So you’ve made the decision to move to Nashville. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, you’ve made an excellent choice.
Now that you’re here, you’ll be spending the next several months getting acquainted with the city and all it has to offer, including local events, small businesses and your neighbors. In order to speed up the process, we’re sharing a few tips and tricks for becoming a true local in Nashville, from getting a new license plate to frequenting local eateries, music venues and shops.
Welcome to Nashville!
Get a Tennessee Driver License + License Plates
Driving around with an out-of-state license plate is a sure way to stick out as a newcomer or visitor. As soon as you make the move to Nashville, make a plan to get to the DMV to switch over your license plate and get a Tennessee license. And if you’re moving from elsewhere in Tennessee, you’ll still need to fill out a Tennessee DMV Change of Address! Here is more information about changing your address. And here is a collection of resources for new residents, which includes necessary documents and other requirements to be prepared for.
TIP: Obtain your drivers license at a driver service center. In Davidson County, there’s one on Hart Lane and Hickory Hollow.
Car registrations are processed at the county clerk’s office, which requires a second appointment. The Davidson County Clerk is located in various offices throughout the Greater Nashville Area, which means this will be a quick errand for you!
Pro Tip: Get to the DMV early in the morning to avoid the long wait we all dread! If possible, get there before they open and wait in line outside so you’re one of the first to be helped.
Get a Library Card
In the age of Amazon, it’s easy to forget about one of the most amazing resources at our fingertips: the public library system. And we have an excellent library system here in Nashville! The Nashville Public Library has 20 branches throughout the metro area, including the main branch in the heart of downtown. Become a true local by getting a library card to gain access to this incredible resource, including the ability to check out physical books, audiobooks, eBooks, and more.
Plus, the library hosts a number of events for all ages — check out the events calendar here!
Explore our Amazing Parks
No matter the size of your yard, you can take advantage of the shared “backyard” of the amazing parks scattered throughout the Nashville area. A few favorites include The Warner Parks, Centennial Park, Radnor Lake State Park, Beaman Park, McCabe Park, and Shelby Bottoms. Each of these parks offers a variety of amenities, including miles of trails to explore on foot, bike, or with your dog! Many locals make walking through a neighborhood park part of their daily or weekly routine.
Plus, the library hosts a number of events for all ages — check out the events calendar here!
Get Some Sports Gear
Nashville is a great place for sports fans, as we have a variety of teams to support — and a dedicated fan base! But one thing you may be surprised to find out: Nashville is quite the hockey town. Go to a Preds game to see what the hype is all about — and take it to the next level by getting some Preds gear on your way out.
And with the newly built GEODIS Park, Nashville SC is turning us into a soccer town as well! And of course, we’ve always had the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Sounds, our Minor League Baseball team.
Start going to local sports games to cheer on your (new) favorite team. Bonus points if you get a t-shirt or jersey — or better yet, a flag to hang on your front porch!
Adopt a Dog
You know what they say! “If you come to Nashville without a dog, one will be administered to you.” Every morning and afternoon, you’ll see a parade of dog owners and their four-legged companions making their daily loop through the neighborhood.
If you don’t already have a dog, you might consider adopting one at a local shelter! The Nashville Humane Association is a great place to start. You can even choose to foster a dog if you’re not quite sure you can take on the long-term responsibility, or go straight to adoption if you’re ready to add a new member to the family.
Pro Tip: Having a dog is one of the best ways to meet new people! The dog community is strong in Nashville, and it’s common to strike up a conversation with complete strangers just because you have a dog. Go to dog-friendly breweries, restaurants and coffee shops to meet other dog lovers in the city.
Shop at the Farmer’s Market
During the spring, summer and fall, there’s no better source for produce and pantry items than a local farmers’ market. And here in Nashville, we have plenty popping up throughout the city on a weekly basis, including the daily Nashville Farmers’ Market next to Bicentennial Park.
This year-round market hosts a variety of different booths selling all sorts of things, including honey, meat, fruit, vegetables, tea, juice, and more, plus a variety of handmade products, like pottery, jewelry, candles, soap, and more. And inside, choose from an array of different types of food, including Greek, Italian, Mexican, Jamaican, and much more.
Volunteer With or Donate to a Local Non-Profit
Here at Magnolia, we firmly believe in the power of giving back to the community, whether it’s through the donation of our time, resources or money. There are plenty of organizations in our midst that are doing incredible things for those in need within our community, including the Nashville Rescue Mission, Hands On Nashville, Habitat for Humanity, Thistle Farms, and more.
Find out how you can get involved with these organizations, whether you’d like to volunteer your time or donate money to support their mission.
Register to VoteOne of the best ways to get involved in a community is by registering to vote — and making your voice heard in each election, including the smaller local elections! As soon as you have become an official resident of Davidson County, you can register to vote here and learn more about upcoming elections, including polling locations and how to update your address, here.
Go to a Concert
The music scene in Nashville is second to none. There’s a reason our nickname is Music City! Once you’ve checked the iconic Ryman off your bucket list, head to some of the smaller venues scattered throughout town, including EXIT/IN, Marathon Music Works, Brooklyn Bowl, Mercy Lounge, the Basement East, and others. Here, you can hear just about any genre of music from both local and national touring artists.
Eat at Local Restaurants
When you’ve visited Nashville in the past, it’s likely you found yourself in a long line waiting to sink your teeth into the famous “hot chicken” everyone raves about. Or maybe you spent an evening dodging in and out of honky tonks on Broadway. Don’t get us wrong — we have a soft spot in our hearts for hot chicken and the music scene on Broadway, but it’s not really where the locals hang out on a regular basis.
When you move here, make it a point to eat at local restaurants, rather than large chain restaurants or tourist hot spots. Don’t worry — you won’t have trouble finding exceptional local restaurants throughout the city!
Similarly, go out of your way to shop at local shops and boutiques when searching for a new outfit, home decor, or a gift for a loved one. There are so many talented makers and small business owners in Nashville, and one way to make sure they succeed is by giving them your business! Hit up a number of local shops at once by going to L+L Market, the Shops at Porter East, 12 South, and The Factory at Franklin.
Everyone knows Nashville is the place for great music, great drinks, & great food, but don’t forget that the inner child needs a chance to shine as well!
Music City has you covered with an array of options that will bring out the kid in you. Throw on a pair of socks and bowling shoes at the recently opened Eastside Bowl or staples like Donelson Bowl or Donelson Strike & Spare, brush up on everyone’s favorite Olympic sport with a little curling at Tee Line, tap into memories of school field trips with a visit to Adventure Science Center (especially on their adults only event evenings), game it up at Pins Mechanical or Up-Down, race the track or hit a hole-in-one at Grand Ole Golf & Go Carts or Music City Indoor Karting, soak up some rays at Opryland Resort’s Soundwaves or Nashville Shores, test your problem solving skills at The Escape Game, or face your fear of heights at SOAR Adventure Tower or The Adventure Park ropes course.
The fun never stops in Nashville!
Make New Friends Within The Community
Allison Carriker recently moved down from New Jersey to join the Magnolia Home Inspection team and shared her experience with building a new network here in Nashville. “Leaving behind a tight friend group who I could count on for both support and good times on the weekend was very difficult. Making friends in a new city felt daunting but the Nashville community, with a reputation for being very welcoming, accepted me and I quickly became connected!
If you’re not sure where to start, check out MeetUp.com to browse various social events, including workout groups, hiking clubs, happy hours for newcomers, and networking events. Eventbrite, Facebook Groups, & local networking groups such as NTi also post events catered to new residents regularly. You’re not alone in your adjustment, many people who reside in Nashville have moved from out of state, and are ready to show you around!”
Magnolia Home Inspections, LLC
Welcome to Music City
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