Tennessee is known as the “volunteer state" thanks to its role of sending volunteer soldiers to the War of 1812 and then again after the Mexican-American War in 1846. Today, it's also known for being home to the Country Music Capital of the World and the University of Tennessee, which was founded two years before Tennessee became the 16th state. Here are the best places to live in Tennessee in the coming year.
While it's only 10 miles from Downtown Nashville, Brentwood has its own rich history with great restaurants and parks. From Concord Park, a 40-acre park that surrounds the Brentwood Public Library and offers locals walking and bike paths, to Granny White Park with tennis courts and a baseball field, nature lovers won't have a hard time enjoying outdoor activities.
There are a number of historic sites and homes throughout Brentwood and the city developed a scavenger hunt and interactive map of historic places to help locals and visitors learn more about the area.
Being close to Nashville also means those living in Brentwood have easy access to the amenities the larger city affords.
Known as the Scenic City, Chattanooga sits on the far southeastern part of the state and borders Georgia. Thanks to its mild climate, outdoor enthusiasts take full advantage of what nature provides in terms of hiking trails, rock climbing, biking, camping and more.
Attractions include the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo which includes the Glenn Miller Gardens, live music at Songbirds and several dining and imbibing options. There is also Lovers Leap at Rock City, Lookout Mountain with Ruby Falls, the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States, and Audubon Acres, a 130-acre nature sanctuary. Families can have fun together in one of the best places to live in Tennessee by visiting the Chattanooga Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium and Creative Discovery Museum.
Fifty miles northwest of Nashville is Clarksville, where community and access to family-friendly entertainment is part of the fabric of the city. Living in Clarksville means meeting friends at the local deli or the vinyl shop downtown. It means trivia nights, enjoying the public art, including murals and sculptures in and near downtown and learning about local history at the museums.
Clarksville is also near Kentucky's Fort Campbell, one of the county's largest military bases. While Clarksville is home to active service members and their families, it's also home to many retired military members who've decided to remain in the area to live and work.
For those who want to live in a community with that close-knit Americana feeling, Franklin fits the bill. Located 30 minutes south of the country music capital of the world, locals can lay down roots in this area and take advantage of outdoor family-friendly activities like heading to the farmers' markets, hiking and biking along the trails.
Unlike busier cities around Tennessee, living in Franklin is pretty quiet when it comes to nightlife. Other than smaller venues that welcome live entertainment on weekends, most head to Nashville for evening fun.
Known as the city by the lake, those living in Hendersonville know they're lucky to live in such close proximity to Old Hickory Lake. The lake allows plenty of opportunities to fish, boat, kayak and enjoy other water activities.
Historic Rock Castle gives visitors a glimpse into the history of one of the best places to live in Tennessee located 18 miles northeast of Nashville.
Knoxville is located in East Tennessee. The city is nestled between the lush forests, streams and waterfalls of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area with its whitewater paddling, rock climbing, horseback riding and hiking trails.
It's also home to the state's largest and most famous university: the University of Tennessee. While it's three hours from Nashville and four hours from Chattanooga, those living in Knoxville appreciate having more space and a tighter-knit community than their larger urban neighbors while still having access to great restaurants, food trucks, brewing companies and thriving farmers' markets.
Memphis has a long and storied history with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is located in Memphis. In 1991, the two-story motel was converted into the National Civil Rights Museum, where it features exhibits that trace the history of the movement in the country from the 17th century to the present.
Today, several neighborhoods make up the vibrant city, one of the best places to live in Tennessee. From Downtown with views of the Mississippi River to Hickory Hill and East Memphis areas just east of Downtown with a more suburban feel, to the north and south areas. Memphis also features the Memphis Zoo which houses more than 3,500 animals, Shelby Farms Park, one of the country's largest urban parks and, of course, the birthplace of the blues and home to Graceland.
Located about 17 miles east of Downtown Nashville, Mt. Juliet is sometimes called the city between the lakes since it's between Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake. The family-friendly community is complete with a farmers market, plenty of parks with football fields, volleyball courts and even “Bark Park," a 3/4 –acre fenced-in area for our furry friends to meet and play.
Located about an hour southeast of Nashville, living in Murfreesboro allows residents to have the best of both worlds: a suburban atmosphere with access to big-city entertainment. Sometimes referred to as “The 'Boro" by locals, Murfreesboro is home to Middle Tennessee State University, as well as great restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Cannonsburgh Village allows locals and visitors to go back in time as the reproduction pioneer village features a gristmill, schoolhouse and general store.
Murfreesboro has eight city parks for locals to enjoy outdoor adventures whether it's playing tennis, baseball or simply enjoying the waterfalls along a hike. While its historic downtown isn't huge, The Square is where many people meet up, where the annual Christmas tree is lit and events like Jazz Fest and Friday Night Live take place. Main Street includes charming restaurants, antique shops and boutiques.
Known as Music City and the Country Music Capital of the World, it's not hard to find great live music at any of Nashville's famous music venues, including Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry or the Cannery Ballroom at Station Inn. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum showcases permanent and rotating (and online) exhibits.
Still, there's more to living in Nashville than its music. The city, located in the north-central region of the state, has a thriving food scene with world-class restaurants and charming coffee shops, and the Nashville Zoo delights young and old. Since there are different neighborhoods with their own charm and character, whether it's Downtown, West End, East Nashville or Germantown, it's easy to check out areas throughout Nashville and enjoy what each has to offer.
Tennessee may be known for its music scene but there's so much more than great music throughout the state. Whether you're looking for an active nightlife environment or something a bit more family-friendly, there are apartments for rent in Tennessee that will fit your interests and budget in one of these best places to live in Tennessee.