By Sean McHugh
The second installment of our “Walking Tour” series is the Nashville neighborhood/area of West End. Situated along the street of the same name, the West End area is comprised of an array of private and commercial properties. There are medical hubs like Centennial hospital, institutions of education, such as Vanderbilt University, as well as a miscellany of other great spots to explore and check out.
One of the best places to spend a day in Nashville, and first on our list of spots to check out on West End, is Centennial Park. Only two miles away from Downtown Nashville, Centennial Park is Nashville’s premier 132-acre public park; an area perhaps most famous in Nashville for being home to the replica of the original Parthenon situated in Athens, Greece. While the Parthenon is not the only attraction at Centennial Park, it should be acknowledged that it is certainly the park’s largest and most popular attraction.
Just across the street from Centennial Park, and second on our walking tour of West End is the campus of Vanderbilt University. A verdant and sprawling campus filled with lush tree life stands in contrast to the vast growth around the campus. Vanderbilt’s campus is a perennial subject of various publications’ “Most Beautiful Campuses” stories, with its 330-acres of city woods sprinkled with various pre-post modern, medieval, and Victorian architectural structures. If you’re someone who loves to admire beautiful displays of collegiate and city life combining, then taking a stroll through Vanderbilt is an absolute must.
Next up on our walking tour of West End is one of Nashville’s most historic and beloved music venues. Just a stone’s throw away from the
main portion of the area, on Elliston Place, Exit/In has been a Nashville live music institution since 1971. In terms of music venues, Exit/In has quite literally seen it all – Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and countless other legendary acts have graced the venue’s vaunted stage. If you’re a fan of live music, or historic venues, Nashville is full of them, so Exit/In should be at the top of your list.
The final suggested destination in the West End installment of “Walking Tours,” is a fantastic 24-hour café just behind Exit/In, called Café Coco. One of the best places in Nashville for late-night grubbing (I can attest), Café Coco has done a fantastic job juggling many different titles: coffeehouse, music venue, and restaurant. With a wide range of menu items ranging from classic New York style breakfast to any type of sandwich imaginable, Café Coco will keep you satisfied at any time of day.
So that concludes our walking tour of West End, and while the area is a little larger than other neighborhoods in Nashville, it’s still a great place to explore and find great spots like the ones mentioned above, or others like Three Brothers Coffee, Rotier’s, The End, and plenty of other great spots.