7 Essential Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Nashville

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Nashville at a Glance

With headline celebrities from music to TV, a top-notch food scene and a booming economy, the Nashville marquee has never burned brighter. The Music City thrives in the spotlight, and it’s never, ever been a shrinking violet when it comes to personality. This city is the hot chicken of charm, the buttered biscuit of urbanity and the sweet tea of stardom. Nobody comes to Nashville to disappear — they come here to be discovered. 

As the state capital, this central Tennessee city has long been a beacon of culture and commerce for the state, the region and, by golly, the nation. From the legendary recording studios on Music Row to the stages of the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville has launched the careers of the country’s biggest country legends — Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline — but singers and songwriters from rock to pop to hip-hop have made their mark in Music City, from Taylor Swift to Lionel Richie.  

But even if twang isn’t your thang, other aspects of the city are bound to strike a chord. Nashville’s upbeat cosmopolitan attitude seeps into every pore of the city — the inventive menus of its newest dining spots, the exhibitions at the Frist Art Museum, annual events like the Big Band Dance and Opera in the Park — even the ballgames at First Horizon Park. 

And Nashville backs up all this fun with big business. With the third-lowest rate of unemployment in the country, Nashville’s job market outshines much bigger metros. Industry giants like Nissan and iHeartMedia keep the corporate juices flowing, and academic powerhouses like Vanderbilt keep the “Athens of the South” young and vibrant, attracting talent from around the globe to this ever-expanding, diverse economy.  

And all this is to say nothing of the beautiful — breathtakingly, beautiful — Tennessee landscape. The rolling Cumberland River, the lush, green hills and rocky outcroppings, Nashville sits in the undulous region of the Highland Rim, and it’s only a short drive from the Smokies. 

If you’re thinking of moving to the Nashville area, learn more about the city’s neighborhoods, attractions, job market, educational institutions and cost of living below.    

Why Move to Nashville?

Nashville Has a Thriving Job Market

With a city population of 683,622 and metro area workforce of more than 1.1 million, Nashville has a diverse, growing economy. Most sectors experienced modest growth between 2023 and 2024, keeping the city’s unemployment rate at a low 2.2% — two points below the national rate. Information — the smallest business sector in the city — saw the biggest decline, losing 5.2% of its jobs, but this only mirrored drop-offs in the industry in other areas of the country.  

The biggest super-sector in the Nashville economy is trade, transportation and utilities, which employed 226,600 as of January 2024. Professional and business services employs 191,800 and health and education services, boosted by Vanderbilt University’s academic programs and healthcare system, employs 175,500. Of course, tourism is big business in the Music City, and 128,000 Nashville residents work in the leisure and hospitality sector. And the government’s share of the workforce is almost equal in size and has now grown to 126,800 in the Tennessee state capital.  

All of this added up to big accolades for Nashville in 2023, when the city was named the #1 Hottest U.S. Job Market, outranking even fast-growing Austin. As the U.S. headquarters for mega-giants like Nissan North America, iHeartMedia, Bridgestone Americas, Dollar General and Alliance Bernstein, Nashville is also slated to become Amazon’s next headquarters, but that project has been on hold while the company re-envisions its complex at Church and 10th streets.  

It Also Offers Excellent Education Opportunities

Thanks to its history of establishing good educational institutions and its penchant for Greek revivalist architecture, Nashville is often referred to as the “Athens of the South.” But the moniker can cause some confusion with the South’s actual city of Athens, located in northeast Georgia and home to UGA. 

Institutions of higher learning like Vanderbilt University, Fisk University and Tennessee State University, have boosted the city’s educational rates far above state and national averages. More than 45.5% of Nashville residents have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, far exceeding Tennessee’s average, which is only 29.7%, and the national average of 34.3%.  

In the realm of K-12, Metro Nashville Public Schools, which serves 80,000+ students across 160 schools, comprise one of the nation’s largest districts in the nation. Three metro area schools make the U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 list: Merrol Hyde Magnet School (Hendersonville), Central Magnet School (Murfreesboro) and Hume Fogg Magnet High School (Davidson County).  

Nashville’s Cost of Living is Quite Affordable 

With zero income taxes(*) and an average cost of living, Nashville can be an affordable place to live, especially compared to other major cities in the South.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home value in the Music City between 2018 and 2022 averaged $351,400 — a far cry from Tennessee state average of $232,100 and the U.S average of $281,900. The National Association of Realtors puts current home values even higher, estimating the median price of a single-family home in Nashville at just over $400,000 at the close of 2023. But housing in Nashville is still less expensive than Charleston, Atlanta and Austin, whose median has swelled to $461,500.  

Rental prices in Nashville follow a similar pattern, and the $1,392 median puts the city several hundred dollars over the U.S average but below other popular Southern metros.  

But income levels are a bit lower in the Music City than they are in its Southern counterparts. Nashville residents brought home just $71,328, on average, between 2018 and 2022, compared to the national median household income of $75,149 and $86,556 in Austin.  

If Nashville is already sounding like a city you want to move to, let Mayflower — the nation’s most trusted mover — help get you there. Start a quote today! 

There Are a Lot of Unique “Flavors” in Nashville

From Music Row to the Grand Ole Opry to its namesake hot chicken and world-famous barbeque, Nashville has made a name for itself in more ways than one. Without the Music City, we might never have had the cathartic battle hymn of the corporate republic that is Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” or seen the Wu-Tang Clan slay at the Ryman. Whether you want to kick up your boots to hear live music at the honkiest of honky-tonks like Nudie’s or wander the hallowed corridors of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville has a venue for every musical mood. One newcomer you won’t want to miss is the National Museum of African American Music. This much-anticipated space celebrates genres from gospel to hip-hop — quintessential sounds of the American songbook. 

The Music City is also big on sports. During football season, there are Tennessee Titans games to enjoy at Nissan Stadium, and hockey fans can gnash their teeth at Nashville Predators games at the Bridgestone Arena. The city is also home to the minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds (the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers), as well as the MLS team the Nashville SC.  

But if you really want to get down and dirty, you’ll ditch the grass for the rougher turf of the rodeo. That’s right, Texas isn’t the only Southern state with a bull-riding heart, and the Nashville Stampede has the distinct honor of being the 2022 PBR Team Series Champions. Yee and haw! 

In addition to pro-ball and the rodeo arts, Nashvillians are a crafty bunch, and the fine arts scene in town is gaining momentum. Major venues like the Frist Museum of Art bring in some of the best practicing artists today and showcase works from and about the region. Of course, when you live in the Athens of the South, it’s only natural to hang out at the Parthenon, Nashville’s full-scale replica of the Grecian original. While the exterior is identical to its ancient Mediterranean predecessor, the inside is a modern gallery featuring a monumental statue of Athena, along with casts of some of the Parthenon’s original marbles, as well as a collection of American Art and rotating temporary exhibitions.  

In addition to Centennial Park, where Nashville’s Parthenon is located, there are lots of ways to get outside and enjoy some fresh air in and around the city. Radnor Lake State Park, Warner Parks and the new West Riverfront Park are all very popular with locals for picnicking, hiking, and mountain biking. For a fancier outing, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a bit like the Biltmore of Tennessee — you can tour the magnificent old estate (which is also now a museum of art) as well as the stupendous gardens, where many fun events are hosted, from the Saturday Sounds performances to the annual plant sale. 

After all this activity, you’ll want to pull up to one of Nashville’s best tables. If you’ve stuffed yourself with hot chicken from Prince’s and Hattie B’s and you’re ready to move on to barbecue, it’s hard to beat Edley’s, which has several locations in the city. Start with an order of BBQ Fries, then move on to the Tuck Special — smoked brisket with a jammy egg, red & white BBQ sauce and a dollop of pimento cheese. The grits casserole, cole slaw and bean salad are three out of four of our must-have sides, but the #1 item on this part of the menu is the banana pudding. And proof of its essentiality is that there is a dessert section, but this ain’t on it. Pudding’s part of the main event at Edley’s.  

Nashville’s best flavors aren’t restricted to the smoky and the fried, though. There’s the woodsy char of St. Vito Focacceria, where airy, crackly, dough irresistibly cushions Calabrian chili-spiced tomatoes and gooey burrata. The International Market brings the taste of Thai to new heights with their pork shumai and Thai basil trout. And, if you’re looking for the earthy, piquant flavors of the Middle East, Lyra’s pistachio-whipped feta, za’atar lavash and chermoula-crusted mahi will transport you to a land far, far away. 

Neighborhoods in Nashville

Nashville is not a city that prides itself on its conformity, and that’s never truer than when it comes to its neighborhoods. There are quirky, artsy districts, laid-back, historic areas and sprawling, exclusive enclaves whose prices might make you blush (or even gasp for air). But no matter what kind of style or amenities you’re after, you’re sure to find a neighborhood to suit your family’s needs. Look below at some of the most popular areas(*) to live in Nashville. 

Downtown Nashville — and the adjacent districts of the Gulch and SoBro (or, South of Broadway) — deliver bigtime on fun and fanfare. These densely packed districts known for their career-launching honky-tonks, BBQ joints and sports arenas are also filled with vibrant murals, swanky cigar bars, artist-run galleries and museums. Fifth + Broadway is the (shhh — don’t call it a mall) central shopping and entertainment complex of the area, and you’ll find all your favorite retailers and the requisite food hall to fuel your fashion frenzy here. Downtown is still Nashville’s business district by day and tourist district by night, so expect the streets to be bumpin’ at all hours, here. Housing in the area runs the gamut of multi-family living. There are glitzy, million-dollar condos in soaring glass towers, where you’ll get panoramic views of the city and the Cumberland River. You’ll find nifty lofts for rent in recently reno-ed industrial buildings. And there are loads of newly constructed complexes that cater to young professionals just moving to the city.  

On the other side of the Cumberland River and highway 24/40, East Nashville is a wildly popular residential district, with many pocket neighborhoods of its own, from Five Points to Inglewood. The pace of new construction in this historic area is eye-popping. Even an unrenovated, three-bedroom bungalow in East Nashville could set you back more than $400,000 — ditto for a one-bedroom condo. The eclectic offerings of this unique district break all the rules (in a good way). There are upscale-yet-homey restaurants like Audrey, which draw on the chef’s rural, Appalachian roots to elevate the elemental in dishes like the Ossabaw pork & cabbage skewer and the paw paw pie. And then there are no-frills, all-flavor joints like the Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden. Music lovers in East Nashville will spend a lot of time in Grimey’s — a new and used record store that’s beloved across the city.  

In the trendy, walkable 12 South neighborhood, you’ll find the perfect mix of residential and commercial. Block after block of charming clapboard houses with screened-in decks and vegetable gardens are interspersed with great bakeries, coffee houses, dinner spots and boutiques. Everything here is an easy stroll from your front porch. Take the pups for a walk in Sevier Park and then hit Frothy Monkey for a spicy Havana latte and a tomato-pesto breakfast sandwich or pick up a dozen “hundred-layer” donuts from Five Daughters Bakery. No need to share. 12 South is a popular area for Vanderbilt faculty, and it’s got easy access to all major highways. 

North of Downtown and the State Capitol, the cozy, historic district of Germantown is lined with inviting, red brick buildings and one of the city’s favorite destinations — the Nashville Famers’ Market. This 200-year-old food fest isn’t your run-of-the-mill, Saturday market. It’s a 27,000-sf+ space with a garden center, dozens of restaurants and shops and two enormous outdoor stalls for fresh produce. Most of the residences in this urban district are townhomes and condos, including a few historic lofts in buildings like the Werthan, but single-family homes do exist here, even if they run on the spendy side.  

If you’re looking for suburban living in Nashville, it doesn’t get much better than Green Hills. This tony neighborhood southwest of the city is filled with well-appointed estates with lush landscaping. Single-family homes even on the smaller side start at more than $1 million but can easily soar past three or four. Green Hills is also something of a celebrity hamlet, so if you’re hoping to do some stargazing, this is a good neighborhood to start your career in the paparazzi. Regardless of whether you live in the area, your kids will likely want to spend much of your time and their allowances at the Mall at Green Hill, but there are worse places to be, especially on a hot summer day, when a little luxury retail and a pick-me-up in the RH Courtyard restaurant may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Tips for Moving to Nashville

Find a Trustworthy Mover

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Get a moving quote for Nashville from Mayflower. 

Consider Moving Full Service

When you add up all the things that must be taken care of before you move to Nashville — packing, unpacking, storage, removing debris, shipping your car — you can easily see the benefits of Mayflower’s full-service moving packages, particularly if you’re moving cross-country. Our long-distance movers are here to help you move to Nashville from anywhere in the U.S and from beginning to end. See what the long-distance moving process looks like. 

Get Moving Tips and Resources From the Experts

No matter how and where you move to and from Nashville, use our moving checklist and planner to organize your move to Nashville. 

Once your move is in motion, all you’ll want to do is think about settling into your new home. Check out our guides to helping your kids adjust to the big move, transforming your home with fun mini-projects and planning the all-important housewarming party

Want to learn more about life in the Volunteer State? Check out our Guide to Moving to Tennessee 

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(*) Please note:

We are not tax experts and are not offering tax advice, other than you should consider obtaining additional information and advice from your legal and/or financial advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances. 

If you’re planning to move to Nashville, it’s important to thoroughly research the neighborhoods and areas in the city you might be interested in living. Before you decide where you are going to reside, make sure you understand the neighborhood’s cost of living, commute time, tax rates, safety statistics and schooling information. 

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