In our 5 Shops series, we’ll point you in the direction of our favorite independent shops across some of the world’s best cities. From food markets to bookshops, vintage and homegrown design, we’ve found a diverse and exciting mix of local retailers where you can pick up one-of-a-kind pieces.
There are many wonderful ways to burn a hole in your pocket at Nashville’s independent shops.
A center for artisans and niche retailers as well as songwriters, Music City has something for everyone, whether you’re a bookworm, a vintage enthusiast or a hardcore concertgoer. Here are five of our favorite shops all over town.
Best for souvenirs
Hatch Show Print
If you’ve been to nearly any major music venue in Nashville – think Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, Bridgestone Arena – you’ve likely seen work by Hatch Show Print. This letterpress print shop has been churning out concert and event posters since 1879, and its signature print style – with color blocking and big, bold typography – has become the visual expression of Nashville’s world-renowned music scene. Take home a print for an easy-to-transport piece of Music City history.
The shop offers tours during which you can learn about the print process, examine the wooden type blocks that the shop has accumulated over the years and hear from printmakers about their craft. You can also participate in workshops where you can make your own posters, t-shirts, tote bags and more.
The last Hatch Show Print piece I bought was a poster commemorating one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to: Icelandic rock band Kaleo’s performance at the Ryman. It both brings back an epic memory – and is simply a cool piece of art.
Best for local design
Thunder Moon Collective
An explosion of gold and candy-colored pastels, Thunder Moon Collective offers a vivid immersion in fashion, art and design. Guests are greeted by furry critters of the canine and feline varieties while they peruse owner Nina’s thoughtful selection of clothing and home goods. Sustainably made pieces take priority here, with Thunder Moon sourcing its merchandise from small makers locally and around the world. Snag earrings made at a solar-powered workshop in Malawi, soaps made from consciously sourced ingredients in California and dresses designed by small fashion collectives. Thunder Moon even hosts monthly crafting circles as well as workshops in floral design, perfume blending and more.
I’ve got my eye on these adorable “pot heads” (pictured above) painted by talented artisans in Mexico . Which one is your favorite?
Best for vintage
While Nashville has no shortage of vintage shops, it’s hard to find the holy trinity of second-hand shopping: high-quality garments, a wide variety and affordable prices. Enter Anaconda Vintage. Tucked behind long-loved record store Grimey’s, Anaconda has wares that span all styles and eras. The shop also strives to be size-inclusive.
In particular, you’ll find a great selection of pants for all genders, plus an accessory wall thoughtfully merchandised with showstoppers that won’t break the bank. Once you’ve picked out a new outfit, head across the street to Living Waters Brewing for a beer or coffee as a reward.
Best for food
Assembly Food Hall
A somewhat new addition to downtown Nashville, Assembly Food Hall fills a much-needed gap on the Broadway scene: a place to grab a bite and a drink before a show without having to commit to a full sit-down meal. This food hall hosts over 30 different bars and restaurants, including Nashville favorites like Prince’s Hot Chicken, Thai Esane and The Pharmacy. This being Music City, the venue also has three different live music stages – some of which overlook the historic Ryman Auditorium just across the street – and a rooftop venue, making it a music destination in its own right.
On my last visit I sipped a margarita from Velvet Taco and a dug into a piled-high poke bowl from PokeNash before heading upstairs to the Skydeck for a concert sponsored by local independent radio station Lightning 100. Cheers to that.
Best for books
A Nashville institution through and through, Parnassus Books is the local stop for book lovers looking to pick up best sellers, regional publications and book-oriented gifts for their favorite people. The shop is more than a bookstore, though: it’s a hub for writers and readers, which isn’t surprising considering it’s owned and run by award-winning novelist Ann Patchett. Parnassus hosts regular author signings and discussions, book-club meetings and kid-oriented story times. The shop also has memorable sections catering to a range of interests, including “LGBTQIA+ Reads,” “Banned Books,” “Music Must-Reads” and more.
Knowing the quality of Parnassus’ selection, the shop was my first stop when I needed a gift for my mother, a green-thumb gardener who cares for a veritable wonderland of plants at her Kentucky home every summer. I snagged a copy of Gardening in the South by Mark Weathington, a beautiful book dedicated to all the flora that make this part of the world so beautiful.