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A Quick Guide to Housing in Nashville

Posted by on Monday, March 19, 2018 in Nashville.

by Maggie Axelrod (G1)

The above map of Nashville highlights some of the areas where students commonly live. Read on for some information about a few of the more popular areas.

Walking distance from campus

There are a number of neighborhoods to choose from in the peri-Vanderbilt area, and most people stay close to Vanderbilt during their first year. Prices are going up in most of these neighborhoods, but there are still options which are affordable on our stipend, in my opinion (it helps to have a roommate, but can be done alone). When I lived in Midtown, the rent was raised 10% before I moved in and nearly 20% the next year for a 1BR/1BA. However, a lot of the new construction is underfilled, meaning they are offering some great deals (often a few months of free rent), which could make some really nice buildings a lot more affordable, at least for the first year. In Midtown, you will find mostly apartment buildings, with a variety of price options (but skewed toward the fancy end, especially with all the new construction), which are all very close to bars and restaurants. Demonbreun Hill is just a bit farther from campus and has several additional large apartment buildings within very comfortable biking distance. Music Row is a bit different, with fewer big apartment buildings, and more rooms in houses or small single houses, scattered between famous recording studios. Music Row and Midtown are both walking distance to the shops/restaurants at Edgehill which can be a great study spot. If you need to live walking distance from both school and a grocery store, the Hillsboro Village area, South of campus, is your best bet. This is probably where most first year med students live, and there is usually a lot of cheap housing, mostly in small apartments or houses. Many of the options tend to be 2+ bedrooms, so you will have to look a little harder if you don’t want a roommate. In addition to being walking distance to Kroger, there are tons of great coffee shops, bars, and restaurants along 21st, including Kay Bob’s my personal favorite. Another option is West End Park, right near Centennial park. This is close to a big dog park, Centennial Park, and all of West End (which includes a grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, that is significantly smaller than Kroger). Also close to all of the great places on West End is my personal favorite, Woodlands, which has the best vegetarian Indian lunch buffet. I used the Vandy Med Housing Spreadsheet and Zillow to find my rentals and was always able to find a few options in the circle of 15 minutes walking to Vandy that suited my needs at the time. It is definitely doable to live near Vanderbilt without a car, but nicer if you have friends who are willing to give you a ride. Nashville is actively trying to become a more bike-friendly city and many students commute by bike, but there aren’t yet bike lanes everywhere. This site has most of the bike routes well mapped: I’ve loved living in Nashville and living within walking distance of school for the past three years. There are some great and very walkable neighborhoods very close to campus. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions! (By Maggie Axelrod, G1)

Village at Vanderbilt
If you’re looking to live near campus, the Village at Vanderbilt may be for you! At no more than a 10 minute walk to Light Hall, door-to-door, there’s no better place to roll out of bed and into lecture. The apartment complex itself is quiet and comes necessary and luxury amenities close by (laundry, pool, etc.). Hillsboro Village is just down the street, where you can enjoy breakfast at Pancake Pantry, see a hip indie film at the Belcourt Theatre, and cool off with Jeni’s ice cream in the afternoon. With its prime location, however, apartments can get a bit pricey at $1250-1500/1BR. Other places within walking distance of campus are owned by the same company, including the Barbizon Apartments, will be a slightly better deal. (By Bridget Collins, G1)

Hillsboro Village
Hillsboro Village is another excellent place to consider living if you want to stay close to campus. This neighborhood is a small area with lots of residential housing and apartments available for rent. It is approximately 10-15 minutes from campus by foot, or if you don’t feel like walking there are bus stops in the area that will you take you to Medical Center Drive in just a few minutes. Hillsboro Village is also really cool in that it has a lot of great local food. My personal favorites are Belcourt Taps and Donut & Dog. In addition, there is a Biscuit Love and Jeni’s Ice Cream. One of the biggest perks to living in this area is the Kroger grocery store. There is a new Kroger only a couple blocks from Hayes House apartments. It can be difficult to live in Nashville without a vehicle, and having a good grocery store so close makes life a lot easier if you do not want to purchase a car. It also makes life easier if you are lazy like me and want to drive your car 90 seconds to the grocery store, fill it up with food, and not go back for a couple weeks. Many students live at the Hayes House in Hillsboro Village or in surrounding rental homes. Pricing in this area is approximately $1500-2000 per month for a 1-2 bedroom apartment. (By Benjamin Brown, G1)


In my biased opinion, Germantown is the best neighborhood in Nashville. This neighborhood stands out for its truly world class dining experiences: Rolf & Daughters, Kuchina and Keller, Henrietta Red and City House are truly awesome restaurants you must try for a special occasion or when someone else is paying the bill. However, as an MSTP student, you won’t have the extra cash to enjoy those spots on a regular basis. Good news: there is much more to do than just eat fancy food. In my free time, I enjoy riding my bike on the Nashville levee greenway using the Nashville bike share program, reading lots of papers at Steadfast Coffee, and enjoying a pint with friends at Bearded Iris Brewery or Von Elrod’s Beer Garden and Sausage House (half off liter Steins on Tuesdays and Thursdays!!!!) Additionally, the Nashville Sounds Stadium and Farmers Market are both within walking distance. This year, the new Nashville Soccer Club will be playing its home games at First Tennessean Park as well. A neighborhood with great food, outdoor space, and professional sports teams – what’s not to love? (By Bradley Reinfeld, G1)

12 South

First of all, 12 South is by far the best (sorry Brad). 12 South is a fun, young neighbourhood just 1-2 miles from campus. Currently it is mostly houses with young families or groups of college/graduate students, but there are seemingly infinite apartment buildings opening up all the time. The 12 South neighbourhood centers around 12 South avenue, which has tons of restaurants, shopping boutiques, and coffee shops. The food is excellent and ranges from BBQ, to sandwiches, to Korean food trucks, to upscale Lebanese. It also is home to one of the Jeni’s Ice Cream stores, which Nashville is obsessed with. The shopping is amazing but expensive, so I would recommend some serious window shopping. You might even catch Reese Witherspoon at her 12 South store: Draper James (note: she looks EXACTLY the same as she does on screen). The coffee shops make for great study spots and include some Nashville favorites: Frothy Monkey (always busy, super trendy, excellent food, Bachelorette parties galore for Brunch on Sundays), Portland Brew (great study spot and solid patio for when it’s nice out), and Box which has amazing food and is only busy during school drop-off. Also my classmate and neighbour Chris would never forgive me for not mentioning 8th and Roast, which is where he basically lives. Overall, 12 South has a very homey feel – it’s extremely safe and there are always people walking around (usually with dogs), going on runs, or going to Sevier Park, which is a beautiful park at the end of the 12 South with basketball courts, tennis courts, a playground, the community center, and sprawling grassy hills to hang out on. Beware of sunbathers, frisbees, hacky sacks, slack lines, and puppies. It’s also really close to 8 South, which is a up and coming area with a million apartments, new restaurants, and a great tap room.

Let’s talk cost: many of the apartments going up are looking for either young, urban professionals (aka YUPies) or undergrads (mostly from Belmont University, which is two blocks away). That means there’s a huge spread of what you can get. This is one of the priciest neighborhoods in town, but there are affordable options, particularly renting a room in a house or sharing an apartment. The lowest you can get is probably around $1000 for a 1BD/1BR or studio, but it wouldn’t be a new building. More likely is >$1,300/month. But you pretty easily can find <$1000 per person if you’re willing to share a multi-room apartment or a house. 8 South apartments would be cheaper, but not by much. (By Lizzie Hale, G1)

The Nations

I moved to a townhouse in The Nations with my significant other (who is in the second medical phase of his M.D.-Ph.D. training) when I started graduate school. Driving to Vanderbilt between 7:30 am and 9:00 am for graduate school is about a 20- to 25-minute commute. Coming in earlier for clerkships is about a 10-minute commute. I love having a small yard, covered parking, and a guest room. My parents purchased the townhouse (and we essentially rent it from them); if you aren’t planning on buying, you could still live in The Nations in a small house like ours with roommates. A few apartment buildings are also currently being built in The Nations, and will probably be ready by the time you start M2 year if you are interested. I like The Nations because it is home to some of the coolest murals in Nashville, great coffee shops for studying (Three Corners, Frothy Monkey), restaurants like Nicky’s Coal Fired, and other trendy restaurants that never have a wait. For instance, 51st Kitchen & Bar is a family-owned restaurant with a particularly delicious Saturday brunch menu and a dog park in front of the restaurant for your furry friends to run around in while you eat. (By Rachel Brown, G1)

East Nashville

I moved to East Nashville when I started graduate school. It’s a totally different vibe than around Vandy’s campus! My house is about 6 miles from campus. Coming in between 8:00AM – 9:00AM for graduate school is about a 20- to 25-minute commute. Coming in earlier for medical school would be about a 10-minute commute. East Nashville is home to a huge variety of restaurants – some of my favorites are Mas Tacos, Pharmacy Burger, and Thai Phooket. It’s also near Shelby Bottoms Greenway, which is a 960-acre area with bike paths, hiking trails, a golf course, and a great dog park. My favorite music venue in Nashville, The Basement East, is located right off Gallatin Pike, the main road in East Nashville. Finally, we have our own yearly beer festival, tomato art festival, and several smaller events. Several neighborhoods in East Nashville are “up and coming,” with brand new but affordable houses to buy if you’re looking into making a real estate investment during your 7 years here. (By Cody Stothers, G2)