags and other accessories.
12 South is home to White’s Mercantile (a general store with food, home goods, clothing and more). There’s Halcyon bike shop for the cycling enthusiast, and Wags and Whiskers, offering up holistic pet foods, treats, toys and a DIY dog wash.
Fitness and outdoor fun
Sevier Park is the community center (literally) for fitness and outdoor activities in the 12 South neighborhood. The Sevier Park community center is a full-service fitness center, including a gym, group exercise/dance classes, indoor and outdoor walking and running tracks, outdoor playgrounds and more.
On Tuesday afternoons from May to October, Sevier Park hosts the 12 South Farmer’s Market. There you’ll find a vast amount of locally grown farm-fresh produce, edible goods and more than a few of the city’s best food trucks.
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Where to Eat & Drink
A vast diversity of great restaurants and bars line 12th Ave S, from Lebanese cuisine to authentic gourmet Paletas and everything in between. You’ll also find more than a few coffee shops, a tea bar and some bakeries you won’t be able to resist. Oh, and you should know that brunch is HUGE around here.
With 3 locations in the Nashville metro area, Edley’s is a hometown icon that’s been voted best barbeque in Nashville by the Nashville Scene’s readers poll multiple years in a row. Pulled barbeque sandwiches, huge platters, gorgeous sides and lots more can be found on its massive menu.
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This place is everything you’d want in a comfortable fine-dining atmosphere. They’ve got their own butcher shop, fresh oyster bar and gorgeous indoor/outdoor dining spaces. Order traditional plates, or opt for building your own charcuterie platter with their signature meats, cheeses and seafood if you’re in the mood for a little bit of everything.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
If you need ice cream, Jeni’s is the place to go, hands down. The creativity of their flavors alone merits the line you’ll usually find down the block in the summertime just to get into the place.
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Moving to 12 South
Real Estate Snapshot
While 12 South apartments are pricier than the Nashville average by roughly $180, it’s nowhere nearly as expensive to live there as in other areas in the city. An average 850-900 square foot apartment home will set you back approximately $1,609. Which is a steal when you look at everything 12 South has to offer – all within walking distance.
The metro bus system has plenty of stops along 12th Ave S, making it a convenient place to live if you prefer to leave the car behind.
Schools & Employment
There are plenty of public elementary, middle and high schools serving the 12 South area, and there are plenty of private schools as well. The esteemed private Belmont University is a quick couple of blocks away.
Employment in the area is fueled mainly by its local businesses. Still, its close proximity to many of the surrounding areas means you could work just about anywhere in the city with a reasonable commute via car or bus.