13 Impartial Pros & Cons of Living in Nashville

13 pros and cons of living in Nashville

Nashville is an eccentric city with a charming, small-town feel. Often referred to as Music City, it’s hard to deny the city’s allure. If you’re considering moving to the city, weighing the pros and cons can help you make the choice.

#1. Pro: Plenty of job opportunities

Tech job

Nashville is a fast-paced metropolitan area with numerous job opportunities. The city is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, with an estimated growth rate of 10% since the last census was taken. Nashville has an unemployment rate of just 2%, so there are often more open job positions than people available to fill them. Many young professionals have recently relocated to the city to build their careers. 

A common misconception about Nashville is that the only reason to move there is if you want to become a country movie star. This could not be further from the truth (although, if that is your intention, it’s the best place to be).

A recent study by NerdWallet found that healthcare and technology are two of the top employers in the city. So, even if music isn’t a field you’re interested in, there are plenty of other great opportunities in other fields to consider. Several well-established companies like Vanguard Industries and Bridgestone Tires have headquarters in Nashville. 

In addition to massive corporations, Nashville has also witnessed significant growth as a startup hub and is home to tech giants like Cicayda and Emma

#2. Con: The public transportation system needs improvement

Nashville bus

Public transportation in Nashville is lacking compared to other metropolitan areas. The main form of public transit in the city is buses. Nashville’s service was previously known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) but was rebranded to WeGo Public Transit in 2018. However, apart from changing the name and logo, there hasn’t been a dramatic impact on the service. The city’s bus system serves over 50 routes stretching across the metro area.

Most of the buses operate at 5.30 AM and run into the evening, although the exact times typically vary depending on the route. It’s worth noting that some of the buses don’t operate at all on weekends or holidays. 

On a more positive note, the Nashville Metro Transit Authority has been working with the public, and they have plans to set up a light rail system that will allow residents of the city to get around with more ease.

#3. Pro: plenty of great neighborhoods

Nashville Broadway at night

Nashville has consistently been ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States, with one of the top reasons cited being the diverse neighborhoods. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in the city:

A. The Gulch

Located just south of downtown Nashville, The Gulch is the ideal neighborhood for young adults to live in. It is primarily made up of apartments and condos. The neighborhood has a unique vibe with an industrial, modern style that appeals to its young population. 

The Gulch is an excellent option for those who prefer a walkable lifestyle, with many music venues, restaurants, shops, and bars within walking distance. The area also boasts a bike path and beautiful greenery for those looking for active outdoor time.

B. Midtown   

If you want proximity to incredible restaurants and vibrant nightlife, Midtown is an excellent option for you. The neighborhood’s popularity is significantly boosted by Patterson House’s speakeasy theme and the unique dining experience at The Catbird Seat. 

Thankfully, the area’s exciting bar scene isn’t weighed down by tourist crowds, so locals can unwind and enjoy a fun night out with a more relaxed vibe. Midtown offers an array of apartments and condos, making it ideal for singles and young adults.

C. East Nashville

Over the years, East Nashville has undergone major changes and renovations, making it one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. You’ll love the relaxed vibe and community here, especially if you’re a musician or an artist. The area is home to some of Nashville’s top businesses, shops, and restaurants. 

East Nashville offers an electric mix of small apartments, townhouses, duplexes, and houses, making it a top choice for young families and adults. 

D. Germantown 

Germantown is one of Nashville’s oldest neighborhoods. It is home to some of the metropolitan area’s best restaurants, such as Rolf & Daughters, City House, and Germantown Cafe. This historic area is an excellent choice for small families and young parents, with its impressive selection of small homes, duplexes, and townhouses. 

Germantown is renowned for its annual Oktoberfest, featuring live music, German beer, and tons of fun. Locals also enjoy frequenting the nearby Nashville Farmers Market for some local food and fresh produce and the local state park Bicentennial Capitol Mall.

E. Hillsboro Village

Located between the reputable Vanderbilt University and Belmont University, this neighborhood is home to many college students and young professionals. It’s also very family-friendly, offering duplexes, townhouses, and apartments of varying sizes.

Hillsboro Village boasts over 15 restaurants, bars, trendy shopping stores, and unique boutiques. The Belcourt Theatre is within walking distance, and there’s an expansive grocery store just a short drive away.

F. Cons: the weather can take some getting used to 

Nashville is a city in Tennessee, a southeastern state in the United States that experiences hot summers. Although the winters are typically mild, the summers can be stifling hot. The average temperatures during this season soar to 90F in Nashville, and the humidity levels are also uncomfortably high. This combination sometimes results in an increased potential of severe storms, so it’s essential to keep your eye on the weather reports.

Living in Nashville can be quite unpleasant for you if you suffer from seasonal allergies, especially throughout the summer and spring. With almost off-the-charts pollen counts during these seasons, the city is often ranked as one of the country’s worst places for outdoor allergies. You’ll certainly want to stock up on allergy meds as a resident in Nashville during this period. 

#4. Pro: An exciting music scene

Nashville music scene

The city has truly earned its “Music City” moniker. Nashville was built on its appreciation for songwriting and country music and is home to some of the most revolutionary venues in the country. From the renowned Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry to more intimate options like the Back Corner and the Bluebird Cafe (which hosted the likes of Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift before they became international superstars), there’s so much to see and hear in Nashville.

If country music isn’t your choice, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that recording artists and bands from virtually every genre regularly flock to Nashville. You can enjoy live music at numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants in the city.

#5. Con: Traffic congestion

Nashville traffic

With numerous opportunities available in the city, Nashville has grown in leaps and bounds in the past decade, bringing an influx of newcomers to the already crowded and chaotic streets. The ever-increasing population and the weak public transit system have resulted in constant traffic jams, slowdowns, and snarls, particularly during morning and evening rush hours. 

Out of all the metropolitan areas in the United States, Nashville ranks 23rd for the highest levels of car congestion. Nashville residents spend an average of 34 hours stuck in traffic each year. As more people relocate to the city, the traffic situation is unlikely to improve. To minimize the time wasted sitting in traffic, opt to live and work in the same neighborhood.

#6. Pro: The cost of living is relatively low

On average, the cost of living in Music City is about 3% lower than the U.S national average. That said, it’s worth noting that Nashville is approximately 7% more expensive to live in than the rest of Tennessee. 

#7. Con: A highly competitive job market

If you’re moving to Nashville in search of a job, you should know that many other people are doing this as well. Approximately 70,000 people have moved to Nashville in the past decade alone, and over half of these people arrived in the past two years. Upon discovering the low unemployment rate in the city, many people flock to Nashville in hopes of securing job opportunities. Although there are plenty of open positions available that you can apply for, you should expect to encounter some competition for specific job titles.

#8. Pro: Amazing food spots

Nashville spicy chicken sandwiches
Nashville spicy chicken sandwiches

One of the best things about living in Nashville is the delectable cuisine. The city is famed for being the birthplace of hot chicken, but it has so much more to offer, from tasty Southern staples to exotic offerings. Here are some of the top food spots to try out:

  • Trendy restaurants

Head to the Continental for some fine dining, or pop into Shep’s on the Eastside for a real Jewish delicatessen. The Assembly Food Hall at Fifth + Broadway is a must-try if you live in downtown Nashville.

  • Essential restaurants

Check out City House for a taste of a unique take on Italian cuisine. Arnold’s Country Kitchen is the place for anyone looking to sample Nashville’s famous meat-and-three.

  • Hot chicken goodness

Hot chicken is a true Nashville original, with several restaurants in the city offering their take on the iconic dish, including Prince’s Hot Chicken, Bolton’s Hot Chicken, and Fish, 400 Degrees, and Chauhan Ale & Masala House. 

  • Brunch spots

There is no shortage of restaurants offering bubbly drinks and breakfast food. Try Butcher & Bee for weekend brunch and The Sutler if you want some live music accompaniment.

  • Bars

There are plenty of spots to grab a drink in Nashville, from the old-school Robert’s Western World to the more upscale Patterson HOuse. 

#9. Con: Tourism is a big part of living in the city

Nashville tourism

If you work in the tourism industry, then the constant flock of visitors that come to Nashville is a good thing as it keeps you employed. However, if you’re an average resident, the influx of tourists in Music City can be a significant disadvantage. During high seasons, you’ll find that you have to push through people to get to your favorite local spots because everyone is looking for the authentic Nashville experience. 

#10. Pro: Plenty of outdoor locations to enjoy

Tennessee state capitol in Nashville
Tennessee state capitol in Nashville

When you move to Nashville, you’ll quickly realize that the city has numerous exercise areas, walking trails, and outdoor activities that you can enjoy in your downtime. With over 85 miles of green spaces to enjoy, over 90 parks to discover, and 190 miles of trails to explore, you’ll love the outdoors living in Nashville.

You can head out on a road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, have a relaxing day by the lakes, or go cycling or jogging in your favorite park. Make sure to check out the Centennial Park, the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the famous Greek temple, Parthenon.

#11. Con: High crime rates in certain areas

Police car lights

With a crime rate of 54 per one thousand residents, MUsic City has one of the highest crime rates in the country. According to Neighborhood Scout, your chance of becoming a victim of either property or violent crime in Nashville is one in 19. When comparing the city to other communities of similar populations, the crime rate is quite a bit higher than average. 

If you opt to move to Nashville, you’ll want to look for a home in neighborhoods like The Gulch and Hillsboro village, as they are among the safest in the city.

#12. Pro: the city offers easy access to world-class healthcare

The healthcare industry in Nashville is one of the most significant contributors to the economy. A whopping 60% of the top for-profit hospitals in the U.S.A are located in the metropolitan area. There are over 20 companies involved in the healthcare industry, so you have plenty of options.

#13. Pro: numerous education opportunities in Nashville

Vanderbilt University in Nashville
Vanderbilt University in Nashville

If your kids go through the public school system in Nashville, they are 6% more likely to graduate with a 4-year degree than children across the nation. They also have a better chance of getting a high school diploma compared to the national median.

Final thoughts

Nashville has a lot to offer, including numerous job opportunities, amazing food spots, and world-class healthcare, but there are also several downsides to consider. With some planning and willingness to compromise, your move to the city can be a fun and worthwhile experience.

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Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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