Two of the best things about Nashville are the unique pieces of street art and the great things to eat. This Eats & Street Art Tour covers the Gulch, an industrial-chic neighborhood that is home to one of the most famous (on Instagram) murals.
Eats & Street Art tours are self-guided walking tours that take you to some of the most popular (and some of the lesser-known) street art and murals, with food stops at local eateries, cafes, and stores. It is a great way to experience a new neighborhood and delve into the deliciousness that feeds your soul and your belly.
GULCH STREET ART TOUR
GREEN = EATS | PURPLE = STREET ART
Take this tour in whatever order or route you want, but our suggested route is below with information about each stop. The tour is about a mile long. We chose to start with the heavier food to walk it off as we go!
- FOOD: Arnold's Country Kitchen (Monday - Friday from 10:30 am to 2:45 pm) - an original Meat & Three. This is a family run business (you'll often find one of the Arnold children (now grown) working on any given day. It opened in 1982 and has been awarded a James Beard American Classic Award. Meat & Three is a Nashville/Southern tradition - you choose one meat and three sides from a buffet selection. Please enjoy with cornbread and Sweet Tea because ... #tradition. You should try one or two of the sides - the menu is different each day of the week but you can get the famous turnip greens any day of the week. If you'd rather indulge your sweet tooth - get the chess pie. Just trust us. We suggest skipping the meat for now as our next stop is barbeque!
- FOOD: Peg Leg Porker (Closed on Sundays) is another family run business that also has James Beard connections. Pitmaster/Owner Carey Bringle has cooked at the James Beard House twice. If you look closely, you'll see the pig on the logo has a peg leg ... an homage to Bringle who lost his leg to cancer as a teenager. You should try to dry ribs - smoked with hickory wood for longer than normal and served dry with tomato-based sauces on the side.
Patagonia Mural (Nathan Brown) - 601 Overton St
Nathan Brown is known for his geometric artwork (as also seen on our East Nashville Eats & Street Art tour). This work was commissioned by Patagonia. Brown and another local artist, Chris Zidek, had artwork previously on the building but when Patagonia expanded the building it was destroyed - but they hired Nathan again to create something new. This work is based on the brand's signature “Fitzroy” mountain range.
Colt's Chocolate Building
Across Mansion Street is a building with hourglass print all around it. This was until mid-2019 the home to Colt's Chocolate - the oldest artisanal chocolatier in Nashville (before working in desserts, Mackenzie Colt was on Hee-Haw!) but it was sold to new owners and moved out of the Gulch. It's a cool exterior decoration but there is no information as to who did it.
QUICK TIP: In a few stops is one of the best rooftop bars in Nashville. If everyone is over 21+ and you want to stop here during prime cocktail drinking hours, download the Yelp App and add your name to the waitlist at the LA Jackson now! That way, after you can see the next piece of art, grab a bite at the next food stop and be at the rooftop bar when your name is called.
Acoustic Skyline (Allison Johnson)-915 Division St
This half-Nashville skyline half guitar artwork was done by a local middle school teacher, Allison Johnson, who also does music-themed art. The owner of the building saw Johnson' work in an art gallery and commissioned this piece.
- FOOD: Stop in to grab a square of pizza at Emmy Squared, a Brooklyn-based pizzeria by couple, Matt and Emily Hyland, with a few locations in the Eastern US. This is Detriot style pizza, which isn't as well known but just as delicious. First off, its square-shaped because that was the shape of the pans used to hold nuts and bolts in the factories that were repurposed to bake pizza. You'll also find Wisconsin cheese and the tomato sauce on the top.
- FOOD: After a slice, head to the rooftop bar, LA Jackson at Thompson Hotel. This is THE rooftop bar in a city that has an absurd amount of rooftop bars. You must be 21+ even to enter and if its prime cocktail time, expect a line - or did you add yourself to the list already? The bar is at the top of Thompson Hotel - go into the lobby, and hit R (for rooftop) on the elevator to reach the top!
- FOOD: Have you heard of a bonut? Well, Biscuit Love is the Nashville home of the bonut, and you should absolutely get one. Biscuit Love started as a food truck operation in 2012. They serve three styles of biscuits, and you can get savory lunch meals, but you want a bonut. It started with the leftover bits of biscuit dough after cutting out the circles. These were balled up and fried, and the rest is history.
WhatLiftsYou Wings (Kelsey Montague) 302 11th Ave S
This Instagram favorite is maybe one of the most popular murals in Nashville. There is so often a line that the art work includes a line directions on the sidewalk. It took Kelsey 60 paint pens to create these large wings - and the little wings off to the side! Here is our guide with her kids - after a 30-minute wait in line!
Nashville Walls Project (Ian Ross, Jason Woodside) - 11th Ave S
These two murals are part of the Nashville Walls Project. Artists from around the world came to Nashville to create large scale murals. The Nashville Walls Project started when Brian Greif and Eva Boras were working on the documentary "Saving Banksy" in San Francisco. They wanted to bring street art to Nashville, where there was already a graffiti scene.
Jason Woodside is a California based artist, and this piece is very similar to his other works in style using vivid colors and patterns.
Ian Ross, also Califoniaian, is the in house artist in residence at the Facebook Headquarters.
Legoman (Forbecks) - 11th Ave S
Just between the two Nashville Walls Projects is a small 2-foot tall Legoman. You'll see these all over Tennessee! Forbecks is Chris Tidwell and he started painting Legomen because the idea behind Legos is to play well together and that was a message he wanted to share with everyone.
- FOOD: Grab some homemade gelati to go from Milk & Honey. This is an all-day cafe that started in Chattanooga, but we suggest getting one of their homemade gelatos, sorbets or paletas to go.
Google Fiber Geometrics (Chris Zidek) - 118 12th Ave N
We talk about Google Fiber and see some of Zidekahedron other work on our East Nashville Eats & Street Art tour. Google Fiber commissioned work from more than a dozen artists in 5 cities across America (Louisville, Nashville, Kansas City, San Antonio, Austin, and Huntsville) to promote beauty on the internet ... and the Google Fiber internet service! Zidek used sacred geometry to create this piece.
12th&Porter (Kim Kennedy) - 114 12th Ave N
12 & Porter is a historic music venue (well from 1984) were Keith Urban, Sugarland and Dierks Bentley were discovered. The mural outside was painted by a local musician/artist Kim Kennedy and featured another local musician, Dave Baker, who is the guitarist in Kellie Pickler's band.