Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and universities. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee. It is most notably known as a center of the music industry, earning it the nickname "Music City". Nashville has a consolidated city–county government which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. As of the 2010 census the population of the city of Nashville, not including the semi-independent municipalities, stood at 601,222. The population of Davidson County as a whole, including all municipalities, was 626,681. Nashville is the second largest city in Tennessee, after Memphis, and the fourth largest city in the Southeastern United States. The 2010 population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,589,934, making it the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state. The 2010 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 1,670,890.
The downtown area of Nashville 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 lies Nashville's central business district, Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill and the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. Cultural and architectural attractions can be found throughout the city. The downtown area of Nashville is easily accessible. 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 started the construction of high rises in downtown Nashville. After the construction of the AT&T Building (commonly known to locals as the "Batman Building") in 1994, the downtown area saw little construction until the mid-2000s. Many new residential developments have been constructed or are planned for the various neighborhoods of downtown and midtown. A new high rise office building, The Pinnacle, was recently opened in 2010. Many civic and infrastructure projects are either 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, a convention center project, has been approved for the downtown area and is currently under construction.
Parks and gardens:
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, waterskiing, 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. Other notable parks in Nashville include Centennial Park, Shelby Park, Cumberland Park, and Radnor Lake State Natural Area.
Perhaps the biggest factor in drawing visitors to Nashville is its association with country music. Many visitors to Nashville attend live performances of the Grand Ole Opry, the World's longest running live radio show. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is another major attraction relating to the popularity of country music. The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Opry Mills regional shopping mall and the General Jackson showboat, are all located in what is known as Music Valley. Civil War history is important to the city's tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation, Carnton plantation in Franklin, and Belmont Mansion. Nashville has several arts centers and museums, including the Frist Center for The Visual Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Garden And Museum of Art, the Tennessee State Museum, Fisk University's Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries, Vanderbilt University's Fine Art Gallery and Sarratt Gallery, and the Parthenon. Nashville West is one of the city's newer attractions.
As the "home of country music", Nashville has become a major music recording and production center. All of the Big Four record labels, as well as numerous independent labels, have offices in Nashville, mostly in the Music Row area. Since the 1960s, Nashville has been the second biggest music production center (after New York) in the U.S. As of 2006, Nashville's music industry is estimated to have a total economic impact of US$6.4 billion per year and to contribute 19,000 jobs to the Nashville area.
Although Nashville is renowned as a music recording center and tourist destination, its largest industry is actually health care. Nashville is home to more than 250 health care companies, including Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private operator of hospitals in the world. As of 2006, it is estimated that the health care industry contributes US$18.3 billion per year and 94,000 jobs to the Nashville-area economy. The automotive industry is also becoming increasingly important for the entire 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 New Orleans consulate-general to Nashville's Palmer Plaza. 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.
- The city is served by the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
Colleges and universities:
- David Lipscomb Campus School
- Davidson Academy
- Donelson Christian Academy
- Christ Presbyterian Academy
- Ensworth School
- Ezell-Harding Christian School
- Franklin Road Academy
- Father Ryan
- Goodpasture Christian School
- Harpeth Hall School
- Linden Waldorf School
- Madison Academy
- Montgomery Bell Academy
- Nashville Christian School
- Nashville International Academy
- St. Cecilia Academy
- St. Paul Christian Academy
- University School of Nashville
Nashville is often labeled the "Athens
of the South" due to the many colleges and universities in the city and metropolitan area. The colleges and universities in Nashville include American Baptist College, Aquinas College, Belmont University
, Daymar Institute, Fisk University, John A. Gupton College, Lipscomb University
, Meharry Medical College, Nossi College, Nashville School of Law, Nashville Auto Diesel College (a NAFTC Training Center), Nashville State Community College, Tennessee State University
, Trevecca Nazarene University, Vanderbilt University, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, and Welch College. Within 30 miles (48 km) of Nashville in Murfreesboro is Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), a full-sized public university with Tennessee's 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 Institute, 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 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. 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. The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus transit within the city, out of a newly built hub station downtown. Routes utilize a hub and spoke method. Expansion plans include use of Bus rapid transit for new routes, with the possibility for local rail service at some point in the future.
Nashville is considered a gateway city for rail and air traffic for the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion. The city is served by Nashville International Airport (BNA), which was a hub for American Airlines between 1986 and 1995 and is now a focus city for Southwest Airlines. During 2011, Nashville International was the 34th busiest passenger airport in the U.S. with a total of 4,673,047 passenger boardings. Major airlines serving Nashville include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and AirCanada. Although it is a major rail hub, with a large CSX Transportation freight rail yard, Nashville is one of the largest cities in the U.S. not served by Amtrak. 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. Legs to Clarksville, Murfreesboro and Gallatin are currently in the feasibility study stage. The system plan includes seven legs connecting Nashville to surrounding suburbs.