Prime Locations in Tennessee and Kentucky

Nashville | Image credit: Tanner Boriack

Kentucky and Tennessee are both renowned across the U.S. for their vibrant cultures, scenic natural settings, and musical legacies. From their big cities with thriving economies and bustling downtowns to their small towns with quaint charm and surrounding nature, there is plenty to explore across these states.

Both states contain hotspots for visitors and transfers alike, standing out for their lifestyle appeal and proximity to amenities, attractions, and picturesque settings. Let’s look at some of the communities in Tennessee and Kentucky that are ideal locations.

Nashville, TN

Nashville is Tennessee’s biggest city, famous for its vibrant culture and unmatched entertainment scene. Its downtown is a busy area that features a huge variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as the countless venues with live country music shows that the city is known for. Nashville is considered one of the best cities in the world for live music, but it also offers excellent museums, scenic parks, and natural sites, including the nearby Cumberland River and J. Percy Priest Lake.

Downtown Nashville | Image credit: Chad Morehead

Louisville, KY

Louisville is a major metropolis and Kentucky’s largest city. With a location along the Ohio River, this scenic hub is the center of Kentucky’s culture and economy. It is a popular destination for sports enthusiasts, housing the Louisville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs, home of the annual Kentucky Derby. The city has appealing architecture and houses several major companies, making it an important economic center. Downtown is filled with busy shops, bars, and restaurants, and its riverfront location provides plenty of park space along the water.

Louisville | Image credit: Joshua Michaels

Franklin, TN

As a suburb of Nashville, Franklin offers a quieter feel away from the big city but with easy access to all of its amenities. Franklin is a gorgeous, historical community known for its architecture and preserved Victorian buildings. The downtown Main Street area boasts a chic feel with galleries, cafes, antique stores, and vintage shops, and its food scene includes an array of international offerings. 

Franklin | Image credit: Brandon Jean

Columbia, TN

Columbia is another suburb of Nashville that offers a short drive from the big city but has a quaint small-town feel. This is a fun town that offers residents a little bit of everything, including excellent schools, scenic public parks, delicious restaurants, and a bustling downtown square. Columbia also has museums, preserved historical buildings, and a long-standing equestrian history. 

Chattanooga, TN

For those seeking a big city in a gorgeous natural setting, Chattanooga is the place to be. Located along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, this is a hotspot for hiking, biking, hunting, boating, and many other kinds of outdoor recreation. The city itself has much to offer as well, including an incredible food scene, many museums, and major town festivals throughout the year.

Chattanooga | Image credit: David Sager

Knoxville, TN

Knoxville is another city based on the Tennessee River in the state’s eastern region. This busy city houses the University of Tennessee and is situated only a short drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the country. The city has many museums and historical landmarks, and downtown’s Market Square boasts historical buildings and delicious dining options. It has a lively college town feel with ample bars and music venues.

University of Tennessee Stadium | Image credit: Steve DiMatteo

Cookeville, TN

Cookeville is a picturesque community in the North Cumberland area of Tennessee, about an hour’s drive from Nashville. While this town of 35,000 may not offer big city living, it has many amenities residents can enjoy. The shopping options are abundant and bring in visitors from across the state, and the food scene in its downtown area is superb. Cookeville has terrific schools for families to choose from, plenty of parks, and many live music venues that host shows throughout the year.

Cummins Falls State Park, Cookeville | Image credit: Intricate Explorer
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