Many vehicles driving in a busy street in Nashville

Getting Around Nashville (A Local’s Transportation Guide) 

There are at least 8 ways of getting around Nashville. 

The best transportation for you will depend on the things you want to do in Nashville, where you stay, and your budget. You’ll also need to consider your patience and preferred level of comfort.

As a Nashville local, I’ve listed out the different transportation options in Nashville. I’ll go over the pros and cons of each way of getting around the city.

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8 Ways to Get Around in Nashville 

Rental Cars

🚗 Best for: freedom to explore, saving time
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Discover Cars

Cars driving along the lower Broadway Downtown Nashville
Cars lined up on lower Broadway (photo: Josiah True / Shutterstock)

Renting a car is the easiest way to get around Music City. The city was designed for vehicles. Other methods of transportation are not nearly as effective.

Unless you are planning to stay in a hotel in downtown Nashville and mostly visit attractions nearby, a rental car is the best method of getting around Nashville. Be aware that most downtown hotels will charge a parking fee.

Plus, a car allows you to take day trips from Nashville to other places in Tennessee.

You can use the search engine at Discover Cars to find the best deal on a car rental in Nashville.

Pros of Rental Cars: 

  • Can easily explore the city
  • More options for where to stay
  • Efficient

Cons of Rental Cars: 

  • Have to navigate traffic
  • Expensive
  • Parking can be pricey

Ride shares

🚘 Best for: Comfort, flexibility
💵 Cost: $$ – $$$
👉 Where to Book: Uber, Lyft

A car with an Uber sticker on it
(photo: Daniel Dror / Shutterstock)

Uber and Lyft are the two most popular ride share companies in Nashville. As long as you have the app on your smartphone, you can get a ride. 

Ride shares are available all over the city including the Nashville airport. There are official dropoff locations near areas like Bridgestone arena to make getting to a Predators game or concert easy.

Even if you have your own vehicle, it can be worth taking a ride share to sometimes. Ride-hailing apps are useful if you plan on drinking.

Pros of Ride Shares: 

  • Easy to use
  • Convenient
  • No worries with parking

Cons of Ride Shares: 

  • Can be expensive
  • Fare depends on demand
  • May have to wait

Taxis

🚕 Best for: Comfort, Reliability
💵 Cost: $$ – $$$
👉 Where to Book: Magic Taxi, Music City Cab

A taxi picking up a passenger in Nashville
(photo: eakkarat rangram / Shutterstock)

Nashville has a decent amount of taxis. You can call taxis in advance or hail a taxi during busy hours in downtown Nashville or in midtown. 

Magic Taxi and Music City Cab have dedicated service to and from the Nashville International  Airport (BNA). Early morning airport pickup is more reliable with taxis, and their rates do not fluctuate the way ride hailing apps do.

Pros of Taxis: 

  • Reliable 
  • Flat rates
  • Easy to schedule

Cons of Taxis: 

  • Need to plan in advance
  • Can get expensive

Buses

🚍 Best for: Saving money
💵 Cost: $
👉 Where to Book: WeGo

It’s possible to get around Nashville on public transportation using the WeGo bus system. Bus service runs through downtown and parts of the city, but it is not a quick way of getting around for most tourists. 

It is economical though. All-day passes are only $5.25. The Music City Circuit starting at Music City Central is free Monday through Saturday. The Green Circuit and Blue Circuit will take you to many of the downtown attractions.

Pros of Buses: 

Cons of Buses: 

  • Limited routes
  • Not always efficient

👉 Local Tip: Have cash on hand if you plan to use any buses besides the Music City Circuit.

Tourist Trolleys

🚎 Best for: Comfort, Fun experience
💵 Cost: $$$
👉 Where to Book: Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tours

A tour bus going around Nashville, Tennessee
Tour Bus in Downtown (photo: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock)

You can see most major Nashville sites in downtown, especially near Broadway, on a variety of tourist vehicles including pedicabs, pedal taverns, and trolleys. Tourist trolleys will allow you to get off and explore most destinations.

Tourist trolleys can be a bit pricey, but they’re an easy way to see many of Nashville’s biggest attractions. They’re a great way to get an overview of Nashville if you’re only in town for a few days. 

👉 Pro Tip: If you love music, take the Nashville Evening Trolley Tour. It will take you by the coolest historic sites in Music City you won’t find on your own. I didn’t even know about some of the sites until I took the tour.

Pros of Tourist Trolleys: 

  • See major attractions easily
  • Entertaining and fun

Cons of Tourist Trolleys: 

  • Expensive
  • Pre-determined stops only

Electric Scooters

🛴 Best for: saving time, short distances
💵 Cost: $ – $$
👉 Where to Book: Bird, Lime, Lyft

The author's husband on a electric scooter in Centennial Park
My husband on a scooter in Centennial Park

For short trips, electric scooters are an easy way to quickly go a couple of miles. Bird, Lime, and Lyft are the biggest companies available in Nashville.

You can use an app to find scooters near you. The downtown area has the highest concentration of scooters. Other areas like East Nashville have some scattered around as well.

📚 Related Reading: Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Nashville.

Pros of Scooters: 

  • Faster than walking
  • Avoid traffic and congestion
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons of Scooters: 

  • Not always easy to locate
  • No dedicated lane for use
  • Not for long distances

Bikes

🚴‍♀️ Best for: leisurely exploring
💵 Cost: $
👉 Where to Book: B-Cycle

Bikes parked on an area in Nashville

Nashville is slowly becoming more bike-friendly. Some areas have well-designed bike lanes and paths. It really depends on the neighborhood.

Nashville does have a B-Cycle program with over 30 stations throughout the city where you can rent bikes and drop them off at any station. It’s a cool way to explore the city, but the set-up is mostly designed for short rides (less than 2 hours).

Pros of Bikes: 

  • Affordable
  • Good exercise

Cons of Bikes: 

  • Not accessible everywhere
  • Need to be alert to cars

On Foot

🚶‍♂️ Best for: saving money, freedom to explore
💵 Cost: free

The author walking around Elliston Place and a colorful mural
Me walking around Elliston Place

Depending on where you stay in Nashville, walkability within neighborhoods is decent. You can easily walk around downtown. With other neighborhoods, it depends on your location. Certain pockets are very accessible while others are not.

Walking is a great way to explore many of the downtown attractions in Music City while also saving money on transportation. While downtown hotels can be expensive, planning to explore on foot rather than having to pay for parking spots can be more economical.

Pros of Walking: 

  • Saves money
  • Flexible
  • Avoids car traffic

Cons of Walking: 

  • Hot during the summer
  • Not possible everywhere

6 Tips For Getting Around Nashville

Stay Downtown If You Don’t Want to Rent a Car

Cars driving along Downtown Nashville
(photo: melissamn / Shutterstock)

The only real way to avoid renting a car is to stay downtown. 

You’ll still probably use other methods of transportation if you plan on exploring Nashville further, but staying downtown is the best way to get by without a rental car.

Avoid Rush Hour Traffic

If you plan on visiting multiple neighborhoods, try to avoid driving around 9 am or 5 pm. Traffic within neighborhoods isn’t terrible during this time, but major routes will back up.

Take Advantage of Free Transportation

Some hotels offer a free shuttle to and from the airport. Find out in advance if yours does and save a little money. 

Consider Taking a Tour

For short visits, taking a bus or trolley tour of Nashville is one of the best ways for visitors to see as much of the city as possible. The tours can be pricey, but it’s an efficient route to see just the highlights.

Be Aware of Major Events

People going inside the Bridgestone Arena for the Predators game
Downtown is crowded right before and after a Predators game. (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

Sporting events like Titans or Predators games will gridlock streets. Try to avoid those areas right before or after a game. Stadium concerts are equally bad for stopping traffic.

Plan For Parking in Advance

Finding a place to park can be tricky in some parts of Nashville. Parking downtown usually requires paying for a spot, but even other neighborhoods sometimes have limited parking. Give yourself extra time to find a parking spot.

For more tips for your visit, see my full list of things to know before visiting Nashville.

FAQs About Getting Around Nashville

What is the best way to get around in Nashville?

A car is the best way to get around Nashville. The city is designed for vehicles. While you can use other methods, a car is the most efficient way to see the city

Can you get around Nashville without a car?

You can get around Nashville without a car. Other options like taking a bus, biking, or walking are all possible. However, it can be difficult to explore neighborhoods outside of downtown without a vehicle.

Is it easy to get around Nashville?

Generally speaking, it’s fairly easy to get around Nashville, especially with a car. While rush hour or accidents sometimes slows things down, Nashville’s streets are not difficult to navigate. 

***

How you decide to manage transportation in Nashville really depends on your needs and preferences. As you plan your trip to Nashville, take a look at all our Nashville travel guides.

Have fun!

(Featured Image Credit: Anne Elle / Shutterstock)

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