Nashville, Tennessee

Last updated
Nashville, Tennessee
Metropolitan Government of
Nashville and Davidson County
Nashville collage.png
From top to bottom, left to right: Nashville skyline, the Parthenon, Nissan Stadium, Ryman Auditorium, Tennessee State Capitol, Vanderbilt University's The Wyatt Center, First Tennessee Park, Bridgestone Arena
Music City, Athens of the South
Map of Tennessee highlighting Davidson County.svg
Location within Tennessee
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Red pog.svg
Location within the United States
North America laea relief location map.jpg
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Location within North America
Coordinates: 36°10′00″N86°47′00″W / 36.16667°N 86.78333°W / 36.16667; -86.78333 Coordinates: 36°10′00″N86°47′00″W / 36.16667°N 86.78333°W / 36.16667; -86.78333
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Davidson
Named for Francis Nash
  Mayor David Briley [1] (D [1] )
  Vice MayorJim Shulman [2]
   Consolidated 525.94 sq mi (1,362.2 km2)
  Land504.03 sq mi (1,305.4 km2)
  Water21.91 sq mi (56.7 km2)
597 ft (182 m)
   Consolidated 692,587
  Density1,300/sq mi (510/km2)
Demonym(s) Nashvillian
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 615 and 629
Interstates I-40, I-24, I-65, and I-440
Other main roadways US 31, US 31W, US 31E, US 41, US 70, SR 155
Waterways Cumberland River
Public transit Nashville MTA
Regional rail Music City Star

Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. [7] The city's population ranks 24th in the U.S. According to 2018 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 692,587. [4] The "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 669,053 in 2018. [6]

Capital city Primary governing city of a top-level (country) or first-level subdivision (country, state, province, etc) political entity

A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Tennessee State of the United States of America

Tennessee is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a 2017 population of 667,560 and a 2017 metro population of 1,903,045. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which had a population of 652,236 in 2017.


Located in northern Middle Tennessee, Nashville is the major city of the largest metropolitan area in Tennessee. The 2018 population of the entire 14-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,930,961. [5] The 2018 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 2,057,416. [8]

Middle Tennessee is a distinct portion of the state of Tennessee, delineated according to state law as the 41 counties in the Middle Grand Division of Tennessee.

The Nashville metropolitan area is centered on Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States. It includes 14 counties in Middle Tennessee.

Combined statistical area (CSA) is a United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) term for a combination of adjacent metropolitan (MSA) and micropolitan statistical areas (µSA) in the United States and Puerto Rico that can demonstrate economic or social linkage. The OMB defines a CSA as consisting of various combinations of adjacent metropolitan and micropolitan areas with economic ties measured by commuting patterns. These areas that combine retain their own designations as metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas within the larger combined statistical area.

Named for Francis Nash, a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, the city was founded in 1779. The city grew quickly due to its strategic location as a port on the Cumberland River and, in the 19th century, a railroad center. Nashville seceded with Tennessee during the American Civil War; in 1862 it was the first state capital in the Confederacy to fall to Union troops. After the war, the city reclaimed its position and developed a manufacturing base.

Francis Nash was a brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Prior to the war, he was a lawyer, public official, and politician in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and was heavily involved in opposing the Regulator movement, an uprising of settlers in the North Carolina piedmont between 1765 and 1771. Nash was also involved in North Carolina politics, representing Hillsborough on several occasions in the colonial North Carolina General Assembly.

Continental Army Colonial army during the American Revolutionary War

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Since 1963, Nashville has had a consolidated city-county government, which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. The city is governed by a mayor, a vice-mayor, and a 40-member metropolitan council; 35 of the members are elected from single-member districts, while the other five are elected at-large. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee, one of the three divisions.

In United States local government, a consolidated city-county is a city and county that have been merged into one unified jurisdiction. As such it is simultaneously a city, which is a municipal corporation, and a county, which is an administrative division of a state. It has the powers and responsibilities of both types of entities.

A single-member district or single-member constituency is an electoral district that returns one officeholder to a body with multiple members such as a legislature. This is also sometimes called single-winner voting or winner takes all. The alternatives are multi-member districts, or the election of a body by the whole electorate voting as one constituency.

At-large is a designation for members of a governing body who are elected or appointed to represent the whole membership of the body, rather than a subset of that membership. At-large voting is in contrast to voting by electoral districts.

Nashville is a center for the music, healthcare, publishing, private prison, [9] banking, and transportation industries. It is home to numerous colleges and universities, such as Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, Fisk University, and Lipscomb University. [10] Entities with headquarters in the city include Asurion, [11] Bridgestone Americas, [12] Captain D's, [13] CoreCivic, [14] Dollar General, [15] Hospital Corporation of America, [16] LifeWay Christian Resources, [17] Logan's Roadhouse, [18] and Ryman Hospitality Properties. [19]

Tennessee State University Public HBCU land-grant university located in Nashville, TN, USA

Tennessee State University is a public land-grant university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1912, it is the largest and only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee. It is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Tennessee State University is a comprehensive urban institution offering 38 bachelor’s degrees, 24 master's degrees, and seven doctoral degrees.

Vanderbilt University Private research university in Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of New York shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1-million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.

Belmont University

Belmont University is a private Christian liberal arts university in Nashville, Tennessee. Although the university cut its ties with the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 2007, it continues to emphasize a Christian identity.


18th and 19th centuries

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 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 enslaved African Americans and 14 free African Americans. [20] In 1806, Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. In 1843, the city was named as the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee.

James Robertson (explorer) explorer and pioneer, born 1742

James Robertson was an American explorer, soldier and Indian agent, and one of the founding fathers of what became the State of Tennessee. An early companion of explorer Daniel Boone, Robertson helped establish the Watauga Association in the early 1770s, and to defend Fort Watauga from an attack by Cherokee in 1776. In 1779, he co-founded what is now Nashville, and was instrumental in the settlement of Middle Tennessee. He served as a brigadier general in the Southwest Territory militia in the early 1790s, and as an Indian Commissioner in later life.

John Donelson (1718–1785) was an American frontiersman, ironmaster, politician, city planner, and explorer, who, along with James Robertson, co-founded the frontier settlement of Fort Nashborough, in Middle Tennessee, which would later become the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Donelson was also the father-in-law of future United States president, Andrew Jackson, who married his daughter, Rachel.

Overmountain Men

The Overmountain Men were American frontiersmen from west of the Appalachian Mountains who took part in the American Revolutionary War. While they were present at multiple engagements in the war's southern campaign, they are best known for their role in the American victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. The term "overmountain" arose because their settlements were west of, or "over", the Appalachians, which was the primary geographical boundary dividing the 13 American colonies from the western frontier. The Overmountain Men hailed from parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and what is now Tennessee and Kentucky.

The city government of Nashville owned 24 slaves by 1831, and 60 prior to the Civil War. They were "put to work to build the first successful water system and maintain the streets." [21] Auction blocks and brokers' offices were part of the slave market at the heart of the city. [21] It was the center of plantations cultivating tobacco and hemp as commodity crops, in addition to the breeding and training of thoroughbred horses, and other livestock.

Nashville riverfront shortly after the American Civil War Old nashville riverfront.jpg
Nashville riverfront shortly after the American Civil War

The cholera epidemic that struck Nashville in 1849–1850 took the life of former U.S. President James K. Polk and resulted in high fatalities. There were 311 deaths from cholera in 1849 [22] [23] and an estimated 316 to about 500 in 1850. [24]

Before the Civil War, about 700 free blacks lived in small enclaves in northern Nashville while there were over 3,200 enslaved people of color in the city. [25] 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 and rail center made it a desirable prize for competing military forces that wanted to control the region's important river and railroad transportation routes. In February 1862, Nashville became the first Confederate state capital to fall to Union troops, and the state was occupied by Union troops for the duration of the war. Then African-Americans from Middle Tennessee fled to contraband camps around military installations in Nashville's eastern, western, and southern borders. 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 in which Tennessee regiments played a large part on both sides of the battle. Afterward, the Confederates conducted a war of attrition, making guerrilla raids and engaging in small skirmishes, with the Confederate forces in the Deep South almost constantly in retreat.

In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, the Nashville chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was founded by Confederate veteran John W. Morton. He was reported to have initiated General Nathan Bedford Forrest into the vigilante organization. [26] Chapters of this secret insurgent group formed throughout the state and the South; they opposed voting and political organizing by freedmen, tried to control their behavior, and sometimes also attacked their white allies, including schoolteachers from the North.

Whites directed violence against freedmen and their descendants both during and after the Reconstruction era. Two freedmen were lynched in Nashville by white mobs in 1872 and 1875, respectively. The man in the latter incident was hanged from a bridge over the river, but he survived after the rope broke and he went into the water. He fled the city.

In 1873 Nashville suffered another cholera epidemic, as did towns throughout Sumner County along railroad routes and the Cumberland River.

View from the Tennessee State Capitol ca. 1865 View from Capitol. Nashville, Tennessee (5614200862).jpg
View from the Tennessee State Capitol ca. 1865

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. Wealthy planters and businessmen built grand, classical-style buildings. A replica of the Parthenon was constructed in Centennial Park, near downtown. [27]

On April 30, 1892, Ephraim Grizzard, an African-American man, was lynched in a spectacle murder in front of a white mob of 10,000 in Nashville. [28] His lynching was described by journalist Ida B. Wells as: "A naked, bloody example of the blood-thirstiness of the nineteenth century civilization of the Athens of the South." [29] His brother, Henry Grizzard, had been lynched and hanged on April 24, 1892, in nearby Goodlettsville as a suspect in the same assault incident. From 1877 to 1950, a total of six lynchings of blacks were conducted in Davidson County, four before the turn of the century. [30]

20th century

Depiction of Nashville skyline c. 1940s Sky line view of Nashville, Tenn (74039).jpg
Depiction of Nashville skyline c. 1940s

By the turn of the century, Nashville had become the cradle of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. The first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was founded here, and the Confederate Veteran magazine was published here. Most "guardians of the Lost Cause" lived Downtown or in the West End, near Centennial Park. [31]

At the same time, Jefferson Street became the historic center of the African-American community, with similar districts developing in the black neighborhoods in East and North Nashville. In 1912, the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial and Normal School as moved to Jefferson Street. [25] The first Prince's Hot Chicken Shack originated at the corner of Jefferson Street and 28th Avenue in 1945. [25] Jefferson Street became a destination for jazz and blues musicians, [25] and remained so until the federal government split the area by construction of Interstate 40 in the late 1960s. [32]

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 required candidates to gain a majority of votes from across the city. This prevented the minority population, which then supported Republican candidates, from being represented by candidates of their choice.[ citation needed ]

With the United States Supreme Court ruling in 1954 that public schools had to desegregate with "all deliberate speed", the family of student Robert Kelley filed a lawsuit in 1956, arguing that Nashville administrators should open all-white East High School to him. A similar case was filed by Reverend Henry Maxwell due to his children having to take a 45-minute bus ride from South Nashville to the north end of the city. These suits caused the courts to announce what became known as the "Nashville Plan", where the city's public schools would desegregate one grade per year beginning in the fall of 1957. [25]

Urban redevelopment accelerated over the next several decades, and the city grew increasingly segregated. An interstate was placed on the edge of East Nashville while another highway was built through Edgehill, a lower-income, predominantly minority community. [25]

In the early 1970s, the Supreme Court ruled that state legislatures had to reapportion their state and federal districts in order to support one man, one vote, as the legislatures had been biased for years toward rural districts. Many state legislatures across the country had not reapportioned either their state or congressional districts for decades. This resulted in the more industrialized and urbanized centers being underrepresented for many years.[ citation needed ]

Apportionment under the single-member districts meant that some districts in Nashville had black majorities. In 1951, after passage of the new charter, African-American attorneys Z. Alexander Looby and Robert E. Lillard were elected from single-member districts to the city council. [33]

Postwar development to present

Rapid suburbanization occurred during the years immediately after World War II, as new housing was being built outside 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 that were supported financially 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. [34]

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. [34] This helped reconcile aspects of services and taxation among the differing jurisdictions within the large metro region.

In 1960 Tennessee still had racial segregation of public facilities, including lunch counters and department store fitting rooms. Hotels and restaurants were segregated. On April 19, 1960, the house of Z. Alexander Looby, an African-American attorney and council member, was bombed by segregationists. [35] Protesters marched to the city hall the next day. Mayor Ben West said he supported the desegregation of lunch counters, which civil rights activists had called for. [36]

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. [34]

Congress passed civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, but tensions continued as society was slow to change. On April 8, 1967, a riot broke out on the college campuses of Fisk University and Tennessee State University, historically black colleges, after Stokely Carmichael spoke about Black Power at Vanderbilt University. [37] Although it was viewed as a "race riot", it had classist characteristics. [37]

In 1979, the Ku Klux Klan burnt crosses outside two African-American sites in Nashville, including the city headquarters of the NAACP. [38]

Since the 1970s, the city and county have undergone tremendous growth, particularly during the economic boom of the 1990s under the leadership of then-Mayor and later-Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen. Making urban renewal a priority, Bredesen 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.[ citation needed ]

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. The St. Louis Rams won in the last play of the game.[ citation needed ]

In 1997, Nashville was awarded a National Hockey League expansion team; this was named the Nashville Predators. Since the 2003–04 season, the Predators have made the playoffs in all but three seasons. In 2017, they made the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history, but ultimately fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4 games to 2, in the best-of-seven series.[ citation needed ]

21st century

The city bounced back after the Great Recession. In March 2012, a Gallup poll ranked Nashville in the top five regions for job growth. [39] In 2013, Nashville was described as "Nowville" and "It City" by GQ , Forbes , and The New York Times . [40] [41] [42]

Nashville elected its first female mayor, Megan Barry, on September 25, 2015. [43] As a council member, Barry had officiated at the city's first same-sex wedding on June 26, 2015. [44]

In 2017, Nashville's economy was deemed the third fastest-growing in the nation, [45] and the city was named the "hottest housing market in the US" by Freddie Mac realtors. [46] In May 2017, census estimates showed Nashville had passed Memphis to become most populated city in Tennessee. [47] Nashville has also made national headlines for its "homelessness crisis". Rising housing prices and the opioid crisis have resulted in more people being out on the streets: as of 2018, between 2,300 and 20,000 Nashvillians are homeless. [48]

On March 6, 2018, due to felony charges filed against Mayor Barry relating to the misuse of public funds, she resigned before the end of her term. A special election was called. Following a ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Davidson County Election Commission set the special election for May 24, 2018, to meet the requirement of 75 to 80 days from the date of resignation. [49] David Briley, who was Vice Mayor during the Barry administration and Acting Mayor after her resignation, won the special election with just over 54% of the vote, [50] becoming the 70th mayor of Nashville. [51]



Satellite image of Nashville Nashville Landsat.jpg
Satellite image of Nashville

Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin. Nashville's elevation ranges from its lowest point, 385 feet (117 m) above sea level at the Cumberland River, [52] to its highest point, 1,163 feet (354 m) above sea level in the Radnor Lake State Natural Area. [53] [54]

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.


Nashville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), [55] with hot, humid summers and generally cool to mild winters typical of the Upper South. [56] [57] [58] 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. [59] The largest snow event since 2003 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, during the St. Patrick's Day Snowstorm. [60]

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 may bring tornadoes, large hail, and damaging wind, 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, [61] which is considered moderate for the Southeastern United States. [62] In recent decades, due to urban development, Nashville has developed an urban heat island; 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. [63]

Nashville's long springs and autumns combined with a diverse array of trees and grasses can often make it uncomfortable for allergy sufferers. [64] In 2008, Nashville was ranked as the 18th-worst spring allergy city in the U.S. by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. [65]

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. [66]

Climate data for Nashville (Nashville Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, [lower-alpha 2] extremes 1871−present [lower-alpha 3]
Record high °F (°C)78
Mean maximum °F (°C)68.0
Average high °F (°C)46.9
Daily mean °F (°C)37.7
Average low °F (°C)28.4
Mean minimum °F (°C)8.8
Record low °F (°C)−17
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.75
Average snowfall inches (cm)2.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)10.310.310.710.811.710.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Average relative humidity (%)70.468.564.663.269.570.472.873.173.769.470.271.469.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 139.6145.2191.3231.5261.8277.7279.0262.1226.4216.8148.1130.62,510.1
Mean daily sunshine hours
Mean daily daylight hours 10111213141514131211101012
Percent possible sunshine 45485259606463636162484356
Average ultraviolet index 246791010975326
Source #1: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990) [59] [67] [68]
Source #2: Weather Atlas (UV index) [69]


Nashville panorama Kaldari 01.jpg
Nashville skyline, 2009
Nashville skyline from Fort Negley 2018.jpg
Nashville skyline, 2018

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. The Pinnacle, a high rise office building, opened in 2010, the first Nashville skyscraper completed in more than 15 years. [70] Ten more skyscrapers have since been constructed or are under construction.

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.



The nearby city of Lebanon is notable and even named for its so-called "cedar glades", which occur on soils too poor to support most trees and are instead dominated by Virginian juniper. Blackberry bushes, Virginia pine, loblolly pine, sassafras, red maple, river birch, American beech, river cane, mountain laurel and sycamore are all common native trees, along with many others. [71]

In addition to the native forests, the combination of hot summers, abundant rainfall and mild winters permit a wide variety of both temperate and subtropical plants to be cultivated easily. Southern magnolia and cherry blossom trees are commonly cultivated here, with the city having an annual cherry blossom festival. [72] Crepe myrtles and yew bushes are also commonly grown throughout Metro Nashville, and the winters are mild enough that sweetbay magnolia is evergreen whenever it is cultivated. The pansy flower is popular to plant during the autumn, and some varieties will flower overwinter in Nashville's subtropical climate. However, many hot-weather plants like petunia and even papyrus thrive as annuals, and Japanese banana will die aboveground during winter but re-sprout after the danger of frost is over. Unbeknownst to most Tennesseans, even cold-hardy palms, particularly needle palm and dwarf palmetto, are grown uncommonly but often successfully. High desert plants like Colorado spruce and prickly pear cactus are also grown somewhat commonly, as are Yucca filamentosa .


Historical population
1810 1,100
1820 3,410210.0%
1830 5,56663.2%
1840 6,92924.5%
1850 10,16546.7%
1860 16,98867.1%
1870 25,86552.3%
1880 43,35067.6%
1890 76,16875.7%
1900 80,8656.2%
1910 110,36436.5%
1920 118,3427.2%
1930 153,86630.0%
1940 167,4028.8%
1950 174,3074.1%
1960 170,874−2.0%
1970 448,003162.2%
1980 477,8116.7%
1990 510,7846.9%
2000 569,89111.6%
2010 626,68110.0%
Est. 2018692,587 [4] 10.5%
Sources: [4] [73] [74] [75]
Notes: [76]
Racial composition2018 [77] 2010 [78] 1990 [79] 1980 [79] 1970 [79]
White 65.3%65.5%73.8%75.7%80.1%
—Non-Hispanic56.2%58.6%73.2%75.2%79.5% [80]
Black or African American 27.7%28.6%24.3%23.3%19.6%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)10.4%9.0%0.9%0.8%0.6% [80]
Asian 3.9%3.5%1.4%0.5%0.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5%0.8%0.2%0.1%0.1%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1%0.1%N/AN/AN/A
Map of racial distribution in Nashville, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian Hispanic, or Other (yellow) Race and ethnicity 2010- Nashville (5559890227).png
Map of racial distribution in Nashville, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, AsianHispanic, or Other (yellow)

According to the 2016 American Community Survey, there were 667,885 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,325 inhabitants per square mile (512/km2). There were 294,794 housing units at an average density of 584.9 per square mile (225.8/km2). [lower-alpha 4]

At the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the city was 65.5% White (58.6% non-Hispanic white), 28.6% African American, 0.8% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.5% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and 1.4% from two or more races. 9.0% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race). [78] The non-Hispanic White population was 79.5% in 1970. [79]

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. [81]

The age distribution was 22.2% under 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% 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. [82]

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. [83] Of residents 25 or older, 33.4% have a bachelor's degree or higher. [4]

Because of its relatively low cost of living and large job market, Nashville has become a popular city for immigrants. [84] 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, [85] Vietnamese, Laotians, Arabs, and Somalis. There are also smaller communities of Pashtuns from Afghanistan and Pakistan concentrated primarily in Antioch. [86] Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the United States, numbering approximately 11,000. [87] In 2009, about 60,000 Bhutanese refugees were being admitted to the U.S., and some were expected to resettle in Nashville. [88] During the Iraqi election of 2005, Nashville was one of the few international locations where Iraqi expatriates could vote. [89] The American Jewish community in Nashville dates back over 150 years, and numbered about 8,000 in 2015, plus 2,000 Jewish college students. [90]

Metropolitan area

As of 2018, Nashville has the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, with an estimated population of 1,930,961. [5] The Nashville metropolitan area encompasses 14 of 41 Middle Tennessee counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. [91] The 2018 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area was estimated at 2,057,416. [8]


59.6% of people in Nashville claim religious affiliation according to information compiled by Sperling's BestPlaces. The dominant religion in Nashville is Christianity, comprising 57.7% of the population. The Christian population is broken down into 20.6% Baptists, 6.2% Catholics, 5.6% Methodists, 3.4% Pentecostals, 3.4% Presbyterians, 0.8% Mormons, and 0.5% Lutherans. 15.7% identify with other forms of Christianity, including the Orthodox Church and Disciples of Christ. Outside of Christianity, 0.8% of the population are Muslim, 0.6% adhere to eastern religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism, and 0.3% follow Judaism. [92]


AT&T Building, the tallest building in Tennessee Att building nashville.jpg
AT&T Building, the tallest building in Tennessee

As the "home of country music", Nashville has become a major music recording and production center. The Big Three record labels, as well as numerous independent labels, have offices in Nashville, mostly in the Music Row area. [93] Nashville has been the headquarters of guitar company Gibson since 1984. Since the 1960s, Nashville has been the second-largest music production center (after New York) in the United States. [94] As of 2006, Nashville's music industry is estimated to have a total economic impact of $6.4 billion per year and to contribute 19,000 jobs to the Nashville area. [95]

In recent times Nashville has been described as a "southern boomtown" by numerous publications, [96] [97] with it having the third fastest growing economy in the United States as of 2017. [98] It has been stated by the US Census bureau that Nashville "adds an average of 100 people a day to its net population increase". [99] The Nashville region was also stated to be the "Number One" Metro Area for Professional and Business Service Jobs in America, [100] as well as having the "hottest Housing market in America" as stated by Zillow. [101]

Although Nashville is renowned as a music recording center and tourist destination, its largest industry is health care. Nashville is home to more than 300 health care companies, including Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the world's largest private operator of hospitals. [102] [103] As of 2012, it is estimated the health care industry contributes US$30 billion per year and 200,000 jobs to the Nashville-area economy. [104]

CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America and one of the largest private corrections company in the United States, was founded in Nashville in 1983. [105] [106] Vanderbilt University was one of its investors prior to the company's initial public offering. [107] The City of Nashville's pension fund includes "a $921,000 stake" in the company as of 2017. [9] The Nashville Scene notes that, "A drop in CoreCivic stock value, however minor, would have a direct impact on the pension fund that represents nearly 25,000 current and former Metro employees." [9]

The automotive industry is also becoming important for the Middle Tennessee region. Nissan North America moved its corporate headquarters in 2006 from Gardena, California (Los Angeles County) to Franklin, southwest of Nashville. Nissan also has its largest North American manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Largely as a result of the increased development of Nissan and other Japanese economic interests in the region, Japan moved its former New Orleans consulate-general to Nashville's Palmer Plaza.

Bridgestone has a strong presence with their North American headquarters located in Nashville, with manufacturing plants and a distribution center in nearby counties.

Other major industries in Nashville include insurance, finance, and publishing (especially religious publishing). The city hosts headquarters operations for several Protestant denominations, including the United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention USA, and the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

Nashville is also known for some of their famously popular Southern confections, including Goo Goo Clusters (which have been made in Nashville since 1912). [108]

Fortune 500 companies with offices within Nashville include BNY Mellon, Bridgestone Americas, Ernst & Young, Community Health Systems, Dell, [109] Deloitte, Dollar General, Hospital Corporation of America, Nissan North America, Philips, [110] Tractor Supply Company, and UBS. Of these, Community Health Systems, Dollar General, Hospital Corporation of America, and Tractor Supply Company are headquartered in the city.

In 2013, the city ranked No. 5 on Forbes ' list of the Best Places for Business and Careers. [111] In 2015, Forbes put Nashville as the 4th Best City for White Collar Jobs. [112]

In 2015, Business Facilities' 11th Annual Rankings report named Nashville the number one city for Economic Growth Potential. [113]

In May 2018, AllianceBernstein pledged to build a private client office in the city by mid-2019 and to move its headquarters from New York City to Nashville by 2024. [114] [115] Additionally, in November 2018, Amazon announced its plans to build an operations center in the Nashville Yards development to serve as the hub for their Retail Operations division. [116]

Real estate is becoming a driver for the city's economy. Based on a survey of nearly 1,500 real estate industry professionals conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute, Nashville ranked 7th nationally in terms of attractiveness to real estate investors for 2016. [117] As of October 2015, according to city figures, there is more than $2 billion in real estate projects underway or projected to start in 2016. Due to high yields available to investors, Nashville has been attracting a lot of capital from out-of-state. A key factor that has been attributed to the increase in investment is the adjustment to the city's zoning code. Developers can easily include a combination of residential, office, retail and entertainment space into their projects. Additionally, the city has invested heavily into public parks. Centennial Park is undergoing extensive renovations. The change in the zoning code and the investment in public space is consistent with the millennial generation's preference for walkable urban neighborhoods. [118]

Top employers

According to the city's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: [119]

#Employer# of Employees
1 Vanderbilt University and Medical Center 24,719
2Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County government and public schools 18,820
3 State of Tennessee 17,219
4 U.S. federal government 12,225
5 Nissan North America 10,900
6 Saint Thomas Health 7,100
7 HCA 7,000
8 Community Health Systems 4,300
9 Asurion 4,175
10 Randstad U.S. 4,100


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 largest presidential homes open to the public, and is also one of the most visited. [120] [121]


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. [122]

Entertainment and performing arts

Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music" Rymanauditorium1.jpg
Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music"
Kirk Whalum visiting the audience at a riverfront concert in 2007 Kirk Whalum, music festival in Nashville.jpg
Kirk Whalum visiting the audience at a riverfront concert in 2007

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 Nashville 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.

Bill Porter's audio console at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Studio B was the birthplace of the Nashville sound. RCAStudioB Console.jpg
Bill Porter’s audio console at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Studio B was the birthplace of the Nashville sound.

Many music clubs and honky-tonk bars are in downtown Nashville, [123] particularly the area encompassing Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer's Alley, which is often referred to as "the District". [124] [125]

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. On River Road, off Charlotte Pike in West Nashville, the CabaRay opened its doors on January 18, 2018. The performing venue of Ray Stevens it offers a Vegas-style dinner and a show atmosphere. There is also a piano bar and a gift shop. [126]

Although Nashville was never known as a major 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, Nashville 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.

The Barbershop Harmony Society has its headquarters in Nashville.


Perhaps the biggest factor in drawing visitors to Nashville is its association with country music, in which the Nashville sound played a role. [127] 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. [128]

Nashville has many 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, the National Museum of African American Music, and the full-scale replica of the Parthenon.

Nashville has become an increasingly popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. [129] In 2017 Nashville Scene counted 33 bachelorette parties on Lower Broadway ("from Fifth Avenue down to the Cumberland River, it's their town") in less than two hours on a Friday night, and stated that the actual number was likely higher. Downtown, the newspaper wrote, "offers five blocks of bars with live music and no cover". [130] In 2018, The New York Times called Nashville "the hottest destination for bachelorette parties in the country" because of the honky-tonk bars' live music. [123] City boosters welcome the bachelorette parties because temporary visitors may become permanent; BuzzFeed wrote, "These women are at precisely the point in their lives when a move to Nashville is possible". [129] The CMT reality television series Bachelorette Weekend follows the employees at Bach Weekend, a Nashville company that designs and throws bachelor and bachelorette parties. [131]

Major annual events

EventMonth 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 WeekA 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. [132]
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.
Rites of Spring Music Festival A two-day music festival held every April at Vanderbilt University since 1986. Rites of Spring has welcomed a number of famous artists to the Vanderbilt campus, including Wiz Khalifa, Young the Giant, Drake, Steve Aoki, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. [133]
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. [134]
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. [135] An estimated 280,000 people attended the 2014 celebration. [136]
Tomato Art FestivalHeld each August in East Nashville, this event celebrates the Tomato as a Unifier. [137]
African Street FestivalHeld in September on the campus of Tennessee State University. It is committed to connecting and celebrating the extensions of Africa to America. [138]
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 FestivalA 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.[ citation needed ]
Art Nashville International Art FairAn annual Art Fair in downtown Nashville. Includes galleries and dealers from around the world. Open to the public. [139]
Nashville OktoberfestA free event held in the historic Germantown neighborhood since 1980 celebrating the culture and customs of Germany. [140] Oktoberfest is Nashville's oldest annual festival and is one of the largest in the South. [141] In 2015, over 143,000 people attended the three-day event which raised $60,000 for Nashville non-profits. [142]
Southern Festival of BooksA festival held in October, featuring readings, panels, and book signings. [143]
Country Music Association Awards Award ceremony normally held in November at the Bridgestone Arena and televised to a national audience.
Veterans Day ParadeA 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. [144]


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

Nashville has additionally earned the moniker "The Hot Chicken Capital", [155] becoming known for the local specialty cuisine hot chicken. [156] [157] The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is hosted annually in Nashville and several restaurants make this spicy version of southern fried chicken. [158]



Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans LP Field 2009 crop.jpg
Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans
Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators Bridgestone Arena (North face) 2.JPG
Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators
First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds and Nashville SC First Tennessee Park, September 10, 2016 - 1.jpg
First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds and Nashville SC

Nashville is home to five professional sports franchises. Two play at the highest professional level of their respective sports: the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League and the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League. A third, Nashville SC of Major League Soccer, is scheduled to begin play in 2020. The city is also home to two minor league teams: the Nashville Sounds of Minor League Baseball's Pacific Coast League and Nashville SC of the USL Championship.

Tennessee Titans American football NFL Nissan Stadium 1960/1997
Nashville Predators Hockey NHL Bridgestone Arena 1997
Nashville Sounds Baseball PCL First Tennessee Park 1978
Nashville SC Soccer USLC First Tennessee Park 2016
Nashville SC Soccer MLS Nissan Stadium 2020

The Tennessee Titans moved to Nashville in 1998. Previously known as the Houston Oilers that began play in 1960 in Houston, Texas, the Oilers relocated to Tennessee in 1997. They played at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis for one season, then moved to Nashville in 1998 and played in Vanderbilt Stadium for one season. During those two years, the team was known as the Tennessee Oilers, but changed its name to Titans in 1999. The team now plays at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, which opened in 1999. Since moving to Nashville, the Titans have won three division championships (2000, 2002, and 2008) and one conference championship (1999). They competed in 1999's Super Bowl XXXIV, losing to the St. Louis Rams, 23–16. [159] The city previously hosted the 1939 Nashville Rebels of the American Football League and two Arena Football League teams named the Nashville Kats (1997–2001 and 2005–2007).

During April 25-27, 2019, Nashville hosted the 2019 NFL Draft which saw an estimated 200,000 fans attend each day. [160]

The Nashville Predators joined the National Hockey League as an expansion team in the 1998–99 season. The team plays its home games at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators have won two division championships (2017–18 and 2018-19) and one conference championship (2016–17). [161]

The Nashville Sounds were established in 1978 as expansion franchise of the Double-A Southern League. The Sounds won the league championship in 1979 and 1982. In 1985, the Double-A Sounds were replaced by a Triple-A team of the American Association. After the American Association dissolved in 1997, the Sounds joined the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1998 and won the league championship in 2005. The Sounds left their original ballpark, Herschel Greer Stadium, in 2015 for First Tennessee Park, a new ballpark built on the former site of Sulphur Dell ballpark. In total, the Sounds have won ten division titles, two conference titles, and three league championships. [162]

Nashville SC, which began play in 2018, is an expansion club of the USL Championship. They play their home matches at First Tennessee Park. [163] A Major League Soccer franchise of the same name is scheduled to begin play in 2020 at Nissan Stadium. It is expected to relocate to the Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium upon its planned completion in 2021. [164]

Nashville hosts the second-oldest continually operating race track in the United States, the Fairgrounds Speedway. [165] It hosted NASCAR Winston Cup races from 1958 to 1984, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Truck Series in the 1980s and 1990s, and later the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and ARCA Racing Series. [166]

The Nashville Invitational was a golf tournament on the PGA Tour from 1944 to 1946. The Sara Lee Classic was part of the LPGA Tour from 1988 to 2002. The Music City Championship at Gaylord Opryland of the Champions Tour was held from 1994 to 2003. The Nashville Golf Open is part of the Tour since 2016. The 1961 Women's Western Open and 1980 U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship were also held in Nashville.

College and amateur

Nashville is also home to four Division I athletic programs. Nashville is also home to the NCAA college football Music City Bowl.

2004 Vanderbilt-Navy Game 2004 Vanderbilt-Navy Game TE.jpg
2004 Vanderbilt-Navy Game
Vanderbilt Commodores Division I (FBS) Southeastern Conference
Tennessee State Tigers Division I (FCS) Ohio Valley Conference
Belmont Bruins Division I (non-football) Ohio Valley Conference
Lipscomb Bisons Division I (non-football) Atlantic Sun Conference

The Nashville Rollergirls are Nashville's only women's flat track roller derby team. Established in 2006, Nashville Rollergirls compete on a regional and national level. They play their home games at the Nashville Fairgrounds Sports Arena. In 2014, they hosted the WFTDA Championships at Municipal Auditorium.

The Nashville Kangaroos are an Australian Rules Football team that compete in the United States Australian Football League. The Kangaroos play their home games at Elmington Park. The team is the reigning USAFL Central Region Champions.

Three Little League Baseball teams from Nashville (one in 1970; one in 2013; and, one in 2014) have qualified for the Little League World Series. A team from neighboring Goodlettsville qualified for the 2012 series, giving the metropolitan area teams in three consecutive years to so qualify.

Parks and gardens

The Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park is a full-scale reconstruction of the original Greek Parthenon.
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". [167]

Law and government

The State Capitol in Nashville Tennessee State Capitol 2009.jpg
The State Capitol in Nashville

The city of Nashville and Davidson County merged in 1963 as a way for Nashville to combat the problems of urban sprawl. The combined entity is officially known as "the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County", and is popularly known as "Metro Nashville" or simply "Metro". It offers services such as police, fire, electricity, water and sewage treatment. When the Metro government was formed in 1963, the government was split into two service districts—the "urban services district" and the "general services district." The urban services district encompasses the 1963 boundaries of the former City of Nashville, approximately 72 square miles (190 km2), [168] and the general services district includes the remainder of Davidson County. There are six smaller municipalities within the consolidated city-county: Belle Meade, Berry Hill, Forest Hills, Oak Hill, Goodlettsville (partially), and Ridgetop (partially). These municipalities use a two-tier system of government, with the smaller municipality typically providing police services and the Metro Nashville government providing most other services. Previously, the city of Lakewood also had a separate charter. However, Lakewood residents voted in 2010 and 2011 to dissolve its city charter and join the metropolitan government, with both votes passing. [169]

Nashville is governed by a mayor, vice-mayor, and 40-member Metropolitan Council. It uses the strong-mayor form of the mayor–council system. [170] The current mayor of Nashville is David Briley. [1] The Metropolitan Council is the legislative body of government for Nashville and Davidson County. There are five council members who are elected at large and 35 council members that represent individual districts. The Metro Council has regular meetings that are presided over by the vice-mayor, who is currently Jim Shulman. The Metro Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm, according to the Metropolitan Charter.

Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee and the Estes Kefauver Federal Building and United States Courthouse, home of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.


Nashville has been a Democratic stronghold since at least the end of Reconstruction, and has remained staunchly Democratic even as the state as a whole has trended strongly Republican. Pockets of Republican influence exist in the wealthier portions of the city, but they are usually no match for the overwhelming Democratic trend in the rest of the city. The issue of school busing roiled politics for years but subsided after the 1990s. [171] While local elections are officially nonpartisan, nearly all of the city's elected officials are publicly known as Democrats. The city is split between 10 state house districts, all of which are held by Democrats. Three state senate districts and part of a fourth are within the county; two are held by Democrats and two by Republicans. [172]

In the state legislature, Nashville politicians serve as leaders of both the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses. Representative Mike Stewart serves as Chairman of the House Caucus. Senator Jeff Yarbro serves as Chairman of the Senate Caucus.

Democrats are no less dominant at the federal level. Democratic presidential candidates have only failed to carry Davidson County five times since reconstruction; in 1928, 1968, 1972, 1984 and 1988. [173] In most years, Democrats have carried Nashville at the presidential level with relatively little difficulty, even in years when they lose Tennessee as a whole. This has been especially true in recent elections. In the 2000 presidential election, Tennessean Democrat Al Gore carried Nashville with over 59% of the vote even as he narrowly lost his home state. In the 2004 election, Democrat John Kerry carried Nashville with 55% of the vote even as George W. Bush won the state by 14 points. In 2008, Barack Obama carried Nashville with 60% of the vote even as Republican John McCain won Tennessee by 15 points.

Despite its large size, Nashville has been in a single congressional district for most of the time since Reconstruction; it is currently the 5th District, represented by Democrat Jim Cooper. A Republican has not represented a significant portion of Nashville since 1874. Republicans made a few spirited challenges in the mid-1960s and early 1970s. The Republicans almost won it in 1968; only a strong showing by a candidate from Wallace's American Independent Party kept the seat in Democratic hands. However, they have not made a serious bid for the district since 1972, when the Republican candidate gained only 38% of the vote even as Nixon carried the district in the presidential election by a large margin. The district's best-known congressman was probably Jo Byrns, who represented the district from 1909 to 1936 and was Speaker of the House for much of Franklin Roosevelt's first term as President. Another nationally prominent congressman from Nashville was Percy Priest, who represented the district from 1941 to 1956 and was House Majority Whip from 1949 to 1953. Former mayors Richard Fulton and Bill Boner also sat in the U.S. House before assuming the Metro mayoral office.

From 2003 to 2013, a sliver of southwestern Nashville was located in the 7th District, represented by Republican Marsha Blackburn. This area was roughly coextensive with the portion of Nashville she'd represented in the state senate from 1998 to 2002. However, the 5th regained all of Nashville after the 2010 census.


According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting database, Metropolitan Nashville has a violent crime rate approximately 3 times the national average, and a property crime rate approximately 1.6 times the average. [174] [175] The following table shows Nashville's crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants for seven UCR categories.

CrimeNashville (2017) [174] National average (2017) [175]
Murder and non-negligent manslaughter16.295.3
Aggravated assault745.84248.9
Motor vehicle theft380.03237.4


Public schools

The city is served by Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, also referred to as Metro Schools.

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Wyatt Center, Vanderbilt University Peabodyvu.JPG
Wyatt Center, Vanderbilt University
Campus Center, Tennessee State University WTN PeepHoles 056.JPG
Campus Center, Tennessee State University

Nashville is often labeled the "Athens of the South" due to the many colleges and universities in the city and the metropolitan area. [147] The colleges and universities in Nashville include:

American Baptist College
Aquinas College Roman Catholic
Belmont University Christian (Non-Denomination)6,647
Daymar College
Fisk University United Church of Christ (HBCU)800
John A. Gupton College
Lipscomb University Churches of Christ4,278
Meharry Medical College United Methodist Church (HBCU)700
Nashville School of Law
Nashville Auto Diesel College (a NAFTC Training Center)
Nashville State Community College 9,853
Tennessee State University HBCU 10,389
Trevecca Nazarene University Nazarene3,221 [176]
Vanderbilt University 12,567
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film 400
Welch College Free Will Baptists 338

Within 30 miles (48 km) of Nashville in Murfreesboro is Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), a full-sized public university with Tennessee's second largest undergraduate population. Enrollment in post-secondary education in Nashville is around 43,000. Within the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area—which includes MTSU, Cumberland University (Lebanon), Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin), Daymar College, and O'More College of Design (Franklin)—total enrollment exceeds 74,000. Within a 40 miles (64 km) radius are Austin Peay State University (Clarksville) and Columbia State Community College (Columbia), enrolling an additional 13,600.

Nashville is home to four historically black institutions of higher education: Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College. [177]


Offices for The Tennessean Tennessean office.jpg
Offices for The Tennessean

The daily newspaper in Nashville is The Tennessean , which until 1998 competed with the Nashville Banner , another daily paper that was housed in the same building under a joint-operating agreement. The Tennessean is the city's most widely circulated newspaper. Online news service competes with the printed dailies to break local and state news. Several weekly papers are also published in Nashville, including The Nashville Pride, Nashville Business Journal , Nashville Scene and The Tennessee Tribune. Historically, The Tennessean was associated with a broadly liberal editorial policy, while The Banner carried staunchly conservative views in its editorial pages; The Banner's heritage had been carried on, to an extent, by The City Paper which folded in August 2013 after having been founded in October 2000. The Nashville Scene is the area's alternative weekly broadsheet. The Nashville Pride is aimed towards community development and serves Nashville's entrepreneurial population. Nashville Post is an online news source covering business, politics and sports.

Nashville is home to eleven broadcast television stations, although most households are served by direct cable network connections. Comcast Cable has a monopoly on terrestrial cable service in Davidson County (but not throughout the entire media market). Nashville is ranked as the 29th largest television market in the United States. [178] Major stations include WKRN-TV 2 (ABC), WSMV-TV 4 (NBC), WTVF 5 (CBS), WNPT 8 (PBS), WZTV 17 (Fox), WNPX-TV 28 (ion), WPGD-TV 50 (TBN), WLLC-LP 42 (Univision), WUXP-TV 30 (MyNetworkTV), and WNAB 58 (CW). [179]

Nashville is also home to cable networks Country Music Television (CMT), among others. CMT's master control facilities are located in New York City with the other Viacom properties. The Top 20 Countdown and CMT Insider are taped in their Nashville studios. Shop at Home Network was once based in Nashville, but the channel signed off in 2008.

Several dozen FM and AM radio stations broadcast in the Nashville area, including five college stations and one LPFM community radio station. Nashville is ranked as the 44th largest radio market in the United States. WSM-FM is owned by Cumulus Media and is 95.5 FM. WSM-AM, owned by Gaylord Entertainment Company, can be heard nationally on 650 AM or online at WSM Online from its studios located inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. WSM is famous for carrying live broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry, through which it helped spread the popularity of country music in America, and continues to broadcast country music throughout its broadcast day. WLAC, whose over-the-air signal is heard at 1510 AM, is a iHeartMedia-owned talk station which was originally sponsored by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee, and its competitor WWTN is owned by Cumulus.

Several major motion pictures have been filmed in Nashville, including The Green Mile , The Last Castle , Gummo , The Thing Called Love , Two Weeks , Coal Miner's Daughter , Nashville , [180] and Country Strong , as well as the ABC television series Nashville .


A Music City Star commuter train beneath the Shelby Street Bridge Music City Star.jpg
A Music City Star commuter train beneath the Shelby Street Bridge
Interior of an airport terminal Nashville International Airport restaurants.jpg
Interior of an airport terminal

According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 78.1% of working Nashville residents commuted by driving alone, 9.8% carpooled, 2% used public transportation, and 2.2% walked. About 1.1% used all other forms of transportation, including taxicab, motorcycle, and bicycle. About 6.7% of working Nashville residents worked at home. [181] In 2015, 7.9% of city of Nashville households were without a car; this figure decreased to 5.9% in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Nashville averaged 1.72 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household. [182]


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.

Public transit

The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus transit within the city. Routes utilize a hub and spoke method, centered around the Music City Central transit station in downtown. [183] A rejected expansion plan included use of bus rapid transit and light rail service at some point in the future. [184]

Nashville is considered a gateway city for rail and air traffic for the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion. [185]


The city is served by Nashville International Airport (BNA), and is a focus city for Southwest Airlines and was a hub for American Airlines between 1986 and 1995. 16 million passengers visited the airport in 2018, [186] and as of year end 2017, Nashville International Airport was the 33rd busiest airport and the 5th fastest growing airport among the top 50 airports in the United States. [187] BNA serves 460 daily flights to more than 65 nonstop markets. [188]

In late 2014, BNA became the first major U.S. airport to authorize ridesharing services with dedicated pick-up and drop-off areas. [189]



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. [190] Nashville's Union Station had once been a major intercity passenger rail center for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway; and the Tennessee Central Railway, reaching Midwestern cities and cities on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. However, by the time of Amtrak's founding, service had been cut back to a single train, the Floridian , which ran from Chicago to Miami and St. Petersburg, Florida. It served Union Station until its cancellation on October 9, 1979, due to poor track conditions resulting in late trains and low ridership, ending over 120 years of intercity rail service in Nashville.

While there have been no proposals to restore Amtrak service to Nashville, there have been repeated calls from residents. [191] However, Tennessee state officials have advised it will not be happening anytime soon. In addition to scarce federal funding, they do not believe that Nashville is large enough to support intercity rail. "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. [191] 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. [191]


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 nameOther namesLengthDate openedNotes
Korean War Veterans Memorial BridgeGateway Bridge1,660 ft (510 m)May 19, 2004 [192]
Kelly Miller Smith BridgeJefferson Street BridgeMarch 2, 1994
Old Hickory Bridge1,222 ft (372 m)1928; second span built 1967 [193]
Martin Luther King Jr. BridgeBordeaux BridgeSeptember 18, 1980
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge Shelby Street Bridge3,150 ft (960 m)July 5, 1909 [194]
Silliman Evans Bridge2,362 ft (720 m)1963
Victory Memorial BridgeJuly 2, 1956
William Goodwin BridgeHobson Pike Bridge2,215 ft (675 m)
Woodland Street Bridge639 ft (195 m)April 10, 1886; replaced 1965 [195] [196]

Sister cities

Nashville is an active participant in the sister cities program and has relationships with the following towns and cities: [197]

Candidates [200]
International Friendship City [201]
Municipality United in Friendship [201]

See also


  1. Consolidated refers to the population of Davidson County; Balance refers to the population of Nashville excluding other incorporated cities within the Nashville-Davidson boundary.
  2. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  3. Official records for Nashville were kept at downtown from May 1871 to December 1939, and at Nashville Int'l since January 1940. For more information, see Threadex
  4. 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.

Related Research Articles

Davidson County, Tennessee County in the United States

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Franklin, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Franklin is a city in, and the county seat of, Williamson County, Tennessee, United States. About 21 miles (34 km) south of Nashville, it is one of the principal cities of the Nashville metropolitan area and Middle Tennessee. As of 2018, its estimated population was 80,914, and it is the seventh-largest city in Tennessee.

Nissan Stadium home venue of Tennessee Titans and Tennessee State Tigers football team

Nissan Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Owned by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, it is primarily used for football and is the home field of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL) and the Tennessee State Tigers of Tennessee State University. The stadium is also the site of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, a postseason college football bowl game played each December, and is occasionally used as a venue for soccer matches. Nissan Stadium is even used for large concerts, such as the CMA Music Festival nightly concerts, which take place for four days every June. Facilities are included to enable the stadium to host other public events, meetings, parties, and gatherings.

Clifton Beverly Briley was an American attorney and politician, the first mayor of the newly consolidated metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County in Tennessee. Elected to the mayor's position in 1962 as a Democrat, Briley served three terms from 1963 to 1975; he was prevented by term limits from running again. He had previously served as county judge of Davidson County for several terms, from 1950 to 1963.

Mount Olivet Cemetery (Nashville) cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee

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Karl Foster Dean is an American politician who served as the 68th Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee from 2007 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as Nashville's Director of Law under Mayor Bill Purcell from 1999 to 2007. In 1990, 1994 and 1998, he was elected the city's public defender. Dean, an attorney by occupation, is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School.

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Megan Barry mayor of Nashville, Tennessee

Megan Christine Barry is an American businesswoman and politician, who served as the seventh mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County from 2015 until March 6, 2018, when she resigned after pleading guilty to felony theft related to an extramarital affair with a city employee who had served as the head of her security detail. Barry is a member of the Democratic Party.

2015 Nashville mayoral election

The 2015 Nashville mayoral election took place on August 6, 2015, to elect the Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. As no candidate won a majority of the vote, a runoff was held on September 10 between the top two candidates.

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Nashville Soccer Club is an American professional soccer team based in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 2016, the team made its debut in the United Soccer League in 2018.

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The Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium is a planned soccer-specific stadium at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee. It is expected to be the home of the Nashville SC, a future Major League Soccer expansion franchise that will begin play in 2020. The stadium would be part of a re-development project at the fairgrounds site that will also include a relocated Expo event space, new mixed-use retail and residential buildings and an upgraded Fairgrounds Speedway capable of hosting NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series events.

The Nashville Fairgrounds, also known as The Fairgrounds Nashville and the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, is an entertainment complex in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. The 117-acre (47 ha) site is located southeast of Downtown Nashville on the Nolensville Pike. It is home to the Tennessee State Fair, and also hosts the Fairgrounds Speedway, the Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena, and the Nashville Flea Market. The site is planned to be redeveloped into a mixed-use development, with commercial and residential use, a community park, a soccer stadium for the future Nashville SC of Major League Soccer and an upgraded Fairgrounds Speedway capable of hosting NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series events.

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2018 Nashville mayoral special election

The 2018 Nashville mayoral special election took place on May 24, 2018, and elected the mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. David Briley, a Democrat who became interim mayor after the resignation of Megan Barry, won outright without a runoff election.

The 2019 Nashville mayoral election will take place on August 1, 2019, to elect the Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. Incumbent David Briley is eligible to run for reelection. Briley succeeded Megan Barry following her resignation and won a special election to fill the remainder of her term. Briley is running for reelection.


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Further reading