Honest opinions of Nashville?
I apologize if there's already a million "Nashville?" threads. I live in South Carolina and got the chance to visit Nashville over Memorial weekend, my first time in TN. It was already on my shortlist, but I have to say I was pretty impressed with what I saw after finally getting to see it in person. I was surprised by all the cranes and development going up everywhere.
I'm considering moving to Nashville to start my adult life. My girlfriend would be coming with me. I'm 23, African American, and have a degree in Communications. I went to school in Charleston, SC. My gf has a degree in psychology. I've lived in South Carolina my entire life, except for last year when I lived in DC, or technically Nova, for an internship. Now I'm back in SC, but ready for a new experience.
I was eager to get back to DC, but the job search has been difficult, even with my network and connections, and it's probably not the best to pursue right now due to the high cost of living. I'm looking at Atlanta and Charlotte as well, but growing up 2 hours from both cities, I'm very familiar with both of them and was hoping to get away from home for once and go somewhere new.
I know Nashville isn't a walkable city, but I still find it more urban and walkable than Charlotte. I'm not into country, but I loved the city energy. I'm not anti-chain or anything, but I was impressed with all the local places that I saw. Tried Hattie B's it was really good. Almost tried Pancake Pantry but the line just became too much. Went to Biscuit Love instead, which was also good, and free.
I also really liked the pedestrian bridge, how green the city is, and the booming job market. And the cost of living isn't ridiculous. It's my understanding that locals don't really hangout downtown, but downtown/Gulch still seems like a cool place to go to a rooftop bar (which I've read theres quite a few) and just hangout, grab a drink, and relax for the evening. I didn't encounter many of those in DC, for as big as it is. Nashville seems to be on the up in a big way and I want to move to a growing healthy city.
Nashville isn't too small, like Charleston, but also not Atlanta and DC massive either. 1.8 million people actually doesn't sound that bad when comparing with 5.7-6 million. And the city felt bigger and more urban than it was.
I'm just concerned because while I've been getting good feedback on another city website, I've been scanning this subreddit and have seen more negative anecdotes. I've read a couple other threads of others curious about moving here and I saw a lot of "Nashville isn't as cool as it seems, there's better places", "you probably wont like it here", "it's too expensive and you don't get much", "it gets old after 2 weeks", "you gotta drive 40 minutes", "the mural culture is fake, restaurants are overrated", etc. That worries me as this will basically be our starter city, if I we commit to it. I have a google doc full of job openings, ready to start applying, but there's just something on my shoulder telling me "hold up a sec."
The only real negatives was the drivers. The traffic was fine, but the drivers were giving Atlanta a run for their money. As someone who has driven 75 and 85 in Atlanta and 395 and 495 in DC, Nashville was an eye opening experience. The lack of public transportation and more cohesive walking environment also kind of stinks as I got used to the Metro train in DC, and walking many places in DC and Charleston. Felt good not having to drive 24/7. And having to feed the parking meters everywhere was annoying. I wanted to explore some areas, but had to keep scraping up coins, then had to keep an eye on the timer to make sure I made it back to my car in time.
Nashville is also a little far inland from what I'm used to. I've never lived more than 4 hours from the coast. My girlfriend has lived on an island her entire life (except for college, which was on a peninsula lol), so it'll be an even bigger transition for her. And this is just a nitpick, but the horde of powerlines and giant business signs everywhere make some areas tacky. But again, it's a nitpick.
The overbuilding of luxury apartments is also annoying. Some places are charging $1300+ to live next to rusty warehouses, and there's not even a grocery store nearby (ps what's with Kroger's stranglehold, and why are they so ugly?). That baffles me. I'm not trying to fret over it too much though as that's gonna be a problem wherever I go. It's already a problem in Charleston, and for instance from 2012-14, 95% of the apartments built in Atlanta were luxury. Seems most major cities are having this problem, so I can't curse Nashville.
So can I get an honest assessment of Nashville? Like I said, it feels unique, feels about the right size, and there seems to be so much going on and much coming (Topgolf, nice!), and the job market and health of the city is strong. And Tennessee is a very pretty state. After reading comments on here though, and my second guessing nature in general, I'm just afraid of making a mistake and then we're stuck, or moving to Nashville then hating it like a month later and wanting out. I don't want that. I want to be proud to call it home. I still have dreams of LA, and Chicago I'd really like to give a look, and I haven't given up on DC, but of Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte, Nashville is the most intriguing of the 3 to me.
Thanks everyone for your time. Sorry for such a long post by the way.
*ps I've been keeping up with the Preds. Rooting for you guys all the way and I'm very excited for the game tonight. It's amazing.