Germantown: The New (Old) Nashville

A 166-year-old suburb north of the city’s downtown is undergoing a renaissance, becoming the red-hot center for innovative restaurants and shops.

Courtesy Hermitage Hotel
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There’s a joke around Nashville that its mascot should be a crane—not the elegant bird but the construction machine that’s busy building a new version of the Southern music hub. Just one glance toward the skyline—at least 160 projects are under way—proves the city’s thriving, and although it’s primarily still car-centric, some semiwalkable neighborhoods are blossoming amid all the rapid development. Take Germantown, just five minutes north of downtown. Its historic 18 blocks next to the Cumberland River were established by European immigrants in the 1850s. Today, it’s leading Nashville’s reinvention through fine dining, artisanal goods, and luxury apartments; there are more than 3,200 units in the works within sweeping industrial spaces, converted brick townhouses, and architecturally innovative new developments. But it does still lack for a hotel. For the time being, stay in the heart of downtown at the historic Beaux Arts Hermitage Hotel (rooms from $300; 231 Sixth Ave. N.; 615-244-3121; or the more modern Hutton (rooms from $290; 1808 West End Ave.; 615-340-9333;