I do not know if calling Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area a hidden gem is exactly correct, but there are a lot of aspects that seem unknown to the rest of the world. Like everyone else, we complain about traffic and parking. But transplants from Detroit, Indianapolis, and especially larger cities like New York and Los Angeles will find the situation a welcomed change. During my rush hour commuting days, I probably averaged 50 miles per hour on the highway. Sometimes I could go faster and some days I was at a standstill for five or ten minutes. But overall, the traffic situation here is the best I have witnessed in a medium sized city.
Some other benefits include mild weathers with just a few snow days a year. We get a couple of inches of accumulation every other winter or so. While the kids will not get to go sledding very often, many public schools cancel school on the threat of snow.
While sales tax in Tennessee is one of the highest in the US at 9.5%, it is said that Tennessee residents keep more of their paychecks than residents of any other state. Factors contributing to this are comparatively low housing prices, no state income tax, and moderately low consumer prices.
The restaurants here stand above both the quality and variety one may expect from a city of 620,000. There is a good variety of foreign food including Indian, Thai, Japanese, and Ethiopian. Nashville also has its own variety of food. If you hear the term “meat and three”, you will know you are close to Nashville. Legend has it that this terminology was started in Nashville. I have not heard it used outside the metro area. It indicates that diners get an entrée and three sides. Food is usually home style and often served from a buffet. Restaurants advertising this usually serve lunch for the working stiff at a cost of $6-$10. You evening meal will set you back between $8 and $12.
Other amenities include nature with plenty of parks, trails, and lakes, Trees are everywhere. There are a fair amount of weekend watering holes, some good country and social clubs, world class museums, and vibrant communities in Nashville and many close by. Nashville has all the charms of a small southern city mixed with many of the larger city benefits.