Living in Tennessee
When you think of Tennessee you might think about tree covered hills and music, lots of music. While Tennessee is the birthplace of the Blues and the country music capital of the world, the state has so much more to offer. Ancient cultures and larger-than-life heroes, architectural gems and scientific advancements, Utopian societies and bloody battles are all part of the complex story of Tennessee.
Travel the paths of pioneers along the Natchez Trace, or see what the byways have to offer on Tennessee Trails & Byways. Explore native culture along the Cherokee Heritage Trails. Immerse yourself in Civil War drama as you travel the Civil War Trails through small towns and at Shiloh, Chattanooga and other large battlefields.
Big personalities shaped Tennessee and left a memorable legacy in battlefields, frontier cabins and statesmen’s homes. Visit Belmont, the home of the remarkable Adelicia Acklen, in Nashville. Tour the homes of Tennessee’s three Presidents: Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in Nashville, the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville or the James K. Polk home in picturesque Columbia. Wherever you go in Tennessee from the prehistoric to the nearly new, you’ll find evidence of the changes wrought by innovative Tennesseans.
Major Cities and Economy
In Nashville, healthcare is the biggest economic sector with insurance, finance and publishing sectors coming in close behind. The Vanderbilt University and Medical Center, Hospital
Corporation of America and St. Thomas Health Services are major employers. The State of Tennessee also provides many jobs as well as Nissan North America, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville School of Law and Tennessee State University. Of course, the music industry also provides an important source of income.
Memphis is an important transportation and shipping hub. Located in the southwestern corner of the state it is close to where the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers meet. Its airport is the second-busiest cargo port in the world and home to FedEx, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. AutoZone Inc. and International Paper also call the city home.
Knoxville, located in the Northwest corner of the state, has media as its economic sector with Regal Entertainment Group and Scripps Networks Interactive calling the city home. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is also one of the major employers in this town. The city’s mixture of Greek revival, modern, Neoclassical and Victorian architecture, the city is as charming to view and explore.
Chattanooga has a very diverse economy that includes services, retail and manufacturing. It is home to the country’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant as well as the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant and BASF. The city has been praised for its efforts to be eco-friendly. The revitalization of the downtown area, and its zero-emission transit system is admired around the country.
In cities such as Clarksville, Murfreesboro, and Cleveland you will find companies such as American Standard, Bridgestone, Arch Chemicals Inc., Whirlpool, Rubbermaid, Brown Stove Works and Coca-Cola providing stable employment to the city’s residents.
Arts and Entertainment
It’s hard to briefly discuss Tennessee’s arts and entertainment options because there are so many across the entire state. Of course, there are many music festivals and entertainment venues such as Beale Street, the Grand Old Opry, Main Street Jazzfest, and the nine-day Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga.
Events such as the CMA Music Festival, Tennessee State Fair, Country Music Marathon, the Iroquois Steeplechase and the Word Championship BBQ Cooking Contest in Memphis draw thousands of tourists each year.
Outdoor activities such as Civil War reenactments, mountain climbing, hand gliding, caving, golf, aquatics and other athletic sports activities are also extremely popular. Other attractions worth seeing include Graceland, Sun Studio, the National Civil Rights Museum, Belle Meade Plantation, Dollywood, and the Pink Palace Museum just to name a few.
Ever thought about seeing the sites from a different perspective? Explore the mighty Mississippi on the Memphis Queen Line Riverboats.
Take a 7 to 10-mile round trip cruise on a Paddlewheeler along the downtown Memphis Riverfront and experience a bit of Memphis history. Enjoy a daytime cruise on the General Jackson Showboat along the Cumberland River in Nashville. This 19th Century, 200-foot riverboat entertains as it shows off the Music City from a water perspective.
Just west of Pikeville is Fall Creek Falls State Park. Hike out to see the tallest waterfall (at 256 feet) in the eastern United States. Go white water rafting near the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas with a guided river tour down the Big Pigeon River that can be catered to your little one with introductory whitewater or fit to challenge the older kids in your group. Chattanooga has rafting down the Ocoee River for the adventurous type, but for more of a “water stroll” choose a guided kayak tour for kids 8 and over.
About six miles outside of Chattanooga (the fourth largest city in Tennessee), is Lookout Mountain. Within this area is Rock City, where one can see seven states in one amazing location. Climb boulders and squeeze through rock formations as you reach the lookout. Also, in Lookout Mountain is Ruby Falls; travel 26 stories underground in an elevator to see the 145-foot magnificent falls.
Tennessee has hot and humid summers with mild winters. Summer highs are around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter nights usually hover around the freezing point. The entire state receives lots of precipitation, averaging 50 inches per year, with some snowfall in the winter. The state gets relatively severe storms at times, including thunderstorms with strong winds, rain and large hail, as well as severe tornadoes in western and middle Tennessee.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Tennessee is 18.94% lower than the US average, and it ranks among the five most affordable states to live in the entire country. Though the costs of healthcare, groceries, consumer goods and utilities are all lower than in the majority of other states, the low cost of living in Tennessee is mainly due to the affordable price of housing.
Property taxes are relatively low as well, and the state of Tennessee does not levy any taxes on income earned from wages. With an average household income of just under $39,000, the lack of state taxation adds significantly to most households’ lifestyles.