The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Nashville

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You’ll find more than honky-tonks and live music on the streets of Nashville—but to fit in and live comfortably in Music City, here’s what you need to know. 
Over 12 million people live within a 3-hour drive of Nashville—but aside from being Tennessee’s most populous city and the “Country Music Capital of the World,” what else should you know before moving? 
Here to break down the realities of living in Nashville in Jerry, the car and homeowners insurance super app with all the tips to help you plan your move (and save you money). In this article, we’ll debunk Nashville’s stereotypes, cover the cost of living, and help you discover the perfect neighborhood in Tennessee’s most iconic city. 
Ready to mark your place in Music City? Read on for your guide to moving to Nashville.
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What you need to know about Nashville before you move

Nashville is growing like never before—and you’ll find more than just up-and-coming country artists in Music City. With a thriving craft beer scene, a rising tech industry, proximity to scenic Chattanooga and The Great Smoky Mountains, and even its own version of the Greek Parthenon, anyone can find their niche in Nashville. 

1. It’s relatively affordable (but you should have a budget)

While Nashville’s overall cost of living is higher than the rest of the state’s, it remains reasonably inexpensive when stacked up against other major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, and L.A. When it comes to choosing a place to live, start with a budget first. 
In the heart of downtown Nashville, you can expect to pay upwards of $400,000 for a home or condo and around $1,790 per month for an apartment. If you’re willing to live in a less central location, you’ll be able to find a monthly rent that’s cheaper—the city’s median rent is only $1,135.
There are over 20 Nashville neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own distinct character—and some also come at a cheaper price point than others. Regardless of whether you live along Music Row or in Midtown, you’ll want to make at least $40,000-$50,000
With monthly averages between $200 and $400 for groceries, $300 to $400 for utilities, and nearly $4.30 just for a Mcdonald’s McChicken (roughly the same price as a gallon of gas), a single adult will need to make at least that much if they hope to afford comfortable living in Nashville.

2. Country music isn’t the only industry—or the biggest

It’s true that country legends like Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, and Dolly Parton all got their start in Nashville. And chances are, if you’re moving to the city, you’ll have to put up with more than your fair share of country music culture, from the Grand Ole Opry right down to the cowboy boots. 
But believe it or not, country music isn’t the largest annual contributor to Nashville’s economy—even when combined with the city’s booming tourism industry.
In fact, the biggest industries in Nashville are healthcare and technology, followed by manufacturing, then music and tourism. According to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Davidson County’s top employers are Vanderbilt University (including the Vanderbilt University Medical Center) and HCA Healthcare
And these industries are only on the rise–in the last decade, job growth has increased by 31% and the county’s annual GDP has grown by 40%

3. Southern charm doesn’t mean lower crime

Unsurprisingly, Nashville faces a higher crime rate than the rest of Tennessee—with both assault and violent crime playing an exaggerated role in the statistics. 
Compared to the national average of 282.7 assaults per 100,000 residents, Nashville’s rate of assaults is nearly triple at 830.1 per 100,000 residents. Burglary and theft are also significantly above both state and national averages. 
Of course, crime rates tend to go up in denser areas of the city—according to a Niche poll, most Nashville residents (about 60%) agree that they feel “pretty safe” in the city and that crime doesn’t generally impact their lives. 
If you’re moving with kids and are especially worried, you’ll find areas like Belle Meade, Bellevue, Belmont, and Green Hills among the safest (and you’ll definitely want to avoid West Meade and North Nashville). 

4. It’s not the most diverse city—but it’s surprisingly liberal

As Tennessee’s most populous city, there are roughly 700,000 people living in the city proper—but the greater metro area is home to some 2 million residents. Of them, over 70% identify as racially white, with Hispanic and Latino people making up the second-highest racial and ethnic group in the area. 
Families and young adults make up the majority of Nashville’s population—which makes sense, given the city’s superior school districts, exponential job growth, and iconic nightlife
It also explains the city’s progressive scene. Despite being the Buckle of the Bible Belt, you’ll find an incredibly liberal climate in Nashville—in the last presidential election, 64% of Davidson County residents voted Democrat
From the city’s annual LGBT music festival to its dozens of certified LGBTBE businesses and even a dedicated LGBT Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Music City also prides itself on being a safe and welcoming environment for folks of all genders, sexualities, and walks of life—and Nashville Pride sees over 75,000 attendees each June!
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5. You don’t need a car, but you’ll probably want one

Despite enjoying an overall higher standard of living in Nashville compared to other metro areas, Music City’s public transport is somewhat lacking
Downtown, you’ll find a number of bus routes as well as a smaller rail system that you can navigate to get around—but honestly, they’re built with tourists in mind. Bus fares run at $2 per ride, or you could opt for a $4 all-day ride pass—but you can only pay in cash or coins, and the bus system doesn’t run 24 hours. 
Long-term speaking, bus riding may not be the most affordable or sustainable way to get around the city—which is why most residents own their own cars. In recent years, bike and scooter rentals have become more popular around the city, and the Downtown itself (plus its immediate neighborhoods) is pretty walkable. 

6. If you hate it hot and humid, Nashville summers are not for you

No matter how you cut it, summers in Nashville are hot and humid. Subtropical, even. June, July, and August are among the hottest months, with average daytime temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s—and a humidity index of 84
On the upside, intense summers make for mild winters. January is the coldest month, during which you’ll experience lows in the 30s (with the occasional 29-degree day thrown in for good measure). Otherwise, you can expect average winter temperatures in the forties, fifties, and even sixties—a reasonable trade-off, if you can handle things a little humid.

7. It's one iconic city with a hundred nicknames

The Country Music Capital of the World, the Buckle of the Bible Belt, the Athens of the South. Nashvegas, Gnashville, Cashville. Music City; the Birthplace of Country Music. 
Whatever you call it, Nashville is a cultural icon among America’s cities, rich with history and steeped in Southern tradition. You’ll find live music on virtually every block, and a seemingly endless buffet of eateries and cafés—with some of them, like the famous Bluebird Cafe, being tiny pieces of history in and of themselves. 
It doesn’t hurt to brush up on the city’s history before you make your move—plus, it’ll help you blend in once you’re actually there. 

Does Nashville live up to its stereotypes?

If you can’t handle a bit of country music here and there, Nashville’s probably not the place for you. In this way and many others, the city fulfills its widely-known stereotypes—but it also transcends them. 
Nashville’s not just a city for small-town musicians looking to make it big—and it never has been. You’ll find a fast-growing tech industry, incredible nightlife, and an abundance of music and cultural festivals. To fit in, you’ll need to love music (although it doesn’t have to be of the country variety), good beer, and hot chicken. 
But ultimately, it’s a city for anyone and everyone. From aspiring musicians to artists and creatives, to young entrepreneurs and students and families.
Key Takeaway Life in Nashville comes with hot summers and high crime rates, but promises lots of arts, music, and culture—not to mention Nashville hot chicken! 

Finding a place to live in Nashville

So, you’ve done your research, set your budget, and now you’re looking for a place to live—but where to start? Familiarizing yourself with the local market is a good first step, but buyers be warned: finding affordable housing is no easy undertaking. 
Housing supply shortages continue to characterize Nashville’s housing market, according to Greater Nashville Realtors. On top of that, home values are appreciating: the median home price has risen over 20% since 2021. 
Today, you’ll find an average list price of $448,500, although median sale prices are even higher, with homes actually selling at $470,000. Interest rates are also on the rise, limiting buyer purchase power. The average mortgage rate for a Nashville home is 2.1%.
If you’re looking to rent instead of buying your home, you won’t be alone—about 41% of Nashville’s residents rent their homes. The average rent for a two, three, or four-bed apartment is between $2,080-2,750
It’s worthwhile to spend some time visiting your neighborhood of choice (if possible) before you move. Visiting in-person can give you more than just a sense of the community—you’ll be able to scope out points of interest ahead of time and will be less likely to stick out like a sore thumb once you get there. 
Here’s a rundown of some of Nashville’s neighborhoods: 
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: Music Row, 12 South, Germantown 
  • Best neighborhoods if you have kids: Hillsboro Village, Melrose, Sylvan Park, Green Hills
  • Best neighborhoods for young adults: The Gulch, SoBro, Demonbreun, Elliston Place
  • Best neighborhoods for musicians: Edgehill Village, East Nashville, Downtown, Midtown, Music Valley
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Buena Vista, Madison, Nashboro Village
Pro Tip Be prepared to move quickly when you find a property you like in Nashville’s housing market.
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Moving to Nashville checklist

Found your perfect neighborhood? Here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep your move on track and make sure you don’t forget anything along the way.

Before you go:

Plan ahead so you and your valuables can make a smooth and safe transition: 

After you arrive:

Once you’re there, the moving process isn’t over—follow these tips to help you settle into your new home: 
  • Make sure your car is Tennessee-registered and update your driver’s license, too.
  • Update your mailing address, voter’s registration, and healthcare information.
  • Look into renter’s insurance if you’re on a lease—and if you’ve bought your home, make sure you’re covered with a good insurance policy
  • Get settled! Explore your new neighborhood, listen to live music, and enjoy all the Nashville hot chicken you can eat!

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Nashville

Planning a move can be stressful—but keeping your home and belongings safe shouldn’t be. That’s why Jerry, the super app for car and home insurance, can help you find the right insurance coverage for you (and save money in the process). 
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The answer is, it depends. If you’re not a rising country star, Nashville still has a place for you—its top industries are healthcare and tech, after all!—but you’ll need to be comfortable with humid summers, high traffic, and lots of tourism.
Budgeting for your move will come down to the specifics, like how far you’re traveling and how much help you have (versus hire). 
Those specifics can make the difference between a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars—but once you’ve made the journey, you’ll need to be bringing up at least $3,000/month to comfortably cover rent, utilities, and other basic expenses.

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