The best way to get around Nashville  is by car. Although visitors staying downtown will be able to find plenty to do and places to eat all within walking distance, many of the best attractions are located outside of the city center. So unless your stay is but a few days, it is best to bring or rent a car to get around.
If you don’t bring your own, a dozen different major rental agencies have a fleet of cars, trucks, and SUVs at the airport. Agencies include Alamo (615/361-7467, www.alamo.com ), Avis (615/361-1212, www.avis.com ), and Hertz (615/361-3131, www.hertz.com ). For the best rates, use an online travel search tool, such as Expedia (www.expedia.com ) or Travelocity (www.travelocity.com ), and book the car early, along with your airline tickets.
Nashville  is quite easy to navigate. I-65 and I-24 create a tight inner beltway that encircles the heart of the city. I-440 is an outer beltway that circles the southern half of the city. Briley Parkway, shown on maps as Highway 155, is a limited-access highway that circles the northern outskirts of the city.
City residents use the interstates not just for long journeys but for short cross-town jaunts as well. Most businesses give directions according to the closest interstate exit.
Non-interstate thoroughfares emanate out from Nashville  like spokes in a wheel. Many are named for the communities that they eventually run into. Murfreesboro Pike runs southeast from the city; Hillsboro Pike (Rte. 431) starts out as 21st Avenue South and takes you to Hillsboro Village and Green Hills. Broadway becomes West End Avenue and takes you directly to Belle Meade and, eventually, the Loveless Cafe. It does not take long to realize that roads in Nashville  have a bad habit of changing names all of a sudden, so be prepared and check the map to avoid getting too confused.
For real-time traffic advisories and road construction closures, dial 511 from any touchtone phone, or go to www.tn511.com .
There is metered parking on most downtown streets, but some have prohibited-parking signs effective during morning and afternoon rush hours. Always read the fine print carefully.
There is plenty of off-street parking in lots and garages. Expect to pay about $10 a day for garage parking. Meters are free after noon on Saturday, and on Sunday and holidays.
Few tourists ride the buses because they can be difficult to understand if you’re new to the city, and because they are not the most efficient use of your time. One route that is helpful, however, is Opry Mills Express that travels from downtown Nashville  to Music Valley, home of the Grand Ole Opry , Opryland Hotel, and Opry Mills, a shopping mall. The Opry Mills Express departs the Nashville Arena 13 times a day on weekdays. Fare is $1.75 one way; $0.60 for senior citizens. You can pick up a detailed route timetable from either of the two downtown visitors centers.
On Tennessee Titans’ game days, the MTA offers its End Zone Express. Park at either Greer Stadium (where the Nashville Sounds play) or the State employee lot at 4th Avenue North and Harrison, and for just $6 you get shuttled straight to LP Field.
In 2006 Nashville  debuted the Music City Star Rail (501 Union St., 615/862-8833, www.musiccitystar.org ), a commuter rail system designed to ease congestion around the city. With service Monday through Friday, three morning trains and three afternoon trains connect Donelson, Hermitage, Mount Juliet, and Lebanon to downtown Nashville. More routes are planned for the future.
One-way tickets can be purchased for $5 each from vending machines at any of the stations. You can pre-purchase single-trip tickets, 10-trip packs, and monthly passes at the Regional Transportation Authority Office at 501 Union Street Monday–Friday 10 a.m.–2 p.m. For a complete list of ticket outlets, contact the railway.
Licensed taxicabs will have an orange driver permit, usually displayed on the visor or dashboard.
Several good cab companies are Allied Cab Company (615/244-7433 or 625/320-9083), Checker Cab (615/256-7000), Music City Taxi Inc. (615/262-0451, www.musiccitytaxi.com ), and United Cab (615/228-6969).
If cruising around in a stretch limo is more your style, call Basic Black Limo (615/430-8157, www.basicblacklimo.net ). The rate is $125 per hour on Saturday nights; the limo seats up to 14 passengers.