Scooters, Bicycles, Golf Carts, etc.
Good news for anyone visiting Nashville: The city has alternate means of transportation in and around the city center via scooters and bicycles for rent, as well as through golf cart services for short distances. If you have the mobility, scooters are an ideal way to see the city, allowing you to move quickly and navigate streets and sidewalks for several miles while avoiding traffic. Scooter companies include Bird and Lime, which can both be activated using a credit card and photo ID. Typically these scooters cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute riding. You can find available scooters near you using the app, and you can leave them in any safe location when you’re finished. There are often blackout areas in the city center where scooters can’t be used, but you’ll find these restrictions are rarely enforced, and you can easily scoot around them. You can also rent Segways, a two-wheeled motorized personal vehicle which you ride upright. The company iRide offers rentals, training, and tours for individuals or groups.
The city offers point-to-point rides using low-speed vehicles such as golf carts. Either Joyride or Cruzzin’ will take you anywhere in the downtown area for a few bucks. You can flag them down or book online.
There is one final mode of transportation that bears mentioning: pedal taverns, or roving mobile bars that people “pedal” around the city center. If you’ve never seen these contraptions, you will in Nashville, where they are an omnipresent logistical and auditory nightmare for locals. Primarily geared toward bachelor(ette) parties, rowdy tourists, or young locals, I can’t weigh in on whether they are fun because I cannot bring myself to step foot on one. That said, if they look like fun to you, try it: Nashvillepedaltavern.com is a respected local company, and there are others that offer wagons, horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, party barges, and convertible limos (I wish I were joking). For a full list of options visit www.styleblueprint.com/nashville and search “pedal taverns.”
Nashville is easy to get around by car, however parking downtown can cost $20 to $40. The best way to get around this is to either stay in the city center or use ride-hailing apps or taxis to get to the city center and then walk, cycle, or scooter around. When you’re walking around downtown and the Gulch, keep an eye out for people in yellow shirts on Segways: These are the city’s downtown ambassadors, and you can ask them for anything from maps and directions to recommendations and guidebooks. They also act as safety ambassadors, communicating with the authorities when needed, and they help keep downtown clean.
Rental Cars -- All major rental-car companies have offices in Nashville. Visit www.visitmusiccity.com/travel to book service. Another option is Zipcar.com, which allows members to book small cars by the hour or day for around $10/hour, or $69/day after a one-time $25 application fee. You check the car out, drive around up to 180 miles (45 cents per mile after that), and park it back in its dedicated spot when you’re done. The gas is complimentary and insurance is included.
Parking -- Downtown has many parking lots, and rates range anywhere from $6 to $40 overnight. When parking on the street, be sure to check the time limit on meters. Also be sure to check whether you can park in a space during certain hours or your car may be ticketed or towed. On-street meters are usually free after 6pm on weekdays and all day Sunday. Lots run by Premier Parking let you park free for 1 hour; you use an app to pay by the hour and add time after that. This is an especially good option if you don’t know how long you plan to stay somewhere and don’t want to fork over $20 up front. There is also a lot at One Nashville Place (150 4th Ave. N.) where you can park for $15 on weekends, which is a steal. For more downtown-parking information, check out www.parkitdowntown.com. Tip: Many Nashville lots owned by local businesses will rent space to you cheaper than company-owned lots, most for around $10. It’s worth driving around the outskirts of downtown to see if any of these are available, especially on weekends.
Driving Rules -- A right turn at a red light is permitted after coming to a full stop, but drivers must first yield to pedestrians or vehicles that have a green light. Children under 3 years of age must be in a car seat and children ages 4 to 8 must be in approved booster seats. Tennessee has a very strict DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) law, and any person driving under the influence with a child under age 12 may be charged with a felony.
In Nashville, you can rent a bicycle affordably using B-cycle from 5am to 10pm daily. Purchase a membership online or at any B-station for a single ride ($5), weekly use ($10), monthly ($15) use, or a yearlong membership ($50), and check out a bike using your membership card, phone app, or ID number. Return your bike to any of 36 B-stations around the city. Stations are clustered around the city center but are available throughout the city and suburbs, including locations in Green Hills, Opryland, East Nashville, West Nashville, and 12South.
By Bus and Shuttle
Nashville is served by the extensive and efficient Metropolitan Transit Authority (tel. 615/862-5950) bus system. While it has typically not been practical for tourists to get around this way, things are improving. In town, MTA provides bus service in and out of downtown and throughout the city. All-day, unlimited-ride passes are available for $5.25. Downtown circulator buses, called the Music City Circuit, provide free transportation Monday through Saturday. The Green Circuit carries passengers between downtown and the Gulch, while the Blue Circuit serves key destinations between the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Music City Central, the downtown transit station, is located at 400 Charlotte Ave.
Adult bus fares are $3.25; children 3 and under ride free. Exact change is required. You can purchase a weekly pass, good for unlimited local rides from Sunday to Saturday, for $16 per adult or $10 for ages 19 and under; a picture ID is required. Seniors and riders with disabilities may qualify for a reduced fare with an MTA Golden Age, Medicare, TenneSenior, or Special Service card. Call tel. 615/862-5950 to register for this discount.
Cabs aren’t as prevalent as they once were now that ride-hailing apps are ubiquitous, but there are still a few reliable options. Music City Taxi (tel. 615/865-4100) accepts reservations via phone, app, or online. Checker Cab (tel. 615/256-7000) charges $3 per ride, plus $2 per mile, and offers a $25 flat-fare triangle between the airport, downtown, and Opryland, which is still slightly more than ride-hailing would cost.
Nashville gets more walkable by the day, with many neighborhoods holding enough attractions, restaurants, and activities that you may not need a car. The key to making this work is finding a neighborhood you want to explore and booking your lodging there, even if it costs a few more dollars. If you plan smart, you’ll get those dollars back in parking and cab fare.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.