Best Places to Live

Nashville, TN

Population: 634,512
LIV
SCORE
580
iStock Photo/Sean Pavone

Music City has got it all, y’all!

Located in Middle Tennessee, Nashville attracts some of the biggest musicians around the world and has become a top destination for foodies … even earning the GOOP seal of approval. Also known as the Athens of the South, Nashville boasts a full-scale replica of The Parthenon (which houses a 42-foot statue of Athena, because of course it does), plus major health care companies, music labels and numerous higher-ed institutions, including Vanderbilt University.

Nashville is home to nearly 90 parks, 22 libraries and nine farmers markets, helping the city earn high marks in the amenities and infrastructure categories. What does that really mean? You’ll never get bored here. From honky tonks with no cover charge to a full calendar of quirky festivals and sporting events, residents never run out of fun things to do.

And as one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a hot tech scene (Amazon is opening an operations center here in 2021), Nashville is a fantastic place to start or grow a career.

Local Obsession: Spend five minutes in “Smashville” during the playoffs (or even just a regular game day!) and you’ll see how much this town loves the Nashville Predators.

Climate Described in 6 Words or Less: 80 one day, 30 the next.

Top Industries: Major industries include health care, education, technology and automobile production.

Local Dream Job: They don’t call it Music City for nothing! Some of the biggest record labels and music publishing companies in the world call Nashville home — a job as a songwriter or marketer sounds pretty good to us.

Quintessential Meal: A trip to the Loveless Cafe for the famous biscuits or try some of that famous Nashville Hot Chicken from Prince’s Hot Chicken.  

Favorite Weekend Activity: After grabbing brunch at local favorite Sam’s Place, head over to Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Cheekwood is home to the Cheek family mansion and the grounds are stunning and fun for all ages.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Most residents tend to shy away from the Honky Tonk Highway for more intimate spots, like Bastion. The perfect night includes an order of the bar’s nachos and any of the craft cocktails.

Best Brewery/Local Beer: The Thunder Ann Pale Ale from Jackalope Brewing Company, a woman-owned craft brewery, is a must.

Beloved Bookstore: Parnassus Books is an iconic Nashville institution. Co-owned by Karen Hayes and acclaimed author Ann Patchett, the bookstore is a cozy spot with a great selection and a full schedule of A-list author visits and events.

Free Way to Have Fun: There are endless opportunities for music lovers to enjoy free entertainment around Nashville. The city hosts a variety of free concerts and festivals year-round. Live on the Green is held each summer on the lawn of the courthouse, and past years have included Jimmy Eat World, Cold War Kids and local favorite, Moon Taxi. Every week The 5 Spot hosts Motown Monday which pays homage to Motown greats like The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

Truly Hidden Gem: Tucked away on the Fisk University campus is the Carl Van Vechten Gallery, home to the renowned Alfred Stieglitz Collection, which was donated to the university by Georgia O’Keeffe in 1949. The collection boasts more than 100 objects from Stieglitz’s personal collection, including several works from O’Keefe herself. (Disclaimer: check before you go as the collection is shared between the Van Vechten and Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR.)

- Cara Sanders

Read More:

8 Reasons to Move to Nashville Right Now

The 5 Best Places to Spot Celebrities in Nashville, TN

8 Reasons to Move to Tennessee

“The city is healthy and growing, attracting new faces all over the country. I feel that everyone who moves here comes with a grateful heart and willing spirit to both embrace our culture and add to it. Immerse yourself in the community — there are endless ways to get involved!”

- Maggie Tucker, owner of Magpies and Magpies Girl, a brand centered on creating an environment of happiness, integrity and creativity

Nashville, TN Ranking Data

Civic
45
Demographics
60
Economy
69
Education
50
Health
50
Housing
52
Infrastructure
65