Living In Nashville
Let me preface this by saying that I have lived in three states in my life. I grew up on Long Island in New York; lived in Cleveland, Ohio for over 10 years; and moved to Nashville, Tennessee four years ago. All three locations are very different, as were the reasons I moved around. But for anyone considering a move to the "Music City," I want to share some things that are unique about living in Nashville.
1. Music--There are great universities here, in particular Vanderbilt. And there are great hospitals. But say "Nashville" to anyone who doesn't live here, and the first thing they think of is music -- country music. And that's because while Los Angeles and New York are homes to record labels, Nashville is the home to the country music "wings" of those labels. Music Row in downtown Nashville is where labels, publishers and music managers have offices. It's also where all the big houses are that songwriters get together in every day to write music. There is no other city in America like that. As a result, there are also incredible musicians everywhere in Nashville, and stars like Vince Gill, Faith Hill, and Kenny Chesney all live here. That means there is a good chance you'll spot these celebs at Target, the gas station, or your favorite restaurant.
2. Weather--If you've lived in the north and endured extremely harsh winters with frigid temps and mounds of snow, and you've had enough of it, Nashville's winters will suit you fine. It gets chilly in December, January and February, but average highs are still in the 50's and lows in the 30s. It snows maybe three times a year, and barely sticks to the ground. Then it starts to warm up nicely in March. The only problem is, the heat in June, July, August and most of September is stifling. But central air is a way of life, and there are pools and lakes to swim in.
3. People--The people in Nashville are extremely friendly. Maybe it's a southern hospitality thing, but it's really great. There are also a lot of transplants who have moved here to be in the music industry, so it's easy to make new friends.
4. Traffic--This isn't New York or L.A., but the freeways are extremely congested here and it seems like there is ALWAYS road work going on. Sometimes it's going on overnight, so if you're out late watching a band you may have a horrible commute home.
5. Sports--Nashville desperately wants to be a major league city. We've had the Titans (NFL) since 1997 and the Predators (NHL) since 1998. The Titans are a fixture and Nashville is primarily a football town. The Predators haven't fared as well, but a new local ownership group is bidding to keep the team here for a long time, so that's good. Meanwhile, the baseball team is the AAA Nashville Sounds, the farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers. But while the Sounds have been here since the 70's in various incarnations, a new stadium proposal did not pass, and the team may move after this season. We also have Arena Football's Nashville Kats, and of course great college action (Vanderbilt, U. of Tennessee) to follow.
6. Golf--There are incredible golf courses in Nashville, but right now they are struggling to keep the fairways in good shape due to a horrible drought. The good news is that the courses are all open year-round.
7. Cost of Living--I lived in Cleveland, which has a decent cost of living, and Nashville is just slightly cheaper than that. Housing is extremely affordable for what you get, unless you're looking to live among the stars or rich folks in Franklin, Brentwood, Belle Meade or Hendersonville.
8. Restaurants--Nashville has great barbecue (Jack's), Chinese (China Town), southern cooking (Loveless Cafe) and pancakes (Pancake Pantry). But there is a serious lack of good Italian food, other than pizza.
9. Jobs--I'm self-employed, but if you're looking for work in the music or medical fields, you can do a lot worse than finding employment in Nashville.
10. Activities--There is always something to do, and there is a lot of emphasis on family activities. Either way, you'll find something to on the weekends or during the week in the summertime. There is Nashville Shores water park, things like the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Parthenon, and places like the Jack Daniels Distillery or Dollywood are an easy day trip.
So that's about it. If you're thinking of moving to Nashville, the bottom line is it's a family-friendly city with great weather and and overall great quality of life. If you're a songwriter, know that there are something like 30,000 songwriters living here. That means you're where you should be if you're trying to make it, but the competition is fierce. But I hope I've given you the resources to decide if Nashville is right for you, or if you just want to spend some time learning more about it.