The Volunteer State, founded in 1796, has long been renowned for its natural beauty, so it's no surprise that the biggest cities in Tennessee can be found dotted from the Great Smokey Mountains in the East, the highlands in the central region, and along the lowlands near the Mississippi River.
From music to history to outdoor adventure, Tennessee's six largest cities offer plenty of diversity in their respective corners of the state. Of the 36 cities with a population of at least 15,000, these six are the most populous in the state:
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Settled in the Southwest corner of Tennessee along the Mississippi River, Memphis is home to over 650,000 residents. Iconic music legends famously made their home here, including Elvis Presley, B.B. King and W.C. Handy, which led to the city's nicknames: "Home of the Blues" and "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll." Other landmarks throughout the city include the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Zoo and FedExForum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team.
As the second largest city in terms of land mass, Nashville also comes in second in population with just over 630,00 citizens. Music City USA has long been the center of country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Music Row and the Ryman Auditorium are just a few of the musical attractions that draw thousands of tourists and budding musicians alike to town. Although music dominates the landscape, professional sports are another big source of entertainment and include the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators and the Nashville Dream.
Located between the Great Smokey Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, Knoxville is inhabited by just over 173,000 people. According to CNN Money, the third largest city in Tennessee
"has the best employment outlook in the nation" with a quarter of employers ready to add more jobs. "The Valley" is also home to The University of Tennessee Volunteers, whose campus is located just outside of downtown.
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With just over 173,000 residents, Chattanooga is nestled in Hamilton County along the Tennessee River, which winds through the city. The forth most populated city in Tennessee boasts a rich cultural scene, including the Bluff View Art District, Hunter Museum of Art and the Rock City Gardens, to name a few. In 1941, Glenn Miller helped put Chatanooga on the map with his big-band hit song, "Chattanooga Choo Choo."
Established in 1784 as a station between the Cumberland and Red Rivers, Clarksville has seen extended growth in its population since its humble beginnings. Now the fifth largest city in Tennessee, Clarksville has seen its population grow by 30 percent. Clarksville is home to Austin Peay State University and neighbor to Fort Campbell, just 25 miles northeast on the Kentucky border.
Home to over 117,000 residents, Murfreesboro is centrally located 35 miles southeast of the state capital, Nashville. Coincidentally, Murfreesboro became the state capital from 1818-1826. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy 8.5 miles of nature trails known as the Greenways, which follow Stones River and Lytle Creek. One of the major employers in the area is Nissan North America.
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