12 Nicknames for Nashville That You Should Know


7 min read
The Nashville skyline with skyscrapers and a green park and bridge in front of it
Nashville is a great city to visit with a rich culture

Nashville is an exciting city located in the US state of Tennessee. The destination has a rich heritage and culture and is known for its many country music venues, fun bars, and incredible attractions. Nashville is a must-visit city for all types of travelers, from families to couples and groups of friends.

Being a town with so much history and culture, it's not surprising that there are several nicknames for Nashville. These monikers range from those about the city's strong music heritage to those relating to Nashville's cuisine and hockey team. If you want to learn 12 of the most popular Nashville city nicknames, read on!

  • 12 nicknames

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12 Nashville Nicknames

A Greek-style building with columns on a grassy hill under a blue sky
Nashville has many Greek-style buildings hence the name Athens of the South

Athens of the South

One of the nicknames for Nashville, Tennessee, that’s less well-known is Athens of the South. This name was given to the city, in part, due to the many higher education institutions found there. The city boasts 30 higher learning institutions, including Vanderbilt University.

In addition, Nashville features various buildings inspired by Greek architecture. A primary example of this is the Parthenon. This iconic building is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Another notable Greek-style building in Nashville is the State Capitol.

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Buckle of the Bible Belt

The United States Bible Belt is a large region of the South, known for having a large population of conservative Christians. Nashville falls within this area and has gained the nickname the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

This name came about due to the large religious population in Nashville and its many churches. The city also has over 700 churches of varying religions and has the most churches per capita in the whole United States.

These churches include the famous Downtown Presbyterian Church, which has been visited by Presidents Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk, among other notable individuals.

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One of the most well-known nicknames for Nashville is Music City
Music City is one of the most famous nicknames for Nashville

Music City, USA

Music City, or Music City USA is undoubtedly Nashville’s most iconic nickname. The nickname was first used by announcer David Cobb during a 1950s radio broadcast. The name quickly stuck and became the city’s most famous moniker.

The name comes from the fact that Nashville is a major music hub, especially for country music. The city features an array of country music venues, such as the Nashville landmark Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium.

Nashville is also home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and an array of renowned music stars have called the area home.

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Gnashville

Gnashville is one of two Nashville nicknames relating to the Nashville Predators National Hockey League team. Gnash is the team’s fun mascot, and the name is sometimes lengthened to “Gnashville” as a nickname for the city.

The saber-tooth tiger character appears at home games and on a range of merchandise and promotions. A saber-tooth tiger was chosen as both the team’s logo and mascot because these creatures inhabited what is now Nashville during the ice age.

When the ice “returned” to Nashville via their new ice hockey team in the late 1990s, so did the saber-toothed tiger!

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A street with bars with colorful neon signs outside
The bright neon lights of Nashville's Lower Broadway resembles Las Vegas

Nashvegas

Nashvegas is another Nashville, TN, nickname you must know. The name is a play on Las Vegas due to the fact that Nashville features many casinos and bars. Lower Broadway and the Honky Tonk Highway are also thought of as a mini-Vegas strip, with illuminated neon signs and late-night partying.

The areas of the city referred to as Nashvegas are must-visit spots for first-time visitors looking for an amazing night out. You can choose from a range of bars, clubs, and restaurants to visit. Alternatively, just walk around the area and take in the atmosphere.

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Cashville

Another notable Nickname for Nashville is Cashville. This term was first used in rapper Young Buck’s album “Straight Outta Cashville,” which was released in 2004.

The rapper was born in Nashville and created the album, under the Cashville name, as a “Hometown testament destined to mark Country music’s ground zero.” Ever since the album release, the name has stuck as one of Nashville’s primary nicknames. Young Buck additionally has a Nashville-based record label called Cashville.

Others note that Nashville features many cash checking and pawn shops. Music icon Johnny Cash also resided in Nashville, providing another link to the name Cashville.

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Two guitar statues on a path with trees behind them
Many credit Nashville with being the birthplace of country music

The Birthplace of Country Music

This Nashville, Tennessee, nickname has similar origins as the Music City nickname. Nashville is often referred to as the Birthplace of Country Music due to the large country music scene that has been in the area for decades.

In the mid-1950s, American country music started to become an extremely popular genre. Nashville was home to several of the nations’ top artists and country music venues.

Today, country music remains a highly important part of Nashville culture. You can visit legendary venues, like the Grand Ole Opry, and hear live country music performances in many establishments. Of course, Nashville is also home to the renowned Country Music Hall of Fame and famous country music recording studios.

Despite Nashville being very frequently referred to by this name, others say that Bristol, Tennessee, is the actual Birthplace of Country Music.

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Powder City

Powder City, or the Powder City of the World, is an older nickname that isn’t used as frequently today as some other Nashville nicknames. However, people still recognize the nickname, and it is used occasionally.

The name arose around 100 years ago when the DuPont Gunpowder Factory was located in Nashville. The plant was based in what today is Jacksonville, Tennessee, however, the area was part of Nashville at the time.

By 1918, the gunpowder factory was producing 700,000 pounds of powder per day. Production was especially high during this period due to gunpowder supplies being needed for WWI. After the war, production decreased, and eventually, the plant closed. Yet the nickname Powder City stuck.

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Little Kurdistan

Nashville is home to the largest Kurdish population in the United States. This fact has resulted in another nickname for Nashville being created, Little Kurdistan.

There are approximately 15,000 Kurds living in Nashville, with about 40,000 living in the United States in total. Many of these individuals came as refugees in the 1970s.

The specific part of the city most often called Little Kurdistan is the area around the Salahadeen Center. This building is a central part of religious life for Nashville’s Kurdish population, and a number of Kurds live around the center.

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A sports arena with hockey banner that says Smashville below a Bridgestone Area sign
The Smashville nickname was created by the Nashville Predators NHL team

Smashville

Another famous nickname relating to the Nashville Predators is Smashville. This nickname is highly important to Predators’ fans, and they refer to the Preds' home arena, Bridgestone Arena, Smashville. The name was first developed by the franchise’s marketing team when the team first landed in Nashville in 1997.

Having a National Hockey League team in the south was a strange idea for many, so the marketing department quickly needed to create a brand their fans could support. Hence the need for a catchy nickname, like Smashville, that would stand the test of time.

During the summer, there’s also often an event at Bridgestone Arena called Smashville Summer Spectacular. At the event, you can check out various free activities and enjoy other events and performances, such as watching the NHL draft.

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The Hot Chicken Capital

One of Nashville’s many specialties is hot chicken. The city’s take on the southern classic of fried chicken has earned it another nickname, the Hot Chicken Capital. It’s thought that Nashville-based Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack invented the dish sometime between the 1940s and 1980s.

Today, the dish is loved across the United States, and Nashville even hosts an annual hot chicken festival. If you miss the festival don’t worry! You can pick up a range of variations of the tasty dish from several Nashville eateries, including Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.

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The Protestant Vatican

This nickname has similar origins to the Buckle of the Bible Belt name. The name Protestant Vatican arose due to the large religious population in Nashville and the vast number of churches located in the city.

Additionally, Nashville has one of the largest Protestant communities in the United States. In fact, 69% of the Nashville population identifies as Protestant.

Due to this large group of Protestant residents, people see Nashville as a main religious base in the US. This is akin to the Catholic Vatican in Italy being the head of the Catholic church, hence The Protestant Vatican name.

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In Summary

Nashville is an amazing city to visit, and there is lots to learn about it! Along with knowing all of the must-see attractions, learning some of Nashville's nicknames is a fun activity that will teach you more about the southern city.

Hopefully, you've discovered some monikers that you didn't know related to Nashville, Tennessee, and learned more about the origins of nicknames you were aware of.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!