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Nashville Necessities: Your Guide to Music City's Art Scene

Between Nashville’s thriving art galleries and the legendary music scene, it’s no wonder why Music City is one of our most beloved for a vibrant weekend getaway.

This Southern staple is teeming with local gems across the culinary, music, and art spaces just waiting to be discovered  – so, it only makes sense that you select a stay in a hotel just as unique. Our friends at 21c Museum Hotels are here to offer the perfect place to make your Nashville home away from home as well as a launchpad for discovering the city’s local art gems.

Stay

21c Museum Hotel Nashville is an art-filled escape just a few blocks from Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena, and the entertainment along Broadway. This one-of-a-kind multi-venue property features a world-class contemporary art museum, boutique hotel, restaurant, spa, and rooftop penthouse suite. Originally built in 1900 as the home of Gray & Dudley Hardware Co., 21c and Deborah Berke Partners converted the hardware store into a 124-room hotel and one of the most vibrant Nashville art galleries.

One of the things that makes this hotel a top choice in Nashville is its vibrant contemporary art museum, open 24/7 and free to all guests. Along with their docent-guided tours, you can also partake in the art gallery’s weekly programming including a speaker series, curator talkbacks, poetry readings, and even yoga accompanied by its art collection. The accommodations are also as enticing as the hotel’s communal spaces; the exclusive penthouse suite – with sweeping views of the Cumberland River and downtown – embodies Nashville’s vibrant spirit. Additionally, a dining table for ten can be set on its spacious wrap-around terrace making this suite ideal for making memories with your travel companions.

The Gulch

The Gulch is the dynamic heart of Nashville. It’s the first LEED ND neighborhood in the South, meaning it’s engineered to be sustainable as well as filled with the very best in retail, dining, and entertainment. There are countless photo ops for you to take advantage of here, including the famous #WhatLiftsYou Wings Mural. To dive even deeper into the neighborhood, we’ve teamed up with 21c Museum Hotels to round up our list of Nashville art galleries you won’t want to miss.

Frist Art Museum

The Frist Art Museum is a cultural focal point for the Nashville art gallery community. Celebrating 20th anniversary in 2021, this museum presents over a dozen exhibitions including prestigious world art and exciting in-house shows. One highlight is their award-winning Martin ArtQuest (MAQ) Gallery. This experience guides multigenerational groups through a hands-on art experience. Whether it’s a crash course in animation or creating sand art through sound, this museum is ideal for those looking for more than the usual gallery walk experience.

Hatch Show Print

Nashville’s iconic illustrations originated here at Hatch Show Print. This working letterpress print shop opened in 1879 and continues to churn out a vast collection of vintage type and hand-carved imagery. Venues across the country also feature this Nashville art gallery’s vibrant layered prints, from the Ryman Auditorium to the International Printing Museum on the West coast. The shop now operates as a working museum within the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, providing educational experiences on this distinct style of graphic design.

Wine + Dine Nearby

Gertie’s Whiskey Bar
Station Inn
Adele
E+Rose
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Otaku Ramen

WeHo

Wedgewood-Houston or “WeHo” is an up-and-coming area that is quickly becoming the neighborhood with all the hot spots for locals. Many Nashville art galleries have popped up in this area such as The Wedge Building and Zeitgeist Gallery. If you happen to find yourself in town on the first Saturday of the month, you can even participate in the first Saturday Weho Art Crawl.

The Wedge Building

There’s always something exciting going down at The Wedge Building. This Nashville art gallery’s husband-and-wife team took this warehouse chic structure and transformed it into a multi-venue destination. The Gallery invites guests to lounge in a 2000 square-foot, semi-private exhibition room filled with local art. Then if you’re feeling peckish, the Loading Dock is right next door with its funky wall murals and tasty bites.

The Free Nashville Poetry Library

In addition to being a proponent for the city’s bardic community, The Free Nashville Poetry Library library also hosts an Open-Air Maker’s Bazaar the first Saturday of every month. This show-and-sell art crawl features a variety of works all from new artists across Music City. Some of these items include (but are definitely not limited to): experimental printing, indie illustrations, comic books, and textiles.

Zeitgeist

Since 1994, Zeitgeist serves as a brave space for new artists to experiment and showcase their works. Much like what its name entails, the artists and exhibitions featured here capture the current and future of the Nashville art scene. The body of work on display is why this gallery stands out amongst the many in the WeHo Art Crawl.

Wine + Dine Nearby

Diskin Cider
Never Never
Flamingo Cocktail Club
Earnest Bar & Hideaway

Downtown Nashville

From Broadway to Honky Tonk Highway, Downtown Nashville is the place to get a sampling of everything the city has to offer. Here, visitors can experience an electric blend of music, chef-driven dining, and shopping. In addition to the ample music and entertainment that echoes across the streets, you can treat yourself to some of Nashville’s art galleries that match embody the lively downtown.

Chauvet Arts Nashville

We love talking intentions here at SmartFlyer, which is why Chauvet Arts Nashville was a natural pick for this guide through the city’s art galleries. Dedicated to hyper-personalized art curation, this gallery commits itself to creating environments that “Stand Out with Art that Matters”. If you’re on the search for your next pièce de résistance, then look no further than their team of consultants ready to assist.

Tinney Contemporary

The Tinney Contemporary is a Nashville art gallery that features artists from across the globe. Located on the ground floor of the Kress building, this gallery helped establish the neighborhood’s First Saturday Art Crawl. Past exhibitions include a wide variety of sculptures, street art, wildlife photography, and immersive installations.

Wine + Dine Nearby

Assembly Food Hall
AJ’s Good Time Bar
Boqueria
Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar
Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar

East Nashville

This neighborhood is the stomping ground for the city’s most culturally-diverse and eclectic locals and visitors alike. East Nashville helped make the city part of America’s cultural zeitgeist in the early nineties as a culinary destination with beloved restaurants such as Margot Cafe & Bar and Marche Artisan Foods. Locals still frequent the many craft cocktail joints, coffee shops, vintage stores, and Nashville art galleries sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.

Red Arrow Gallery

If you’re a contemporary art connoisseur, then Red Arrow is a must-visit if you’re on the lookout for your new favorite artist. The exhibits at Red Arrow are a highlight; the collection here is crafted to usher in a new wave of inclusive and experimental art. This manifests in many ways, from multimedium paintings to an immersive chapel dedicated to exploring queer narratives through glitter art.

Raven & Whale Gallery

Raven & Whale Gallery is your go-to spot for a dash of the surreal. Founded by Jason Brueck and Kate Harrold – husband-and-wife team – the gallery is dedicated to their body of photo surrealistic work. Here, guests are encouraged to engage with a blend of imagery that deals with the concepts of time and youth. There are also opportunities to both begin your art collection or find a stunning new addition to your own gallery wall.

Wine + Dine Nearby

Attaboy
Dino’s
Rosemary and Beauty Queen
Two Ten Jack

Ready to rock through Music City, U.S.A.? Contact your SmartFlyer travel advisors to get started on your itinerary.

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