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17 Things to Know About Living in Nashville

Considering moving to Nashville? As one of the friendliest cities in the U.S., Music City is a great Southern city to call home, thanks to its live music scene, delicious hot chicken, budding healthcare industry, and diverse culture. Check out these 17 things to know about living in Nashville!

Live in an Affordable Southeastern City

Nashville is frequently recognized as one of the best places to live in the Southeast, but did you know it’s also one of the most affordable cities in the U.S.? At 4% lower than the national average, Nashville’s cost of living makes this Tennessee city a great place to live. Nashville’s affordability extends to healthcare, utilities, and the housing market—with a median home price around $455,100 and average monthly rent of $1,819. And with many Nashville neighborhoods that are great for home buyers or renters, you can find a safe, affordable neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. And residents in Nashville don’t have to pay state income tax, making this Southeastern city an affordable place to call home!

Find a Job in Nashville

Looking for jobs in Nashville? This Tennessee city has a relatively low unemployment rate of 3.1% and has experienced so much job growth in the last few years that it now ranks as one of the best cities for jobs. Headquartered in Franklin, Nissan North America is one of the largest employers in the Nashville metro. There’s also a large healthcare industry in Nashville, with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and HCA Healthcare employing thousands locally. For those looking to work in the entertainment industry, Music City offers employment opportunities with Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. And since Nashville is one of the “Bachelorette Party Capitals” of the U.S., the local tourism and hospitality industries are seeing major growth, as well.

Seek Higher Education

brick building with lush green landscaping photo via @vanderbiltu

Photo via @vanderbiltu

If you’re looking to further your education in Nashville, the city is home to several great universities and colleges. Study early childhood education, music, nursing, and more at Belmont University. Choose from law, engineering, medical, or art degree programs at Vanderbilt University. Get a degree in elementary education, philosophy, theology, or history at Aquinas College. Sign up for classes at Tennessee State University, where you can learn more about agricultural sciences, business information systems, or computer science. Or earn your associate degree or certificate in culinary arts, retail management, or hospitality management at Nashville State Community College. Attend Lipscomb University, a private university that offers students a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees from art history to graphic design. Or earn your degree in political science, psychology, or English literature at Fisk University, founded in 1866.

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Get Around with Public Transportation

Public City Bus in Nashville. Photo by Instagram user @wegotransit

Photo via @wegotransit

Even though the city of Nashville is pretty car-dependent, residents can get around the city with several convenient public transportation options. Hop on one of WeGo Public Transit‘s 26 local bus stops to travel throughout the Nashville metropolitan area. Ride your own bike or rent an electric bike with Nashville BCycle for an eco-friendly commute around Nashville—which is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the South! Planning on traveling between Nashville and its nearby suburbs? Catch a ride with WeGo Star, a commuter train with seven stops connecting Nashville and Lebanon, allowing residents to go between the two Tennessee cities.

Discover the Magic of Music City

Photo from Outside of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Photo by Instagram user @opry

Photo via @opry

No city does music like Music City, the songwriting capital of the world! One of the best things about living in Nashville is being surrounded by musical history and culture. Watch the biggest music stars walk the red carpet at the annual Country Music Awards. Stop by the famous Bluebird Cafe and listen to up-and-coming country music artists get their start in the genre. See country music stars like Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, and Carrie Underwood perform at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. With over 100 years of music history, see where the biggest names of country music performed when touring the historic Ryman Auditorium. Head to the Music City Walk of Fame, a landmark honoring all genres of music that have made a significant contribution to Nashville. Attend and vote for your favorite country artist at the CMT Awards. Or attend the annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, whether you’re a songwriter or a fan!

Spend the Day Outdoors

Aerial Photo of the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville. Photo by Instagram user @sumsnet

Photo via @sumsnet

Looking to spend time outside in Nashville? The city is full of outdoor recreation! Spend the day strolling through Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Downtown Nashville. Watch wildlife, go hiking and biking, or have a family picnic along the Cumberland River at Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Natural Area. Take your horse out on the trails, let your furry friends loose at the dog park, or go mountain biking at Warner Parks, which spans more than 3,100 acres. Watch the kiddos climb on the playground as the large mosaic serpent slithers throughout the landscape at Fannie Mae Dees Park, known as Dragon Park. Or head to Music City Walk of Fame, a landmark honoring all genres of music that have made a significant contribution to Nashville.

Experience the Athens of the South

parthenon replica photo via @lexroesner

Photo via @lexroesner

Often, Nashville is referred to as the “Athens of the South.” Dating back to the 1800s, Nashville was the first Southern city to establish a public school system, as well as many higher education institutions—a value shared with those of Ancient Greece. Today, the nickname is more associated with the fact that Nashville is home to a full-scale replica of the Parthenon Temple. Located in Centennial Park, the Parthenon replica was built in 1897 for Nashville’s centennial celebration. When walking into the Parthenon, be sure to admire the 42-foot statue of Greek goddess Athena. And check out exhibits like The Cowan Collection of American Art or The Odyssey: A Retelling by Lisa Bachman Jones at this Nashville art museum!

Check Out the Kid-Friendly Activities

Leopard on a Branch at the Nashville Zoo. Photo by Instagram user @nashvillezoo

Photo via @nashvillezoo

Looking for fun things to do with kids? Check out one of the many family attractions in Nashville! Bring your family to the Adventure Science Center, where you can catch a show at the planetarium or get hands-on with interactive exhibits. Watch penguins waddle, get up close with kangaroos, or participate in many fun events like the Zzzoofari Slumber or Member Night at the Nashville Zoo. Check out Wave Country, Nashville’s only wave-action swimming pool. Tour historical passenger trains and take a day trip to nearby areas at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. Sign the kiddos up for drama camp or see musicals at the Nashville Children’s Theatre. Camp with your family and see the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum and Loretta’s Frontier Homestead at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. Tour the original farmhouse and home of President Andrew Jackson at Andrew Jackson Hermitage. Or tour the Belmont Mansion located at Belmont University, once home to Adelicia and Joseph Acklen.

Visit Nashville’s Best Attractions

Johnny Cash's Gold Record for Walk the Line at the Johnny Cash Museum. Photo by Instagram user @cashmuseum

Photo via @cashmuseum

There are lots of great landmarks in Nashville worth checking out! Tour the Greek-Revival mansion at Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery to learn how the experiences of the Harding and Jackson families played an important role in the history of Nashville since 1840. Spend the day walking the 55-acre garden and historic estate of the Cheek family at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Make your way to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in SoBro to see exhibits honoring the best country music artists throughout the years. View the largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia at the world-renowned Johnny Cash Museum in Downtown Nashville. Discover more about famous musicians and artists like Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, or Barbara Mandrell at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum. Or if you can’t decide which sites to check out, hop on a Nashville trolley sightseeing tour to visit all kinds of historic spots, museums, restaurants, and more!

Explore Nashville’s Arts & Culture

Don’t forget to check out Nashville’s arts and culture! Admire paintings, sketches, and sculptures by world-renowned artists at Frist Art Museum. Get your camera ready and schedule a Nashville Mural Tour, designed to show off the abundance of Nashville street art. Grab some popcorn and see independent, classic, or foreign films, as well as documentaries at The Belcourt Theatre. Get tickets to dance performances, musical performances, and more at OZ Arts Nashville. See the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra play at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. During the holiday season, see the annual performance of The Nutcracker put on each holiday season by the Nashville Ballet. Catch the latest broadway production, attend the annual Broadway Brunch event, or sign the kids up for Broadway Theatre Camp at Nashville Repertory Theatre. See live opera performances by attending a Nashville Opera production. Or enjoy popular plays and musicals or watch the biggest names in music perform at Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Attend Nashville’s Annual Events

Carrie Underwood Singing On-Stage. Photo by Instagram user @theedwardjames

Photo via @theedwardjames

Want to live in a city with fun festivals and events? Nashville is the place for you! Find live music, Japanese foods, martial arts performances, and more each spring at Nashville’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Celebrate the LGBTQ community each June by attending the parade, enjoying live music from a number of artists, and taking part in a variety of activities at Nashville Pride. Check out the Southern Festival of Books—one the of oldest literary festivals in the country—featuring around 200 authors each year. Catch the latest trends on the runway at Nashville Fashion Week. Grab your blanket and gather in the park as actors showcase the works of Shakespeare at The Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Experience German culture in Nashville by listening to live music, watching the Bratwurst Eating Contest, trying beers from local breweries, and more at Oktoberfest. Immerse yourself in the art of film when attending the Nashville Film Festival. Or gather to listen to the biggest names in country perform over four days at the CMA Fest, hosted by the Country Music Association!

Get Your Fill of Local Sports

Luke Kunin After a Game Winning Goal. Photo by Instagram user @predsnhl

Photo via @predsnhl

Whether you’re a football lover, baseball follower, hockey enthusiast, or racing fan, Nashville sports are for you! Join the packed house at Nissan Stadium to cheer on the Tennessee Titans (NFL) or the Nashville SC (USL). Take the family to a ball game at First Horizon Park to root for the Nashville Sounds (MiLB). Get your hockey fix when watching the Nashville Predators (NHL) on the ice at Bridgestone Arena. Or experience the ultimate adrenaline rush by watching car races like the All American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway.

Dine at Nashville’s Restaurants

There’s no shortage of amazing Nashville restaurants! Order a Biscuit & Sausage Gravy dish for breakfast or get more protein with the Southern Benny paired with a side of Cheese Grits at Biscuit Love. Visit The Southern Steak & Oyster for Sunday Brunch, where you can sip on a Peach Bellini while enjoying the Southern Fried Egg Sandwich or Breaux Bros Gumbo. Dig into Tennessee BBQ favorites like a Pulled Pork Platter, Dry Rubbed Ribs, or BBQ Sandwich—and don’t forget to order the BBQ Beans and Potato Salad at Peg Leg Porker. Check out Husk for a Southern farm-to-table restaurant with a frequently-rotating menu. Try the BBQ Nachos, Brisket Sandwich, or Smoked Wings at Edley’s Bar-B-Que. Chow down on gourmet plant-based foods in North Nashville like the TSV Philly, BBQ Jackfruit Sammich, or Chickpea Tuna Salad at The Southern V. Listen to local singers and songwriters take the stage while eating classic Southern favorites like Sweet Potato Skins, Meatloaf, and Southern Shrimp & Grits at The Row Kitchen & Pub.

Try Some Nashville Hot Chicken

fried chicken sandwich photo via @hattiebs

Photo via @hattiebs

Southern cuisine isn’t the only thing Nashville restaurants are known for. Don’t forget to try Nashville’s famous hot chicken! Visit a local favorite that turned into a national chain with Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, serving spicy fried chicken that’s ideal for a quick lunch or dinner. Or stop by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack where you can order a Whole or 1/2 Chicken with Lite Mild or XXX Hot sauce, and pair it with ‘Get it Girl’ Greens or Potato Salad. Try the Hot Chicken Plate sauced to your ideal temperature or order house specialties like Nashville’s Original Hot Chicken Sandwich or Peppercheese when dining at Pepperfire Hot Chicken. Or head to family-owned Red’s 615 Kitchen for Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders, a Southern Dirty Bird Sandwich, or the Hot Chicken Mac and Cheese Crunchwrap.

Head to Honky Tonk Highway

Located on Lower Broadway is Nashville’s hot spot for live music and drinks—Honky Tonk Highway! Grab your cowboy boots and enjoy a night of dancing with friends, live music, and great drinks at country bar The Stage on Broadway. Voted “Local Favorite Honky Tonk,” listen to live music seven days a week and pick from a variety of beers and great food options at Robert’s Western World. Get your fill of live music from country and bluegrass bands while sipping on drinks at one of Nashville’s original honky-tonks, Layla’s Honky Tonk. Snack on BBQ favorites while watching sports on the big screen or relaxing on the rooftop deck at Rippy’s Honky Tonk. And don’t forget to visit Nudie’s Honky Tonk, where you’re bound to have a good time with great food and drinks, live music, and a fantastic rooftop view!

Pour Some Whiskey

Are you a whiskey connoisseur? You’ll love living in Nashville, where the whiskey flows like water! Stop by Gertie’s Bar—located in The Gulch below The 404 Kitchen—for one of the largest whiskey collections in the South. Sample the Dark Rye or Triple Smoke Whiskey at Corsair Distillery. Head over to Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, where you can taste their sour mash Tennessee Whiskey. Enjoy flights of bourbon and whiskey along with burgers at The Stock & Barrel. And if you want to continue your whiskey journey, there are tons of Tennessee distilleries in and around the Nashville area that you can visit!

Enjoy a Night Out

Photo of Joshua Black on Stage at Zanies Nashville. Photo by Instagram user @sirjoshuablack

Photo via @sirjoshuablack

Looking to have a fun night out with friends? Check out Nashville’s nightlife spots! Experience a night of live music and great food at Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre. Catch a standup comedy show with a friend or partner for an evening full of laughter at Zanies. Enjoy Cajun and Creole food and drinks while dancing the night away at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar. Catch up with friends while listening to live music and sipping Bells Two Hearted Ale at Alley Taps, a speakeasy in Downtown Nashville. Sip on a Prohibition-style cocktail while listening to Nashville jazz and blues bands at Rudy’s Jazz Room. Head over to Play for incredible drag shows and themed parties. Or gather some friends for drinks, dancing, and dueling pianos at The Big Bang Bar.

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