The 12 Best Suburbs of Nashville to Live In

published Jan 13, 2020
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Millennials are on the move—fleeing massive cities, impossible traffic, and soaring rents—toward the American South. One of the most appealing spots to the music-minded, Southern hospitality-craving transplant is Nashville, Tennessee. Like Austin, Charleston, and other major metropolitan areas, the cost of living in Nashville can be difficult to swallow for some newcomers, leaving many in search of the region’s best suburbs.

Savvy Music City-bound folks have begun taking up residence in the suburbs, which offer more affordable housing opportunities just a short distance from endless career and entertainment possibilities. This is especially true for those who are planning to start a family or already have a brood to manage. Nashville suburbanites truly get the best of both worlds. 

The best thing about Nashville’s suburbs? There’s something for everyone. “Whether it’s the great walkability of East Nashville, the great home prices in Goodlettsville or Madison, or the least amount of traffic coming in from Bellevue, each has their advantages,” explains Zach Opheim, a Nashville-area real estate agent. “[It’s] really up to the consumer to decide which advantage, or advantages, are best for their needs and their lifestyle.”

Impart your signature style on your new suburban domicile in these spots outside Nashville, listed in alphabetical order.

Belle Meade

Median home value: $1,611,414

Be warned, this suburb is Incredible with a capital I, though it’s also extremely expensive. The region’s namesake is the Belle Meade Plantation, where visitors can experience the Journey to the Jubilee tour, which focuses on the African American experience of the mansion and its grounds, among many other tours. Luxury shopping experiences, familiar upscale restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure, including Radnor Lake State Park, beckon families and young professionals alike. 

Bellevue

Technically part of the city of Nashville, Bellevue is a suburban-feeling neighborhood 20 minutes west of downtown. “Bellevue offers great home values, new restaurants, and arguably the best traffic for your weekday commute,” Opheim says. He adds that it’s home of the Ford Ice Center Bellevue, the new practice facility for the Nashville Predators, which is part of the newly built One Bellevue Place. There you can find restaurants, outdoor entertainment, and even a movie theater, making this a great option for families who can’t rely on frequent trips into the city. And it’s a quick drive to one of the area’s most famously delicious restaurants, The Loveless Cafe

Brentwood

“Brentwood is known as being the ‘IT’ suburb of Nashville,” Opheim says. “It is also known for being one of the wealthiest counties in the state. With many company headquarters and a thriving restaurant and shopping economy, Brentwood has so much to offer its residents.” Transplants with a little more money to budget for the cost of living enjoy fantastic public schools, a 10-mile drive to downtown, and a rural feel that doesn’t require residents to sacrifice the benefits of a big city. But the single most important thing anyone needs to know about this suburb is that Dolly Parton lives there. If you can swing the bill, you can’t go wrong. 

Clarksville

“Clarksville offers a quaint small town feel with great home values and affordable living, while still having the community feel you hope for in a southern town,” Opheim explains. The Clarksville Downtown Market is a popular place for locals. Other family-friendly festivals include the Wonder Kids Triathlon, the Clarksville Christmas Parade, and the Movies in the Park program. If you want to live in the type of community you might see in a Hallmark Christmas movie or a show about a big-city gal who starts over in a small town and wins over the locals, Clarksville is for you. 

East Nashville

East Nashville is an effortlessly cool area that teeters on the edge of neighborhood and suburb. “Some may say East Nashville could be considered an extension of downtown, but with the walkability, hip restaurants and bars, and [proximity] to downtown, East Nashville is one of the hottest areas right now,” Opheim says. Located northeast of downtown, this place has moxie. With dive bars, must-try culinary experiences, and local artists doing their thing, it’s the ideal place for young folks who crave a residential setting but want daily doses of the thrill of the city. (Taste a cocktail or two at my favorite spot, Rosemary, at Five Points.)

Fairview

While this spot is one of the furthest from downtown Nashville on the list, Opheim says Fairview is an “up and coming area hosting a lot of new neighborhood developments.” As Nashville continues to expand, you’ll be happy you got in on the Fairview goodness before everyone else. Due to its distance from downtown, this location is especially appealing to active families and folks who just want to spend time outdoors. You can enjoy 700 acres of nature, including trails and lakes, at Bowie Park and Nature Center. The Nashville Natives nursery also boasts gardens and prairies filled with plants native to Tennessee.

Credit: Image Credit: James R. Martin/Shutterstock.com

Franklin

Looking for some real Southern hospitality? “Franklin offers great family homes with a true Southern feel,” Opheim says. As the father of two babies nearing their first birthdays, he understands the pace families need to get through the day to day. While a city escape is easy as pecan pie, charming downtown Franklin boasts antique stores, boutiques, historic homes, and other sites you’d expect from, well, a charming downtown. Family-friendly festivals like Mainstreet Brewfest and Pumpkinfest also delight residents.

Goodlettsville

“If you’re looking for a rural feel on an acre of land, Goodlettsville is your answer,” Opheim says. Drive back home after a day in the city and stretch out under a vast Tennessee sky. Farmland, rolling hills, and wildlife are just around the corner from shopping centers, the airport, and downtown. This sweet taste of southern life is just north of Nashville and offers its own downtown district as well.

Hendersonville

Home to Johnny and June Carter Cash—ever heard of ‘em?—for over 30 years, the City by the Lake is sure to please. (It pleased Taylor Swift back in the day, when she lived here and briefly attended high school in town.) Opheim shares, “Many people live in this area to either live on the lakefront, or recreationally use it. It has a new downtown area of its own, and a hot spot for new restaurants and shops.” Summer barbecue enthusiasts would fit in perfectly here.

Mount Juliet

If you’re relocating with family, Opheim says Mount Juliet is the place to plant your roots. “While home values are steadily rising, you are able to get a three- or four-bedroom family home on a good-sized lot,” Opheim says “With the impressive schools of Wilson County, this is a popular destination for families raising children.” As a relatively new community, infrastructure is growing, businesses are booming, and more folks are relocating to this region every year. Known as the “City Between the Lakes,” residents enjoy nearby recreational opportunities, a farmer’s market, and quick access both to downtown Nashville and the Appalachian Mountains.

Murfreesboro

Sports fans and history buffs flock to Murfreesboro, home to Middle Tennessee State University. With a piece of American history, Stones River National Battlefield, this suburb offers lessons on the Civil War right in your backyard. The aptly named Cannonsburgh Village is near the battlefield and showcases Tennessean life in the 1800s. Spend the day exploring log cabins and old schoolhouses, then catch a Blue Raider game. You could say Murfreesboro has the best of both time periods—all 45 minutes southeast of downtown Nashville.

Thompson’s Station

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in the city but are looking for an actual escape, Thompson’s Station might be just the spot for you. A Civil War battlefield region, Thompson’s Station offers acres of wooded adventure at Deer Run Retreat Center, where you can hike trails, take a forest bath, and even pitch a tent for the night. Residents (and visitors) interested in American history can visit Homestead Manor, where the Battle of Thompson’s Station took place in 1863. And the H Clark Distillery offers Tennessee gin, bourbon, and whiskey to sip on your porch (because you’ll have to have a porch, right?).