Tucked between two universities, Vanderbilt and Belmont, this primarily residential enclave grew up around the old streetcar line that spoked out from downtown in the first half of the 20th century. The Hillsboro Village strip of shops and restaurants has seen many changes through the years, but it still exhibits much of the character of the past along with a few more modern and flashier restaurants and boutiques. For a cheap and quick ride downtown, hop the No. 7 bus for just $2. Nashville’s public transit doesn’t run very late at night, so you might need to arrange alternate transportation home.
Where to stay: Historic zoning regulations limit new construction in Belmont/Hillsboro, so AirBNBs are a popular choice to feel like you’re really in the heart of the neighborhood. Whether you need your own private villa or just a well-appointed apartment above a garage, there are a myriad of private options. The new Moxy Nashville Vanderbilt at Hillsboro Village finally adds some stylish honest-to-goodness hotel rooms to the neighborhood, including 200 parking spots that are at a premium elsewhere. The inviting lobby at this boutique features a check-in desk/bar where each guest is welcomed with a signature cocktail, a pool table, board games, and plenty of comfy spots with USB ports to do a little work. Cleverly designed rooms are minimalist in the Moxy style, but with all the amenities guests need for a comfortable stay. You can even order a bedtime story from the phone in the room, with content ranging from sweet to slightly salacious.
Things to do: The campuses at Belmont and Vandy are both excellent locales for a stroll through the green spaces and attractive academic buildings. Known worldwide for its excellent music business program, Belmont features a small gallery of iconic guitars, appropriately named The GIG, and Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Student Center houses a small art gallery with rotating exhibits. The main strip through Hillsboro Village offers fun shopping at stores like Hey Rooster General Store, Posh, Tribe Kelley, and A Thousand Faces.
Best restaurants: For coffee or a delicious meal, check out Fido, a neighborhood hang in the location of a former pet store. Popular breakfast options include Biscuit Love, a slightly less crowded outpost of the famous biscuit sandwich joint in the Gulch, or Pancake Pantry where there’s usually a line out the door to scarf down some flapjacks. Double Dogs is a casual sports bar with a dizzying array of televisions, and Hopdoddy is a mod burger joint.
Bars & Nightlife: E3 Chophouse is best known for the grass-fed beef that they raise on their own ranch, but the top floor bar is also worth a visit thanks to inventive cocktails and a rooftop aerie with firepits and comfy couches for lounging. The Villager Tavern remains unchanged from decades ago with walls covered with old photos of patrons plus dart boards and foosball. On your birthday they’ll “let” you drink your beer out of a dog bowl. Happy birthday, indeed. For a quick slice and a craft beer, it’s tough to beat ‘za with their wood-fired pizza oven and amiable staff.