All cities evolve, but few cities feel the visceral tug-of-war between the past and the future like Nashville.
Tradition and continuity are in the DNA of this Tennessee city, but the Nashville of the early 2000s understood it had reached a change-or-die moment in its history. The journey to “It City” stature has been exciting and unruly — rich with remaking, renovation and innovation.
The Shelby Bridge, a perfect place to start or end any visit to Music City, is a great example. Twenty years ago, it was an aging iron roadway connecting downtown to East Nashville. After it was converted to a pedestrian bridge with city parks on either side, one could walk from Nissan Stadium (home of Nashville’s professional football team) to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center’s front door with a dramatic skyline view along the way. It spoke to everything locals and tourists alike love about this city: an embrace of the arts, sports, public space and the Cumberland River, which is the reason there’s even a city of Nashville to begin with.