Neighborhood Spotlight: Sylvan Park
Nestled between Charlotte Avenue, Richland Creek, and the railroad lines about four miles southwest of Downtown Nashville is Sylvan Park. This friendly residential neighborhood is home to many local businesses, and maintains its local feel despite increasing new construction in the area.
A Satellite City
West Nashville was one of the city’s last suburbs to be developed. While much of Sylvan Park’s land was originally part of a residential development opened in 1887 by the Nashville Land Improvement Company, the Sylvan Park neighborhood wasn’t officially established until 1903 in a later land auction. The area was originally envisioned as an independent satellite city to Nashville with its own businesses, grocery stores and churches. Residents relied on transportation such as the 1905 Sylvan Park Street Railway (nicknamed the “Sylvan Park Dinky” at the time) to move people and goods to and from the city center.
Many middle-class citizens of the time purchased land and built elegant Victorian homes in the area, and as a result, Sylvan Park contained mostly 1910s-1940s frame and brick cottages and 1900-1915 Princess Anne cottages for much of the 20th century. Over half of these homes remained preserved or renovated in the neighborhood until the mid-1990s, when that number began to decline and new constructions started to replace the original architecture, according to a Metro Historical Association study. Today, you’ll see several newer homes mixed in with those historical constructions.
Nevertheless, Sylvan Park retains its local charm. The neighborhood has a welcoming, “know-your-neighbor” feel and culture, offering plenty of choice in local eats, goods and recreational activities for its residents.
If you are inclined towards the outdoors, this might just be the Nashville neighborhood for you. There’s no shortage of ways to get out into nature here. Sylvan Park offers not one but two parks (McCabe Park and Richland Park), perfect for a morning jog, a walk with a furry friend or just meeting up with friends and neighbors. There’s also the Richland Creek Greenway that loops almost completely around McCabe Park, if you’re feeling up for a more adventurous hike. More structured options for getting active include the McCabe Golf Course and climbing walls at Climb Nashville. If those don’t pique your interest, there are always new classes coming to the McCabe Park Community Center, so you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.
When you’re feeling hungry after all that activity, head over to one of Sylvan Park’s many locally owned restaurants. Check out Starbagel, Nashville’s oldest locally owned bagel shop, and dose for artisanal coffee drinks. Head to McCabe Pub (don’t miss late night happy hour at 9pm!) or Bobbie’s Dairy Dip for some classic American fare including burgers and shakes, or Caffé Nonna for simple Italian. Vegan Vee offers delicious gluten-free vegan treats, and you can find all kinds of juices, smoothies, and healthy eats at The Urban Juicer.
There are plenty of options for those who prefer a home-cooked meal packed with locally-sourced ingredients, too. Check out the Farmer’s Market, open every Saturday morning, or grab some fresh ingredients from local vendors at the Produce Place grocery store.
While Sylvan Park has seen substantial development in recent years, there is still a strong sense of community and local flair to be found. It’s clear why so many small business owners and residents alike choose to call this neighborhood home. There are tons of hidden gems here, so don’t miss out – stop by and experience Sylvan Park for yourself.