PopulationMetro: 1,110,000
Music City lets you worship your idols and toast them frequently.

Nashville is hot, and not just because it ranks #46 in our global Prosperity category, which looks at the city’s performance in the subcategories of Global 500 Companies, Unemployment and GDP Per Capita. But it you’re keeping score, Nashville is #34 globally for unemployment and #39 for GDP per capita.

Google for Entrepreneurs partnered with the Tennessee capital, a tech hub, to help local startup communities thrive. The city and its citizens spend their money wisely, including for the preservation of historic buildings and to revitalize neighborhoods like Germantown, which was established in the 1850s by European immigrants. It’s initiative like these that will improve Nashville’s Neighborhoods & Landmarks subcategory—languishing outside of the Top 100 currently.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 33
Product
Product 12
Programming
Programming 8
People
People 53
Prosperity
Prosperity 45
Promotion
Promotion 10

The music scene continues to thrive as well, particularly as a younger generation of musicians—Jack White and the Black Keys come to mind— have chosen to live and set up recording studios in town. You can start your visit right in downtown with a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which traces the history of the genre. If you want to delve deeper into the personal stories of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and George Jones, well, they’ve got their own museums, too. With a Top 50 ranking for Culture globally, the city is finally getting the recognition it deserves for its long but subtle influence on the American—and by extension, the planet’s—fabric.

The food scene is also heating up, with a Culinary ranking finally cracking the Top 100 (#98). Check out Rolf & Daughters, an industrial-chic restaurant where diners at communal tables dine on seasonal American fare while sipping creative concoctions like Vitas & the Element, made with Chattanooga 1816 Reserve, cacao, China China, hibiscus and egg whites. At Patterson House, the barmen in period costumes mix some pretty potent cocktails. If you need a respite from all that eating and drinking, the city offers a sprawling park system with more than 12,000 acres to explore by bike (B-Cycle bike-rental stations are located at greenway trailheads), or by kayak and canoe on the Harpeth River.