Nashville is the capital of the State of Tennessee (USA) and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the music, health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and universities. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee. It is most notably known as a center of the music industry, earning it the nickname "Music City".
Nashville has a consolidated city–county government which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. As of the 2010 census the population of the city of Nashville, not including the semi-independent municipalities, stood at 601,222. The population of Davidson County as a whole, including all municipalities, was 626,681. Nashville is the second largest city in Tennessee, after Memphis, and the fourth largest city in the Southeastern United States. The 2010 population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,589,934, making it the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state. The 2010 population of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 1,670,890.
Nashville has a humid subtropical climate, with generally cool to moderately cold winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly averages range from 37.7 °F (3.2 °C) in January to 79.4 °F (26.3 °C) in July, with a diurnal temperature variation of 18.2 to 23.0 °F (10 to 13 °C). In the winter months, snowfall does occur in Nashville but is usually not heavy. Average annual snowfall is about 5.8 inches (15 cm), falling mostly in January and February and occasionally March and December. The largest snow event since 2000 was on January 16, 2003, when Nashville received 7 inches (18 cm) of snow in a single storm; the largest on record was 17 inches (43 cm), received on March 17, 1892.
Rainfall is typically greater in winter and spring while autumn is the driest. Spring and fall are generally warm but prone to severe thunderstorms, which occasionally bring tornadoes — with recent major events on April 16, 1998; April 7, 2006; February 5, 2008; April 10, 2009; and May 1–2, 2010. Relative humidity in Nashville averages 83% in the mornings and 60% in the afternoons, which is considered moderate for the Southeastern United States. In recent decades, due to urban development, Nashville has developed an urban heat island (UHI); especially on cool, clear nights, temperatures are up to 10 °F (5.6 °C) warmer in the heart of the city than in rural outlying areas.
The downtown area of Nashville features a diverse assortment of entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions. The Broadway and 2nd Avenue areas feature entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants. North of Broadway lie Nashville's central business district, Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill and the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. Cultural and architectural attractions can be found throughout the city.
The downtown area of Nashville is easily accessible. Three major interstate highways (I-40, I-65 and I-24) converge near the core area of downtown, and many regional cities are within a day's driving distance.
Nashville's first skyscraper, the Life & Casualty Tower, was completed in 1957 and started the construction of high rises in downtown Nashville. After the construction of the AT&T Building (commonly known to locals as the "Batman Building") in 1994, the downtown area saw little construction until the mid-2000s. Many new residential developments have been constructed or are planned for the various neighborhoods of downtown and midtown. A new high rise office building, The Pinnacle, was opened in 2010.
Many civic and infrastructure projects are either being planned, in progress, or recently completed. A new MTA bus hub was recently completed in downtown Nashville, as was the Music City Star pilot project. Several public parks have been constructed, such as the Public Square. Riverfront Park is scheduled to be extensively updated. The Music City Center, a convention center project, is a 1,200,000 square foot (110,000 m2) convention center with 370,000 square feet (34,000 m2) of exhibit space. It opened in May 2013.
Metro Board of Parks and Recreation owns and manages 10,200 acres (4,100 ha) of land and 99 parks and greenways (comprising more than 3% of the total area of the county).
Warner Parks, situated on 2,684 acres (1,086 ha) of land, consists of a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) learning center, 20 miles (32 km) of scenic roads, 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails, and 10 miles (16 km) of horse trails. It is also the home of the annual Iroquois Steeplechase.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains parks on Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake. These parks are used for activities such as fishing, waterskiing, sailing and boating. The Harbor Island Yacht Club makes its headquarters on Old Hickory Lake, and Percy Priest Lake is home to the Vanderbilt Sailing Club.
Other notable parks in Nashville include Centennial Park, Shelby Park, Cumberland Park, and Radnor Lake State Natural Area.
Although best known for its music, Nashville is a city filled with many dining destinations. Some of the more popular types of local cuisine include hot chicken, hot fish, barbecue, and meat and three. Thanks, in part, to Nashville's foodie culture, the city was ranked as the 13th "snobbiest" city in America according to Travel + Leisure magazine.
Nashville has a vibrant music and entertainment scene spanning a variety of genres. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is the major performing arts center of the city. It is the home of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Opera, the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Nashville Ballet. In September 2006, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened as the home of the Nashville Symphony.
As the city's name itself is a metonym for the country music industry, many popular tourist sites involve country music, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Belcourt Theatre, and Ryman Auditorium. Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry until 1974 when the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House, 9 miles (14 km) east of downtown. The Opry plays there several times a week, except for an annual winter run at the Ryman.
Numerous music clubs and honky-tonk bars can be found in downtown Nashville, especially the area encompassing Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer's Alley, which is often referred to as "the District".
Each year, the CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) brings thousands of country fans to the city. The Tennessee State Fair is also held annually in September.
Nashville was once home of television shows such as Hee Haw and Pop! Goes the Country as well as The Nashville Network. Country Music Television, RFD TV, and Great American Country currently operate from Nashville. The city was also home to the Opryland USA theme park, which operated from 1972 to 1997 before being closed by its owners (Gaylord Entertainment Company) and soon after demolished to make room for the Opry Mills mega-shopping mall.
The Christian pop and rock music industry is based along Nashville's Music Row, with a great influence in neighboring Williamson County. The Christian record companies include EMI Christian Music Group, Provident Label Group and Word Records.
Music Row houses many gospel music, and Contemporary Christian music companies centered around 16th and 17th Avenues South. MusicRow Magazine has been an music industry resource reporting on the location for over 30 years.
Although Nashville was never known as a jazz town, it did have many jazz bands, including The Nashville Jazz Machine led by Dave Converse and its current version, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, led by Jim Williamson, as well as The Establishment, led by Billy Adair. The Francis Craig Orchestra entertained Nashvillians from 1929 to 1945 from the Oak Bar and Grille Room in the Hermitage Hotel. Craig's orchestra was also the first to broadcast over local radio station WSM-AM and enjoyed phenomenal success with a 12-year show on the NBC Radio Network. In the late 1930s, he introduced a newcomer, Dinah Shore, a local graduate of Hume Fogg High School and Vanderbilt University.
Nashville has an active theatre scene, having several professional and community theatre companies. Most notable of the professional companies are Nashville Children's Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, the Dance Theatre of Tennessee and the Tennessee Women's Theater Project. Of the community theatres, Circle Players has been in operation for over 60 years.
Nashville is centrally located at the crossroads of three Interstate Highways: I-40, I-24, and I-65. Interstate 440 is a bypass route connecting I-40, I-65, and I-24 south of downtown Nashville. Briley Parkway connects the north side of the city and its interstates. A number of arterial surface roads called "pikes" radiate from the city center; many carry the names of nearby towns to which they lead. Among these are Clarksville Pike, Gallatin Pike, Lebanon Pike, Murfreesboro Pike, Nolensville Pike, and Franklin Pike.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus transit within the city, out of a newly built hub station downtown. Routes utilize a hub and spoke method. Expansion plans include use of Bus rapid transit for new routes, with the possibility for local rail service at some point in the future.
The city is served by Nashville International Airport (BNA), which was a hub for American Airlines between 1986 and 1995 and is now a focus city for Southwest Airlines. During 2011, Nashville International was the 34th busiest passenger airport in the U.S. with a total of 4,673,047 passenger boardings. Major airlines serving Nashville include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and AirCanada.
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