Lay of the Land
“For me, it’s the perfect place to live. It’s the best part of America.”~Nicole Kidman
Located in the middle of the state, Tennessee’s capital is home to many colleges and universities, and as a center of the music industry is practically synonymous with country music. Understandably so, Nashville has earned the nickname “Music City,” as well as the “Athens of the South,” a nod to its intellectual resume and full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the beautiful Centennial Park.
The Cumberland River runs through the middle of the city, dividing central Nashville from its East Nashville counterpart, the latter an up-and-coming neighborhood. Nashville has a number of mini-neighborhoods; the area surrounding Vanderbilt University contains Hillsboro Village, 12 South and The Gulch, while Green Hills, a 10-20 minute drive away, has some of the city’s best shopping. Almost everything is within a ten-minute drive, including the downtown area and East Nashville. Franklin, a rural, scenic town, is a 25-minute drive from downtown.
The easiest way to explore Nashville and its many surrounding neighborhoods is via rental car, but there are taxi services available. However, due to the large number of surrounding universities and the popular nightlife, it can be hard to snag a cab on weekends.
When to Go
Nashville is at its most beautiful in the fall and spring, when temperatures are comfortable and not too hot. It is a notoriously rainy city, but there is no way to avoid that other than sheer luck. Winter can be nice, but the occasional light snowfall shuts the city down, making it hard to get around unless you have a car and are used to driving in the snow.
For country music lovers, the city is particularly festive during the annual Country Music Association Awards, hosted every fall in October or November.