View of the illuminated skyscrapers from the overpass in Nashville at night, from a rental car in Nashville

Renting a Car in Nashville in 2023 (A Local’s How-to Guide)

Depending on your itinerary, renting a car in Nashville can be one of the best ways to get around the city. Having a rental car allows you to explore the city at your own pace and gives you the chance to visit different parts of the city easily. 

I’m a Nashville local, and driving is the primary way I get around the city. As I wrote in my guide to getting around Nashville, a car is the best choice for many visitors. In this guide, we’ll go through the different options for car rentals in Nashville and figure out which is the best for you. Let’s get started!

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Best Car Rental Sites in Nashville  

Booking car rentals in advance can help you get a better price. It’s also a good idea to book ahead if you’re visiting Nashville during peak travel times. 

Here are some of the best rental car websites that make the process as easy as possible for you:

Our Top Choice
Discover Cars

This is one of the newer rental search engine websites. It tends to find cheaper rates than other sites. I like how easy it is to compare reviews of different car rental agencies. Plus, the rental policies are very clearly communicated.

Also Great

This is another great choice for finding a car. Besides being able to compare the prices for different car rental locations, you can also search for airfare and hotels on the same site.

Also Great

This is one of the most popular sites for finding a car rental company. It’s owned by, and it typically has one of the largest inventories available.

Do You Need a Rental Car in Nashville?

It is possible to visit Nashville without a car if you stay mainly downtown and use rideshares or taxis to visit other parts of the city. However, renting a car will give you greater flexibility and allow you to explore the parts of Nashville that are less walkable. 

It’s easy to pick up your car at the car rental locations at Nashville International Airport upon arrival. Then, you can return it right before you depart.

If you get a hotel in downtown Nashville, you can walk to sites like the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, and the Ryman Auditorium. If you want to visit sites outside of downtown like the Grand Ole Opry, you’ll need your own transportation though. For this reason, driving in Nashville is an ideal way to get around.

Hopefully, in the future, Nashville becomes more walkable and has more comprehensive public transportation. That’s not the case yet.

The best form of transportation for Nashville really depends on what you want to do in the city. Choosing your top things to do in Nashville before you travel will help you plan your route.

Rental Car Requirements for Nashville

Expect the following requirements to apply for car rentals in Nashville:

🚗 Driver’s License – For those from the U.S., you’ll need to have your driver’s license to rent a vehicle. Plus, you need to have had a valid license for more than one year.

🚘 International Driving Permit – If your driver’s license is in a language other than English, you’ll need to have an international driving permit in addition to your regular driver’s license. But even if your license is in English and you’re from another country, you may still need a permit. Do some quick research before you travel to make sure.

💳 Card – You’ll need either a debit or credit card to book your car. The cards accepted by each individual car rental company can differ, so check to make sure you’ve got one that’s accepted. Mastercard and Visa are accepted almost everywhere.

👨 Age – Most companies require customers to be 25 years old in order to rent a car. However, some companies will rent to customers as young as 21 years old for an additional fee. 

📋 Insurance – The state of Tennessee requires that all car rental companies provide the minimum required amount of liability insurance. Depending on your personal auto insurance coverage, you may decide to purchase additional insurance as well. Some credit card companies also automatically provide some amount of coverage for car rentals.

How Much do Rental Cars Cost in Nashville?

In general, the cost of a Nashville car rental is between $40 to $90 per day for a mid-size car. The price can fall outside of this range due to several factors: your age, the type of car you rent, insurance inclusions, and even the time of your visit.

Renting a car can increase the cost of your trip, so take a look at my guide to doing Nashville on a budget if you need to cut expenses in another area. Making sure you get top car deals can also help your wallet.

👉 Compare rental car prices for your dates in Nashville by searching these sites: 

7 Tips & Things to Know Before Renting in Nashville

Check Your Insurance

It’s generally a good idea to have more than the minimum state-required insurance for peace of mind and to protect if something bad does happen. Adding extra insurance to your rental can increase the price. 

However, you may already have additional coverage due to personal auto insurance, your credit card company, or traveler’s insurance. Know what you’re already covered before adding more.

Make Sure You Park Legally

Parked cars near a mural painted wall at Barista Parlor in Nashville

Nashville has more people and visitors than the city was originally designed to handle. In some areas, parking is limited. 

While it might be tempting to park illegally to avoid paying for parking or spending time driving around to find a legal spot, you risk getting a ticket or getting towed. In downtown, two of the easiest places to find paid parking spots are Music City Center and the Library Garage.

See if a Local Location is Cheaper

Sometimes it can be cheaper to get a vehicle from an off airport location than at the airport itself. However, you’ll need to factor in the cost of getting to the location as well as think about the extra time it will take for pick up and drop off. 

There are different locations in Nashville where you pick up a vehicle besides the Nashville airport.

Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Car

Never leave anything valuable in your car. While Nashville is a safe city, for the most part, car break-ins can be an issue. Especially don’t leave anything in your car overnight, but car break-ins can happen even during the day. 

Watch For Bikes and Pedestrians

A light blue exterior building on an empty street in Nashville
One of the walkable pockets in East Nashville

Nashville’s infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians is less than robust. In some places, bike lanes and sidewalks end abruptly, so people biking or walking sometimes have to go across streets without a crosswalk.

Be Polite and Patient

Nashville is a decently large city, but for the most part, drivers aren’t aggressive. Most (but not all) drivers tend to be good about letting cars merge or switch lanes. If you’re from a big city, this might seem odd, but try to be patient. 

For the most part, traffic in Nashville isn’t as outrageous when compared to other large cities.

Drive on the Right Side of the Road

International drivers should be aware that, like in the rest of the United States, you should drive on the right side of the road in Nashville.

FAQs about Renting a Car in Nashville

Is it recommended to rent a car in Nashville?

In general, most visitors will need to rent a car to explore different neighborhoods in Nashville. However, a car may or may not be necessary depending on your hotel’s location and what you want to do in Nashville. 

How much is a car rental in Nashville Tennessee?

A midsize car usually costs between $40 and $90 to rent per day. The price can differ depending on the type of vehicle, your age, and what travel season it is. 

What do I need to rent a car in Tennessee?

At a minimum, you’ll need a valid driver’s license and an accepted credit or debit card to rent a vehicle in Tennessee. Some companies may have additional requirements. 

Can you visit Nashville without a car?

You can visit Nashville without a car if you plan to spend your time mostly in downtown Nashville. It’s possible to visit other parts of Nashville by taxi, rideshare, or other transportation options. A car tends to be the most efficient and flexible way to visit, but it isn’t the only way to get around Nashville. 


Thanks for reading my guide to renting a car in Nashville! If you’re still planning your trip, be sure to check out my top Nashville tips.

Enjoy your trip to Nashville! 

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One Comment

  1. Do you know of any walkable car rental places? Staying at the Drury in downtown Nashville but only want to rent a car for 1 day.

    Thank you 🙂

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