Driving I-65, I-40 and I-24 intersect in Nashville. Once you’re in town, look for a map of secondary roads here.
Flying Both Uber and Lyft are allowed to pick up at airport arrivals. A ride downtown costs about $15 on a weekday but, on the weekend, surge prices can double–even quadruple. Taxis charge a flat rate of $30 to downtown or the Opryland Hotel area. If you’re on a tight budget, take the WeGo bus Route #18. It will cost $2 and drop you at Music City Central, the main bus depot downtown; ask for a transfer if you need to connect to another route.
Seasoned runners have praised Nashville for its streamlined registration flow in past years. This year it’s been moved to Nashville Municipal Auditorium, 417 4th Avenue, N. (It was formerly held at Music City Center.)
You must pick up your own Nashville Marathon packet–no one else can get it for you–on Thursday, noon-7pm and Friday, 10am-7pm. There’s an end of the day crush so get there as early as possible. While there, take advantage of the Health & Fitness Expo–it’s FREE for everyone.
Personally I hate lugging around swag so, if feasible, drop off your marathon goodie bag at your car or hotel, then hit the town unencumbered. If you tour the National Museum of African American Music, you can also store your stuff in a locker for free.
Live Music and Other Entertainment
You probably want to squeeze as much live music and such into all your free time. And you don’t have to like country music. Consult my Live Music posts to guide to the kind of music you enjoy.
If you’ve been training, I shouldn’t have to remind about alcohol consumption and crazy eating the night before the race. Save your celebrating until Saturday.
The restaurants and bars along Lower Broadway will be packed. Try the side streets where waits may be shorter. Even better, visit a nearby neighborhood such as Germantown, East Nashville, WeHo, 12South or Midtown.
Street parking is in short supply and I don’t think any meters have time limits above two hours. Here’s the official Race Day parking map. You can also consult ParkItDowntown for locations of pay lots. The cheapest parking is found at our government-owned lots: the Metro Courthouse lot and Music City Center. More about downtown parking here.
You can never have too much info so here’s the Tennessean’s report on closures and parking.
You can purchase round-trip Old Town Trolley shuttle passes for $25. Routes originate from Holiday Inn-Vanderbilt, Sheraton-Music City, Airport Center and Loews Vanderbilt. available.
Getting to the Starting Line
The starting line for the Full and Half Marathon is Broadway at Rosa Parks Blvd. (also known as 8th Ave.) The starting line for the 5k and 10k is on Demonbreun Street at Rosa Parks Blvd.
With the exception of the Music City Star that runs from Lebanon to downtown Nashville, we don’t have a railway option. That leaves street transportation.
Unless you’re within walking distance of the starting line, allow A LOT of extra time to get downtown. There are multiple locations for runner drop-off. Check the official transportation page for locations as well as parking and hotel shuttle information.
Whether you’re trying to get to the race or avoid it, here’s a complete list of road closures.
People rave about two distinctions of the Nashville races: live music all along the way and the rallying support from people who line the streets to cheer you on. Like many, we set up a curbside brunch with friends to watch the masses sprint past.
This year there are 20+ stages with live entertainment along with convenient water and first aid stations. The 5k runners will hear live music from four stages.
In addition to downtown, distance runners will hoof it past Music Row, Belmont University, the trendy neighborhoods of 12South, The Gulch, Germantown and East Nashville.
- 6:30am 5k and 6.15 mile races/starting line at 8th and Demonbreun
- 7:20am Marathon and Half-Marathon races/starting line at 8th and Broadway
The Kids Rock race is held on Sunday, 1pm at Nissan Stadium.
A festival, open to all, will be held at the finish line featuring music by Runaway Jane and others.
Come Sunday, the Nashville airport will be packed so get there 2 hours ahead of your flight. If you have time after passing security, try one of our local restaurants in the airport.