It’s a place where you can work for one of 400 leading healthcare companies and then forget all about your health at Jack Daniels’ distillery. With a varied job market, it’s no wonder why so many young professionals are flocking to this honky-tonk city.
It’s home to the Grand Ole Opry, Gibson guitars, and the Tennessee Titans Music City Miracle. If you’re looking to move out of state and want that classic, Southern feel in the big city, check out Nashville.
Read on to learn more about moving to Nashville including tips on the real estate market, job opportunities, and fun things to do.
Everything about relocating to Nashville
- How much will it cost to move to Nashville?
- Which Nashville neighborhoods are most affordable?
- Which neighborhood in Nashville is the best fit for me?
- How long is the commute in Nashville?
- How’s the walkability, bikeability, and public transportation in Nashville?
- How dangerous is Nashville?
- Where can I find apartments and houses in Nashville?
- Don’t forget, all of these things need updating!
- What’s fun to do in Nashville?
And if you’re looking for more info on moving to Nashville, check out our Nashville move cost guide.
Quick Nashville Snapshot
- With approximately 692,587 inhabitants, Nashville is the 23rd most populous city in the United States.
- As of 2022, the average one-bedroom rent in Nashville is $1,644 per month, and has a low cost of living. The Nashville area is ranked 50 for the most expensive metro area in the US. As any good realtor will tell you, setting your target and maximum budget is the first step in looking for a new home in a new city. $1,500 would be a sweet spot in Nashville for your target budget.
- In Tennessee alone, Nashville is ranked as the 8th most expensive city for the cost of living.
- Known as the Athens of the South, Nashville is famous for award-winning educational institutions.
Before we get into the finer details of moving to Nashville, check out this video showing off some sights the city offers.
Costs and how to move to Nashville
Make moving to Nashville more zen with the free and easy-to-use moving cost calculator at any time. You can enter where you’re moving to Nashville from, how much stuff you’ll be bringing, and when you want to move to get an average cost for different moving services.
The most affordable way to make the move is to do it yourself. That means renting a moving truck and driving your belongings across the country. If you want to put less effort in, consider going with a moving container company. You pack up your belongings and load them into the truck, but professional drivers transport the container for you. This is an excellent option if you need temporary storage during your move too. Companies like 1-800-Pack-Rat include 30 days of free storage for every long-distance move while others including U-Pack offer long-term storage options if you need more time.
Finally, you should also consider working with professional movers when moving to Nashville. They’ll do all the hard work for you — including packing, unpacking, and reassembling all of your furniture. Plus, they’re trained to move specialty items including antiques and heavy pieces so you don’t have to stress about your favorite things during the move.
Be sure to check out city guides like this one to learn more about moving to Nashville and how to make your move there easier. Let’s dive into what Nashville has to offer and cover important considerations including income tax, employment rates, and where to live in the city. You’ll discover the pros and cons of living in Nashville and find some handy tips to ease the transition.
If you’re moving to Nashville from afar, you also may want to have a glance at our moving out of state guide.
A few other things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Moving Permits: Moving to the city is always difficult because of thin roads, sidewalks, and constricted space. Make it easier on yourself and get a permit for parking in a loading zone. It’s only $15.
A very important thing to remember when moving to Nashville: Traffic gets very bad between 4 pm and 6 pm. Plan around this and do not attempt to drive a moving truck during these hours.
Here are a few things to help you find the perfect Nashville neighborhood
First thing first: set a budget for moving to Nashville. Have a pretty good idea of how much you’re making and spending and how much you’ll have left over for rent.
Nashville has 20 neighborhoods. That’s less than in a big city like New York. Like in all cities, each neighborhood has its vibe, character, and rental prices. This website does a fantastic job of describing each neighborhood.
And to help you better understand what is happening in Nashville’s best neighborhoods and the housing market, we overlaid a rental hotspot map of the city with the neighborhoods above to give you a good idea of the most expensive areas.
- If you don’t mind paying an arm and a leg, Franklin, Germantown, and the Downtown Area will run you between $1,900 and $2,300 for a one-bedroom,
- Towards the middle of the price spectrum, you’ll find Whites Bend, Four Corners, and Melrose, which charge anywhere from $1,400 to $1,900.
- The farther you get from downtown, places like Hermitage Hill, Glencliff, and Salemtown, you can find an apartment for $900 to $1,300 per month.
If you’re on a tight budget, look south to Berry Hill or west to The Nations. If cost is no object, look to Downtown, Midtown, or the Gulch.
Next: consider your commute to work
That perfect neighborhood could have a horrible commute. Be sure to figure out how you’ll get to work before you sign a lease or a mortgage.
Here’s a breakdown of getting around the city:
If you want to have a car…
Nashville has been ranked the 15th most congested metropolitan area in the United States. That’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either.
Downtown Nashville is relatively easy to get to and from, with convenient access to three major Interstate systems (I-40, I-65, and I-24) and the Nashville International Airport.
The worst traffic bottleneck in Tennessee is around the Interstate 40 eastbound interchange at exit 209, where highways 70, 40, and 24 all co. When it gets congested, average speeds can go as low as 11 mph.
Parking in Nashville is more accessible than in some other major cities, and most metered spots are free after 6 PM. Check out this parking guide for more.
Also, check out the Nashville Predators game schedule so you’re not trying to navigate around Bridgestone Arena during game day.
Though it doesn’t have a subway system or AMTRAK, Nashville MTA operates a bus system all over the city.
Below is a snapshot of Nashville’s bus map. Music City Central (MCC) is Nashville MTA’s downtown transit station. It’s next to Municipal Auditorium and borders 4th and 5th Avenues in the Downtown area.
Imagine you’re taking a class at Tennessee State University and want to go out downtown. You could hop on the 29 bus and get off at 4th Avenue. Here is a huge guide and a complete map of Nashville’s public transit system.
Bottom line: with a transit score of 22, the public transportation system is okay but still needs improvement. It can get you almost anywhere inside the city within an hour. Suppose you’re not planning on having a car or riding a bike. In that case, you’d better get used to taking the bus because you’ll be taking it everywhere––that is, unless you’re willing to fork up the cash for rideshares like Uber or Lyft.
Where Are People Like Me Living?
In our example, plugging in the zip code for Nashville (37219) breaks down the dominant types of people living there. How awesome is that?
Feel free to check your own neighborhood while you’re at it!
Why bike when you can walk?
In terms of walkability, Nashville can be hot and cold. Downtown Nashville is very walkable, but other city areas, like Berry Hill, are not.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking, you’d better check out apartments in Downtown or Midtown.
Below is a walk score map, similar to the rent price heat map we talked about above. The greener, the better. If you prefer to avoid walking, avoid the red when looking for neighborhoods to live in.
Finding a safe neighborhood
Nashville scores a three on the crime index. For reference, 100 is the best. So, not great, but like any city, it just means you need to know the areas to avoid.
Here’s a crime hotspot map. If you notice, the darker areas are typically more dangerous, while the lighter tend to be safer.
If safety is your top priority, search for apartments in West End or 12 South and try to stay away from East Nashville.
This thread on Tripadvisor has some great input on the city’s safest areas from some people who’ve lived there.
How to find an Apartment
- Yes, it’s in the south, but Nashville still gets cold. Temperatures in January can get as low as 27 degrees. So you’ll need a heated apartment.
- Surprisingly, the highs in July rarely get above 90 degrees! Even so, you should probably look into a place with AC.
- Laundromats are easy to come by, but if you plan on going without a car, a washer/dryer is a must-have.
You’ll also want to factor things like utility bills into your budget when looking for places to rent.
Where to look for apartments in Nashville
Here are some excellent websites to find apartments. Use the sort functionality to determine your desired number of bedrooms, budget, etc. It might surprise you, but Craigslist is helpful for finding apartments (especially places whose owners/landlords are desperate to rent out).
Note: This DOES NOT mean you should trust Craigslist implicitly. Here’s their guide on how to recognize potential scammers.
Tennessee rental law
You should know these things before moving so that a landlord can’t hoodwink you.
Under Tennessee law, landlords must tell tenants certain information (usually in the lease or rental agreement). This includes the names of anyone authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf and whether the landlord may enter to show the place to prospective renters during the last 30 days of the tenancy. Tennessee Required Landlord Disclosures.
Tennessee state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. It specifies when it has to be returned (within 30 days after you move out) and sets other security deposit restrictions.
Important: you may withhold rent or exercise the right to “repair and deduct” if a landlord fails to take care of essential repairs, such as a broken heater. Tennessee Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent or “Repair and Deduct”
For all sorts of other good information about lease laws, check out State Landlord-Tenant Laws.
Nashville’s rental market is pretty darn competitive
The average rent in Nashville regularly trends just a few points higher than the national average.
Additionally, vacancy rates in Nashville are in a good position, sitting at 4.87%, a 0.88% increase from the previous year.
Overall, the rental market in Nashville isn’t great. Still, things are showing signs of improvement, with rent prices (gradually) dropping and new developments increasing the vacancy rate.
There are a couple of things to remember concerning your apartment timetable. It helps to start looking as soon as possible. Leases usually begin on the first day of the month, so you should start looking two weeks before the start of the month you want to move in at the very latest.
Nashville has a pretty sizable college population so that many leases will end in the spring, probably on May 31st. If you can, the ideal time to start looking for apartments is in April or early May, and be ready for a June 1st move-in date.
What you’ll need in order to rent
You’ll need your Social Security number when applying for apartments. Landlords and realtors will almost always run a credit check on you and any roommates. Many will also ask you for a pay stub as proof of income.
As for deposits, most landlords will require the first month, last month, and security deposit (equal to one month’s rent).
For example, suppose the monthly rent for an apartment is $1,200. In that case, you’re probably looking at paying the landlord a deposit of $3,600 upon signing the lease.
This will cover your first month’s and last month’s rent, and you’ll get the security deposit back minus any catastrophic damages you cause to the place playing pong with your friends.
Finding a house near Nashville
Just in case city life is too much fun for you.
First, there aren’t trains in the city like in New York. If you’re living in the suburbs, you absolutely will need a car.
The nicest suburb of Nashville is Brentwood. No, not that Brentwood. It’s half an hour from the city, but remember how bad traffic can get during rush hour.
Like most nice suburbs, it has beautiful Tudor-style homes and large yards. It has TONS of parks, so hiking, biking, picnics, and other outdoor recreation activities are always an option in Brentwood. The Brentwood Town Center is also a go-to place for shopping and groceries.
Everything you need to do post-move
- If you’re reading this, you probably appreciate a speedy internet connection. Great news! Google Fiber is coming to Nashville, so prepare to watch Game of Thrones at Lightspeed.
- Voter Registration: you can find the steps to register to vote here.
- Driver’s Licenses: If you’re out of state, apply for a TN driver’s license within 30 days. You can find out how to do that here.
- Vehicle Registration: find the steps for registering your vehicle here. It costs $9 and can be somewhat complicated, so give yourself some time.
- Trash & Recycling: The city handles trash and recycling. Collection days vary by neighborhood. Find yours here.
- Ways to meet people: there are always many ways to meet new people. One great way is to use meetup.com. The /r/Nashville page on Reddit is also a great place to search for upcoming events and find lesser-known tidbits and activities.
What is there to do in Nashville?
Robert’s Western World is a haven for country music. It has live music, a grill, a bar, and many neat artifacts. You can even take kids there up until 6 PM.
Big Bang Dueling Piano Bars have locations in a couple of cities, and there’s one in Nashville too! And finally, there’s the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry! Come if you’re obsessed with country music legends like Johnny Cash or Dolly Parton.
If you’re a sports fan, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Titans NFL team, the Nashville Predators of the NHL, and the Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
Music Row is here. As a major music industry hub, there is a robust live music scene in Nashville. Plenty of live music venues like the famous Ryman Auditorium, make it the perfect place for a night on the town.
Nashville also has a thriving art scene. Check out The Parthenon, a 47-foot monument that doubles as an art museum.
We’ve talked about how Nashville’s famous for its whiskey and bourbon and Broadway Street where all the fun happens. If you’re downtown and looking for high-quality cocktails, check out Skull’s Rainbow Room.
And if you’re into underground places few people know about, there’s Old Glory. It’s so secret it doesn’t have a website or even a sign on the door!
Let’s crawl y’all! The Music City Pub Crawl is a popular pub crawl for only $15 per person. It’s a two-hour-long guided walking tour through the heart of downtown Nashville along 2nd Avenue. You’ll stop at a bunch of bars, so it’s a great way to gauge which might be your favorite future watering hole.
Who doesn’t love Happy Hour deals? This is a list of Nashville’s best Happy Hours. Check out Sambuca’s 3/4/5 deal if you’re into getting drunk while spending as little money as possible.
Moving to Nashville Round Up
This is, of course, the shortlist on moving to Nashville. You’ve got to see what’s unique about Nashville–might it be the trendy coffee shops and breweries? Maybe it’s the fried chicken around every corner, like at Prince’s Hot Chicken. Or, you could be a fan of outdoor activities at the nearby nature spots and green spaces like Centennial Park, Cumberland River, and some great state parks. Perhaps it’s the convenience of visiting nearby areas including Memphis and Kentucky. Whatever does it for you, there’s more to explore when you decide you’re moving to Nashville.
Here’s a glimpse of the magical Music City Miracle
Not what you were looking for?
Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!