Living in Downtown Nashville: Guide to Food, Entertainment, & Real Estate

About Downtown Nashville

Nashville isn’t the birthplace of country music, but it’s where the genre has put down the deepest roots; and downtown might as well be center stage. Perhaps the most famous of the Southeast’s iconic downtowns pulses with the energy of a Merle Haggard melody. It’s the main attraction for Nashville’s nearly 15 million visitors per year, the heart and soul of Music City. Downtown is more than just the bars on Broadway. The area between I-65 and the Cumberland River, terminating at Jefferson Street, includes eight distinct neighborhoods that each provide a different taste of downtown living. Between and within these residential areas is a seemingly endless collection of cultural hotspots, historical landmarks, and event spaces. Basically, whatever you’re looking for can probably be found in this signature southern city center.

Where Is Downtown Nashville Located?

Downtown Nashville lies in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. While there is no definitive neighborhood map, the downtown area stretches over 10 blocks down the popular Broadway strip. Bordering south of the downtown district are The Gulch and SoBro. Further north of the city center is Germantown, and across the Cumberland River sits East Nashville.

How’s The Vibe Downtown?

Downtown Nashville offers a front-row seat to Music City’s famous action and entertainment. If you’re drawn to the everyday, energetic city vibes, then living downtown is perfect for you. Nashville’s vibrant city hub attracts many youthful professionals and singles. Living within the busy city center is also great for young couples without kids.

What’s The Food + Nightlife Scene Like In Downtown Nashville?

There’s no shortage of entertainment options throughout Nashville’s downtown neighborhood. Here you’ll find the Broadway Honky Tonks belting out live music each day of the week. Iconic favorites include Tootsies Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western World, and The Stage.

If you want to switch it up, try heading a few blocks over to Printer’s Alley. The historic area features boutique-style hotels and upscale dining options, such as Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. In the mood for a unique cocktail? Stop in at one of the speakeasy lounges, such as [Skull’s Rainbow Room] or Black Rabbit - that’s if you can find the entrance.

Downtown Nashville serves as a hub for good eats, with even more on the way. The city center recently celebrated the grand opening of the Assembly Food Hall, which offers over 20 different eateries.

What Are The Top Things To Do Downtown?

There are entire guidebooks written on this topic, so we’ll just hit the highlights. The rooftop bar scene on Broadway is an obvious draw, as spots like the Stage and Crazytown often offer three levels of simultaneous shows. A block off Broadway, Bridgestone Arena is home to the NHL’s Predators, and the Tennessee Titans of the NFL play just across the Cumberland River in Nissan Stadium. Of course these double as concert venues, joining spots like the Ryman Auditorium, the CMA Theater, and the Ascend Amphitheater as unforgettable locations to catch a performance.

Mingled with the fun is plenty of fascinating history. The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum are must-sees, and right up the hill from Broadway is the beautiful Tennessee Statehouse and its gorgeous grounds. Of course, with all the intimate local spots for food, drinks, and nightlife dotting areas like SoBro and Pietown, you might never feel the need to enter the downtown fray.

How’s The Real Estate Market Downtown?

As the most developed real estate sector in Tennessee, Downtown Nashville offers a multitude of properties, many of which are surprisingly accessible to the average professional. Most of these are swanky highrise condos and flats built to maximize the area’s limited space. As long as you don’t require too much room, plenty of properties are available between $500,000 - $1,000,000.

Of course, these prices may vary based on the section of Downtown you’d like to call home. While you might find something particularly reasonable in some of the older apartment buildings a couple blocks off of Broadway, areas like The Gulch and SoBro (think snazzy new construction) often have a higher sales threshold. While downtown is centuries old, almost 70% of the residential construction has been built after 1999. That means lots of swanky new construction competing for residents, many of whom aren’t necessarily looking to turn their downtown home into an investment.

Renters are the rule in Downtown Nashville, as young professionals dip their toes in big city living. While the average downtown rent is almost $2,750 per month, it’s not unusual to find single-bedroom flats for under $1,700 per month—a price competitive with many other parts of Nashville. The only inconvenience is that Downtown Nashville’s living options are almost totally limited to condos and apartments; so if you crave a yard and extra space, you might want to try somewhere else in the city.

Whether you’re looking for a place to live or a place to rent out, there’s essentially no downside to owning property in Downtown Nashville. It’s the heartbeat of the city, so people will always want to live there. Builders have already responded to demand by offering an array of housing options, so this isn’t the kind of market where you can get in early and see exponential returns. Rather, it’s an established real estate landscape that sees predictable, steady returns on investment. Home values have increased by almost 25% over the past year. Essentially, the combination of quality properties and high demand ensures that downtown home values are almost always trending in the right direction.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Downtown Nashville

How’s The Cost Of Living In Downtown Nashville?

Living in the center of the action comes at a higher price. Dense metropolitan populations traditionally provide more opportunities and higher income. Unfortunately, these factors also increase demand and drive up overall costs.

Market trends by RentCafe note locals should expect to spend close to $1,800 for rent. The study goes on to reference that the average size of most units downtown is roughly 883 square feet. Most people within the area prefer renting over buying their homes. According to Niche, roughly 73% of the residents in Downtown Nashville are renters.

How Is Transportation In Downtown Nashville?

Nashville’s downtown neighborhood is very walkable. The city center offers a variety of entertainment options, and you won’t need to travel far for fun. Although not as common, depending on where you live and work, it can be possible to go without a car. The city’s primary form of public transportation is the WeGo bus system. The buses operate on a consistent schedule and run throughout many Nashville neighborhoods, including downtown.

What Are The Top Schools In Downtown Nashville?

Downtown Nashville is home to several leading magnet or public schools. One of the top schools in the area is Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering. Many locals also favor Hume-Fogg Academic, which offers classes for grades 9-12. Downtown’s leading middle school is Meigs Academic Magnet, where students range from grades 5-8. Lastly, for elementary schools, many downtown residents prefer the Lockeland Elementary Design Center.

What Are The Best Parks In Downtown Nashville?

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park lies within the center of Downtown Nashville. The park features 19 acres of beautiful greenery, along with Tennessee's historic Capitol building. This is also where you’ll find the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains, which includes 31 fountains representing major Tennessee rivers. Bicentennial Park hosts a number of festivals and activities, including the popular Nashville Farmers Market.

Is Downtown Nashville A Safe Place To Live?

Police presence is prevalent in Nashville’s downtown area. Several locals and tourists agree they feel safe throughout the city center. In an effort to keep residents informed and alert, Nashville’s metro police department also partners with CrimeMapping to disclose crime statistics throughout various Nashville neighborhoods, including downtown.

Pros To Living In Downtown Nashville

  • Accessible restaurants, bars, and live entertainment.
  • Walkability
  • Close proximity to city-wide events–Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena, and the Ryman Auditorium.

Cons To Living In Downtown Nashville

  • Not ideal for families or raising kids.
  • Tourism is prevalent.
  • Heavy traffic.

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