Top 7 Cities in Tennessee: Where to Live in TN (2024)

The best cities in Tennessee include Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, and Memphis. See what other towns comprise the best places to live in TN.

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Top 7 Cities in Tennessee: Where to Live in TN (2024)

Posted by Gary Ashton on Friday, March 29th, 2024 at 12:04pm.

Tennessee Best Cities

Choosing the best cities in Tennessee can be a tall order; each offers its unique charm and opportunities. Whether a long-time resident looking for a new place to live or a homebuyer moving to Tennessee, starting your search by learning about some of the state’s top cities is a must. Weigh your options based on key factors like job markets, cost of living, housing, and local culture, without the hype. Ready to explore the best Tennessee has to offer, from Nashville’s bustling streets to the serene ambiance of Franklin? Let’s dive in.

Highlights of The Volunteer State

  • Nashville stands out for its strong job market in various industries, a vibrant cultural scene, and a healthy real estate market in several desirable locations.
  • Chattanooga enjoys a blend of urban and outdoor living, with a resilient real estate market reflecting a growing interest in the scenic city’s lifestyle and waterfront developments.
  • Affordability and academic opportunities define cities like Knoxville and Johnson City, while Memphis and Franklin balance historical charm with a growing healthcare sector and educational commitment, respectively.


Our first stop takes us to the heart of Music City: Nashville. Known worldwide as the home of country music, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville’s top attractions and neighborhoods make for a city that pulses with a rhythm all its own. Here, vibrant neighborhoods like Downtown Nashville and The Gulch offer urban living, while areas like Belle Meade and East Nashville are known for their historic homes and artistic atmospheres.

Nashville’s job market is flourishing, with opportunities in music, automotive, healthcare, and the service and hospitality industries tied to its musical heritage.

The Pulse of Nashville Real Estate

If you’re considering living in Tennessee, Nashville’s real estate market is a melody worth tuning into. Frequently ranked as one of the strongest in the nation, this market is bolstered by steady population growth. A single-family home in Nashville ranges from just south of $400,000 to upwards of $10 million. Some of Nashville’s top neighborhoods include Wedgewood-Houston, Green Hills, Belle Meade, and the Forest Hills community.

Cultural Beats: Entertainment & Education

Nashville isn’t just a music city; it’s also an active city with abundant educational options at all levels. Schools in Nashville include public, private, and higher educational institutions, including Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. The city boasts a rich cultural landscape, from film festivals to Oktoberfest, and not to mention professional sports teams.

And if music is your jam, the city’s musical heritage is celebrated in events like the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival and free summer concerts, while the Adventure Science Center offers interactive exhibits for all ages.

Work and Play in Music City

Living in Nashville isn’t just about the vibrant downtown area or the live music. It’s about finding the perfect balance of work and play. The job growth in Nashville is expected to rise over the next decade, indicating a strong and stable economy. Major employers include HCA Healthcare, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Nissan, among others.


Living in the City of Franklin

Let’s shift gears and explore the quiet appeal of Franklin, Tennessee, one of Nashville’s best suburbs. This charming town is known for its beautiful scenery, friendly neighborhoods, and educational commitment.

Franklin has experienced a significant population increase. The real estate market in Franklin is diverse, offering everything from spacious bungalows and newly constructed townhomes to sprawling ranches.

Franklin Real Estate

Franklin’s real estate sweet spot lies in its diversity and charm. Homes for sale in Franklin include townhomes and detached homes, condos, and sprawling estates. While prices start in the $200s, the average sold price for homes here is more than $800,000. The most expansive luxury homes in Franklin are typically priced from $1 million to more than $15 million.

Many of Franklin’s historic homes can be found in the Leipers Fork area; these homes are known for their quaint and charming character, often featuring classic charm and antique fixtures.

Franklin's Commitment to Education

Education is a cornerstone of the Franklin community. The city is part of the Williamson County School District, which educates approximately 42,000 students at a given time. The district has 52 schools and is often viewed as a leader in academic achievement. 


Heading southeast from Downtown Nashville, we arrive in Chattanooga, the scenic city along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Chattanooga’s picturesque landscape offers an abundance of wildlife along the Tennessee River, Nickajack Lake, and Chickamauga Lake. The city is a hub of convenience and local culture, with vibrant neighborhoods like Downtown, North Shore, and Hixson offering a blend of urban living and outdoor adventures.

Chattanooga's Housing Highlights

Chattanooga’s housing market is a reflection of the city’s natural beauty and vibrant downtown area. The average home value in Chattanooga has increased over the past year, signaling a strong and growing housing market. Homes are typically priced from the mid-$100s to around $2 million, but their median listing price in the low $300s translates to abundant, affordable options.

Amid economic fluctuations, Chattanooga’s real estate market has proven to be resilient and stable, making it an attractive option for buyers and investors.

Living the Good Life by the Water

Life by the water in Chattanooga is as good as it gets. The city’s riverfront revitalization has reenergized the area and reestablished a strong connection to its historical roots along the Tennessee River.

The Walnut Street Bridge, once slated for demolition, now serves as a bustling pedestrian pathway, infusing vibrancy into the heart of the city’s community life. Be sure to check out Chattanooga’s great parks and open spaces, including the Enterprise South Nature Park.


Our journey now takes us to Knoxville, a city that perfectly blends Southern charm with modern vibes. As a college town, Knoxville pulsates with the collegiate energy of the University of Tennessee, particularly evident on game days at the immense Neyland Stadium and through the vibrant business community catering to students.

Knoxville's Affordable Housing Landscape

Knoxville’s affordable housing landscape is one of its many appeals. Here are some key statistics about Knoxville’s housing market:

  • Single-family homes in Knoxville typically range from $300,000 to upwards of $5 million.
  • Knoxville’s housing market is somewhat competitive
  • Homes in Knoxville are typically single-family detached homes

Knoxville's Downtown and Outdoor Adventures

Knoxville’s downtown area and outdoor attractions provide residents with diverse leisure options and scenic green spaces. One such attraction is the World’s Fair Park, once the stage for the 1982 World’s Fair. This prominent downtown park features interactive fountains, pathways, and the Sunsphere.

The Tennessee River, which eventually joins the Mississippi River, flows through Knoxville, serving as a hub for water activities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The Tennessee Valley Authority plays a role in maintaining the river, providing several parks and docks along its course for recreational access.


Living in the City of Murfreesboro

Now we find ourselves in Murfreesboro, a city that offers the perfect balance of big-city amenities and a small-town feel. Murfreesboro offers the convenience of being close to Nashville and its various opportunities without being caught up in the city’s hustle and bustle.

Residents of Murfreesboro enjoy access to big-city amenities such as the airport, large event venues, and comprehensive healthcare facilities. For residents who work in Nashville’s downtown neighborhoods, the commute is less than 40 miles.

Murfreesboro Real Estate

Murfreesboro’s real estate scene is growing at a steady pace. Homes in Murfreesboro range from around $250,000 for a townhome to the $600s for typical detached homes. Murfreesboro’s luxury homes are typically priced from the $700s to more than $2.5 million. Murfreesboro’s housing market has been increasingly competitive. 

Education and Recreation in Murfreesboro

Wrap up your Middle Tennessee exploration in Murfreesboro, a city that balances quality education and recreation. The bounty of things to do in Murfreesboro stems from its great recreational facilities, including:

  • Patterson Park Community Center
  • Wilderness Station
  • McFadden Community Center
  • Adams Tennis Complex
  • Richard Siegel Soccer Complex

The Patterson Park Community Center and the McFadden Community Center are central to community engagement, offering a variety of programs, a theater, rental spaces, and hosting events.

Johnson City

Johnson City residents enjoy access to diverse outdoor activities such as hiking trails, waterfalls, and water sports like fishing, boating, and kayaking.

Johnson City Real Estate

Johnson City provides affordable housing and prioritizes a cost-effective real estate market. Homes range from around $300,000 to upwards of $2 million. The Johnson City Housing Authority operates neighborhoods that offer affordable renting options, catering to the financial flexibility of residents.

Embracing Nature and Higher Education

Johnson City’s proximity to outdoor attractions and commitment to higher education make it an attractive destination for nature lovers and students alike. Johnson City is a hub of academic activity, with many nearby colleges and universities, including East Tennessee State University. The city is near numerous outdoor areas, including Buffalo Mountain Park, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, and Boone Lake.


Our journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Memphis, a city steeped in history and music. Located on the Mississippi River in the southwest corner of Tennessee, Memphis is just over 200 miles southwest of Davidson County and Nashville.

Memphis’s rich music history includes the creation of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s at Sun Studio, where the blending of African American blues and gospel music with American country music took place. Stax Record Company in Memphis played a crucial role in popularizing soul music in the 1960s and 1970s with artists like Otis Redding and The Staple Singers.

The Memphis Housing Market

Memphis’s housing market is as diverse as its music scene, including options to help homebuyers minimize their living costs in Tennessee. Homes range from around $150,000 to just north of $2 million. Memphis offers a variety of popular neighborhoods, including:

  • Chickasaw Gardens
  • Belle Meade
  • Kirby Woods
  • The Cloisters

These neighborhoods highlight the city’s diversity in housing options.

Memphis: A Hub for Healthcare and Blues

Memphis’s rich musical heritage and thriving healthcare industry contribute to its appeal as a destination for both culture and career opportunities for young professionals. Memphis has experienced substantial economic growth in the healthcare and life science industry. 

Tennessee’s Top Cities Await

There you have it – a journey through the diverse cities of Tennessee, each with its unique charm, vibrant communities, and thriving industries. Whether you’re drawn to the music-filled streets of Nashville, the scenic landscapes of Chattanooga, or the educational opportunities in Johnson City, Tennessee offers a city that’s just right for everyone.

Ready to move to the great state of Tennessee? Call The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage with Nashville's MLS at (615) 603-3602 to talk with a real estate agent who can help you find your dream Tennessee home.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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