The 6 Largest Cities in Tennessee

Featured Photo: Brice Cooper

Tennessee has seen a lot of growth recently. It’s become a popular destination for those looking to relocate especially within the U.S. With a lower cost of living, no state income tax, the natural beauty, and new opportunities that come with a booming state, it’s a relatively good call if you’re for a place to completely relocate to.

Photo: Mike Lento

Looking to understand the state more and gain local insight? Start with these larger cities. Each has its own captivating way about it. Outside of these greater areas, the state is mostly rural.

So what are the 6 largest cities in Tennessee?

Photo Kortney Musselman


Nashville is the capital and largest city in the state. Centrally located along the Cumberland River, the city is known for its rich history, vibrant music scene, and large tourism industry. Often referred to as the “Music City” because of its prominent role in the country music industry, the city is humming with all kinds of notes of various genres.

There are several neighborhoods within the greater Nashville area. These small communities really made a name for themself. If you’re navigating within the city, you will come to know each of these areas.

A few include: 12 South, East Nashville, The Gulch, Music Row, Sylvan Park, West End, Midtown, Germantown, Nations, etc.

Like the other larger cities mentioned in this articles, outside of Nashville you will find some really beautiful farmland and other towns.

It should also be noted, Nashville has the food scene on lock. The boys round here can work a smoker, farm to table is a thing, you can still find the meat and 3’s and with this being a tourist destination, new restaurants and bars are opening every day if you want something upscale.

Nights out are fun and it’s always easy to find something to get into or attend – live music, pop ups, Preds or Titans game, festivals, etc. With so many relocating to this city, it’s a diverse culture and social scene.

Photo: Heidi Kaden


Located in the southwestern corner of the state, Mississippi is situated along the Mississippi River. Like Nashville, Memphis offers a lively music scene but with a distinct tune of its own. Often referred to as the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, you can’t miss Beale Street, a historic downtown street with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues showcasing the best blues, jazz, and other genres.

The city played a significant role in the civil rights movement so you can find several historic landmarks and museums including the National Civil Rights Museum. Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, is also a major attraction.

They also have a satisfying food scene – it’s said you can find the best BBQ here. Between the smooth blues and jazz and like your grandma cooked it southern cooking, Memphis is a good picture of southern and soulful hospitality.

Photo: Steve Dimatteo


Located in East Tennessee, Knoxville is a very scenic area with beautiful cities in the greater area. And if there’s one thing to note about Knoxville, it’s the UT Vols! The city is painted orange and offers a true, really fun tailgating, home team playing type of energy.

The city is situated near the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the most visited national parks in the U.S., and the Tennessee River runs through the city so there is ample opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, and other water-based activities. They even host the annual Labor Day weekend event Boomsday, one of the largest fireworks shows in the U.S.

For nights out, explore downtown and Market Square where you can find a number of restaurants, shops, and venues of interest.

Maybe this is Tennessee’s most family-friendly city.

Photo: Rolla Ru


These larger cities are throughout the state and Chattanooga brings us to the southeast point along the Tennessee River nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. A very scenic region of Tennessee, this area is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Known as “Scenic City”, it is surrounded by mountains so choose from a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and water sports.

This is where you can find widely-popular destinations like the Tennessee Aquarium, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, and Rock City. You will know you are getting close when you start to see SEE ROCK CITY painted on the barns.

The downtown area has undergone a revitalization, and the Riverwalk is the premier attraction. This scenic pedestrian and biking path follows the Tennessee River and connects several parks, attractions, and neighborhoods.

The city has historical significance as a major transportation hub, and the Chattanooga Choo Choo train station is a notable landmark.

Overall, another family-friendly city with an urban feel offering easy escapes outside the city with surrounding mountain scapes.


Clarksville is situated along the Cumberland River in northwestern part of Tennessee. It is the fifth-largest city in the state and is known for its history, military presence, and community-oriented atmosphere.

It is home to Fort Campbell, a major U.S. Army installation that spans the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Here you can find the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), a highly respected and storied division of the U.S. Army. The fort is a significant economic and cultural driver for the region.

Clarksville is located about an hour’s drive from Nashville, allowing residents to access the amenities and opportunities of a larger city while enjoying a smaller-town atmosphere.

The city’s blend of history, military influence, educational institutions including Austin Peay State University, and community spirit makes it a distinct and welcoming place to live.

Photo: Sarah Swainson


Murfreesboro was the original capital of Tennessee. Did you know that?

Like Nashville, Murfreesboro is located in the central part of the state. This city played a significant role in the Civil War so it holds an extensive military history and several sites commemorating these events. Murfreesboro is home to Middle Tennessee State University, one of the largest universities in the state.

The city has experienced an abundance of growth and development in recent years, with new residential and commercial areas being established. You can find pretty much any retail store here, and it’s known as a good place to shop.

While Murfreesboro is a large city with much of the growth happening over the past few years, it still holds its small town feel. Outside of the city, you can find some stunning farmland. It’s also relatively close to both Nashville and Franklin and accessed easily with a few main highways.

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