In a Travel+Leisure survey of visitors and residents of 25 different cities around the country, Nashville rankings were mixed. The highest Nashville ranking occurred in the "Live Music" feature (only New Orleans and Austin ranked higher). It is no surprise that the lowest Nashville ranking was in the "Ease of Getting Around/Public Transportation" field. Our public transportation is not what it should be. We can argue until the cows come home about whether keeping a professional hockey team would make us more competitive with the truly major cities, but a more dedicated public transportation system that effectively moves large numbers of people around Nashville is much more important for our status than the seasonal presence of a hockey club.
There are other categories involving the everyday qualities of life here where both visitors and residents rank us lower. We do rank higher in "Affordability," trailing only San Antonio, Texas. We rank in the top ten in "Safety," which categorically contradicts another poll. However, we tend to rank lower in residential categories like "Environmental Awareness," "Parks/Public Spaces," "Skylines/Views," "Pedestrian-Friendliness," "Access to Outdoors," and "Notable Neighborhoods." Quality of life is not judged simply by whether or not we can get enough "Live Music" every night. There ought to be more to Nashville than that.
Otherwise, Austin, Texas is looking pretty good. They seem to rival Nashville's strengths without copying its weaknesses (except for the "Public Transportation" feature).