Fun and interesting Nashville facts

100 Nifty Facts About Nashville

Nashville is famous for its honky-tonk bars and important place in the birth of country and bluegrass music.

Be prepared to find out what else the “Athens of the South” is known for with these fun and interesting facts! Also, read these fun facts about Tennessee, the state where Nashville is located!

General Nashville Facts

  • Nashville is the capital and largest city in the US state of Tennessee.
  • With 678,851 residents, Nashville is the 21st largest city in the United States, putting it between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and El Paso, Texas in terms of population.
  • The Greater Nashville Area, which includes Davidson County and 12 others, has a population of 2 million, making it the 35th largest metropolitan area between Cleveland, Ohio, and San Jose, California.
  • Greater Nashville is similar in size to Panama City, Panama.
  • Around 66.27% of all Tennesseans live in the Greater Nashville Area.
  • Nashville is in the north-central part of this long and skinny state.
  • The city sits at the same latitude as Aleppo, Syria.
A view of Nashville downtown along the Cumberland River, at sunset
Nashville, capital of Tennessee
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in Nashville was 109°F (43°C) in 2012, while the lowest was −17°F (−27°C) in 1985.
  • Nashville was named after Francis Nash, a general during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Some common nicknames for Nashville are Music City, Country Music Capital, Nashvegas, Smashville (from its NHL team), and Athens of the South (due to its dedication to higher learning) and tendency towards Greek-style buildings (including the capitol!)
  • People from Nashville are called Nashvillians.
River and bridge in Nashville from above
  • The Nashville flag shows a blue backdrop with a yellow edge to the right, separated by a thin strip of white. The Seal of Nashville is featured in the center of the flag. The seal shows a Native American holding a scull and standing beside a tobacco plant.
  • Nashville has 8 sister cities, including Edmonton (Canada), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Tamworth (Australia), and Mendoza (Argentina).

Interesting Facts about Nashville Places

  • The beating heart of Downtown Nashville is Broadway, also called Honky Tonk Highway. It consists of several neon-lit blocks lined with with shops, bars, restaurants, clubs, honky-tonks (country music bars), and saloons.
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the world’s largest music museums, and certainly the largest one dedicated to country music. It attracts over a million visitors per year and has over 2 million objects related to the music genre. It is just off Broadway.
A row of neon signs for night clubs in Nashville
Honky-Tonk Highway in Nashville
  • Other museums in the Broadway area include the Johnny Cash Museum, National Museum of African American Music, and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Ryman Auditorium on just off Broadway is known as the “Mother Church of Country Music”. Besides music, the venue has also hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplan, Harry Houdini, and Katharine Hepburn.
  • From 1943 to 1974, Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry, one of the most important country music stages. The weekly country music event is now held out of a newer venue north-east of the city center.
  • Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, the most famous honky-tonk on Broadway, has seen performances by Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Roger Miller in its early days.
  • Music City Walk of Fame, Nashville’s country version of Hollywood’s Walk of Farm, has over 70 names since its establishment in 2006. Inductees include Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Kid Rock, Elvis Presley, and Roy Orbison.
Neon sign that says Nashville: the Music City on a brick wall
Nashville: the Music City
  • Yet another famous street, just off Broadway, is Music Row. This street and area is packed with music production companies, recording studios, record labels, and radio stations. Artists like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton recorded hits there at RCA Studio B.
  • Nashville’s Centennial Park is home to a full-scale replica of the Parthenon. It built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state of Tennessee. The idea for the replica was sparked by one of Nashville’s nicknames: Athens of the South, which existed before it was built.
  • The Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville is one of only in the US that has a tower rather than dome. James K. Polk, 11th president of the US, is buried there.
  • Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the US, also lived in Nashville, and his former Hermitage is one of the city’s most famous sights.
Statue of former president Andrew Jackson riding a horse
Andrew Jackson statue in Nashville
  • The tallest building in Nashville is AT&T Building, which has 33 floors and stands 617 ft (188 m) tall.
  • Nashville has 6 National Historic Landmarks: the Tennessee State Capitol, Ryman Auditorium, Old First Presbyterian Church, Jubilee Hall (Fisk University), Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage (belonging to the 7th president of the US), and George Peabody College for Teachers.
  • The Lane Motor Museum houses the nation’s largest collection of European cars and motorcycles, with more than 330 automobiles.
  • The Warner Parks are twin parks: Percy Warner Park and Edwin Warner Park. The parks span thousands of acres on the edge of the city. The parks are visited by over a million people, or more than the city proper’s total population, every year.
  • The Tennessee State Prison has the appearance of an eerie medieval castle, with its chamber windows and spiked towers. In fact, the now-abandoned prison has been featured in several movies, including Ernest Goes to Jail, Against the Wall, and The Green Mile.
Replica of the Parthenon in a grassy field in Nashville
Parthenon replica in Nashville
  • Music City Pinball in Nashville has over of the country’s largest collection of pinball machines (around 100!) and arcaded games.
  • In the outskirts of Nashville, there is a large Hindu temple called the Sri Ganesha Temple – not quite what you would expect to find in this city!

Nashville Economy and Society Facts

  • The Greater Nashville area has the 34th largest economy in the United States, between the Greater Kansas City area in Kansas/Missouri and the Greater Columbus area.
The logos of Goo Goo Clusters and Cracker barrel, two Nashville companies
Two famous born-in-Nashville brands
  • Brands you might recognize from Nashville are Cracker Barrel restaurant and Goo Goo Clusters, considered the city’s official candy.
  • Gibson Guitars, originally founded in Michigan, is today headquartered in Nashville.
  • United Record Pressing in Nashville is the country’s largest record pressing, making up to 60,000 records per day.
  • There are about 20 colleges and universities in the Nashville area, with the largest being Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University. The city attracted many scholars in the 1800s, which is why it came to be called Athens of the South.
  • Nashville’s crime rate is about half that of St. Louis, Missouri, but double that of Norfolk, Virginia.
Red brick exterior of Vanderbilt University framed by greenery and blue sky
Vanderbilt University, the city’s largest
  • The Nashville International Airport is the 31st busiest airport in the US. It served 18 million passengers in 2019.
  • Nashville has 3 billionaires with a combined net worth of 20.7 billion USD.
  • The richest person in Nashville is Thomas Frist, Jr., with a net worth of 15.4 billion USD. He is the founder of HCA Healthcare, the city’s only Fortune 500 Company.
  • 14.38% of people in Nashville live below the poverty line.
  • 64.5% of Nashville Residents (Davidson County) voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, although statewide 60% voted for Trump.
A white bowl of Nashville Hot chicken
Nashville Hot chicken, a signature local dish
  • Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the US. Kurds are an Iranian group of people who live across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
  • McKissack and McKissack in Nashville is the oldest African American architectural firm in the country.
  • Nashville Hot chicken (basically fried chicken coated in hot sauce), the cotton candy machine (invented by a dentist!), and vinyl were invented in Nashville.
  • Movies filmed in Nashville include The Last Castle, Forever My Girl, Walk the Line, The Song, I Can Only Imagine, and The Butler.

Nashville Sports Facts

  • Nissan Stadium is the home stadium of the Titans and (from 2020-21 only) the Nashville SC.
  • The Titans one of 12 teams that have never won the Super Bowl. They only made it to the finals once in 2000 but lost to the St. Louis Rams.
  • They were however the only team during the 1999 NFL season that managed to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The logos of the three professional sports teams from Nashville
Nashville’s three pro sports teams
  • The Titans were originally based in Texas, as the Houston Oilers. After they moved, they were the Nashville Oilers for the first season.
  • The Titans are the only NFL team to have two players rush for 2000 yards in a single season.
  • The Nashville Predators also have yet to win a Stanley Cup, but they have a lot of local support. They are known to “smash” the puck, which has led to Nashville being called Smashville.
  • Predators fans have been known to throw dead catfish onto the ice.

Famous Nashville People

  • Three US presidents were born in South Carolina or North Carolina but moved to and grew their careers in Nashville: Andrew Jackson (7th US president), James K. Polk (11th), and Andrew Johnson (17th).
  • Musicians Billy Ray Cyrus, his daughters Miley Cyrus and Noah Cyrus, Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), and Kitty Wells were born in Nashville.
  • Famous bands from Nashville include Kings of Leon, Paramore, The Dead Weather,
  • Several famous musicians were born in other parts of Tennessee but rose to fame in the city and in Memphis. These included Bessie Smith, Chet Atkins, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, Justin Timberlake, and many more.
Portraits of three members of the Cyrus family of musicians from Nashville
The Cyrus family of Nashville
  • Many musicians born out of state also rose to fame, currently live, or died in Nashville, such as Johnny Cash, Pat Boone, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Kesha, and many more.
  • Other famous people who were born in Nashville include NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton, wrestler Jeff Jarrett, actor Colin Ford, actress Annie Potts, former president of Nicaragua William Walker
  • Morris Frank, a blind man who co-founded The Seeing Eye (the country’s first seeing eye dog school) was born in Nashville.
  • Elvis Presley only performed once in Nashville, at the Grand Old Opry in 1954.

Nashville History Facts

  • The earliest traces of human presence in the area of Nashville goes back 15,000 years.
  • Mount Bottom, just west of Nashville, was home to the Mississippian culture from around 1000 years ago, but this culture disappeared from the area around 1500 AD. After that, other Native groups hunted in the area.
A tree standing beside the Cumberland River
The Cumberland River as early explorers would have seen it
  • In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, American explorers James Robertson and John Donelson established Fort Nashborough by the Cumberland River. With around 20 log huts, it would eventually become Nashville. At the time, it was part of North Carolina.
  • Nashville was incorporated as a town in 1784 and a city in 1806.
  • When Tennessee became a state in 1796, Nashville became its capital.
  • The Tennessee General Assembly relocated from Knoxville to Nashville in 1812, but Nashville didn’t become the capital until 1843.
  • In 1823, Nashville Toll Bridge became the first in the state to cross the Cumberland River. The ruins of it are below today’s Victoria Memorial Bridge.
  • Nashville’s population reached 10,000 around 1850.
Exterior of Tennessee State Capitol with trees on side
The Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville
  • In 1851, the Nashville Gas Light Company began operation.
  • Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway began operation in 1851.
  • The public school system was inaugurated in 1852.
  • Fisk University, historically black and the first post-secondary institution in the city, was established in 1866.
  • Vanderbilt University, largest in the city today, was established in 1873.
A black and white image of students at FISK university sitting on the steps
Students at FISK University in the late 1800s
  • In 1897, Nashville’s Parthenon was opened to celebrate the state’s 100th birthday.
  • The city’s population reached 100,000 around 1905.
  • In 1918, two trains collided head-on in Nashville, killing over 100.
  • Nashville’s first radio station, WDAA, began broadcasting in 1922.
  • In 1925, the first performance of the Grand Old Opry took place.
  • In the 1950s, Nashville Sound, a subgenre of country, emerged in the city. In part it was an attempt to revive country after the rise of rock n roll. Big names included Jim Reeves, Brenda Lee, and Patsy Cline.
Exterior of Ryman Auditorium building in Nashville
Ryman Auditorium, one of Nashville’s most important historic venues
  • Elvis Presley performed for the first and only time in Nashville in 1954.
  • The first recording studio in Music Row opened in 1955.
  • In 1960, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, the famous honky-tonk, first opened.
  • In the early 1960s, the Nashville Student Movement were considered the most effective of all the student movements against racial segregation in the South.
  • The Country Museum Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1961.
  • In 1980, Nashville’s Hindu Sri Ganesha Temple was established.
Row of honky tonk bars in Nashville at night
Row of honky-tonks, with AT&T Building behind
  • In 1987, the local airport was rebuilt and renamed from Berry Field to Nashville International Airport.
  • The city’s population reached half a million around the early 1990s.
  • A series of large tornados in the areas of Nashville killed 12 people in 1998.
  • In 2018, Amazon opened its east coast logistics and retail center in Nashville.
  • In December 2020, a car bomb went off in Nashville, killing three people.
River, ship, and skyline of Nashville at night
Nashville today
  • From 2020 to 2021, the city’s famous music scene took a major hit due to COVID restrictions on concert venues.
  • In 2021, Nashville hosted the first Music City Grand Prix race car event.

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