Over the years since our city began taking “its turn in the spotlight,” Nashville’s shown up on approximately 400,000 lists — best food scene, music scene, coffee shops, friendliest people, best place to buy a home… Feels like the only list we haven’t landed on lately is “cities with the most oceanfront property.”
So, you’ll forgive us for stumbling on this one a little late: Thrillist’s “20 things you have to do before you’re officially a Nashvillian,” from last year. It’s actually not too inaccurate, as these lists go — eating hot chicken, buying a Hatch Show Print and complaining about the fickle weather are pretty you’re-so-Nashville attributes.
It inspired us to think about East Nashville — a part of Nashville we spend a lot of time in — and the fact that it has its own touchstones of citizenship.
What are said touchstones? You could argue for days. But here are our top 10 picks, in no particular order (being ordered doesn’t feel particularly East Nashvillian).
10 things you have to do before you’re officially an East Nashvillian
- Get happily foot-blistered and sunburned at the Tomato Art Festival, the neighborhood’s annual celebration of the vegetablest of all the fruits — “a uniter, not a divider.” (The 2016 event is set for August 12-13, and again includes a Friday night concert, parade, tons of artisan booths, food and, of course, tomato art.)
- Read about a friend in The East Nashvillian magazine, which has been covering Eastside neighbors — from shop owners to chefs to musicians to Metro Councilpeople — since 2010.
- Take a walk or a bike ride or a lakeside moment to relax in Shelby Park, a 330-plus-acre urban getaway with playgrounds, golf courses, baseball fields and more. I.e. East Nashville’s playground.
- Pay homage to Nathaniel Allen’s 5 Points Mural. You are here.
- Point East Nashville Magnet School out to someone who’s not from here, and brag that Oprah Winfrey went there.
- Ogle some of the neighborhood’s beautiful historic homes during the annual Lockeland Springs Tour of Homes, which invites you to step inside some of the properties you drive by regularly and fall in love with again and again.
- Get a burger or a drink (or both) at Dino’s, touted as the oldest bar in a particularly bar-friendly neighborhood.
- Listen to Todd Snider’s East Nashville Skyline. We heard the consistently clever tunesmith has left the neighborhood for Hendersonville, but he’ll always be East Nashville’s ambassador.
- Join the East Nashville Facebook group. Get annoyed, quit the East Nashville Facebook group. Rejoin the East Nashville Facebook group, just in case your dog ever goes missing.
- Read this list, scowl, and declare that all of it is wrong.
OK, keep the gloves on, but: What would you add?
Glasses raised to a neighborhood we love. (If you love it, too, and are on the hunt for a new home in East Nashville, please let us know if we can help you find it! Take a look at the gorgeous featured listing at 1408 Lillian Street if you’d like a little inspiration, and give us a call if you want to take a look at it.)