Nashville, TN Draws Newcomers With Its Friendly Communities, Fun Attractions

Living in the Nashville area offers the best of both worlds: access to world-class health care, education, arts and culture along with friendly, close-knit communities focused on giving back.

Stephanie Stewart-Howard
On Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 09:58
Nashville, TN

It's no secret that Nashville offers a high quality of life. In addition to its mild climate, low cost of living, high median income, and access to world-class hospitals, schools and higher education institutions, the city is a welcoming community with plenty of fun things to do.

Not only locals are taking notice. In 2011, Nashville scored a spot on Bloomberg Businessweek's list of America's Best Cities and was also named the top U.S. Growth City by U-Haul. In 2012, Where to Retire magazine cited the Nashville area as a top retirement destination, and a Harris Interactive poll named it as one of the top places where Americans most want to live.

Caring Community

Nashville's friendly, philanthropic spirit sets it apart. To connect with service opportunities, many residents turn to Hands on Nashville (HON), one of the area's most prominent volunteer resource centers.

HON works with more than 700 Middle Tennessee nonprofit organizations, schools, government agencies, businesses and other groups to identify needs and match volunteers based on their interests and availability. The organization features an Opportunity Calendar on its website,, where volunteers can search for opportunities to serve.

Erika Burnett, HON's director of community programs, says the resource center helped connect more than 125,000 volunteers with opportunities during the aftermath of Nashville's 2010 flood, recording more than 91,000 service hours.

“The community of volunteers in Nashville is very robust, multifaceted and multicultural,” Burnett says. “There are no limits here.”

Dedicated to feeding the hungry, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee serves 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee, collecting food from various sources and delivering it to 400-plus partner agencies and emergency food box locations.

In Davidson County alone, the organization distributed nearly 60,000 emergency food boxes and fed more than 135,000 people during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Music, Arts and Sports

Nashville's many cultural and entertainment choices contribute to the city's fun, welcoming vibe.

An 85-member orchestra, the Nashville Symphony is known for stellar concerts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The symphony, which has won seven Grammy awards, draws approximately 200,000 attendees annually, nearly 20 percent from outside the United States.

“People can expect to experience music-making at the highest possible level,” says Alan Valentine, director of the Nashville Symphony.

The Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium are popular live music venues, hosting artists from all over the world. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center sets the stage for theatrical performances, while the Belcourt Theatre offers independent, foreign and first-run films.

Nashville's arts community is buzzing with activity, thanks to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art.

“We work hard to make Cheekwood a place that engages every visitor, whether it’s a painted masterpiece in our museum, 50,000 tulips in bloom, the incredible views and vistas from the mansion, or an interactive exhibition designed for climbing and exploring,” says Claire Brick Corby, Cheekwood's vice president of marketing and sales.

Nashville offers plenty for sports fans, too, with the NHL Nashville Predators hockey team, NFL Tennessee Titans football team and the Nashville Sounds minor league baseball team. Golfers can find an array of local courses to enjoy, such as McCabe Golf Course and Ted Rhodes Golf Course, while area lakes provide opportunities for boating, fishing and kayaking.


Journalist Stephanie Stewart-Howard is the author of The Nashville Chef's Table and the forthcoming Barbecue Lover's Guide to Memphis and Tennessee Style and a yet-to-be named boo