Nashville, TN, isn’t called “Music City” for no reason. The Southern state capital is better known as the home of country music, and has for years been the relocation destination of choice for budding musicians, who flock to Nashville hoping to launch their music careers.
Nowadays, moving to Nashville, Tennessee, is more about its live music scene, which makes it a popular choice for students and young professionals looking to soak up the city’s rich culture. The city is also a hub for lovers of Southern food and craft beer, with endless restaurants and bars to explore.
For those considering moving to Nashville, TN, we’ve put together this complete moving guide, covering the following areas:
- About Nashville
- The Climate
- The Best Nashville Neighborhoods and Suburbs
- Employment in Nashville
- Cost of Living in Nashville
- Attractions In and Around Nashville
- Food and Restaurants in Nashville
- How to Get There - Moving to Nashville
- Should I Move to Nashville, Tennessee? Final Thoughts
Founded in 1779, Nashville is the capital of the state of Tennessee. The city was named after Francis Nash, a Continental Army general during the American War of Independence.
The population of Nashville is roughly 700,000, making it the 23rd most populous city in the country, and its metropolitan area is steadily growing in size, reaching almost 2 million this year.
Home to several universities, 21.2% of the city’s population is under 18 years of age, and 11.5% age 65 and over, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nashville is located on the picturesque Cumberland River, and its green, hilly surroundings make it especially popular.
If we were to make a list of what to know before moving to Nashville, perhaps top of it would be the city’s humid, subtropical climate, meaning temperatures reach an average of 89°F (31.7°C) in the summer months.
Its mild winters, on the other hand, normally see median temperatures drop just below freezing. The best months in the city for weather are between April and October, when the pleasant climate draws in tourists from all over the world.
However, if you’re used to the dry heat of Arizona or North Carolina, have your fans at the ready for Nashville’s humidity levels, which average 70%. This also means the city is prone to thunderstorms during spring and autumn, with occasional rainstorms.
Average rainfall in the region means it is wet for typically around 118 days a year, which amounts to an annual precipitation count of around 47 inches. Spring is normally the wettest season in Nashville.
The Best Nashville Neighborhoods and Suburbs
One thing to bear in mind when it comes to picking the right Nashville neighborhood for you is that the city’s public transportation network is not the most developed. If you don’t have a car, it’s helpful to consider walking distances when picking out the best areas to live in.
If you have a bicycle, the good news is that Nashville is becoming increasingly bike-friendly, with extra miles of bike routes being added to the city’s network over the past decade, which makes it easier to get around.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of Nashville’s inner-city neighborhoods, which are all within walking distance of Downtown Nashville:
- Midtown - around two miles from Downtown Nashville, college students, young professionals, and socialites can be found hanging around Midtown’s music venues, bars, and restaurants. For those wanting to escape the touristy hustle and bustle of downtown at night, Midtown is a good option for a relaxed, but still fun evening.
- Music Row - southwest of Downtown Nashville is Music Row, home to the city’s recording studios, record labels, and radio stations. While this mixture makes the neighborhood a perfect tourist attraction, great coffee shops and restaurants mean that locals also enjoy the upscale urban living it has to offer.
- Downtown - Downtown Nashville is a unique place to live. You can expect a heavy tourist presence, museums, bars playing live music, and restaurants lining the streets. Although living in the city center comes with a hefty price tag, the area is becoming more popular among young professionals with a higher budget looking for a short walking commute to their workplace.
- Germantown - Germantown is considered to be one of the city’s best neighborhoods when it comes to pleasant walks among historical homes and picturesque sidewalks. It’s home to some of the city’s best restaurants, a farmer’s market, and the Bicentennial Capitol Mall Skate Park.
- South Nashville - More of a family-oriented neighborhood, South Nashville is perfect for families with kids who don’t mind city living. Full of coffee shops and bakeries, it’s also home to young creative freelancers who work remotely.
For those wanting to spend slightly less but still enjoy the Southern country feel of Nashville, living in the suburbs could be a cheaper option. Here are some of our top suburb picks for the city:
- Green Hills - One of the most affluent suburban neighborhoods in Nashville, in Green Hills you can still be near the hubbub of the city without living directly in it. On weekends, explore the boutique shops and other retail options the suburb has to offer, or catch up with friends over a meal at one of Green Hill’s many restaurants.
- Franklin - This charming Nashville suburb is where you’ll find historic homes, antique stores, boutiques, and coffee shops. Many families call this neighborhood their home.
- Clarksville - If it’s a community you’re after, look no further than Clarksville for regular family-friendly festivals and affordable living. Clarksville is roughly an hour away from Nashville by car.
- Nolensville - Due to its picturesque rural setting and high-rated public schools, buyers can expect to pay slightly more for houses in Nolensville. That being said, these factors make it a great suburb to move to with your family.
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Employment in Nashville
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most non-farming jobs in Nashville can be found in the transportation, trade, and utilities sector, closely followed by professional and business services, and then education and health services.
As of July 2020, the unemployment rate in the Nashville area is 9.8%, which is below the national average of 10.5%.
If you’re looking for part-time work, there are plenty of jobs in the service industry, thanks to Nashville’s wealth of restaurants, bars, and cafes. Unfortunately, many of the city’s workers in the music industry have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with concert venues and bars still subject to temporary closures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Cost of Living in Nashville
The cost of living in Nashville, TN is approximately 3% lower than the national average, calculated based on the price of housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation.
Over the past few years, the city has become more expensive, which means it now surpasses its neighboring Southern cities Atlanta, Charlotte, and Orlando. However, it is still cheaper to live in Nashville than it is to live in Austin, Texas, for example.
When it comes to housing, Nashville prices are approximately 9% more affordable than the national average, with the average home value coming in at $289,358, around the same value as a lower-tier home value in Washington.
If you’re renting a one bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay around $1,170 per month in the city, and $1,350 for a two-bedroom apartment. Cheaper options for renting and buying can be found in Nashville’s suburbs.
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Attractions In and Around Nashville
As the home of country music, moving to Nashville means you’ll have permanent access to the wide range of concert and live music venues the city has to offer.
Although many, such as the Ryman Auditorium, have cancelled shows due to the pandemic, Nashville’s most iconic venues like the Grand Ole Opry are offering an online Saturday night live stream. Over the years, they have hosted country music legends including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and George Jones, securing Nashville’s status as the capital of country music.
Downtown Nashville is also home to smaller, more intimate music venues including the High Watt and 3rd and Lindsley, where country fans can enjoy a drink and a live concert in a more personal setting.
To learn more about the city’s musical history, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or the Johnny Cash Museum, and explore the recording studios and radio stations of Music Row. The Tennessee State Museum is also a great (free) option.
If the hustle and bustle of the city center becomes too much, one of the best things about Nashville is that it is surrounded by greenery, which provides the perfect opportunity to go on a hike, bicycle ride, or walk in the park.
Without having to venture too far out of the city, some of the best outdoor activities you can enjoy around Nashville are:
- Walking or jogging around Warner Parks, Tennessee's largest municipal park
- Boating at Percy Priest lake
- Canoeing on Harpeth River
- Horseback Riding at Cedars of Lebanon
- Biking on the The Natchez Trace Parkway
Food and Restaurants in Nashville
If you’re moving to Nashville and haven’t tried hot chicken, make sure it’s at the top of your list of local delicacies to sample. The fried chicken covered in hot sauce meal started at Nashville’s Prince’s Hot Chicken, which is widely credited with spreading the dish’s popularity throughout the region.
On the same Southern vein, Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is also home to the famed Tennessee Whole Hog BBQ, where you can sit outside in their outdoor beer garden and enjoy the mouthwatering southern classic.
How to Get There - Moving to Nashville
If you’re thinking about how to move to Nashville, the good thing is that the city is fairly easy to get to.
Nashville has its own international airport which receives daily flights from major U.S. cities, a shuttle to-and-from the airport to the city center, and is one of only six U.S. cities where three interstates connect, making it very accessible by road.
- By air - Nashville International Airport is approximately 7 miles away from downtown Nashville.
- By road - Nashville is accessible via three major freeways: the east-west I-40 freeway, the north-south I-65 freeway, and the northwest to southeast I-24 freeway.
- By bus - Greyhound bus services offer routes to Nashville from 219 different U.S. cities, including New York. Other bus companies that offer services to Nashville include Tornado Bus, Miller Transportation, El Expresso Bus, Amtrak Thruway, PandaNYBus and Wanda Coach.
Should I Move to Nashville, Tennessee? Final Thoughts
If you’re a young professional with a busy, social schedule, the Nashville city center could be the perfect place for your urban lifestyle.
It’s not all country music and fried chicken, however, so for families looking to soak up the Southern country feel, but with nature and outdoor activities on their doorstep, moving to Nashville’s suburbs could be a great option for your new home.
Given its reasonably low cost of living to high quality of life ratio, Nashville is a unique destination of choice for those looking to relocate. With the city’s growth accelerating by the year, if you’re thinking of moving South, take the plunge before it’s too late!
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