Known for its legendary live music and entertainment scene, Music City is a popular place for people of all ages to call home. Check out these 14 pros and cons of living in Nashville!

Pros of Living in Nashville

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A strong job market, proximity to sporting events, and an abundance of fun nightlife and entertainment options help make Nashville an ideal city to live in. Here are some pros of living in Nashville!

Pro: Fantastic Job Market

Nashville’s low unemployment rate of 2.4% is supported by the city’s booming job market, which is filled with top employers in the entertainment, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, and education industries. Nashville is known as one of the best large cities to start a business and has a big health-tech startup scene. Work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the largest employer in Nashville, which blends higher education and healthcare. Help build cars and trucks with a job in engineering or manufacturing at Nissan North America. Work in human resources, finance, nursing, and other fields at Fortune 500 company HCA Healthcare. Or check out a wide variety of tech jobs at ENA, which helps deliver worldwide technology services to public schools, libraries, and higher education institutions.

Pro: Top Colleges in Nashville

With a variety of higher education institutions within the city, the Athens of the South is home to plenty of world-class colleges and universities. Choose from over 70 undergraduate majors and a wide range of master’s and doctoral degrees when you enroll at Vanderbilt University, one of the best universities in the nation. Study architecture, accounting, and biology, or enroll in the Watkins College of Art at private, Christian Belmont University. Explore fields of study such as nursing, humanities, engineering, and more at Lipscomb University. Work to become an educator, engineer, or social worker in full-time degree programs at the HBCU, Tennessee State University. Select from over 20 undergraduate and graduate programs in kinesiology, music, chemistry, and physics at Fisk University, one the oldest colleges in Nashville. Or find tuition-free programs in fields of study like health sciences, mathematics, and communication studies at Nashville State Community College.

Pro: Plenty of Outdoor Recreation

With nearly 100 miles of greenway to explore and a variety of parks, trails, and lakes, the capital of Tennessee is a great place for outdoor activities all year long. Let your dog run free at the dog park, attend the outdoor concert series, or view a replica of The Parthenon at the 132-acre Centennial Park. Watch wildlife or go for a hike or jog on the 7.75-mile trail at Radnor Lake State Park. Discover over 55 acres of botanical gardens and world-class outdoor sculptures at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. Go for an afternoon walk or explore Tennessee’s history with a tour at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Spend a day canoeing or rafting at the 700-mile Cumberland River. Rent a boat, hit up the campgrounds, or go swimming at Percy Priest Lake. Go fishing or boating with friends at the 7,450-acre Cheatham Lake. Or ride your bike, fish, or swim at the popular Old Hickory Lake.

Pro: Lots of Family-Friendly Activities in Nashville

There’s no shortage of fun things to do with kids in Nashville, which makes it a great place for families to settle down! Explore innovative programs like Family STEM labs, interactive exhibits like Physics of Light, and laser shows in the Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center. Sign the kids up for week-long summer camps, or take weekend classes about audition techniques, fairy tales, and more at the Nashville Children’s Theatre. See over 3,000 animals, ride on a zip line, or check out the Adventure 4D Theater at the Nashville Zoo. Enjoy a goat yoga session in a picturesque setting at Goat Yoga Nashville. Make your way to popular Nashville playgrounds like Ravenwood Park and Playground, and Fannie Mae Dees Park, which also features a unique dragon sculpture. Create your own hand-painted pottery or throw a birthday party at Brushfire Pottery Studio. Or join a book club or participate in events like Toddler Tales at the Nashville Public Library.

Pro: Full of Major Sports Teams

Sports fans will love living in Nashville because it’s home to several professional sports teams! Cheer on the Tennessee Titans (NFL) as they run the field at Nissan Stadium. Watch the Nashville Predators (NHL) crash the net at Bridgestone Arena. Catch the Nashville Soccer Club (MLS) score game-winning goals at GEODIS Park. Grab stadium fare and sit back to enjoy a Nashville Sounds (MiLB) game at First Horizon Park. Watch the Nashville Roller Derby (WFTDA) compete on skates at arenas throughout the city. Or road trip just an hour east for a weekend of thrilling NASCAR races at Nashville Superspeedway!

Pro: Renowned Live Music Scene

With historic music venues scattered across the city and a legacy for hosting honky-tonks and songwriters, live music in Nashville is something to talk about! Some Nashville neighborhoods are known for live music today, including Honky Tonk Highway on Lower Broadway, which hosts live music every day of the week, as well as The Gulch, Midtown, and Music Row. Learn more about the city’s musical heritage by taking a Soul of Music City trolley tour. See a live two-hour show from big names in country music like Carrie Underwood or Keith Urban, or go on a tour at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. View star-studded exhibits that showcase over 130 years of musical performances on “music’s most iconic stage” at the Ryman Auditorium. Check out up-and-coming songwriters performing at The Bluebird Cafe, one of the world’s most iconic listening rooms. Enjoy an outdoor concert from artists like Lainey Wilson or Avril Lavigne while admiring stunning views of the Nashville skyline at the Ascend Amphitheater. Catch some of the world’s best bluegrass and country music seven days a week at Station Inn. Or dance along to performances from talented local artists like Scott Porter or Willie Pearl at Tin Roof.

Pro: Thriving Arts & Culture

Home to several top museums, art galleries, and art crawls, Tennessee’s capital city has a thriving arts and culture scene. Peruse historical exhibits like First Peoples, The Civil War and Reconstruction, or Tennessee Time Tunnel at the Tennessee State Museum. Watch captivating dance performances, music shows, or theatrical productions at Oz Arts Nashville. Grab tickets to performances like Romeo and Juliet and annual favorites like Nashville’s Nutcracker by the Nashville Ballet. Drop into a variety of Contemporary art galleries on the first Saturday of the month during the free WEHO Art Crawl. Browse an extensive collection of musical artifacts, or check out exhibits like American Currents: State of the Music at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Find instruments and historic memorabilia from inductees like Elvis Presley or Garth Brooks at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum. Or dive in to the life of one notable music icon through artifacts and memorabilia at the Johnny Cash Museum.

Pro: Lively Nashville Festivals & Events

With its wide variety of festivals and annual events, Nashville is home to many fun entertainment options. Walk in the parade or catch live music performances at Nashville Pride Festival & Parade, one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the city. Enjoy live music from local bands while tasting some of Nashville’s best hot chicken at the Music City Hot Chicken Festival. Watch film screenings, attend Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and more at the Nashville Film Festival. Celebrate Japanese culture with food, music, dance, art, and cultural lectures at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. Laugh with a lineup of world-class comedians like Tom Segura, Jeff Dunham, or Leslie Liao at the annual Nashville Comedy Festival. Experience CMA Fest, a four-day country music festival that features popular artists and bands like Tim McGraw and Little Big Town. Or celebrate the thriving fashion and retail community in the city by attending Nashville Fashion Week.

Pro: Great Selection of Restaurants

Known as one of the best foodie cities, Nashville produces creative Southern-inspired cuisine and delicious farm-to-table dishes. Grab breakfast in Nashville and enjoy the Garden Omelet, Country Breakfast Bowl, or Breakfast Sandwich at The Loveless Cafe. Feast on Fried Pork Chops, Meatloaf, or a Salmon Burger for lunch at Big Al’s Deli. Try a Vegan Supreme Coal Fired Pizza, Cavatelli Bolognese, or Spaghetti & Meatballs at Nicky’s Coal Fired. If you’re looking for the best dinner in Nashville, order a Margherita Wood Fired Pizza, Vegan Farm Plate, or the Joyce Farms Roasted Harissa Chicken at the rustic Lockeland Table. Explore the Nashville fine-dining scene by filling up on seafood favorites like Broiled Oysters, BBQ Gulf Shrimp, or Salmon Tartare at Marsh House. Savor the Andre Chicken Sandwich, Whole Wings, or a Chicken Salad at Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville’s original hot chicken restaurant. Or indulge in plates like Scallops, Lamb Meatballs, or a Crispy Potato Salad at the modern restaurant, etch.

Pro: Bustling Nightlife

Nashville has an amazing nightlife scene with many rooftop bars, live music venues, clubs, and breweries. Have a party on the private rooftop cabana, or dance the night away while sipping a Paloma or Pink Glove cocktail at the vibrant Rosemary & Beauty Queen. Order drinks like a Gerst Amber Ale, Gin Old Fashioned, or Prosecco at chic Nashville cocktail bar Black Rabbit. Listen to renowned live music acts while drinking a wide range of drinks at The Basement East. Check out drag performances, DJs, or events like College Night at the LGBTQ+ friendly Play Dance Bar. Enjoy delicious food, craft cocktails like the Inkwell Sour, and burlesque performances at the speakeasy-style Skull’s Rainbow Room. Grab tickets to a comedy show from nationally touring acts or local comics at Nashville comedy club Zanies. Or dance along to musical performances while sampling craft beers on tap like the Urban Hiker, Southern Wit, or Walk the Lime at Nashville brewery Tennessee Brew Works.

Cons of Living in Nashville

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Though Nashville is a great place to live and work, there are a few drawbacks to consider before relocating. Learn about the cons of moving to Nashville below.

Con: High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Nashville is 8% higher than the national average and nearly 20% higher than the Tennessee average, meaning it’s not the most affordable city to live in. Compared to surrounding cities like Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knoxville, Nashville’s median home and rent price of $264,600 and $1,170, respectively, is considered high. Tennessee also has a high sales tax rate of 7%, and some homeowners may find property taxes burdensome. However, the median household income in Nashville is over $15,000 more than the state’s average, helping to balance out some of these expenses. Nashville is also less expensive compared to other major Southern cities like Atlanta and Charleston. And with Tennessee not having an income tax or a tax on retirement income, Music City residents can keep more money in their pockets!

Con: Nashville Has Hot & Humid Weather

If you’re moving to Nashville, be prepared for hot and humid Tennessee weather. The Southeast’s subtropical climate means that you’ll experience hot summers, with average high temperatures in the upper 80s. Known for its muggy climate in the Tennessee Valley area, Nashville is also susceptible to frequent rainfall and thunderstorms. Tennessee’s capital city averages nearly 50 inches of rain a year, which is over ten inches more than the U.S. average. However, Nashville still gets around 205 sunny days per year, meaning residents have plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities! Boating and fishing at local hot spots like Percy Priest Lake or nearby Cheatham Lake are popular pastimes.

Con: Getting Around Nashville Is Tough

Despite being a rapidly growing city, there are limited options for public transportation in Nashville. WeGo Public Transit does provide a bus system that carries passengers to and from the airport and into and out of Downtown Nashville, along with the WeGo Star commuter rail, which runs between Nashville and Lebanon, TN. But because these public transit options aren’t extensive, most residents still depend on cars to get around. However, the city’s infrastructure isn’t suited for the number of cars on the road, which causes jams and gridlock traffic, especially during rush hours. In fact, Nashville is ranked as the worst city for commuting in the country. Thankfully, Nashville’s central location is well-connected to several major Tennessee highways, which makes getting around easier, and there are a variety of bike routes residents can utilize to travel throughout the city. And for domestic and international travelers, the Nashville International Airport is a convenient option!

Con: Low-Ranking Public Education System

While Nashville’s higher education institutions are known for their excellence, the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are less impressive. A slight majority of Nashville residents hold a negative view of the public school system, and test scores in Nashville are particularly low compared to both state and national averages. That said, parents can still find highly-rated high schools in the area such as Hume-Fogg High School and Martin Luther King Jr. High School, or enroll their children in top public charter schools via Valor Collegiate Academies. In addition, the city offers a variety of programs for kids to enrich their learning, including Promising Scholars and other educational summer camps. Not to mention, thanks to MNPS’ commitment to academic growth, the local perception of the school system continues to improve each year!


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This post was originally published 05/03/2021, and last revised on 03/15/2024 with updated information.

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