I can’t dissolve the detours and construction zones but I can lay out your options for getting to your destination.
Although we’re not the most walkable city in the country, we’re making progress in making getting around Nashville friendly for pedestrians. Folks at the Nashville Convention and Visitors Commission like to tout our high density of attractions within walking distance. From the Bridgestone Arena on Broadway, you’re within six blocks of dozens of points of interest including live music and sports venues, museums, the honky tonk district and a ton of restaurants. You need motorized transportation to get to most neighborhoods but, once there, you’ll find 12South, the Gulch, Germantown and Hillsboro Village to be foot-friendly.
Until a strong mass transit model is in place, we drive (or maybe take the bus, Uber or Lyft). And during rush hour, we sit. Even our tricky little backroad hacks are getting congested. If you’re moving here, you’ll want to lean about getting a driver’s license and registering your vehicle here.
That’s short for Metro Transit Authority which is updating its service with a real-time app and improved routing. (Note: MTA is in the process of changing its name to WeGo.) If you’re living or lodging in the right location, the bus is a great option. For $1.70, you can travel around town (including Express routes) and make transfers within a two-hour period without paying extra–just ask for a transfer pass when leaving the bus. No parking hassles, free people-watching. Clean, safe and most drivers are genuinely nice people.
Tip #1 The little-publicized all-day bus pass is just $3.25, a 7-day pass is $16 and a 31-day pass is $55. Prices are even lower for seniors and youth.
Tip #2 If you’re moving around the downtown area, hop abound the Music City Circuit, a pair of free commuter loops through hot spots of the Gulch, Riverfront Park and Germantown/Farmer’s Market every 20 minutes during peak hours.
We currently have only one commuter route, the Music City Star. It runs from Lebanon (30 miles east of Nashville) to Riverfront Park at Lower Broadway and back with stops in Martha, Mt. Juliet, Donelson, Hermitage and Donelson. Comfortable seating and a scenic route to boot.
Tip #1 It’s a traffic-free, parking-free (and fun) way to travel from the Opryland Hotel area (not the hotel itself) to downtown–once you make the 5-mile drive from the hotel to the station.
Tip #2 It’s also a prime path to get to and from a major downtown event such as a Titans game. Check out the train schedule here.
Rental cars, taxis, Uber, Lyft, hotel shuttles and such
All are here to help you get around Nashville. All wish the others didn’t exist. BNA (short for Berry-Nashville Airport–and since you asked, Berry is an adjacent airport for private and military craft) has a pretty complete list of ground transportation options. However, you may find lower rates if you get a rental at a non-airport location. Also you may find your hotel shuttle is willing to deliver you to a destination other than the airport. Doesn’t hurt to ask.
Recommendation: Got a vanful of fun people? Go beyond the standard transportation with our favorite driver Basil (pronounced BAH-zul) for his Karaoke Kab complete with tracer lights and disco ball. As you can see in this YouTube video, it’s a party on wheels—at comparable rates. 615-424-6100.
Bcycle, ofo and other rentals
Bring your rental bike back to where you started or drop it off at any of its dozens of Bcycle locations. A one-day membership costs just $5; the first hour is free and you’re charged $1.50 for each additional 30 minutes. There’s even an app to make it all the easier.
Currently the epicenter of ofo activity is the Vanderbilt campus but it has plans for expansion. Using ofo is simple: nab any unclaimed screaming yellow bike, log in on their app to rent it, and leave it anywhere you like. Rates start at $1 per ride.
Of course you can also check with local bike shops.
Find one, fire up the company’s app, log on to begin your reservation and take off. Sounds simple enough but the rules of use are important too: 1) Stay off the sidewalks. Use bike lanes wherever they’re available. 2) Wear a helmet; it’s not mandated by law but a really good idea. 3) Don’t leave them where they will impede motor or foot traffic. Each is equipped with GPS so the companies always know exactly where they are. They max out at about 15 mph and have a range of about 12-15 miles. Currently Bird and Lime’s rates are $1 to unlock and 15¢ per minute.