Justin and I are both transplants to this city. He grew up in South Dakota, and I grew up in Florida. But we both ended up in this magical, musical town and fell in love – both with each other and Nashville. We’ve made it our home and home-base for traveling the world.
Below we’ve listed 10 things we love about this town (and 5 things we don’t, because we appreciate honesty!)
1. It’s super friendly.
Being in the South, you expect a certain southern charm and you definitely get it here. Everyone smiles, asks how your day is going, and will chat you up in the grocery line. Most of it seems genuine and you’ll get great service when you’re out 9 times out of 10.
2. It’s a big little city.
I’ve lived in Paris and have visited big cities (New York, London, Chicago, San Francisco) many times and as much I enjoy the hustle and bustle of those places, I’m not sure I could live in it on a day-to-day basis. Nashville offers many of the conveniences and delights of a big city (lots of night life! Uber! craft cocktails! theatre!) while still giving you a slower suburban daily pace.
3. It’s not expensive.
This city is growing fast and all of the cheap neighborhoods are now on the up and up, but it’s still much less expensive to go out for a night on the town or to rent a 2 bedroom apartment here than it is in any bigger city.
4. It lets you get in touch with nature.
This city is surrounded by rolling hills, tons of trees and lakes. Want to go for a hike? Check our Lake Radnor, nearby Lake Burgess or take a stroll on the Greenway. Want to lounge in a park? We have plenty to choose from. Even driving down the highway isn’t such a drag because there are trees everywhere you look. It’s beautiful in the fall.
5. It puts you in the middle of history.
One of my favorite things about this town is how old it is. Everywhere you look there’s another historic home, another civil war site, another important landmark. Take time to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Hermitage Hotel, the Civil Rights Room at the Public Library, Natchez Trace, Centennial Park and the Parthenon. Or stop by our place, since we live right next to the second oldest home in Nashville!
6. It’s becoming a foodie haven.
Every week we hear about a new restaurant and our list of places to try just keeps growing. We’ve made a list of all of our favorites but this just barely touches the tip of the iceberg. There’s something for all foodie types and from all around the world – vegan, GF, dairy-free, meat lovers, family style, Mexican, Texmex, Ethiopian, Indian, Southern home cooking, sushi, fine dining…. seriously. So. Much. Food.
7. It’s a drinking town with a music problem.
If you like live music, then you’re in luck. There are only a few dozen places with live music, every single night of the week. But if you like alcohol, then you’re in more luck. Because this town loves its beer and craft cocktails. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to grab craft beer, fancy drinks and talk with our friends while sharing a bottle of vino.
8. It has something happening every weekend.
Music festivals? Check. Wine and beer festivals? Check. Oktoberfest, Zombie Prom, Shakespeare in the Park? Check, check, check. There’s always something, especially during the warmer months (March – October) and it’s hard to keep track of all the fun that’s going on. Check out the Nashville Scene to stay current on local events.
9. It’s kid friendly.
We’ve got the zoo, the Adventure Science Center, Nashville Shores. We’ve got Dragon Park, Centennial Park, and Wave Country. There’s laser tag and indoor trampolines and bowling galore, plus if your kids are into nature there’s swimming, hiking, biking, and ziplining. The library constantly has children’s events happening; Movies in the Zoo and Movies in the Park both offer cheap outdoor entertainment; and it’s always a good idea to take the kids to a baseball game at the new Sounds stadium.
10. It’s a great home-base to go to visit other places.
The airport is small and easy, making trips (domestic or international) a breeze. Plus the convergence of three major highways makes it easy to hop on and visit a wide variety of cool places: Chattanooga & Lookout Mountain (2 hours), Memphis (2.5 hours), Dollywood/Gatlinburg (3.5 hours), Atlanta (4 hours), Cincinnati (4 hours), St. Louis (4.5 hours), Holiday World (2.5 hours), Falls Creek Falls State Park (2 hours), Asheville (4.5 hours), Louisville (2.75 hours), Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville (2.5 hours)….
Bonus: It’s no NYC or LA but there’s enough arts and culture here to get you by. Tons of local theatres, plus the mammoth TPAC, will give you a theatre fix, while the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Cheekwood and First Saturday Art Crawl will satisfy art lovers. Don’t forget the Southern Festival of Books, the Shakespeare Festival or the Schermerhorn Symphony Center!
And now time for some honesty. Here are five things about this town that get on our nerves:
1. No one uses a turn signal. Come on. How hard is it? Just drop your hand down!
2. There is no good pizza in this town. There are plenty of folks who disagree with us but we just haven’t found that one spot that serves the perfect slice. Five Points Pizza in East Nashville is decent for a New York-esque slice, and Gondola House in Hermitage is pretty satisfying. But nothing is like omgstopwhatyouredoingandeatthisnow good. (And no, we are no fans of Mafiaosa’s!)
3. It’s a drinking town with a very big music problem. Seriously. Do we always need to have a band playing? Can we have a few minutes of peace and quiet? It’s hard to hear people talk when someone is twanging into the mic. Want to catch a quiet, non-musical drink or bite to eat? Try Darfon’s, Chago’s, Virago, Holland House, or the Pharmacy.
4. Parking is getting to be too expensive. One afternoon we went downtown to stroll about and grab lunch and couldn’t find parking anywhere… except in a lot for $25. For three hours. Nashville, you are getting too big for your britches!
5. Our public transit sucks. They’re talking about a new schedule for the Music City Star (the last train leaves town at 5:45? Is this a retirement home?), and technically we have a bus system (though I haven’t heard good things).