In Navigate Nashville Streets: Part 1, I presented the 5 loops and 10 spokes of Music City. Now let’s concentrate on Nashville roads in the central city area.
Streets vs Avenues
Let’s decode Nashville roads: Numbered streets are on the east side (11st Street). Numbered avenues are on the west side of the river (e.g. 21st Avenue).
North vs South
The red lines on the map want to be your friends.
Broadway aka West End Avenue (and what’s become our Honky Tonk District) divides north and south, thus the Ryman Auditorium is at 116 5th Avenue, N. and the Johnny Cash Museum is at 119 3rd Avenue, S.
Main Street/Gallatin Pike, on the east side of the Cumberland, divides north and south. Funky hot dog stand I Dream of Weenie is found at 113 South 11st Street.
For reasons I can’t explain, we have 1st Avenue, North but North 1st Street.
Numbered Avenues Can Be Chameleons
Most numbered Nashville streets change names. Yes, you will be tested on this…if you’re driving around.
4th Avenue South (south of Broadway) becomes Nolensville Road (near the fairgrounds).
8th Avenue becomes Rosa L. Parks Boulevard as you head north from downtown and transforms into MetroCenter Blvd. as it intersects with I-40; heading south from Broadway, it turns into Franklin Road until it reaches Franklin where it becomes Main Street. And all along, it’s US Business Hwy. 31.
12th Avenue S. becomes Granny White Pike south of the trendy neighborhood of 12South.
16th Avenue S. becomes Music Square East for a few blocks in the Music Row area; it leaps over the Belmont University campus and becomes Belmont Blvd.. Likewise, 17th Avenue S. transforms into Music Square W. Note: both are one-way streets going opposite directions.
18th Avenue North becomes D.B. Todd Boulevard (at Charlotte), then morphs into Clarksville Highway (at Clay Street) in North Nashville.
21st Avenue S. turns into Hillsboro Road near I-440.
And the streets are chameleons as well.
North 1st Street merges with Dickerson Road just north of Jefferson Streetand retains the Dickerson until becoming Main Street in Goodlettsville. By the way, it’s also called Highway 41 and 31W.
Other Nashville Streets with Multiple Personalities
Broadway (at the west bank of the river) becomes West End Avenue (at 17th Avenue), then changes to Harding Road (near Montgomery Bell Academy). There’s also an offshoot of Broadway at 17th Avenue called Division Street which merges with 21st Avenue S. It’s also shown on maps as West 70S.
Church Street runs through the heart of downtown but at 22nd Avenue N., it becomes Elliston Place and includes several live-music venues that earned it the moniker “Rock Block.”
Korean Veterans Blvd. runs east from SoBro, across the Cumberland River and POOF!, it becomes Shelby Avenue.
Gallatin Road goes north toward, yes, Gallatin. But in East Nashville, it’s Main Street and traveling west it is James Robertson Parkway as it makes an arc across the north side of downtown. Then it merges to become Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Beware: Harding Road is different than Harding Place and Harding Place morphs into Battery Lane for 1.7 miles in the Green Hills/Forest Hills area before–poof–it turns back into Harding Place.
Bless it, Charlotte Pike keeps its name from downtown to Bellevue. Correction: the span from 3rd Avenue, N. to George L. Davis Blvd. will now be known as Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.