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Nashville, Tennessee
Consolidated city-county
Metropolitan Government of
Nashville and Davidson County
From top left: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University, the Parthenon, the Nashville skyline, Nissan Stadium, Dolly Parton performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman Auditorium
From top left: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University, the Parthenon, the Nashville skyline, Nissan Stadium, Dolly Parton performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman Auditorium
Flag of Nashville, Tennessee
Flag
Official seal of Nashville, Tennessee
Seal
Nickname(s): Music City, Athens of the South
Location of the consolidated city-county in the state of Tennessee.
Location of the consolidated city-county in the state of Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Davidson
Founded 1779
Incorporated 1806
Named for Francis Nash
Area
 • Consolidated 525.94 sq mi (1,362.2 km2)
 • Land 504.03 sq mi (1,305.4 km2)
 • Water 21.91 sq mi (56.7 km2)
Elevation 597 ft (182 m)
Population (2015)
 • Consolidated 678,889
 • Density 1,290.811/sq mi (498.385/km2)
 • Metro 1,830,345
 • Balance 654,610
Demonym(s) Nashvillian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 37201-37250
Area code(s) 615 and 629
Interstates I-40, I-24, I-65, and I-440
Waterways Cumberland River
Public transit Nashville MTA
Regional rail Music City Star
Website www.nashville.gov

Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in the north central part of the state. The city is a center for the music, healthcare, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and home to numerous colleges and universities. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee. It is known as a center of the country music industry, earning it the nickname "Music City, U.S.A."

Since 1963, Nashville has had a consolidated city-county government which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. Nashville is governed by a mayor, vice-mayor, and 40-member Metropolitan Council. Thirty-five of the members are elected from single-member districts; five are elected at-large. According to 2015 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 678,889. The "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Nashville, was 654,610. The 2015 population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,830,345, making it the largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. The 2015 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 1,951,644.

History

The town of Nashville was founded by James Robertson, John Donelson, and a party of Overmountain Men in 1779, near the original Cumberland settlement of Fort Nashborough. It was named for Francis Nash, the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville quickly grew because of its strategic location, accessibility as a port on the Cumberland River, a tributary of the Ohio River; and its later status as a major railroad center. By 1800, the city had 345 residents, including 136 African American slaves and 14 free blacks. In 1806, Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. In 1843, the city was named the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee.

Old nashville riverfront
Nashville riverfront shortly after the American Civil War

By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession began to be heard across the South, antebellum Nashville was a prosperous city. The city's significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes. In February 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to Union troops. The state was occupied by Union troops for the duration of the war. The Battle of Nashville (December 15–16, 1864) was a significant Union victory and perhaps the most decisive tactical victory gained by either side in the war; it was also the war's final major military action, which afterward became almost entirely a war of attrition consisting largely of guerrilla raids and small skirmishes, with the Confederate forces in the Deep South almost constantly in retreat.

Within a few years after the Civil War, the Nashville chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was founded by Confederate veteran John W. Morton. Meanwhile, the city had reclaimed its important shipping and trading position and developed a solid manufacturing base. The post–Civil War years of the late 19th century brought new prosperity to Nashville and Davidson County. These healthy economic times left the city with a legacy of grand classical-style buildings, which can still be seen around the downtown area.

20th century

Circa 1950 the state legislature approved a new city charter that provided for the election of city council members from single-member districts, rather than at-large voting. This change was supported because at-large voting diluted the minority population's political power in the city. They could seldom gain a majority of the population to support a candidate of their choice.

Apportionment under the single-member districts meant that some districts had black majorities. In 1952, after passage of the new charter, African-American attorneys Z. Alexander Looby and Robert E. Lillard were elected to the city council. The first to gain office since 1911, after disenfranchisement had been achieved by the state government.

The years after World War II were a time of rapid suburbanization as new housing was built outside the city limits. This resulted in a demand for many new schools and other support facilities, which the county found difficult to provide. At the same time, suburbanization led to a declining tax base in the city, although many suburban residents used unique city amenities and services supported only by city taxpayers. After years of discussion, a referendum was held in 1958 on the issue of consolidating city and county government. It failed to gain approval although it was supported by elected leaders of both jurisdictions: County Judge Beverly Briley of Davidson and Mayor Ben West of Nashville.

Following the referendum's failure, Nashville annexed some 42 square miles of suburban jurisdictions to expand its tax base. This increased uncertainty among residents, and created resentment among many suburban communities. Under the second charter for metropolitan government, which was approved in 1962, two levels of service provision were proposed: the General Services District and the Urban Services District, to provide for a differential in tax levels. Residents of the Urban Services District had a full range of city services. The areas that made up the General Services District, however, had a lower tax rate until full services were provided. This helped reconcile aspects of services and taxation among the differing jurisdictions within the large metro region.

In 1963, Nashville consolidated its government with Davidson County, forming a metropolitan government. The membership on the Metro Council, the legislative body, was increased from 21 to 40 seats. Of these, five members are elected at-large and 35 are elected from single-member districts, each to serve a term of four years.

Since the 1970s, the city and county have experienced tremendous growth, particularly during the economic boom of the 1990s under the leadership of then-Mayor and later-Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen. He made urban renewal a priority, and fostered the construction or renovation of several city landmarks, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the downtown Nashville Public Library, the Bridgestone Arena, and Nissan Stadium.

Nissan Stadium (formerly Adelphia Coliseum and LP Field) was built after the National Football League's (NFL) Houston Oilers agreed to move to the city in 1995. The NFL team debuted in Nashville in 1998 at Vanderbilt Stadium, and Nissan Stadium opened in the summer of 1999. The Oilers changed their name to the Tennessee Titans and finished the season with the Music City Miracle and a close Super Bowl game in which the St. Louis Rams' win was secured in the last play.

In 1997 Nashville was awarded a National Hockey League expansion team; this was named the Nashville Predators. Since the 2003-04 season, the Nashville Predators have made the playoffs all but three seasons.

21st century

Today, the city along the Cumberland River is a crossroads of American culture, and one of the fastest-growing areas of the Upland South.

The city bounced back with relative ease from the Great Recession. In March 2012, a Gallup poll ranked Nashville in its top five regions for job growth. A television musical drama called Nashville aired that October. GQ posted an article dubbing the city "Nowville." In January 2013, the New York Times declared Nashville a new "it" city.

Geography

Nashville TN satellite map cropped
A satellite image of Nashville

Topography

Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin. Nashville's elevation ranges from 385 feet (117 m) above sea level at the Cumberland River to 1,160 feet (350 m) above sea level at its highest point.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 527.9 square miles (1,367 km2), of which 504.0 square miles (1,305 km2) of it is land and 23.9 square miles (62 km2) of it (4.53%) is water.

Climate

Nashville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and generally mild winters. Monthly averages range from 37.7 °F (3.2 °C) in January to 79.4 °F (26.3 °C) in July, with a diurnal temperature variation of 18.2 to 23.0 °F (10.1 to 12.8 °C).

Snowfall occurs during the winter months, but it is usually not heavy. Average annual snowfall is about 6.3 inches (16 cm), falling mostly in January and February and occasionally in March and December. The largest snow event since 2000 was on January 22, 2016, when Nashville received 8 inches (20 cm) of snow in a single storm; the largest overall was 17 inches (43 cm), received on March 17, 1892.

Rainfall is typically greater in November and December, and spring, while August to October are the driest months on average. Spring and fall are prone to severe thunderstorms, which occasionally bring tornadoes—with recent major events on April 16, 1998; April 7, 2006; February 5, 2008; April 10, 2009; and May 1–2, 2010. Relative humidity in Nashville averages 83% in the mornings and 60% in the afternoons, which is considered moderate for the Southeastern United States. In recent decades, due to urban development, Nashville has developed an urban heat island (UHI); especially on cool, clear nights, temperatures are up to 10 °F (5.6 °C) warmer in the heart of the city than in rural outlying areas. The Nashville region lies within USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7a.

Nashville's long springs and autumns combined with a diverse array of trees and grasses can often make it uncomfortable for allergy sufferers. In 2008, Nashville was ranked as the 18th-worst spring allergy city in the U.S. by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Nashville was −17 °F (−27 °C) on January 21, 1985, and the highest was 109 °F (43 °C) on June 29, 2012.

Climate data for Nashville (Nashville Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1871−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
(25.6)
84
(28.9)
89
(31.7)
91
(32.8)
96
(35.6)
109
(42.8)
107
(41.7)
106
(41.1)
105
(40.6)
94
(34.4)
88
(31.1)
79
(26.1)
109
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 46.9
(8.28)
51.8
(11)
61.0
(16.11)
70.5
(21.39)
78.2
(25.67)
86.0
(30)
89.3
(31.83)
89.0
(31.67)
82.4
(28)
71.7
(22.06)
60.3
(15.72)
49.5
(9.72)
69.7
(20.94)
Average low °F (°C) 28.4
(-2)
31.6
(-0.22)
39.0
(3.89)
47.5
(8.61)
56.8
(13.78)
65.4
(18.56)
69.5
(20.83)
68.4
(20.22)
60.7
(15.94)
48.9
(9.39)
39.4
(4.11)
31.3
(-0.39)
48.9
(9.39)
Record low °F (°C) −17
(-27.2)
−13
(-25)
2
(-16.7)
23
(-5)
34
(1.1)
42
(5.6)
51
(10.6)
47
(8.3)
36
(2.2)
26
(-3.3)
−1
(-18.3)
−10
(-23.3)
-17
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.75
(95.3)
3.94
(100.1)
4.11
(104.4)
4.00
(101.6)
5.50
(139.7)
4.14
(105.2)
3.64
(92.5)
3.17
(80.5)
3.41
(86.6)
3.04
(77.2)
4.31
(109.5)
4.24
(107.7)
47.25
(1,200.2)
Snowfall inches (cm) 2.6
(6.6)
2.3
(5.8)
0.9
(2.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
trace 0
(0)
0.5
(1.3)
6.3
(16)
Humidity 70.4 68.5 64.6 63.2 69.5 70.4 72.8 73.1 73.7 69.4 70.2 71.4 69.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.3 10.3 10.7 10.8 11.7 10.0 10.2 8.4 7.5 8.0 9.8 11.2 118.9
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.1 2.3 0.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0 1.0 6.2
Sunshine hours 139.6 145.2 191.3 231.5 261.8 277.7 279.0 262.1 226.4 216.8 148.1 130.6 2,510.1
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990), Weather.com

Cityscape

Nashville Downtown
Downtown Nashville
See also: List of tallest buildings in Nashville

Nashville's downtown area features a diverse assortment of entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions. The Broadway and 2nd Avenue areas feature entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants. North of Broadway lie Nashville's central business district, Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill and the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. Cultural and architectural attractions can be found throughout the city.

Three major interstate highways (I-40, I-65 and I-24) converge near the core area of downtown, and many regional cities are within a day's driving distance.

Nashville's first skyscraper, the Life & Casualty Tower, was completed in 1957 and launched the construction of other high rises in downtown Nashville. After the construction of the AT&T Building (commonly referred to by locals as the "Batman Building") in 1994, the downtown area saw little construction until the mid-2000s. Many new residential developments have since been constructed or are planned for various neighborhoods. The Pinnacle, a high rise office building, opened in 2010.

Many civic and infrastructure projects are being planned, in progress, or recently completed. A new MTA bus hub was recently completed in downtown Nashville, as was the Music City Star pilot project. Several public parks have been constructed, such as the Public Square. Riverfront Park is scheduled to be extensively updated. The Music City Center opened in May 2013. It is a 1,200,000 square foot (110,000 m2) convention center with 370,000 square feet (34,000 m2) of exhibit space.

Nashville panorama Kaldari 01
Nashville skyline

Neighborhoods

Demographics

See also: List of people from Nashville, Tennessee
Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,100
1820 3,410 210.0%
1830 5,566 63.2%
1840 6,929 24.5%
1850 10,165 46.7%
1860 16,988 67.1%
1870 25,865 52.3%
1880 43,350 67.6%
1890 76,168 75.7%
1900 80,865 6.2%
1910 110,364 36.5%
1920 118,342 7.2%
1930 153,866 30.0%
1940 167,402 8.8%
1950 174,307 4.1%
1960 170,874 −2.0%
1970 448,003 162.2%
1980 477,811 6.7%
1990 510,784 6.9%
2000 569,891 11.6%
2010 626,681 10.0%
Est. 2015 654,610 4.5%
Sources:
Notes:

The data below is for all of Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County, including other incorporated cities within the consolidated city-county (such as Belle Meade and Berry Hill). See Nashville-Davidson (balance) for demographic data on Nashville-Davidson County excluding separately incorporated cities.

According to the 2009 American Community Survey, there were 628,434 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,204.2 inhabitants per square mile (464.9/km2). There were 282,452 housing units at an average density of 560.4 per square mile (216.4/km2).

Racial composition 2010 1990 1970
White 61.4% 73.8% 80.1%
—Non-Hispanic 57.4% 73.2% 79.5%
Black or African American 27.7% 24.3% 19.6%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 9.8% 0.9% 0.6%
Asian 3.0% 1.4% 0.1%
Race and ethnicity 2010- Nashville (5559890227)
Map of racial distribution in Nashville, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian Hispanic, or Other (yellow)
Nashville Population Density 2000
Population density map per 2000 census

At the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the city was 61.4% White (57.4% non-Hispanic white), 27.7% African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.0% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.5% from two or more races. 9.8% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race). The non-Hispanic White population was 79.5% in 1970.

There were 254,651 households and 141,469 families (55.6% of households). Of households with families, 37.2% had married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present. 27.9% of all households had children under the age of 18, and 18.8% had at least one member 65 years of age or older. Of the 44.4% of households that are non-families, 36.2% were individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.16.

The age distribution was 22% under 18, 10% from 18 to 24, 33% from 25 to 44, 24% from 45 to 64, and 11% who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,141, and the median income for a family was $56,377. Males with a year-round, full-time job had a median income of $41,017 versus $36,292 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,372. About 13.9% of families and 18.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over. Of residents 25 or older, 33.4% have a bachelor's degree or higher.

Because of its relatively low cost of living and large job market, Nashville has become a popular city for immigrants. Nashville's foreign-born population more than tripled in size between 1990 and 2000, increasing from 12,662 to 39,596. The city's largest immigrant groups include Mexicans, Kurds, Vietnamese, Laotians, Arabs, and Somalis. There are also smaller communities of Pashtuns from Afghanistan and Pakistan concentrated primarily in Antioch. Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the United States, numbering approximately 11,000. In 2009, about 60,000 Bhutanese refugees were being admitted to the U.S., and some were expected to resettle in Nashville. During the Iraqi election of 2005, Nashville was one of the few international locations where Iraqi expatriates could vote. The American Jewish community in Nashville dates back over 150 years, and numbered about 8,000 in 2015, plus 2,000 Jewish college students.

Metropolitan area

As of 2015, Nashville has the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, spanning 13 counties and an estimated population of 1,830,345. The Nashville metropolitan statistical area encompasses 13 of 41 Middle Tennessee counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. The 2015 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area was estimated at 1,951,644.

Culture

Much of the city's cultural life has revolved around its large university community. Particularly significant in this respect were two groups of critics and writers who were associated with Vanderbilt University in the early 20th century: the Fugitives and the Agrarians.

Popular destinations include Fort Nashborough and Fort Negley, the former being a reconstruction of the original settlement, the latter being a semi-restored Civil War battle fort; the Tennessee State Museum; and The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. The Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the nation. The Hermitage, the former home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the oldest presidential homes open to the public.

Dining

Some of the more popular types of local cuisine include hot chicken, hot fish, barbecue, and meat and three. Thanks in part to Nashville's foodie culture, the city was ranked as the 13th "snobbiest" city in America according to Travel + Leisure magazine.

Entertainment and performing arts

Rymanauditorium1
Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music"

Nashville has a vibrant music and entertainment scene spanning a variety of genres. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is the major performing arts center of the city. It is the home of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Opera, the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Nashville Ballet. In September 2006, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened as the home of the Nashville Symphony.

As the city's name itself is a metonym for the country music industry, many popular tourist attractions involve country music, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Belcourt Theatre, and Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry until 1974 when the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House, 9 miles (14 km) east of downtown. The Opry plays there several times a week, except for an annual winter run at the Ryman.

A multitude of music clubs and honky-tonk bars can be found in downtown Nashville, particularly the area encompassing Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer's Alley, which is often referred to as "the District".

Each June, the CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) brings thousands of country fans to the city. The Tennessee State Fair is also held annually in September.

Nashville was once home of television shows such as Hee Haw and Pop! Goes the Country, as well as The Nashville Network and later, RFD-TV. Country Music Television and Great American Country currently operate from Nashville. The city was also home to the Opryland USA theme park, which operated from 1972 to 1997 before being closed by its owners (Gaylord Entertainment Company) and soon after demolished to make room for the Opry Mills mega-shopping mall.

The Contemporary Christian music industry is based along Nashville's Music Row, with a great influence in neighboring Williamson County. The Christian record companies include EMI Christian Music Group, Provident Label Group and Word Records.

Music Row houses many gospel music and Contemporary Christian music companies centered around 16th and 17th Avenues South.

Kirk Whelan
Kirk Whalum visiting the audience at a riverfront concert in 2007

Although Nashville was never known as a jazz town, it did have many great jazz bands, including The Nashville Jazz Machine led by Dave Converse and its current version, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, led by Jim Williamson, as well as The Establishment, led by Billy Adair. The Francis Craig Orchestra entertained Nashvillians from 1929 to 1945 from the Oak Bar and Grille Room in the Hermitage Hotel. Craig's orchestra was also the first to broadcast over local radio station WSM-AM and enjoyed phenomenal success with a 12-year show on the NBC Radio Network. In the late 1930s, he introduced a newcomer, Dinah Shore, a local graduate of Hume Fogg High School and Vanderbilt University.

Radio station WMOT-FM in nearby Murfreesboro, which formerly programmed jazz almost exclusively and still does so on the weekends, aided significantly in the recent revival of the city's jazz scene, as has the non-profit Nashville Jazz Workshop, which holds concerts and classes in a renovated building in the north Nashville neighborhood of Germantown. Fisk University also maintains a jazz station, WFSK.

Nashville has an active theatre scene and is home to several professional and community theatre companies. Nashville Children's Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, the Dance Theatre of Tennessee and the Tennessee Women's Theater Project are among the most prominent professional companies. One community theatre, Circle Players, has been in operation for over 60 years.

Tourism

Perhaps the biggest factor in drawing visitors to Nashville is its association with country music. Many visitors to Nashville attend live performances of the Grand Ole Opry, the world's longest-running live radio show. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is another major attraction relating to the popularity of country music. The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Opry Mills regional shopping mall and the General Jackson showboat, are all located in what is known as Music Valley.

Civil War history is important to the city's tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation, Carnton plantation in Franklin, and Belmont Mansion.

Nashville has several arts centers and museums, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, the Tennessee State Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum, Fisk University's Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries, Vanderbilt University's Fine Art Gallery and Sarratt Gallery, and the full-scale replica of the Parthenon.

Major annual events

Event Month held and location
Nashville Film Festival A weeklong festival in April that features hundreds of independent films. It is one of the largest film festivals in the Southern United States.
Nashville Fashion Week A citywide event typically held in March or April, this is a celebration of Nashville's fashion and retail community featuring local, regional and national design talent in fashion events and shows.
Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon Marathon, half marathon, and 5k race held in April with runners from around the world. In 2012, participation surpassed 30,000 runners.
Iroquois Steeplechase Annual steeplechase horse racing event held in May at Percy Warner Park.
CMA Music Festival A four-day event in June featuring performances by country music stars, autograph signings, artist/fan interaction, and other activities for country music fans.
Nashville Pride A festival held in June at Public Square Park that fosters awareness of and for the LGBT community and culture in Middle Tennessee. The 2015 festival drew an estimated 15,000-20,000 people, possibly making it the event's largest gathering since the festival began.
Let Freedom Sing! Held every Fourth of July at Riverfront Park, featuring a street festival and live music, and culminating in one of the largest fireworks shows in the country. An estimated 280,000 people attended the 2014 celebration.
Tomato Art Festival Held each August in East Nashville, this event celebrates the Tomato as a Unifier.
African Street Festival Held in September on the campus of Tennessee State University. It is committed to connecting and celebrating the extensions of Africa to America.
Live on the Green Music Festival A free concert series held in August and September at Public Square Park by local radio station Lightning 100.
Tennessee State Fair The State Fair held in September at the State Fairgrounds, which lasts nine days and includes rides, exhibits, rodeos, tractor pulls, and numerous other shows and attractions.
Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival A free event held the first Saturday in October at Centennial Park, it is Middle Tennessee's largest multicultural festival and includes music and dance performances, ethnic food court, children's area, teen area, and marketplace.
Nashville Oktoberfest A free event held in the historic Germantown neighborhood since 1981, it celebrates the culture and customs of Germany. Oktoberfest is Nashville's oldest annual festival and is one of the largest in the South. In 2015, over 143,000 people attended the three-day event which raised $60,000 for Nashville non-profits.
Southern Festival of Books A festival held in October, featuring readings, panels, and book signings.
Country Music Association Awards Award ceremony normally held in November at the Bridgestone Arena and televised to a national audience.
Veterans Day Parade A parade running down Broadway on 11/11 at 11:11.11 am since 1951. Features include 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Tennessee National Guard, veterans from wars past and present, military plane fly-overs, tanks, motorcycles, first responder vehicles, marching bands and thousands of spectators.

Nicknames

Nashville is a colorful, well-known city in several different arenas. As such, it has earned various sobriquets, including:

  • Music City, U.S.A.: WSM-AM announcer David Cobb first used this name during a 1950 broadcast and it stuck. It is now the official nickname used by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nashville is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and many major record labels. This name also dates back to 1874, where after receiving and hearing a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Queen Victoria of England is reported as saying that "These young people must surely come from a musical city."
  • Athens of the South: Home to 24 post-secondary educational institutions, Nashville has long been compared to Athens, the ancient city of learning and site of Plato's Academy. Since 1897, a full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon has stood in Nashville, and many examples of classical and neoclassical architecture can be found in the city. The term was popularized by Philip Lindsley (1786–1855), President of the University of Nashville, though it is unclear whether he was the first person to use the phrase.
  • The Protestant Vatican or The Buckle of the Bible Belt: Nashville has over 700 churches, several seminaries, a number of Christian music companies, and is the headquarters for the publishing arms of the Southern Baptist Convention (LifeWay Christian Resources), the United Methodist Church (United Methodist Publishing House) and the National Baptist Convention (Sunday School Publishing Board). It is also the seat of the National Baptist Convention, the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the Gideons International, the Gospel Music Association, and Thomas Nelson, the world's largest producer of Bibles.
  • Cashville: Nashville native Young Buck released a successful rap album called Straight Outta Cashville that has popularized the nickname among a new generation.
  • Little Kurdistan: Nashville has the United States' largest population of Kurdish people, estimated to be around 11,000.
  • Nash Vegas or Nashvegas

Nashville has additionally earned the moniker "The Hot Chicken Capital", becoming known for the local specialty cuisine hot chicken. The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is hosted annually in Nashville and several restaurants make this spicy version of southern fried chicken.

Parks and gardens

Parthenon.at.Nashville.Tenenssee.01
The Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park is a full-scale reconstruction of the original Greek Parthenon.

Metro Board of Parks and Recreation owns and manages 10,200 acres (4,100 ha) of land and 99 parks and greenways (comprising more than 3% of the total area of the county).

Warner Parks, situated on 2,684 acres (1,086 ha) of land, consists of a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) learning center, 20 miles (32 km) of scenic roads, 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails, and 10 miles (16 km) of horse trails. It is also the home of the annual Iroquois Steeplechase.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains parks on Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake. These parks are used for activities such as fishing, water skiing, sailing and boating. The Harbor Island Yacht Club makes its headquarters on Old Hickory Lake, and Percy Priest Lake is home to the Vanderbilt Sailing Club and Nashville Shores.

Other parks in Nashville include Centennial Park, Shelby Park, Cumberland Park, and Radnor Lake State Natural Area.

On August 27, 2013, Nashville mayor Karl Dean revealed plans for two new riverfront parks on the east and west banks of the Cumberland River downtown. Construction on the east bank park began in the fall of 2013, and the projected completion date for the west bank park is 2015. Among many exciting benefits of this Cumberland River re-development project is the construction of a highly anticipated outdoor amphitheater. Located on the west bank, this music venue will be surrounded by a new 12-acre (4.9 ha) park and will replace the previous thermal plant site. It will include room for 6,500 spectators with 2,500 removable seats and additional seating on an overlooking grassy knoll. In addition, the 4.5-acre (1.8 ha) east bank park will include a river landing, providing people access to the river. In regard to the parks' benefits for Nashvillian civilians, Mayor Dean remarked that "if done right, the thermal site can be an iconic park that generations of Nashvillians will be proud of and which they can enjoy" (WKRN-TV Nashville).

Transportation

Music City Star
A Music City Star commuter train beneath the Shelby Street Bridge

Road

Nashville is centrally located at the crossroads of three Interstate Highways: I-40, I-24, and I-65. Interstate 440 is a bypass route connecting I-40, I-65, and I-24 south of downtown Nashville. Briley Parkway connects the north side of the city and its interstates. Interstate 840 provides a southern Bypass for the city, and a Bypass for I-40 for the city and its suburbs. A number of arterial surface roads called "pikes" radiate from the city center; many carry the names of nearby towns to which they lead. Among these are Clarksville Pike, Gallatin Pike, Lebanon Pike, Murfreesboro Pike, Nolensville Pike, and Franklin Pike.

Bus

The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus transit within the city, out of a newly built hub station downtown. Routes utilize a hub and spoke method. Expansion plans include use of Bus rapid transit for new routes, with the possibility for local rail service at some point in the future.

Nashville is considered a gateway city for rail and air traffic for the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion.

Air

The city is served by Nashville International Airport (BNA), which was a hub for American Airlines between 1986 and 1995 and is now a focus city for Southwest Airlines. During 2011, Nashville International was the 34th busiest passenger airport in the U.S. with a total of 4,673,047 passenger boardings. Major airlines serving Nashville include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, WestJet, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and AirCanada. AirTran Airways offered limited routing to the airport until it was deemed unprofitable. In late 2014, BNA became the first major US airport to authorize ridesharing services with dedicated pick-up and drop-off areas.

Rail

Amtrak

Although a major freight hub for CSX Transportation, Nashville is not currently served by Amtrak, the second-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. to have this distinction. Amtrak's Floridian (Chicago to Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida via Louisville and Nashville) served Nashville until its cancellation on October 9, 1979 due to poor track conditions resulting in late trains and low ridership.

While there have been no proposals to restore Amtrak service to Nashville, there have been repeated calls from residents. However, Tennessee state officials have advised it will not be happening anytime soon due to scarce federal funding. "It would be wonderful to say I can be in Memphis and jump on a train to Nashville, but the volume of people who would do that isn't anywhere close to what the cost would be to provide the service," said Ed Cole, chief of environment and planning with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Ross Capon, executive director of the National Association of Railroad Passengers, said rail trips would catch on if routes were expanded, but conceded that it would be nearly impossible to resume Amtrak service to Nashville without a substantial investment from the state because federal money has dried up.

Commuter

Nashville launched a passenger commuter rail system called the Music City Star on September 18, 2006. The only currently operational leg of the system connects the city of Lebanon to downtown Nashville at the Nashville Riverfront station. Legs to Clarksville, Murfreesboro and Gallatin are currently in the feasibility study stage. The system plan includes seven legs connecting Nashville to surrounding suburbs.

Bridges within the city include:

Official name Other names Length Date opened
Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge Gateway Bridge 1,660 feet (510 m) May 19, 2004
Kelly Miller Smith Bridge Jefferson Street Bridge March 2, 1994
Old Hickory Bridge 1929
Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge Bordeaux Bridge September 18, 1980
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge Shelby Street Bridge 3,150 feet (960 m) July 5, 1909
Silliman Evans Bridge 2,362 feet (720 m) 1963
Victory Memorial Bridge July 2, 1956
William Goodwin Bridge Hobson Pike Bridge 2,215 feet (675 m)
Woodland Street Bridge 639 feet (195 m)

Sister cities

Nashville is an active participant in the sister cities program and has relationships with the following towns and cities:

Candidates
  • Gwangjin-gu (South Korea)
International Friendship City
Municipality United in Friendship
  • El Port de la Selva (Spain)

Images for kids


Nashville, Tennessee Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.