There are many areas of town to explore while visiting Nashville. Each neighborhood has its own personality,projecting the nature of the people who frequent them. Some are quiet and reserved while others are hip and boisterous. They all suit their surroundings and welcome all walks of life.
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Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, has enjoyed a steady population growth over the past decade, with its metropolitan statistical area now consisting of well over 1 million people and establishing it as the twenty-third largest city in the United States. With its central location, friendly people, pleasant climate and moderate cost of living, Nashville is an ideal place to live. Nashville has long been known as Music City USA, the seat of country music and the Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Nashville. However, on any given night one can enjoy a spectrum of music ranging from classical to rock to progressive jazz, by some of the greatest studio musicians in the world. The city is a major hub for the health care, music, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and universities.
Nashville has affordable housing and a wide Variety of public and private schools. Businesses that play a major role in Nashville's economy include printing and publishing, state government, insurance, and education. Often referred to as the "Athens of the South," Nashville is home to seventeen colleges and universities. The city supports a symphony orchestra, an opera and a ballet company in beautiful new buildings along with the Cheekwood and Frist Museums of the Arts. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center consists of three live theaters and offers a variety of local and national touring productions. There are also small theaters in town, including Vanderbilt's own theater and auditorium that offer fine performances.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, Nashville offers 43 scenic parks and playgrounds. Percy and Edwin Warner Parks comprise over 2,500 acres of fields and forests, with plenty of hiking/jogging trails. The many lakes in the area provide opportunities for boating and fishing. For weekend trips, Nashville is just a few hours from the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains and scenic Southeastern Tennessee.
For the sports fan, Nashville offers year-round activities. Vanderbilt is a member of the Southeastern Conference, one of the most competitive NCAA conferences in the nation. Nashville boasts the NFL Tennessee Titans, the AHL Predators, and the Nashville Sounds, an AAA league baseball team. The Sommet Center, near the historic Second Avenue District, hosts the hockey team and many musical events.
Nashville has a consolidated city-county government which includes seven smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. The population of Nashville-Davidson County stood at 626,144 as of 2008, according to United States Census Bureauestimates. This makes it the second most populous city in the state afterMemphis. However, the 2009 population of the entire 13-county Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area was 1,582,264, making it the largest metropolitan area in the state. The 2009 population of the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Columbia combined statistical area was estimated at 1,666,566.