Atlanta vs. Nashville: Where Should You Move?

by Dusty Rhodes on Mar 19, 2021  in 
  • Realtors
  • affordable moving
  • Moving Myths

Updated on 12/1/23

Do you prefer the country vibe of the Music City or the sprawling metropolis of “Hotlanta?” When it comes to choosing where to live, these two southern cities both have a lot to offer. Both cities are considered to be miniature versions of New York City, with their flair for live music and entertainment and both stack up pretty well when it comes to amenities and things to do. However, if you are trying to decide which city is right for you, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both cities so you can get a feel for which one is the right fit for you.




Nicknamed the Music City, this southern Tennessee city is known for its love of all things country. From the famous Grand Ole Opry House to Ryman Auditorium, Nashville is home to some of the best music venues in the country. This traditionally southern city also has all the charm you would expect from a southern town along with the amenities you would find in a big city. This “it-city” is ranked among the best places to live in America according to U.S. News and World Report and it won’t take long to see why.


Nashville is also among the fastest growing cities thanks to its booming job market. With an unemployment rate of just 2.90%, it doesn’t usually take residents long to find a job. Furthermore, Tennessee is one of only six states that does not have a state income tax so that means more money in your pocket!


Although the climate in Nashville is generally mild compared to other northern cities, you can expect very hot summers and high humidity. If you can endure the sticky hot summers, you will find that the winters are generally mild and snowfall is rare.


Nashville also proudly boasts a fantastic restaurant and bar scene. If you love spicy food, barbeque, and southern fare, you are in for a treat. Hot chicken is one of the city’s staples and you will also find a number of fabulous local restaurants featuring unique southern cuisine. In addition to great food Nashville offers exciting nightlife, great sports, and loads of live music venues. Overall, however, Nashville is an exciting city that offers everything you want from a big city at a price you can actually afford.


Cons of Living in Nashville


Not a Walkable City

The downtown area of Nashville is walkable, but the other areas can be challenging. Many people have cars, which unfortunately caused another issue: Nashville is ranked as one of the cities in the United States that continuously experiences high traffic. With all that traffic often comes an increased commute time. The average commute time of Nashville residents is approximately 30 minutes.

Lots of Nightlife

If you love the nightlife, you’ll love Nashville. If you don’t, you may have a problem. Don’t expect silence to reign. There are more than 150 live entertainment venues in the city alone, and that doesn’t count other nightlife options. With the extensive amount of nightlife often comes other issues, like loud, drunk patrons.

Housing Market

Housing prices haven't been going any lower in Nashville. According to, $448k was the median sold price in October 2023 for a home in the city. However, according to, rent prices have dipped a bit overall but have gone up in several neighborhoods. If you want a two-bedroom, expect to pay upward of $2,500 as of November 2023. PayScale shows that the average salary in Nashville is approximately $70k. BestPlaces demonstrates that the cost of living is 104.7, where 100 is the national baseline, indicating that the costs in the city are more than the national average.



Packed with awesome sports teams, great neighborhoods, a world-class airport and exciting attractions, Atlanta is considered by many to be the most exciting city in the south. Not only is Atlanta the capital of Georgia, but it’s also the state’s largest cultural and economic center. It’s the combination of this booming economy and a low cost of living that draw many newcomers to this southern city.


Atlanta is a great city for those who love the arts, music, and entertainment. There are plenty of places to enjoy live theater, shows, music, and more and it is even the place to be for those who want to be part of the action. Atlanta has been nicknamed the “Hollywood of the South” thanks to big film and television productions that take place in the city. It also plays host to a number of music festivals, art festivals, and street fairs so there is always something fun and exciting to do.


Atlanta is also a great place to find a job and offer plenty of opportunities for young professionals. With 16 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city, along with universities, and hospitals, Atlanta has plenty of opportunities for job seekers. Not only will you be able to find a good job, but Atlanta is also a very affordable place to live and the cost of living is just slightly higher than Nashville.


Atlanta has plenty of great things to offer including fabulous restaurants, thrilling sports teams, great live music and entertainment, and access to the outdoors.


Cons of Living in Atlanta


Heat & Humidity

The heat and humidity are no joke in Atlanta, especially during the summer. July is the hottest month, and it’s common to find temperatures in the 80s with an average humidity of about 70%. In January, which tends to be the coldest month in the city, the humidity is still high at 67%, but the average temperature is around 43 degrees. Overall, you’re looking at an average humidity of about 68% with a mean temperature of approximately 62 degrees.


You'll Need a Car

Several areas of Atlanta are walkable, but chances are you’ll still need a car. However, it also has some serious traffic problems, so be prepared to have a lot of patience and a really good music list whenever you need to head out on the road. Commutes in Atlanta are notoriously bad, averaging approximately 35 minutes.


Urban Sprawl

Atlanta has experienced a significant urban sprawl over the years, leading to its own problems. Issues can range from an uptick in air pollution to environmental damage to green spaces to an impact on the water quality. The population of Atlanta as of 2022 is approximately 499,000 living over 136.3 square miles. In 2000, the population of Atlanta was about 416,000, an increase of approximately 83,000 residents over 22 years.


Making Your Decision

Moving to a new city is a big decision and one that requires a great deal of thought and planning. Both Nashville and Atlanta have great things to offer and loads of amenities that would appeal to new residents. Make a list of which priorities are most important to you and decide which city will best fit your needs. Contact Smartbox if you need reliable moving services to help you get settled.

Dusty Rhodes