When it comes to getting around, Nashville has pros and cons. It’s a fundamentally car-oriented place, with limited public transit. While you’ll usually need some kind of wheels to navigate between neighborhoods, the areas themselves are easily walkable once you get there.
Here are our top tips for getting around Nashville easily and safely.
You’re likely to need some wheels to get around Nashville © Shutterstock / Eric Glenn
Do as the locals do: book a rideshare
Rideshares are far and away the most popular form of transportation when it comes to navigating Nashville, especially if you plan on indulging in an alcoholic beverage or two. Both Lyft and Uber are active in the city. Generally, the only time you’ll have trouble finding a ride is during major events like NFL games and Bridgestone Arena concerts.
Pro tip: if you’re trying to get a ride from downtown at the end of the night, prices tend to surge at closing time, especially if you’re all the way in the city center. Save a few bucks (and the headache of trying to find your ride) by walking to thoroughfares like Korean Veterans Boulevard or Rosa L Parks Avenue/8th Avenue and calling from there.
For maximum flexibility, rent a car
If you need to go where you want when you want, a rental car is probably the thing for you; this is an especially convenient option if you want to explore some of the neighboring state parks. All major rental car companies are available at the airport and many outposts around the city.
Be smart about parking
This is where it pays to be a bit savvy. Parking is plentiful downtown but it can be expensive, ranging anywhere from $20 to $40 for an evening. Check rideshare prices before you go: you may save some cash by leaving the car at home.
Outside of downtown, you won’t have much difficulty finding cheap or free parking, though East Nashville can get a bit crowded on weekends and you might have to walk a while to and from your parking spot.
The Nashville Trolley is handy for getting to major Downtown sights © Shutterstock / Fotoluminate LLC
Sightsee downtown with the Nashville Trolley
If you want to learn a bit about Music City while you get around, book a day of Old Town Trolley access. For $47 you’ll get a day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off access around downtown’s biggest sights – the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and more – plus insights from the driver/historian.
Make the most of your budget with Nashville’s WeGo buses
Nashville’s public transit options may be limited, but they aren’t totally absent – the city’s WeGo buses circulate through all main avenues in the city and offer a budget-friendly way to get around. Service can be slow – buses depart from popular stops every half hour or so, and some routes only have a bus every hour. They also don’t run late in the evening, but it’s a viable option for daytime travel.
A Nashville BCycles rental station in Downtown © Alamy Stock Photo
Take in the skyline on Nashville’s BCycles
Historically, Nashville has not been the most bike-friendly destination, but this is changing as the city institutes more protected bike lanes as part of the most recent transport plan (the newest addition is the corridor along 12 South Avenue).
The city’s public bike system BCycle has parking stations in most major neighborhoods, where riders can snag e-bikes for varying rates depending on pass type and ride length. At the time of writing, riders are permitted to use these bikes on greenways and in parks.
Check out the local nonprofit Walk Bike Nashville for news regarding pedestrian and cycling developments, bike route maps, and special events.
Hire scooters can be a quick and easy way to get around Nashville © Shutterstock / Paul McKinnon
Let’s talk about scooters
Ah, the electric two-wheel scooter. Many major US cities have them these days and they do offer a quick solution for immediate transport needs across distances that are too long to walk but feel too short for a car. Nashville is no exception – you’ll find scooters in most neighborhoods, from the usual companies like Lime, Lyft and Bird. That said, it’s essential to ride smart on these, and to skip them altogether if you’ve been drinking; accidents are common.
Accessible transportation in Nashville
Unfortunately, Nashville has a lot of work to do to become an accessible city – sidewalks are notoriously damaged, blocked, or nonexistent, and wheelchair-accessible motorized transport is limited. That said, WeGo buses are wheelchair accessible, as are the Old Town Trolleys. Music City Taxi offers wheelchair-accessible transportation but these must be booked in advance and are often limited in availability.