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Moving to Nashville

Located in the heart of Tennessee, Nashville is both the state capital and its most populous city. Traditionally known for its legendary country music, famous hot chicken and world-renowned Southern hospitality, Nashville has now also become a hub for economic growth. No longer just a mecca for country music fans, Nashville is, in fact, one of the USA’s fastest-growing cities with around 100 people said to be arriving each day.

These days more and more people, especially millennials, are fleeing expensive cities such San Francisco and New York City in favour of places that can offer them a better cost of living and opportunities for career growth. Nashville’s affordability combined with its vibrant lifestyle offerings make it a prime destination for smart young professionals from elsewhere in the US and beyond.  

While job opportunities are plentiful, especially for those with background and experience in healthcare, technology and finance, the workplace in Nashville is much more laid-back, and the work-life balance healthier than in bigger cities. While salaries are not particularly competitive most employees report experiencing high levels of job satisfaction as well as job security. In recent years, the Music City has also become a magnet for creative types, and it owes much of its economic success to this contingent. Entrepreneurs and people launching start-ups have also seen the value of having operations in Nashville.

Besides millennials from other parts of the US, Nashville remains a firm favourite among families. Scratch beneath the image of the Music City as a party place and one quickly realises how Nashville’s environment is highly conducive when it comes to raising children. Prospective residents will also be pleased to learn that there are lots of good schooling options in Nashville, both in terms of public and private institutions. 

New arrivals to Nashville will find that there is no short supply when it comes to housing. Young professionals looking for plush apartment living will find plenty of options in trendy areas close to the city centre, while families moving to Nashville for a better quality of life can focus their house-hunting efforts in the outer suburbs. 

In terms of lifestyle offerings, there is plenty to see and do in Nashville. Whether it is art, history and culture, music or sport, new residents can have their pick. Green spaces are abundant in Nashville and fitness enthusiasts will likely relish the opportunity to stroll, jog or cycle along the beautiful river path along the Cumberland. Sports fans will surely have fun getting behind local teams such as the Nashville Titans, the Predators and the Nashville Sounds. Anyone who appreciates art and culture will enjoy getting acquainted with the local creative scene in Nashville. With galleries, theatres productions and historic districts to explore, there really is no shortage of things to see and do here. 

As would be the case in any new destination, there are a few downsides to factor in when considering a move to Nashville. A severely lacking public transportation system is certainly one of them. Then there are the incredibly humid summers that bring with them pretty bad thunderstorms and those who suffer from allergies are likely to find spring in the Music City to be a nightmare. Finally, while Tennessee’s openness and friendliness towards newcomers have served to increase diversity in Nashville, it is by no means as cosmopolitan as places such as Los Angeles, New York or Boston.

Regardless of these shortcomings, large numbers of people from other parts of the USA as well as foreigners continue to choose Nashville as a base for a new chapter in their lives. The vast majority of these new arrivals who choose to relocate to the Music City is likely to have an overwhelmingly positive experience and opt to stay for the long-term. Newcomers looking to balance the best small-town vibes with the comfort associated with big-city amenities is bound to find that sweet spot here in Nashville. 

Weather in Nashville

Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, sits in the middle of a geographic region known as the Nashville Basin and is surrounded by the Cumberland Highlands and the Cumberland Plateau to the east. As a result of this location, the city has a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and relatively short, mild winters. 

Winter temperatures in Nashville hover just above freezing and the city can experience a light dusting of snow during the winter months (December to February). Frost is common in winter, and the short days can quickly turn dark and gloomy.

Even though Nashville gets plenty of sunshine throughout the year, the best of it occurs during the summer months (June to August) when temperatures average around 90°F (32°C). 

Spring can be uncomfortable for those with allergies as the vegetation in Nashville and surrounds is so diverse and polliniferous. It is also the wettest season when rainfall can be relentless. 

Newcomers to Nashville are bound to notice the high humidity with levels of 70 percent throughout the year. The urban heat island effect is also prominent on clear nights with a fairly big temperature difference between the city’s core and outlying areas. 

In terms of hazardous weather, newcomers might want to take note of the thunderstorms and potential tornadoes which tend to roll through during the spring and autumn, although they are rarely all that severe. Flash floods have been known to occur along the Cumberland River – these flood-prone areas may want to avoided by prospective residents.

 

Working in Nashville

Prospective residents considering a move to Nashville can rest assured that job prospects in the Music City are bright. It is common to hear the statistic that around 100 people move to the city each day, and although in reality this figure is closer to 50, it is still a pretty remarkable number. Nashville is a great place for job seekers and wide-ranging employment opportunities play a huge role in drawing talented people to the city. 

Nashville is a business-friendly city, with local authorities working hard to offer incentives to companies that look to base their operations here. 


The job market in Nashville

Nashville is often described as a ‘southern boomtown’ thanks to its incredibly dynamic economy. Skilled newcomers will find that the job prospects here are excellent.

Being ‘the home of country music’, it should come as no great surprise that Nashville is the USA’s second-biggest music industry hub, just behind New York City. And, although the music industry accounts for over 50,000 jobs in Nashville, the city’s largest industry is actually healthcare. It's home to over 300 healthcare companies, including the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). The presence of the automotive industry is also growing in Nashville with Nissan North America moving its corporate headquarters here, while General Motors and Bridgestone also have operations based out of Nashville.

Other prominent industries in Nashville include insurance, finance and religious publishing. The city also boasts its fair share of Fortune 500 companies including BNY Mellon, Ernst and Young, Community Health Systems, Dell, Deloitte and UBS. 

A recent survey carried out by the Wall Street Journal ranked Nashville as the 2nd best job market in the USA, pipped only by Austin for the top spot. Nashville boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the country at just 2.6 percent and the city’s economy is expanding fast. Not only are existing businesses growing their operations, but more and more new companies are seeing value in moving their offices to Nashville. Amazon, for instance, plans to set up its Nashville Yards Project which will bring with it 5,000 new jobs to the city. 

Despite all this promise, Nashville’s economy still faces some challenges. To meet the demands of their economy, the city needs to find people with the right skills to match the jobs on offer. While most new arrivals in Nashville tend to be young, educated professionals, the city needs to address other demands too so those with experience and skills in sectors such as transport and construction are also likely to do well here.

One significant downside though is the lack of wage growth which is a negligible 3 percent per year. So those looking for well-paying positions and lucrative job packages may not be all that impressed with what the Music City has to offer. 


Work culture in Nashville

The world of work in Nashville is vibrant and dynamic. It is a city full of hope – a real risk-taking, dream-making place. The city attracts a lot of young talent as it is not only a great place to launch a career, but also boasts a surprising array of cultural and lifestyle offerings. Young people from all over the USA and beyond want to be part of it. 

Many businesses in Nashville have seen the value in creating a healthy workplace culture where employees are happy and staff retention levels are high. A large number of companies, especially in the growing tech and finance sectors, offer their employees flexible work contracts where they are able to work from home to accommodate their personal circumstances. 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Nashville

Deciding to relocate to a new city is not something that should be taken lightly, or without conducting the necessary research. Life in Nashville has both its advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to carefully weigh these up in order to make an informed choice. Here is our breakdown of the main pros and cons of life in the Music City.


Accommodation in Nashville

+ Pro: Housing choices galore

In terms of variety of housing styles, newcomers will be spoilt for choice. Whether one has their heart set on a classic Victorian-style cottage or a modern minimalist home, there is a vast array of options in Nashville. What’s more, most newcomers will find that in terms of either renting property or buying a home, Nashville offers exceptional value for money.

- Con: The better living options aren’t necessarily close to the city centre

The majority of Nashville residents don’t live close to the downtown area. If new arrivals are the types that are accustomed to city-living, they might find that their housing choices are somewhat limited. A willingness to live further afield simply opens up a wider range of spacious options, as well as a better quality of life, which is a major draw for those moving to the Music City. 


Working in Nashville

Pro: Economic growth and plenty of job opportunities

Nashville’s economy is growing at a steady pace, job opportunities are plentiful and unemployment in the city is low. People with skills and experience in the health sector, technology, the music industry and tourism will find lots of exciting job prospects here. Nashville is also a great place to be for entrepreneurs looking to launch their own start-ups.  Each year, thousands of young professionals who see scope for career progression in the city end up making the move. 

- Con: Wage growth is slow

On average wages are only growing by 3 percent a year in Nashville, which means although jobs are available and scope for career progression is great, earning potential may not be as high in comparison to other cities with more competitive job markets such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. 


Healthcare in Nashville

+ Pro: Nashville is the healthcare hub of the South

New residents of Nashville will benefit from access to some brilliant medical facilities. Nashville is, after all, the healthcare hub of the South. Rest assured that the major hospitals in Nashville offer an excellent standard of care and treatment from some top medical professionals.

- Con: Good healthcare doesn’t come cheap

As is the case throughout the USA, healthcare in Nashville isn’t cheap. And, while medical expenses here are a little more affordable than the national average, those that want access to the best private healthcare will need to ensure that they have a fully comprehensive medical insurance plan in place. 


Education and schools in Nashville

+ Pro: Nashville has some top public schools

There is a strong emphasis on the importance of education in many communities in Nashville. As such, the standard of public schools in Nashville is better than the national average and students are that much more likely to graduate high school and attend university. 

- Con: Private schools in Nashville are expensive

Of course, those that aspire to send their children to private school understand that there are high costs involved. That said, tuition at private schools in Nashville are said to be higher than the US average and that’s not factoring in the additional expenses associated with this type of education such as uniforms, extra-curricular costs, stationary and field trips. 


Lifestyle in Nashville

+ Pro: Music scene and nightlife is legendary 

They don’t call Nashville the Music City for nothing. The diverse range of music offerings here is astounding and only really rivalled by New York City. Whether Nashville residents want to catch their favourite international act on tour or would just like to sample the best local talent at a humble Honky Tonk, live music is in no short supply here. It’s a fun place to be and people from all over the USA travel to Nashville to have a good time and experience the legendary nightlife.

- Con: Tourists can be annoying

A booming tourist industry is a great income generator for a city such as Nashville. That said, the constant presence of visitors can be an annoyance for the average resident. Battling to get into your favourite drinks spot, having to book weeks in advance to get a table at that humble family-run restaurant that was once a hangout for you and your friends, but has now been taken over by out-of-town visitors, or having to navigate the crowds that come through for music events at the weekend, can all get a bit much for locals. 

- Con: Religion is hard to avoid

Religion, Christianity in particular, is a pretty big deal in Nashville. After all, Nashville is the buckle of the USA’s Bible Belt. Newcomers moving from more diverse or secular places may find it difficult to adjust too. It is not unusual for someone to casually ask which church one attends. Speaking of churches, there is likely to be one on every street. While the presence of other religions is growing, there is some degree of resistance towards these alternatives. 


Weather in Nashville

+ Pro: Mild winters

Mild winter weather makes living in Nashville much more bearable. Sure, the temperature drops, but not to levels that cause discomfort or any major inconvenience to local residents.

- Cons: Humidity levels soar in the summer

Nashville, like most Tennessean states, becomes exceptionally warm during the summer months. In fact, it can actually be quite uncomfortable. Average temperatures reach around 90°F (32°C) and residents will need to contend with high humidity too. Severe storms are fairly common too, so newcomers may need to keep an eye on the weather forecast.

- Con: Spring is an issue for those with allergies

Nashville ranks among the top allergy capitals in the USA. Pollen levels are exceptionally high in the spring and those with seasonal allergies are likely to suffer as a result. Avoiding the outdoors is a start but be sure to stock up on allergy medication and tissues as well. 


Getting around in Nashville

- Con: Public transport is almost non-existent

The nature of Nashville’s public transport infrastructure is incredibly limited. The bus service that exists is unreliable and hardly extensive. While there are plans for improvements to the public transport network, these may take some time to materialise so new residents will need to bite the bullet and get driving.

- Con: Traffic is a nightmare

New Nashville residents will need to budget extra time to account for the severe traffic that is prevalent throughout Nashville’s metro area. Avoiding rush hour is one way to circumvent the issue but continuous construction and roadworks in this ever-expanding city also add to the problem and make things quite unpredictable.


Cost of living in Nashville

+ Pro:  Life in Nashville is generally more affordable than in most US cities

Nashville’s cost of living is pretty competitive compared to most cities in the Midwest and it’s miles more affordable that life in places such as New York or Los Angeles. Residents can afford to live fairly well in Nashville without breaking the bank. For those looking to move here for the longer term, getting on the property ladder is fairly easy as well. 

- Con: The cost of living is rising

Even though the cost of housing and general expenses are incredibly reasonable at the moment, they are steadily rising at the Music City grows and welcomes more and more new residents. The fact that wage growth is fairly slow doesn’t help matters either. 
 

Cost of Living in Nashville

As the state capital, the cost of living in Nashville is slightly more expensive than the Tennessee state average. Regardless, newcomers to the Music City are likely to find things considerably more affordable than most other prominent US cities. 


Cost of accommodation

As is usually the case, housing expenses are likely to account for the biggest part of a person’s budget. Accommodation in Nashville is generally pretty good value for money but, as Nashville grows in popularity, housing costs are on the rise too.

Rental rates in Nashville are relatively affordable, even for apartments in the city centre. Of course, the cost of renting a property will vary depending on the popularity of a particular area or suburb. Those that wish to live close to downtown Nashville or near Music Row should expect to pay a premium.

For those looking to buy property, Nashville presents a number of great options. Even in terms of investment, real-estate experts see loads of potential in the city because of the influx of new arrivals looking for rental properties.


Cost of healthcare in Nashville

Healthcare is Nashville’s foremost income generator for Nashville. In fact, the city is quite the medical hub for the South. Even though Nashville is home to a number of excellent hospitals and healthcare costs are reported to be a few percent less than the US average, the fact of the matter is that to access the best medical facilities, we recommend prospective Nashvillians get a comprehensive health insurance plan in place. There are plenty of health insurance schemes on offer, but our advice is that new arrivals invest some time doing research to find the best fit for their needs. 

Anyone moving to Nashville for a job offer should try to negotiate an employer contribution towards their medical insurance, as this is sure to represent a significant saving in terms of a person’s monthly budget.


Cost of education in Nashville

The cost of education in Nashville varies depending on the schooling path parents choose for their children. Newcomers to Nashville will have hundreds of private and public school options to choose from, so it probably won't be a straightforward decision. 

Attending a public school in Nashville will cost next to nothing, whereas private schools set their own fees and are generally high. These fees also increase as the child works their way up through the school. In addition to school fees, parents will need to budget for additional expenses such as uniforms, textbooks, stationery, extra-curricular classes and field trips. These costs can easily mount up. 

With pressure to do well at school increasing within certain circles, parents may be inclined to provide extra support for their children in the form of a private tutor, either to help them in subjects they find hard or give them the edge needed for university admissions tests. Thankfully, most tutoring services offer a range of options to suit different budgets. 


Cost of transportation in Nashville

Nashville is a pretty big city so new arrivals are going to need to consider the cost of getting around when budgeting. While public transport in Nashville is affordable, for most people this isn’t much of a viable option. The system is hardly extensive and buses rarely run on time. For these reasons most Nashvillians bite the bullet and get their own set of wheels.

Nashville has a fairly well-established automotive industry and as such it's fairly affordable to buy a car. However, drivers also need to factor in the cost of petrol (gas), the state’s car tax and monthly car insurance premiums, all of which have a habit of adding up. Thankfully, petrol is around 5 percent cheaper than the national average which is a relief when one considers the amount of driving the average Nashvillian does.


Cost of entertainment and eating out

Lifestyle expenses in Nashville really are determined by an individual’s priorities. There are plenty of opportunities to splurge in Nashville – an evening of craft cocktails at a rooftop bar, a fancy fine-dining experience or a ticket to a sell-out music event can easily cost a pretty penny.

On the flipside, there are also loads of things Nashvillians can do without breaking the bank. Humble Southern soul food is what Nashville is famous for and it's possible to eat your heart out at one of Nashville’s low-and-slow eateries without forking out a small fortune.

A cost-effective way of staying fit without having to pay for expensive gym memberships is to get out onto one of the hiking or biking trails at Radnor Lake State Park, which also provides the perfect opportunity to spend time with loved ones.

Although admission costs to see top musicians won’t come cheap, new Nashville residents will soon learn that the famous Nashville Honky Tonks are brilliant places to catch some surprisingly good music at no-cost. 

So when it comes to entertainment, there is sure to be something fun to suit everyone’s preferences and budgets. Newcomers may just need to be flexible and open-minded until they find their fun.


Cost of living in Nashville chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Nashville in February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,650

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,160

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,750

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,770

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 1.80

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.80

Rice (1kg)

USD 3.80

Loaf of bread

USD 2.70

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 7.80

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 6

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 8

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.85

Cappuccino

USD 4.50

Bottle of local beer

USD 5.25

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 70

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 68

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 150

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.25

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.60

Accommodation in Nashville

Nashville’s property market is flourishing thanks to the economic growth of the city and the influx of new residents. Consequently, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to the types of property available in Nashville. Most long-term residents don’t live anywhere close to downtown Nashville and a major advantage of this is not only that they have access to larger, more spacious homes, but they also get more autonomy when it comes to deciding exactly what they are looking for. 


Types of property in Nashville

One thing that can be said about housing in Nashville is that it is spacious, across the board. Whether new arrivals to the city are young professionals looking for a downtown apartment, couples searching for a luxury condo, or a family looking for a comfortable home with a garden, chances are the properties found in Nashville will be larger than the equivalent people may be accustomed to, especially if they are moving from densely populated cities.

Apartments

Apartment living tend to be most common close to the downtown area. Although most long-term Nashville residents opt to move to the suburbs for a better quality of life and more space, apartments are a good choice for young people who may be just starting out in Nashville. Generally, apartment complexes in Nashville are modern and well-maintained.

Condos

Condos are similar to apartments but with a wider range of communal facilities such as gardens, swimming pools, fitness centres and laundry facilities. Condo living is a great option for those who’ve just moved to Nashville, in that there is a noticeable sense of community in these complexes, which is likely to be conducive to helping newcomers establish a social circle. 

Duplexes

Duplexes and fourplexes are a type of housing that is commonly seen in Nashville. The house plans consist of either two or four living units attached to each other in some manner. These are often found in areas located close to the central Nashville such as Germantown, Vandy and West Nashville.

Houses

When it comes to houses, prospective residents will be spoilt for choice in Nashville. Sure, one will need to move further away from the city centre to have the best pick, but that won’t be a problem when one considers the scope of some of these stunning properties. Whether newcomers are after a minimalist modern design, a classic Victorian home or a Cape Cod-style property, these are just a handful of the numerous options of housing types on offer in Nashville. Regardless of the facade, houses in Nashville are spacious and good value for money. 


Finding property in Nashville

Housing is readily available in Nashville with lots more construction taking place to accommodate the thousands of new residents choosing to relocate to the Music City each year. That said, we recommend prospective residents make use of online property portals to familiarise themselves with Nashville’s property market prior to the planned relocation. The internet is a fantastic starting point because one can get to grips with the types of property available in various parts of the city, as well as prices.

Other factors that prospective residents of Nashville will need to bear in mind when looking for property in Nashville include access to important transport routes, the availability of amenities and shopping hubs, proximity to places of work, and for those who have children, the location of good schooling options. 

Real estate agents are another good source of support for those looking for a home in Nashville. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of the local real estate market so are well placed to help those unfamiliar with the city find a suitable home in line with their requirements and personal preferences. 


Renting property in Nashville

Once new arrivals have narrowed down their preferences in terms of the type of housing and suitable suburbs, finding a property shouldn’t be too difficult. While the demand for property in Nashville is high as a result of more people moving to the city, there is a lot of construction taking place to meet this. 

Making an application

When prospective tenants have found a property they’d like to rent they’ll need to start by filing an application. Depending on the situation, they can either do this directly through the landlord or via the agent overseeing the property. As long as all the relevant checks and references are verified, a lease can be signed. Foreign nationals moving to Nashville will benefit from having their US bank account and social security number set up as this will speed up the whole rental process. 

Leases

A standard rental contract in Nashville is usually valid for a year with the option to renew at the end of the initial term. Depending on where in the city one hopes to put down roots and the demand for property in said area, it may also be possible for tenants to negotiate a shorter lease.

Deposits

As is the case in most places, tenants will be required to put down a security deposit when renting a property in Nashville. Although this deposit is usually equivalent to one month's rent, Tennessee law doesn’t actually place any limits on the amount. It does, however, state that the deposit minus any deductions for damages must be returned within 60 days of the contract ending. New tenants are advised to make a detailed inventory at both the start and end of a rental period. 

Utilities

Renters need to carefully check the terms of their lease to determine which utilities are included and what additional expenses they’d be liable to pay for. In most instances, the landlord covers standard utilities such as gas, electricity and water, while tenants will be expected to pay for telephone services, internet and TV.

Areas and Suburbs of Nashville

The best places to live in Nashville

Prospective residents weighing up a move to Nashville should start their search for a home in the Music City by pinpointing particular areas and suburbs that not only provide for their lifestyle preferences but fit into their budget.

City-living options in Nashville are somewhat limited as the majority of residents opt to live in the suburbs because of the improved quality of life, space and wider range of accommodation options. New arrivals moving to Nashville with children will also need to factor in the proximity of good public schools, as admission is often based on catchment zones. While public transport in Nashville isn’t a viable option for the majority of people, residents should consider commute times, traffic congestion and access to major highways when choosing a neighbourhood where they want to lay down some routes.

Here is our take on the most popular neighbourhoods in the Music City.


City Living in Nashville

Germantown Nashville

East Nashville

Often compared to New York City’s East Village because of its evident artistic flair, East Nashville is an up-and-coming part of the Music City. This eclectic area is full of art galleries, quaint eateries and laid-back drinking spots. It's a great option for those looking to be close to the action of downtown Nashville while not having to fork out too much on accommodation. Rental rates are much more reasonable than one would find in other trendy areas such as 12South, Green Hills and Sylvan Park. 

Germantown

Unsurprisingly, this suburb got its name as a result of being home to a large community of German immigrants back in the mid-nineteenth century. Germantown is a vibrant area that has become known for its colourful street-art displays that stands juxtaposed to the historic Victorian architecture that epitomises the neighbourhood. Popular with a young bohemian crowd, this area has a laid-back feel to it and is a fun place to explore thanks to its eclectic range of thrift shops, cosy cafes and vibey bars.


Family-friendly suburbs of Nashville

Nolensville

Just south-east of downtown Nashville, in Williamson County, is the relatively new suburb of Nolensville. Having only been around since 1996, Nolensville is a little community of just over 6,500 residents. Despite being a small area, Nolensville is growing in popularity thanks to its good quality schools, brilliant restaurants, craft breweries and excellent shopping facilities. New arrivals who choose to make Nolensville their home will love the small-town vibe and the lovely sense of community in the area,

Franklin

Franklin is a bustling area located to the south of Nashville with a population of over 70,000 people. It is famous for its historic charm and has numerous accolades from the American Preservation Association. Franklin’s drawcards include good schools, quaint shops, reasonably priced eateries and pristine parks. With loads of festivals and events taking place throughout the year, there is always a good vibe in Franklin and residents are never at a loss when it comes to things to see and do.


Luxury living in Nashville

Brentwood Nashville - Brett Moore (Flickr)

Belle Meade

One of the long-established neighbourhoods of Nashville, Belle Meade is located close to the downtown area and Hillsboro-West End. It's a picturesque little neighbourhood full of historic architecture which exists alongside newer properties. Although it's a pretty quiet area and almost otherworldly compared to the more vibrant, urban areas, Belle Meade is actually just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. While there are an array of property styles available in Belle Meade, it is generally best for large family homes. As a result of its sought-after location, its property prices and rental rates are some of the highest not only in Nashville but in the state of Tennessee. 

Brentwood

This affluent family-friendly suburb lies just south of Nashville in Williamson County. Brentwood is home to a number of good public schools, including Brentwood High School, which is ranked highly in Tennessee. There are plenty of excellent amenities available to residents too, including a flourishing shopping scene, high-end eateries and lush parks. The properties in Brentwood tend to be large family homes with spacious gardens and ample space for parking. Living in Brentwood also affords a pretty easy commute into downtown Nashville.

Green Hills

Famous for its luxury shopping scene frequented by the local Music City celebs, Green Hills is another one of the more wealthy parts of Nashville. It’s a prime location in terms of convenience as residents have everything from grocery stores and restaurants to exclusive clothing boutiques right on their doorstep. Green Hills is a happy medium for those who long to be close to the action of downtown Nashville but also want some respite from the hurried pace of city life. Housing choices are plentiful so new residents will be able to take their pick from single-family homes and condos to luxury loft apartments. 

Healthcare in Nashville


New arrivals and expats moving to Nashville can rest assured that they’ll, literally, be in good hands when it comes to their healthcare needs. Healthcare is big business in Nashville and the city boasts a few big players in this sector, including HCA Healthcare, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, Saint Thomas’ Hospital and Community Health Systems.

Although great healthcare facilities are readily available in Nashville, these don’t come cheap. To access the best treatment, those moving to Nashville should ensure they have private medical insurance and comprehensive coverage. Without an adequate health insurance plan in place, treatment will be mediocre at best and difficult to access in many cases.

Here is a list of some of the recommended hospitals in Nashville:


Hospitals in Nashville

Nashville General Hospital

www.nashvillegeneral.org
Address: 1818 Albion St, Nashville, TN 37208

Curahealth Nashville

www.curahealth.com
Address: 1412 County Hospital Rd, Nashville, TN 37218

Saint Thomas’ Midtown Hospital

www.healthcare.ascension.org                                                                                                                               Address: 2000 Church St, Nashville, TN 37203

Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

www.mc.vanderbilt.edu
Address: 1211 Medical Center Drive, Nashville, TN3721

Tristar Centennial Medical Center

www.tristarcentennial.com/
Address: 2300 Patterson St, Nashville, TN 37203

Education and Schools in Nashville

Families moving to Nashville will be well catered for in terms of schooling as the city boasts an array of education options. 

New Nashville residents will need to factor in a few important considerations when choosing a school for the child, among them the proximity of schools to both the family home and the parents' place of work. Nashville is a big city and with a lot of cars on the road, traffic can be a major issue. So with long, stressful commutes threatening to hamper a child’s learning experience, it’ll be important that parents bear education choices in mind when deciding on a neighbourhood to live in.

Next, it is wise to research different types of schools, the standard of teaching and the type of curriculum followed to find a pathway that is well-suited to an individual child. Then, of course, there is the important matter of school fees and other associated costs to consider as well.

Like the rest of the USA, schools of Nashville are divided into three levels: elementary school (pre-school to grade 5), middle school (grade 6 to 8), and high school (grade 9 to 12). 


Public schools in Nashville

Anyone legally resident in Nashville will be able to send their child to a public school at little to no cost. As is the case throughout most US cities, the standard of public schools in Nashville vary quite dramatically. Some schools are exemplary, while many others are under-funded.

Public school admission in Nashville is based on residential zones, so it is important that parents consider the proximity of suitable schooling when deciding where to find a family home. Students who attend a school in their zone and live more than 1.5 miles of that school is eligible for free school bus transportation, which is a great bonus as parents won’t have to worry about navigating the school run through rush-hour traffic. 

Magnet schools 

Magnet schools are a type of public school that offers bespoke courses in certain subject areas such as the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), performing arts and languages.

Admission to magnet schools is less restricted by catchment areas than is the case with regular public schools. These schools typically draw students from further afield provided that they have an aptitude for the school’s subject focus. There are a handful of magnet schools in Nashville that require all prospective students to have an academic average of 85 or above and pass an entrance exam.

While magnet schools are primarily state funded, they often receive additional financial support from external sources and aren’t as strictly bound by the US curricula and have some autonomy over developing their own unique syllabus.

Charter schools

Charter schools are another element of the public schooling system in Nashville. These schools are semi-autonomous institutions that operate under a contract with the Metro Nashville Public Schools District. This charter determines how the school is managed, its goals, curricula and methods of teaching. While charter schools do follow the national curricula to a great extent there is more flexibility in terms of design. Similarly to magnet schools, admission to charter schools isn’t based on residential zoning.


Private schools in Nashville

Some parents may opt to enrol their child at a private school. These schools are privately funded through tuition fees and generally offer a higher standard of teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and a wider range of extra-curricular activities in comparison to the average public school. Students can also expect to receive more personal attention from teachers as class sizes are smaller at private schools.

The downside of private education is the cost. Tuition fees easily add up to thousands of dollars a year and parents who choose this option need to budget accordingly. They’ll also need to factor in the additional expenses associated with private schooling such as textbooks, uniforms, extra-curricular activities and field trips. 

There are over 100 private schools in Nashville with average tuition costing around USD 10,000 per year. 


International schools in Nashville

Foreign nationals relocating to Nashville from outside the USA may wish to have their children continue studying the curriculum of their home country. While there is actually limited opportunity for this in Nashville, there are two schools, Hillsboro Comprehensive and Hunters Lane High, that offer students the chance to follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. 

The benefit at studying at one of these institutions, especially if you are an expat, is that it gives the students the chance to mix with other children that have recently relocated and may share similar experiences. For Nashville residents in general, the advantage of completing the IB as opposed to a local curriculum is that the qualification is globally recognised. 


Special needs education in Nashville

Tennessee’s Law for Children with Special Needs states that if a child has any learning difficulty or physical disability, he or she is entitled to receive additional support through the public school system. This is further backed up by federal law which stipulates that all children are entitled to free and appropriate education, including anyone with a disability.

Students with special needs are well catered for in Nashville. Not only are there a fair few dedicated special needs schools, but both public and private schools are also expected to have support structures in place to support children with various developmental, behavioural and physical disabilities. 

The priority is always to have a child integrated into the regular schooling system and only once it has been established that their issues are too severe will they be referred to a specialist facility. 


Tutors in Nashville

Parents choose to hire private tutors to assist their children in a number of ways. Sometimes it's perhaps a case that relocation and starting at a new school has put the student on the back foot so they need extra help to find their feet again. In another instance, students may need coaching prior to university admissions exams. Private tutors can be a great source of support, and there are plenty of options to choose from in Nashville.

Often the first reference point for a private tutor would be to arrange one through the child’s school, or on their recommendation. Failing that, there are a number of tutoring companies in Nashville that offer a range of packages from one-to-one sessions and small group classes to video sessions. Some of the established companies in Nashville include Learning Lab, Learning Matters Inc and Mathnasium. Online portals can also help parents find tutors but be sure to check that the tutors hired have been fully vetted before signing any agreements. 

Lifestyle in Nashville

It’s easy to mistake Nashville purely for a party city where everything revolves around country music, but that’s not strictly true. Creativity lies at the heart of Nashville, so newcomers will never have a shortage of things to see and do. There is always a buzz about the place and whether one is looking for arts, history, food, sports or just to have a good time, there is sure to be a uniquely Nashvillian experience to be had here.


Arts and culture in Nashville

Newcomers may be surprised to learn that the Music City is, in fact, rich in history and culture. 
Nashville was once known as ‘Athens of the South’ because of the number of academic institutions in the city. Nashville’s iconic Parthenon in Centennial Park, which now houses a magnificent art collection, is just one of the city’s many cultural attractions. The city’s modern art scene is flourishing too. Join the masses on the monthly First Saturday Art Crawl where visitors can view free exhibitions at a number of downtown art venues, including the Frist Art Museum, the Rymer Gallery and CHAUVET Arts.

Fans of the performing arts will love life in Nashville too. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is the place to be for everything from touring Broadway shows to ballet and opera. If classical music takes one’s fancy head to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center where one can experience the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony in concert. 


Sports and outdoor activities in Nashville

Nashvillians aren’t only passionate about their music, newcomers will soon learn that sports teams here have a huge following too. Watch local hockey team, the NHL Nashville Predators, in action and one will soon learn why they’ve nicknamed the city ‘Smashville’ in sporting circles. Experience the thrill of baseball as you watch the Nashville Sounds score some home runs at First Tennessee Park.

For those who’d prefer to be in on the action rather than taking it from the bleachers, Nashville has plenty to offer as well. Whether it is hitting up a hiking trail at Radnor Lakes State Park, cycling up a storm at Clarksville Greenway or zip-lining at Nashville Shores, there is plenty here to keep the most avid outdoor enthusiast busy. 


Eating out in Nashville

Nashville’s dining scene is on its way up and new arrivals certainly won’t go hungry in the Music City. Classic Southern comfort food is what Nashville is famous for. So be sure not to miss out local favourites such as hot chicken, which consists of deep-fried chicken doused in fiery spices and served on white bread with pickles. Another Tennesseean institution is the low-and-slow barbecue which, as the name suggests, involves luscious cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken slow-cooked over hot coals till perfectly tender.

But Nashville’s restaurant offerings don’t stop there. Head south to Nolensville Road for Nashville’s most culturally diverse dining experiences. Here diners can get their hands on everything from tacos, torts and burritos at Mexican street stalls, to authentic Turkish cuisine and an array of Latin American fare. East Nashville, where boozy brunches are becoming quite a hit, is the place to be over weekends. 


Nightlife in Nashville 

As one may expect of the Music City, Nashville truly comes alive in the nighttime. The most popular nightlife venues are found in a 20-block area of downtown Nashville known as ‘The District’. Broadway and Printer’s Alley also have their fair share of bars and clubs. New residents shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take in some free live music at one of Nashville’s many bars along Honky Tonk Avenue. No doubt there’ll be many opportunities to catch international music acts at one of Nashville’s more prestigious concert venues too. 

Those looking for a more low-key night out can head to one of the city’s many rooftop bars for a craft cocktail or two, or catch a show at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center or the Tennessee Repertory Theatre. 

See and Do in Nashville

New Nashville residents are in for a treat, as there is no shortage of things to see and do in the Music City. While it may be famous as the ‘home of country music’, new arrivals will soon learn there is much more to Nashville. Whether one decides to start on the tourist trail or prefers to get off the beaten track, exploring a city’s attractions is a fun way to get acquainted with one’s new home. Nashville offers a great mix of American culture, music, art, food and outdoor pursuits. So whatever an individual’s preferences may be, Nashville is sure to provide some excellent forms of entertainment. 

Here are just some of the Music City’s top attractions:


Attractions in Nashville

The Grand Ole Opry

Founded in 1925, The Grand Old Opry is one of the cornerstones of Nashville’s country music history. Having been home to some of the biggest country music stars such as Johnny Cash, the Charlie Daniels Band, Alan Jackson and Ricky Skaggs, the Grand Ole Opry is a must-see for any music fan. Nowadays, the venue plays host to a more diverse range of offerings from gospel, folk and bluegrass to comedy nights; this stage has seen it all. Take a guided tour for firsthand insights into this beautiful venue’s incredible past.

The Parthenon

This full-sized replica of the 42-foot Greek Parthenon may seem a little out of place in Nashville’s Centennial Park. This rather extravagant piece of architecture was originally built in 1897 for the Centennial Exposition. Today though, it is home to an excellent art museum which displays collections of American art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The building and the museum itself are both well worth a visit.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville visitors can get some great insights into the extraordinary history of country music. Not only is this a shrine of America’s leading country musicians who are immortalised on the walls, but the museum also hosts a number of informative exhibits of Nashville’s role in the industry. Family-friendly workshops and interactive events are held throughout the year as a way of attracting visitors of all ages. 

Nelson's Green Brier Distillery

Sample some of the world’s favourite bourbon whiskies at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. In the pre-prohibition era, this was one of the largest whisky producers in the South and till today Nelson’s has remained a family business. New arrivals should take a tasting tour to immerse themselves in the whisky distilling process and to learn some interesting historical insights.

Radnor Lake State Park

For a dose of the incredible outdoors head to Radnor Lake State Park in Forrest Hills. With 1,300 acres of peaceful forests, exhilarating hiking trails and wonderful opportunities for wildlife watching, Radnor Lake is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Not simply an oasis from the pace of city life, the park’s aviary and education centre provide a great learning experience for kids and their parents alike. 

The Hermitage

Located on the outskirts of Nashville, The Hermitage is one of the most popular attractions in the state of Tennessee. Once home to former President Andrew Jackson, this grand mansion has now been transformed into an impressive museum which includes a new million-dollar interactive exhibit that delves deep into President Jackson’s multifaceted life. The grounds of the Hermitage cover over 1,000 acres and are filled with landscaped gardens and various other interesting features.

The Frist Art Museum

This former post office turned modern art gallery, The Frist Art Museum is a highlight for visitors and Nashville residents alike. With exhibits that rotate every six to eight weeks, no visit is ever the same. Based in an art deco style building, The Frist is a hub for local, national and international artists. Visitors are bound to leave feeling inspired thanks to the diverse range of art collections on display. 

The Belle Meade Plantation

Dating back to 1820, the Belle Meade Plantation is now a history museum that gives visitors an insight into a bygone era. Once home to General Jackson, this mansion hosted guests from across the world. Take a tour to learn about the role of the plantation during the Civil War. Part of the property is now a winery and a great place to wind down after taking a stroll through the grounds. 

Nashville Zoo

A fun day out for the whole family, Nashville Zoo is set upon Grassmere estate and covers over 200 acres of land. Spend a day gawking at interactive exhibits such as Lorikeet Landing, Kangaroo Kickabout and Critter Encounters alongside areas dedicated to big cats, African elephants, clouded leopards, flamingos and meerkats. Once visitors are done interacting with the animal kingdom, they can spend some time exploring the stunning historic home at Grassmere which dates back to 1810.  Nashville Zoo is a truly wonderful place for animal lovers of all ages

Adventure Science Center

Located just a few miles south of downtown Nashville is the Adventure Science Center, which provides some brilliant hands-on educational entertainment for kids of all ages. From understanding anatomy to getting a handle on the universe, exhibits here cover an array of topic areas. The Center’s staff hold regular demos to help visitors engage more meaningfully with the displays, and the planetarium’s shows are a real highlight. 

What's on in Nashville

While new arrivals will find that Nashville has plenty to see and do at any given time of year, there are also a number of annual events which shouldn’t be missed. Naturally, being the Music City, many of these are centred around music but that’s not to say other interests won’t be catered for. Whether it's sport, arts, culture or history that take a person’s fancy, there is sure to be something for everyone on Nashville’s exciting events calendar.

Here is a list of some of the most prominent events held in the Music City throughout the year.


Annual events in Nashville

Nashville Restaurant Week (January)

Foodies will delight in the fact that Nashville has quite the eclectic restaurant scene. There is no better time to get acquainted with the Music City’s exciting culinary offerings than during Restaurant Week when some of Nashville’s best locally-owned restaurants offer special deals and prix fixe menus to draw in diners. This is a fantastic opportunity for Nashville residents to indulge in some of the city’s top dining experiences for a fraction of the regular price. 

Tin Pan South (March)

Every March, Nashville hosts the world’s largest gathering of songwriters at the Tin pan South Festival. A musical extravaganza with hundreds of live performances at various Music City venues, Tin Pan South presents a unique opportunity for music fans to get up-close-and-personal to their favourite musicians and enjoy the music they love. 

St Jude’s Rock ’N’ Roll Marathon (April)

With over 20,000 runners taking part, this is one of the top sporting events on Nashville’s calendar. Participants can opt to run the full marathon or take it easy in the half marathon instead. Of course, with it being based in the Music City this won’t be your standard long run. With dozens of music stages set up along the route, spectators and runners alike will no doubt be entertained. The post-race party is an occasion for the runners and their fans to celebrate their achievements while indulging in a bit of Southern hospitality. 

Iroquois Steeplechase (May)

For over 70 years, the month of May in Nashville has been about the Iroquois Steeplechase. Drawing in more than 25,000 spectators, this horse race is now a Nashville institution. Full of pomp and pageantry, the steeplechase sees jockeys from all over the globe travel to Nashville to take part, with the profits of the event being donated to charity. An incredibly fun and fast-paced day out that is not to be missed.

Tennessee Renaissance Festival (May)

Throughout the month of May, visitors and locals alike get to explore the medieval history of the city through music. The festival is held just outside the city, in a rural outpost equipped with its very own castle. With plenty of good food, stalls, and an array of entertainment options from jousting and falconry as well as live music stages, this is a wonderful opportunity to be transported back to a bygone era. 

Country Music Awards Festival (June)

One can’t move to Nashville and expect to avoid country music. The popular Country Music Awards Festival takes place every year in June in the heart of downtown Nashville. It presents a great opportunity to catch some of the best names in country music as well as some up-and-coming acts. A main four-day event is held at the Nissan Stadium but a lot of smaller venues host free shows alongside it too. Even if one isn’t a huge country music fan, this event allows new arrivals to get a real insight into local Nashvillian culture. 

Independence Day Celebrations (July)

Nashvillians go all out for the Fourth of July and the Let Freedom Sing event draws thousands of people onto the city’s streets. The downtown area near Broadway is cordoned off and becomes a pedestrian-only festival zone. Top country acts entertain crowds throughout the day and there are plenty of food stalls and family-friendly activities to keep everyone happy. As the sun goes down, the real party starts. The evening ends with a spectacular fireworks display.  

Tomato Arts Festival (August)

What began as a quirky little festival in vibey East Nashville has now turned into a huge event, drawing over 60,000 people each year. The two-day Tomato Arts Festival is an extravaganza of music, food and art revolving around the event’s titular food. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in costume simply to add to the festive atmosphere. This is a really eclectic and memorable day out for the whole family. 

Nashville Film Festival (October)

Even though Nashville is more famous for its music industry, film buffs will be pleased to find that the city is also home to a vibrant movie-making community. The Nashville Film Festival attracts over 40,000 people each year and dates back to 1969. From insightful documentaries to indie films and Hollywood releases, this is a great occasion to delve into the movie scene. Meet local directors, scriptwriters and producers who all use this event as a platform to showcase their talent.

Southern Festival of Books (October)

One for the bookworms: the Southern Festival of Books is a weekend-long literary celebration. Every October, hundreds of writers and over 30,000 literature fans descend on Nashville’s Main Public Library and the War Memorial Plaza, coming together to discuss their work. What’s more, admission to the festival is totally free of charge.

Getting Around in Nashville

Getting to grips with the transport options in a new city is crucial for newcomers to settle in their adopted home, and, similarly, those moving to Nashville will have to do their research about how they will get around. Prospective Nashvillians moving from places where they were perhaps accustomed to, and relied heavily on, public transport will likely need to make some adjustments in the 'Music City'.

Nashville’s public transportation infrastructure is nearly non-existent outside of the city centre which means most residents drive, and newcomers will likely have to do the same. That said, there are occasions where it is easier to make use of other forms of transport too, so below is an overview of it all.


Public transport in Nashville

Anyone who has lived in a city with a sophisticated public transport system such as New York City, Boston or Chicago is going to be in for a disappointment when they see what Nashville has to offer in terms of mobility.

Nashville’s public transport infrastructure is limited, to say the least. Anyone who plans on settling down in the Music City will soon realise that it makes sense to invest in a car, especially when one considers the long distances the average Nashvillian travels on a daily basis.

E-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular in Nashville and provide a convenient alternative for those occasions when driving isn't an option.

Buses 

WeGo Public Transit, formerly known as Nashville MTA, is the authority in charge of the city’s bus network and that of the wider Davidson County area. The network is designed around a central hub with over 40 bus routes in operation throughout Nashville, covering downtown and some of the surrounding areas. 

While the bus system in Nashville is sufficient, it isn't the most viable option for people commuting from the suburbs, as services aren’t all that regular and buses rarely run on time. They generally run from 9am to 5am – there are limited late-night services available but they only cover certain areas.

Overall, new arrivals who have lived elsewhere in the USA may find that Nashville’s bus operations are substandard compared to the advanced systems found in other prominent cities.

The system’s Music City Circuit is a free service that covers key parts around downtown Nashville and the Gulch. It is mostly used by tourists residing in the downtown area and doesn't provide much value for long-term residents of the city. 

Trains

The Music City Star is the name of Nashville’s single line commuter train. It runs from Lebanon to Riverfront Station stopping at Donelson, Hermitage, Mount Juliet and Martha along the way. 

There are also two shuttle services linked to the Music City Star that transport commuters from Riverfront station to other key parts of the downtown area such as Broadway, West End and Vanderbilt.

The train operates from Monday to Friday from 5.45am. There are three trips in the morning and three in the afternoon. On Fridays, there is an evening train too. 

Music City Star fares are reasonable with ten-ride and monthly passes on offer for further savings. Kids under the age of four ride for free and there are various discounts for students, pensioners, people with disabilities and Medicare cardholders. 


Taxis in Nashville

As one might expect of any midsize city, cabs are pretty easy to come by in Nashville, especially in the downtown area. There are a number of reputable taxi companies in operation in Nashville. Some of the big names include Green Cab, Allied Cab, Music City Taxi and Checker Cab.  

Most taxi companies will get people where they need to be 24/7. In busy parts of Nashville city-centre such as Broadway or Midtown, one can easily hail a cab at all hours. Elsewhere, it's better to pre-book a vehicle by phoning ahead. 


E-hailing services in Nashville

E-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber are well-established in Nashville. Although most Nashvillians have their own cars, ride-sharing is a great option for times when no-one wants to be the designated driver or on game days when parking becomes a nightmare. 

Users just need to download the relevant app on to their smartphone, register for the service using a credit card and they're all set. 


Scooters in Nashville

Here is a form of transport that newcomers might not be used to, but may enjoy nonetheless. Electric scooters are a nifty, sustainable alternative to driving and have become an incredibly popular way of getting around in the city.  So much so, that multiple scooter companies have seen the value in tapping into this lucrative market. Companies such as Bird and Lime have created scooter-sharing apps which allow users to track scooters near them. By registering with a credit card, users have access to hundreds of scooters in Nashville.


Driving in Nashville

As is the case through much of the US, owning a car in Nashville is pretty much a necessity. Public transport is barely sufficient for those living in the downtown area and central suburbs, as operating hours are very limited. 

Driving in Nashville will give newcomers far more freedom in terms of getting around at their own leisure, but also when choosing a neighbourhood to settle down in. 
 
One major downside to driving in Nashville is that traffic is terrible at times, especially during rush hour. Unexpected delays as a result of construction and road accidents are also fairly common. Smartphone apps such as Google Maps and Apple Maps provide good indicators of congestion and help drivers plan their journey by suggesting alternative routes.

Another thing that drivers need to bear in mind is the cost of parking which can easily mount up especially if one travels downtown regularly. Free street parking can be difficult to come by and parking lots are increasingly expensive the closer you get to city hotspots. 


Cycling in Nashville

The popularity of cycling as a means of getting around in Nashville is on the rise. The city authorities have also taken note and invested heavily in cycling infrastructure, which means the city now has a growing collection of designated bike lanes to ensure cyclists can get about safely. Bike lock-up facilities have also become more readily available throughout Nashville.

Nashville has a bike-sharing scheme called B-Cycle which offers on-demand rentals from docking stations scattered around the city. 


Walking in Nashville

Nashville is believed to be one of the least walkable cities in the USA. Around three quarters of Nashville’s population live out in the suburbs where having a car is deemed a necessity. 

Even within some of the suburbs themselves, residents need a car to get to the local grocery store or to drop their kids off at school. 

Despite the city's general sprawling nature, there are some suburbs that are highly walkable and may, in fact, be better explored on foot. Germantown, Hillsboro Village and East Nashville are some of the areas that are great for a leisurely stroll.