The first Europeans that would make their way into the area that would eventually become Tennessee were part of the 16th century expedition that was led by Hernando de Soto. Although their exact route is not entirely known, it is believed that they may not have reached what would become Nashville one day. That honor lies with fur traders such as Martin Chartier, who established a trading post along the Cumberland River near where the city would eventually be built.
Nearly 30 years after receiving its charter in the 19th century, Nashville would be selected as the permanent capital of Tennessee. The city would defeat Charlotte by only one vote for the honor. Tennessee was the last state to join the Confederacy in 1861, which made the city an immediate target for Union forces. The shipping port on the river, as well as the importance of being the capital, made it a valuable prize for the North. Nashville would become the first state capital to fall to Union troops in the Civil War on February 16, 1862.
The location of Nashville would help it to become an important trade center during the period of Reconstruction. By 1900, the population would quadruple. Then music entrepreneurs like Roy Acuff would help the city to become the capital of country music as well, with the Grand Ole Opry becoming an international influence.
If you are thinking about living in Nashville, then you will get to walk in the footsteps of this history. There are also these pros and cons to consider with the decision.
List of the Pros of Living in Nashville
1. You will love how much music the city has to offer when living here.
Nashville might be known for the country music it produces, but you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are plenty of other genres available to you if your preferences take you elsewhere. There are several famous venues where you can catch a show if you want, but there are also numerous cafés, restaurants, and bars where there is live music offered regularly. You might consider The Bluebird Café, which has hosted the likes of Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks before they became industry superstars.
There are also plenty of small spots like Rudy’s Jazz Room where you can enjoy an intimate atmosphere and classic brews just waiting for you.
2. There are professional sports for you to enjoy in Nashville.
Even though the city is relatively small compared to others that host multiple professional sports teams (about 700,000 people live in the city proper), you still have access to the NHL and NFL when living here. The Nashville Predators made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2017, while the Tennessee Titans take the field each season at Nissan Stadium, which is just across the river near the downtown area. MLS is coming to the city as well, with Nashville Soccer Club celebrating their first season in the top-tier league in 2020.
3. You will discover that there is good coffee almost everywhere you turn in the city.
Seattle might have the reputation as being the best coffee city in the United States, but Nashville gives them a run for their money. You will still find the national chains like Starbucks here if that is your preference, but the local coffee shop culture is something that you will enjoy experiencing. There are shops that work with local farms, shops, artists, and bakeries to create something unique for their customers. Many host live music events at night or on the weekend as well.
4. The bar scene in Nashville is also incredible.
If you like the idea of finding a dive bar with cheap drinks, then Nashville is the perfect place to live. You can find casual spots that are perfect for an evening with your friends. You can find bars that offer unique cocktails, a formal environment, or a happy hour that lasts all night long too. Make sure to head out to The Villager Tavern to see the local dart leagues, and if you’re local, then you can get happy hour pricing until 10 PM. When you add in the options for concerts, dancing, and nightclubs, there are numerous ways for you to have some fun in this city.
5. Let’s not forget about the food that you can experience in Nashville.
If you have never had hot chicken before, then living in Nashville is going to blow your mind from a culinary perspective. Prince’s Hot Chicken is world-famous for this dish, which is essentially friend chicken that is doused in hot sauce. You will also find locations with Michelin stars, James Beard award winners, and some of the famous barbecue that makes Tennessee famous. Although you might not be able to eat out as much as you want when you first start living here, the local dishes combined with your ethnic options make this city a special place to live.
6. Nashville offers an exceptionally low unemployment rate.
If you are looking for work right now, then a move to Nashville might be the perfect opportunity to give your career the kick in the pants that it needs. The city is one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States, with an estimated 10% growth rate since the last census was taken. The unemployment rate in the city also hovers around 2% throughout much of the year, which means there are more open positions than people who can fill them in the city. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a job that you are passionate about if you decide to start living here full-time.
7. The cost of living in Nashville is competitively low compared to other cities.
Because Nashville is not the largest urban area in the United States where you could choose to live, you will find that the cost of living is competitive with most other cities in the Midwest. It is also exceptionally cheaper than living in NYC or LA. The average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city is only $1,390, which about half of the cost of what you would pay for something smaller in Los Angeles. Home prices are competitive with the national median if you are thinking about living here as well.
If you don’t mind the traffic and enjoy supporting local businesses, you will discover that there are a lot of advantages to find when you consider the idea of living in Nashville.
8. There are plenty of outdoor places for you to enjoy in Nashville.
When you start living in Nashville, then you will discover that there are numerous walking trails, exercise areas, and other outdoor activities that you can enjoy every day of the week. You can head out to visit the lakes, take a road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, or go cycling around your favorite park. Try heading out to Centennial Part to see an exact replica of the Greek Parthenon. You will find that there are plenty of opportunities to stay and linger when you call this city home because time seems to move at a different pace.
You will discover that there are places where the city can feel like a concrete jungle, but there are also 85 miles of greenway to enjoy, 190 miles of trails to walk, and over 90 parks to explore after you start living here.
9. Nashville offers you access to world-class healthcare.
Although Nashville offers you plenty of access to music (it is called the “Music City” after all), it is the healthcare industry in the city which really keeps the economy humming. 60% of the top for-profit hospitals in the United States are located in the city. That means 1 out of every 8 jobs that is available here is in this industry. There are over 250 companies who are involved in the healthcare industry as well. That means you can move here, start a band, play gigs at night, and work a job that you are passionate about during the day.
10. The educational opportunities in the city are exceptionally strong.
If your children attend the public school system in Nashville, then they have a 6% better chance to one day graduate with a 4-year degree compared to students across the United States. They also have a better shot at graduating from high school compared to the national median. There are 25 different institutions which offer undergraduate programs that can help you or your family take the next step forward in your career.
Nashville also has a better graduation rate for students who are enrolled in graduate and doctorate programs in the city’s institutions. Once you receive the diploma, 60% of people decide to remain here to work, which means your family might decide to stay close.
11. There are plenty of great deals to find when living in Nashville.
The Nashville Flea Market is routinely ranked as one of the top 10 markets of its type in the United States. With over 2,000 booths to explore, over 500,000 people visit the location each year. You will find great deals at the plethora of thrift shops, Goodwill stores, and small boutiques that offer some unique items. Some places even let you bring in your own stuff to sell if you’re willing to pay a small commission. If you have ever been shopping in Austin, TX, then the feel is similar here.
12. Everyone in Nashville is just like anyone else.
Many celebrities decide to move to Nashville because the entire region offers a low-key experience. People here don’t focus on status or fame when you pick a neighborhood. Niki Taylor even lives in Brentwood. When people spot a celebrity doing their grocery shopping or getting ready for a gig, you might see a few shout a greeting – but that is it. The relaxed environment makes it the perfect spot to pursue what you want in life without trying to justify the path you are taking toward happiness. Most of the time, you will discover the people are friendly, and most will remember your name if you stop by the same business more than a couple of times.
List of the Cons of Living in Nashville
1. There are some public transportation issues to consider in the city.
Nashville is rapidly growing because there are so many opportunities available here that can improve the way of life for many families. Some might argue that the expansion is happen so fast that the infrastructure cannot handle the necessary changes to maintain efficiencies. Although a bus system does exist in the city, there is a significant shortage in public transportation that could impact your way of life. A car is almost mandatory when living here, especially when you consider the size of the city.
There are plans to build a light-rail system in Nashville in the future, which may reduce the impact of this disadvantage in the future. For now, living here means putting up with all of the growing pains.
2. You will need to make an adjustment to your summertime expectations.
The southeastern states of the U.S. (including Tennessee) are exceptionally warm during the summer months. Although that means your winters will usually be mild when you live in Nashville, the summers can be uncomfortable. Not only are the average temperatures in the high 90s here, but you will be contending with high humidity levels at the same time. This combination creates the possibility for severe storms at times, which means you will need to keep your eye on the weather reports when the thunderheads begin building along the horizon.
If the heat is something that bothers you where you’re living now, then you might want to take a closer look at the idea of living in Nashville.
3. There is a lot of competition for jobs in Nashville.
If you are moving to Nashville because you’re looking for a job, then it is essential to remember that you aren’t the only one is doing this. About 70,000 people have moved to the city in the past decade, with over 50% of them coming here in the past couple of years. The low jobless rate is one of the most significant attractions that people have for living here, so expect a lot of competition for the job that you want. There are plenty of open positions available that are waiting for your application, but it is not a guarantee that you can get in with the exact company that you want.
4. The traffic can be exceptionally bad in Nashville at times.
You must budget extra time when living in Nashville for the traffic throughout the metro area. The average driver will spend about 34 hours stuck in traffic jams when living here, which is admittedly just 30% of the time compared to someone who is living in Los Angeles. When ranking the 240 larges U.S. cities and their traffic issues, Nashville ranks 23rd for heavy traffic problems. That means there are worse places to find out there, but you will need to consider your patience with this disadvantage if you are thinking about moving here right now.
5. It is becoming a lot more expensive to start living in Nashville.
Although the median rent and housing costs are very competitive right now, the cost of living in Nashville is climbing a lot higher – and it’s happening very quickly. Information from 2017 indicates that the city ranked first in its year-over-year cost of living increase out of every city studied in the United States. If you want to live comfortable in the city, then you will need to earn at least $70,000 to make that happen, assuming that there are no debt obligations that you will need to manage at the same time. In 2019, a 4% increase in housing values and rental rates is expected as well.
6. You will need to get used to the tourism industry in the city.
If you work in the tourism industry in Nashville, then having a bunch of visitors is a good thing because it keeps you employed. For the average resident, the presence of tourists can be a significant disadvantage. You need to push through people to get to your favorite spots because everyone is writing and reviewing their experiences when visiting. You can no longer pop into your favorite restaurant during the weekend for brunch either. Add in the screams of people in the downtown area visiting for a special event and you may find that being a newcomer may not be a badge of pride in some areas.
7. If you have allergies, then you will want to think twice about moving to Nashville.
Anyone with seasonal allergies is going to have a problem during the spring and summer months when living in Nashville. The city consistently ranks as one of the top allergy capitals in the United States. Even if you can manage to hide indoors for the worst weeks of the year, you will want to stock up on your meds and plenty of tissues to get through the season. The allergies can be so bad here because there are days when you can literally taste the pollen in the air.
8. The crime rate in Nashville is higher than the national average.
If you decide to start living in Nashville, then you will want to start looking for homes in neighborhoods like Hillsboro Village or The Gulch. These areas are just as safe to walk around as any other place you will find in the country. When you look at the city as a whole, you will discover that the overall crime rate is 81% higher here than the national average. With 13.58 daily crimes per 100,000 people there are only 4% of cities in the country which have worse numbers. That means your overall risk of becoming a victim of any crime every day is 1 in 21.
The Tennessean also reports that violent crime is on the rise in Nashville, although East Nashville is trying to buck the trend. There is less violent crime as a whole than in the mid-2000s, but a 12% increase from 2013 to 2017 is something that you will want to review before you start living here.
9. There can be religious expectations placed on you when living in Nashville.
It is not unusual for someone to ask you where your family goes to church if you’re having a conversation somewhere in the city. Almost every street has at least one Christian church in the area thanks to the city’s location as the official buckle of the U.S. Bible belt. There are other options too, such as the Islamic Center in Antioch or the three synagogues in the city. On the average day though, you may see strangers trying to put you on the defensive if your beliefs don’t match up with theirs.
The pros and cons of living in Nashville require you to balance the opportunities that are available with the comfort levels you have in the city’s climate. There are some crowded neighborhoods, traffic to navigate, and plenty of humidity to endure. With a little planning and an overview of the job market before you move, it is possible to make this a fun experience that can help you to take the next step forward in your career and life in general.
About the Author of this Article
Crystal Ayres is a seasoned writer, who has been serving as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. Vittana's goal is to publish high quality content on some of the biggest issues that our world faces. If you would like to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.