Why Families Love Nashville (And Our Insider Tips on the Best Places for Families to Live!)

Felix Homes

May 16th 2021

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Are you and your family searching to settle down in a vibrant, exciting city that still offers beautiful outdoor escapes and a welcoming atmosphere? Have you been looking for an area that offers access to reputable schools, provides a variety of budget-friendly options, and is home to a plethora of activities the whole family can enjoy? Nashville could very well be your new home! In this article, we’re laying out the best places for families to live in Nashville and listing our Top 6 reasons why Nashville life is ideal for families.

Quick disclaimer: this article focuses on areas within (or very close to) Nashville’s city borders - if you’re curious about the best suburban or rural neighborhoods to raise a family in the surrounding Nashville area, hop over to our in-depth article, “Best Places for Families to Live in Tennessee.”

So, Why Is Nashville Such An Ideal City To Raise Your Family?

1. Nashville offers endless opportunities to keep families active with its easy access to a multitude of beautiful areas.

Families who move to this area will be delighted with Nashville’s numerous beautiful parks located conveniently within the city. Additionally, families can take just a short trip outside of Nashville to spend time in the great outdoors - several of these lovely areas are only 20 minutes away from downtown.

2. Nashville is well-known as a cultural hub for the arts and sciences.

Famously referred to as “Music City,” and housing several prominent universities (including the renowned Vanderbilt University), families who raise their children in this area will have plenty of opportunities to expose them to a variety of cultural and educational experiences. With a multitude of activities suitable for a wide range of ages and interests, Nashville often brings families closer together as they discover hobbies the whole family can enjoy.

3. Nashville’s economic boom is showing no signs of slowing.

Many families feel a strong sense of job security in Nashville, causing a large influx of young couples with children to make Nashville their home. Since so many families are settling down here, children often quickly find playmates in their neighborhood.

4. Nashville offers affordable options for families.

Neighborhoods such as Hermitage and Bellevue not only provide affordable options for families, they are also very safe areas - a win-win situation!

5. Nashville provides access to reputable public and private schools.

We know how important it is for families to select a solid school for their children. Good news - Nashville offers many well-respected options.

6. Nashville’s excellent food scene is a major perk!

Many families dread going out to eat, as it is often a headache to find a restaurant that pleases the entire family. Not an issue in Nashville! With seemingly limitless culinary options, families can rest assured their children will certainly find several favorite restaurants in Nashville.

Let’s take a closer look into our Top 6 reasons families love living in Nashville. We’ll also give you some insider info on the best Nashville neighborhoods for your family!

Explore The Outdoors!

Families love Nashville because there are so many beautiful places to get active together! Percy Priest Lake, only 15 minutes east of downtown, is a favorite amongst local families. Featuring plenty of spots for swimming, hiking, kayaking, and boating, Percy Priest is also home to the popular Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort and marina.

Other popular recreational areas include Radnor Lake State Park and Old Hickory Lake, both beautiful spots packed with family-friendly activities. Additionally, Percy and Edwin Warner Park features a nature center, as well as mountain biking and hiking trails, and athletic fields.

Many families enjoy taking weekend trips to some of Tennessee's most gorgeous natural areas - particularly Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Most families new to Nashville are surprised and delighted to discover they usually don’t have to drive more than a couple hours to experience Tennessee's waterfalls, swimming holes, rolling hills, and mountain overlooks.

Besides the more rural state parks, Nashville also offers expansive green spaces within the city. Centennial Park is one of Nashville’s largest and most elaborate parks, featuring a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, a lovely lake, peaceful gardens, and plenty of paths for taking a stroll with the kids. Additional free activities are offered for families in the summertime, including swing dancing under the pavilion, chalk-drawing, and catching a Shakespearean performance at the outdoor theatre under the stars.

Cumberland Park and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park are urban parks located near the heart of downtown. Cumberland features live music on the lawn and a mini climbing wall, while Bicentennial offers a splash park and plenty of wide-open green spaces.

Besides these parks we’ve listed, Nashville’s surrounding neighborhoods offer countless parks for families to relax and spend time together outside. Check out our “Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Nashville” for more info on the best places to get active with your family.

Family-Friendly Activities: Nashville’s Specialty

Families love that Nashville is chock-full of activities for a variety of ages and interests!

Budding young scientists can explore the Adventure Science Center, an interactive museum filled with enriching activities to delight and fascinate families with children of all ages. From prehistoric exhibits to planetarium presentations, children (and adults too!) will find their imagination and curiosity piqued. For artistically-minded youth, the Frist Art Center offers free admission for students 18 and younger.

Want to experience a taste of Disney World without making the trip to Florida? Check out Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. This sprawling hotel is well-known for its elaborate theming and features indoor waterfalls, jumping fountains, light displays, and hanging hot-air balloons. Children will especially appreciate the kid-friendly activities, carriage rides, and beautiful lights and holiday activities the resort offers during Christmastime. Additionally, the indoor waterpark SoundWaves is a family favorite and a fun option for a “stay-cation” getaway.

For parents with children who can’t get enough of furry friends, the Nashville Zoo will be a treat! Families can also visit nature centers such as Warner Park Nature Center and Shelby Bottoms Nature Center to help get kids involved in caring for the environment, learning about Tennessee’s native plants and animals, and embarking on birdwatching and storytelling hikes. New outdoor activities at these nature centers continually pop up throughout the year to keep kids invested.

Musically-minded families will want to head to Bluebird Cafe in Green Hills, a famous hangout for both tourists and locals. Bluebird sparked the careers of many celebrities - including Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Trisha Yearwood - and features up-and-coming songwriters looking to become Nashville’s next big artist. Besides this iconic cafe, Music City is brimming with concerts for all ages - so much so that it can be overwhelming! Every Labor Day weekend, Live on the Green hosts a huge free concert in Public Square Park. Year-round, Ryman Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena feature nationally-known acts, while Honky Tonk Highway and Musicians Corner showcase local musicians. Kids can even take a line-dancing lesson to the toe-tapping music at Wildhorse Saloon or get a hands-on tour at the Grand Ole Opry and Musicians Hall of Fame.

Are your family sports fans? Head to the Nissan Stadium to catch a Tennessee Titans game or check out the Nashville Predators’ home at Bridgestone Arena. Baseball fans should be sure not to miss out on Nashville Sounds. No matter the sport, kids love cheering for their home team!

Have daredevils in your family? Look no further than SOAR Adventure Tower and Adventureworks to take your family to dizzying heights! Zipline and climb your way through obstacles, building confidence and teamwork amongst the family.

Children especially love an outing to the Nashville Children’s Theatre, featuring plenty of entertainment and workshops to bring out the dramatic theatre star in every child.

Economic Opportunity Is Booming

Concerned about moving to a city coming off the heels of a global pandemic? Your worries can be eased by knowing that Nashville continues to see huge growth despite COVID-19’s national impact upon the economy. Manufacturing and technology jobs, as well as entertainment industry opportunities, are still growing and are expected to continuously trend upwards as this young city expands. By 2025, overall job growth is expected to increase by 36%. In particular, the entertainment industry’s economic impact is predicted to jump from $9.7 billion to $19.4 billion.

With other companies following in the steps of Nissan, Amazon, iHeartMedia, and AllianceBernstein by planting company headquarters in Nashville, it’s no wonder that Forbes ranked this city #4 on its list of “Best Big Cities for Jobs in 2016.” As an additional perk, Nashville benefits from no state income tax and a reasonable cost of living.

Despite this incredible economic and population growth, Nashville still harbors a hometown feel that is very attractive to families and contributes to an ideal work/life balance.

“It’s just kind of a breath of fresh air when you come from a little bit larger cities to Nashville and you see you can have all the things you had in a city like San Francisco or New York but with a little bit of an easier pace,” - Cynthia Coker, N2M Advisory CEO

Affordable Options For Lower-Income Families

For families, we’ve scored neighborhoods Hermitage and Bellevue a 4 out of 5 rating for affordability. Hermitage’s average sale price is $299,000, while Bellevue’s houses average at about $369,000. Ranking slightly below Nashville’s average cost of living and meeting the nation’s average, Hermitage is a solid option for mid-lower income families. Bellevue’s cost of living meets the nation’s average and is highly ranked for first-time home buyers in Tennessee. Families need not worry about sacrificing safety for affordability, as both of these areas have very low crime rates.

Schools In The Nashville Area Are Often Nationally-Ranked

Downtown Nashville offers several reputable school options to consider. For younger grades, Glendale Elementary and Meigs Middle Magnet score a nearly perfect rating on GreatSchools. The most reputable schools for high schoolers include Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet and Martin Luther King Junior Magnet. For grades 7th-12th that are specifically focused on the arts, Nashville School of the Arts is a solid choice for fostering creative skills.

While Nashville’s county offers several solid educational options, families will strongly want to consider sending their child to a school in Williamson County, just 20 minutes outside of downtown. This county has featured some of the nation’s highest-ranked schools and was listed as the 4th-best school district in the nation in 2014. With at least 5 schools in every grade level - elementary, middle, and high - scoring an 8 or above on GreatSchools, families have plenty of well-respected public and private education options for their children.

The Culinary Scene Has Plenty Of Variety For Parents And Kids

Looking for a quiet date night? Or perhaps an energetic dinner with the kids? Nashville offers plenty of options for both experiences!

For a romantic date night away from the kids, head to Sambuca and Skull’s Rainbow Room to be serenaded by live jazz, or have the full fine-dining experience at the upscale Etch. Sinema is a throwback to the classic era of Hollywood, while Urban Grub is a trendy, modern hotspot for surf-and-turf dishes. Other popular date nights include drinks, charcuterie, and desserts at Barcelona Wine Bar and new twists on Southern classics at 404 Kitchen.

Bring the kids along to Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant - they’ll love the “piggy mac,” Southern mashed potatoes and fried chicken, and the upbeat live music. The Italian restaurant Pastaria offers a discounted family hour and an outdoor bocce court, while Edley’s Bar-B-Que serves classic Tennessee barbeque options on the kids’ menu. Even picky eaters can find a favorite at the popular Grilled Cheeserie, while parents will be delighted by the unique spin on the classic grilled cheese.

Taking the kids out for a treat? Look no further than the delicious candies of GooGoo, the uniquely delicious donuts of Five Daughters Bakery, and the giant milkshakes of the Legendairy Milkshake Bar.

No matter the preference, Nashville is truly a city for each taste palate in the family.

What Are The Best Spots For Families To Settle Down In Nashville?

There’s no doubt about it - Nashville is a fantastic area for families. There are so many solid options, that choosing a neighborhood to reside can be overwhelming. Never fear - we’ve compiled a list of the best neighborhoods near downtown for families. Check out our quick rundown below, then head to our in-depth neighborhood blurbs for all of the details.

Sylvan Park

Neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 3,493

Average Sales Price: $632,548

Felix Rating - 4/5
2/5 Cost of Living
4/5 Transportation
5/5 Dining & Nightlife
3/5 Schools
5/5 Safety
4/5 Things to Do

What is Sylvan Park known for?

Situated southwest of downtown Nashville between the West End and Whitebridge neighborhoods, Sylvan Park is a surprisingly quiet, family-friendly area nestled near some of Nashville’s greatest attractions. With Richland Creek as a western border, Sylvan Park’s tranquil, tree-lined streets and comfortable local businesses provide a retreat from the concrete and bustle surrounding it on almost every side. Visitors and residents to the community often find it hard to believe that the heart of downtown Nashville is less than five miles down the road.

Who is Sylvan Park a good fit for?

A quick stroll through Sylvan Park area makes it apparent that this neighborhood is inclusive to people of all ages, interests, and professions. In Sylvan Park, it’s commonplace to find retirees living beside young professionals and growing families. Additionally, this area offers a variety of housing types at varying prices, making the neighborhood a convenient choice for college students and single professionals. Part of the charm of this lovely neighborhood is how seamlessly historic homes blend with the new.

Where is Sylvan Park located?

Sylvan Park is just beyond the 440-loop, west of downtown Nashville. This neighborhood borders the fun, hip, and happening Charlotte Avenue and is an easy 10-to-15 minute drive to the heart of downtown. Sylvan Park is also just minutes away from Midtown and Centennial Park (home of the Parthenon).

One of the biggest perks of the Sylvan Park area is its proximity to 440, I-40, and other major roads that carry you through the outskirts of Nashville.

Green Hills

Neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 2,185

Average Sales Price: $1,377,387

Felix Rating - 4/5
1/5 Cost of Living
3/5 Transportation
5/5 Dining & Nightlife
3/5 Schools
5/5 Safety
4/5 Things to Do

Who is Green Hills a good fit for?

Green Hills is a vibrant, lively, and city-oriented area. For those wanting to reside in an area filled with energy and activity, Green Hills is an excellent choice. Because Green Hills features a safe, yet exciting environment with a variety of housing options, it is a top choice among retirees moving to the Nashville area. Green Hills is also a popular option for middle-to-upper income families and established young professionals seeking to network. It should be noted that the expense of this area may be a dealbreaker for a number of potential residents, but many consider the amenities and convenience of this area to be worth the higher cost of living.

Where is Green Hills located?

Green Hills is located only 7 miles south of downtown Nashville. Although it has a desirably close proximity to downtown, Green Hills often suffers from heavier traffic. Those who plan to commute by car and find traffic congestion stressful may want to consider this factor before settling down in this neighborhood.

Image of a single family home in the Bellevue neighborhood of Nashville Tennessee

Bellevue

Neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 42,144

Average Sales Price: $369,463

Felix Rating - 4/5
4/5 Cost of Living
4/5 Transportation
4/5 Dining & Nightlife
3/5 Schools
4/5 Safety
4/5 Things to Do

Photos of Bellevue

What is Bellevue known for?

Wild, wooded, and only 13 miles outside of downtown, Bellevue offers a lifestyle alternative to cosmopolitan living without having to sacrifice its convenience. During the 1950s, Bellevue was a simple farming community with a few shops. As it was slowly folded into the Greater Nashville real estate market the farms may have gone, but the area’s reputation as a peaceful, green shelter persisted. Today, it stands as one of Nashville’s largest and most established suburbs and a pleasant aesthetic contrast to the bustling city life.

Who is Bellevue a good fit for?

Featuring several homes and apartments for a mid-range budget, Bellevue is an excellent location for first-time buyers, young professionals, and families with lower income. Although a longer commute into downtown Nashville, Bellevue is positioned directly in the midst of several of Tennessee’s most picturesque locations, a major perk for lovers of the outdoors. While Bellevue offers a suburban feel, potential residents shouldn’t expect a cohesively upscale vibe, nor the vibrant bustle of neighborhoods closer to the heart of downtown.

Where is Bellevue located?

Bellevue is located approximately 13 miles southwest of downtown Nashville and is situated directly adjacent to major interstate I-40. Bordered to the north by the Cumberland River and the Warner Parks to the west, Bellevue is known for its close proximity to beautiful natural areas. Both the Harpeth River and the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway run through this location as well, further adding to the serene setting.

Hermitage

Neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 36,214

Average Sales Price: $299,251

Felix Rating - 4/5
4/5 Cost of Living
4/5 Transportation
3/5 Dining & Nightlife
3/5 Schools
3/5 Safety
4/5 Things to Do

What is Hermitage known for?

Hermitage Tennessee is a neighborhood in the Nashville metro named after its marquee feature, President Andrew Jackson’s 1,100-acre plantation called “The Hermitage”. Besides being an obvious magnet for history buffs, the neighborhood’s situation along the banks of both the Cumberland River and the Percy Priest Lake make it a refuge for outdoorsmen. Hermitage’s six waterfront parks, many with trails and boat access, are an anomaly even for Nashville. Another perk of the town’s maturity is its developed restaurant district with enough tantalizing options that you might find yourself forgetting that Downtown Nashville is such an easy drive away.

Who is Hermitage a good fit for?

Hermitage may be known for its namesake, “The Hermitage,” President Andrew Jackson’s residence, but this Nashville suburb hosts young families, nature-lovers, and retirees looking for large yards and a neighborly atmosphere. This delightful neighborhood offers a small-town feel with an easy commute to downtown. Hermitage is just around the corner from some of the best hiking, kayaking, and farmer’s markets in the area. It is also a short drive to all the excitement of downtown or Long Hunter State Park.

Where is Hermitage located?

It’s hard to miss this pristine Nashville suburb while traveling on I-40. Since it is the home of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, you will see several signs denoting the exit. But if you’re locating Hermitage on a map, it is 14 miles east of downtown Nashville and one of the furthest east neighborhoods in Davidson County.

12 South

Neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 2,715

Average Sales Price: $779,640

Felix Rating - 4/5
1/5 Cost of Living
4/5 Transportation
5/5 Dining & Nightlife
2/5 Schools
5/5 Safety
5/5 Things to Do

Who is 12 South a good fit for?

The trendy neighborhood of 12 South showcases a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Featuring several locally owned businesses, the area attracts eccentric creatives and young families. Living in 12 South is a great option for those looking to experience Nashville, Tennessee, beyond the Broadway fame.

Where is 12 South located?

The 12 South district gains its name for its location along 12th Avenue South. It sits south of Downtown Nashville, near Belmont University. 12 South also borders Hillsboro to its west and Melrose to its east.

The area is small in size, expanding roughly about a half-mile. However, despite its tiny footprint, this Nashville neighborhood has a lot to offer.