No matter where you visit in Nashville, there is always somewhere to listen to live music. There a small venues as well as the well-known large auditoriums. Local people are very friendly and will delight in advising you of the best places to go and visit. Most VIPs tend to mix with the locals and there is every chance that you will come across someone you have heard of when in a store or bar.
Music Row is an important part of the Nashville music scene. It is found around 16th and 17th avenues south. In Music Row you will see the FCA, studio B. You will also see Columbia’s Quonset Development Hut, which was the first studio located in the area, way back. The area was developed in the 1950s”, after Nashville became known as “Music City, USA. After they signed Elvis Presley, RCA realized that it would be beneficial to have a branch office in the South East, and they chose Nashville. It was there that the fusion of Country Music and Soft Rock Music called Country Rock was created.
Not only will you see the recording studios, but many businesses that support the music industry, like music-licensing firms, are located in the area. Things to see are:
- RCA Studio B
- Quonset Hut
- Owen Bradley Park
- Musica Statue
This is an area of town where you will find many of the recording studios. This is one area where you will definitely benefit from being part of an organized tour as without a knowledgeable guide it would be difficult to know what you are seeing. A good tour is the NashvilleTrolley Tour.
The Nashville Parthenon
The Nashville Parthenon is a stunning full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. You may think that this is an odd building to find in Nashville, but it was originally constructed in 1897 as part of the “Tennessee Centennial Exposition.” Nashville, known as Äthens of the South”is an acknowledgement of the city’s place as a cultural and artistic “capital.”
Today, the building serves as an Art Museum which features both classic pieces and modern ones as well, such as artists like Andy Warhol. In the 1990s they added a large sculpture of Greek Goddess Athena to the building.
The Tennessee Centennial Exposition had several buildings constructed, based on ancient originals. However, they, unlike the Parthenon, were not exact replicas and had less value. The other buildings were demolished after the Exposition, although one other building (Knights of Pythias Pavilion) was saved and moved to the nearby city of Franklin.
The building has been used in several movies and for several large cultural performances. The Nashville Parthenon underwent large scale renovation in 2002, and had a lot of construction and construction debris which ended up being one of the largest Nashville Recycling jobs ever.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
10 miles East of the center of Nashville is Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. The plantation there was reliant on slaves to work the 1000 or more acres. The property was owned by Andrew Jackson, who was the seventh President of the United States, between 1804 and his death in 1845. He only occasionally lived there until his retirement
The property today is 1120 acres and is managed by the Andrew Jackson Foundation. The mansion is the most authentically preserved ex-president’s home in the USA. Each year the estate gets over a quarter million visitors, making it the fourth most visited home of an ex-president. In 1960 the property was declared a National Historic Landmark.
The Grand Ole Opry
The “Grand Ole Opry” is a country music stage concert that takes place every week. It began in November 1925 as a one-hour radio “Barn Dance.” The program was carried on WSM and is the longest-running show broadcast on USA radio. The show is a mix of established country music singers and chart topping songs in the country, bluegrass, Americana folk, and gospel music. Comedy skits are also performed.
Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the “Grand Ole Opry House,” which is located East of downtown, for nine months a year, and the remaining three months from the Ryman Auditorium. Occasionally the show is also televised.
Performing at the Grand Ole Opry is seen as a huge honor for country stars whose Induction into the Grand Ole Opry is the highest honor in the country music world. You are able to take a tour and have a guide explain all of the history and stories of those who have performed there. It is a great tour and very informative. For more information, check out the Grand Ole Opry website.
Tennessee State Museum
As the name suggests, The Tennessee State Museum is a large museum which tells the story of the State of Tennessee. This is a free to enter museum and is a great place to take the children. It is a large building and contains quite an array of exhibits.
The earliest known museum in Tennessee foes back to 1817. The State Museum opened in 1937. The new building was opened in 2018 and is a wonderful building offering great facilities.
One of the permanent exhibits
Civil War & Reconstruction
Massive times of change for the people of Tennessee. A state that remained divided during the civil war.
Tennessee time Tunnel
This exhibit takes a unique approach to telling the story of Tennessee. A great way of bringing together the various exhibits in a continuous time-line.
The General Jackson Showboat
The General Jackson Showboat is one of the largest ever built. It was built inland in Indiana and launched onto the Cumberland River in April 1985. Showboats are an integral part of the history of the USA, and this new arrival was named after the very first Showboat on the Cumberland River in 1817. The General Jackson Showboat can take 1,000 passengers as well as the crew. The length of the boat is 274 feet, but add the length of the gangplank and you get 300 feet.
The boat can operate in just 7 feet of water and can travel at an average speed of 3-4 mph. The top speed is 13 mph. Your cruise includes some fantastic views of Nashville and the surrounding area while you enjoy scrumptious meals prepared by top quality chefs, and entertainment in the two story theater. Cruises last around two and a half hours to three hours.
The first concert at the Ryman Auditorium was the May Music Festival with the Theodore Thomas Orchestra. This concert was a benefit to try and secure some artifacts for Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. In May 1893, what was billed as the most important religious gathering ever took place for the Southern Baptist Convention. Lectures and religious meetings were the most common use of the auditorium until 1901 when they built the first stage at the Ryman Auditorium. The earliest musical concerts were opera mostly. When cinema became popular, the Ryman was one of the few venues that did not switch to become a cinema. In 1921 the Jazz Hounds performed, but still it was mostly opera at the Ryman. An exception was Harry Houdini, who performed in 1924, with many of his most famous acts. In 1925 the Grand Ole Opret was launched. The Opey used various other venues in the early years before moving to the Ryman in 1943, where it stayed for 31 years, when in 1974 the Grand Ole Opry moved to its custom-built permanent home at the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. From 2010 the Opry returned to the Ryman during the winter months.
There are Tours of the Ryman Auditorium and if you get the chance you should try to catch one. They have self guided tours, and they even have “The Proposal Package” where guys get the opportunity to propose on the stage of the Ryman.
The Belle Meade Plantation
The Belle Meade Plantation is a historic site and winery in Nashville, Tennessee. It is devoted especially to the preservation of Tennessee architecture, hospitality and its equestrian past. There are three tours. The first tour is of the Mansion and tells the stories of the Harding and Jackson families and the lives of those who worked there. The second tour, Journey to jubilee Tour, looks at the stories of enslaved African Americans and Belle Meade. The third tour is a Segway tour of the grounds, together with complimentary wine tastings.
In 1807 John Harding bought Durham’s station log cabin and 250 acres of land and began to develop a farm which he called Belle Meade. Harding ran several business including a blacksmith’s shop, cotton gin, grist and saw mills. By 1816 Harding was also boarding horses, include horses for his neighbor Andrew Jackson. Middle Tennessee gradually became synonymous with thoroughbreds. By 1823 Harding had registered his own racing colors with the Nashville Jockey Club.
As a strong supporter of the Confederate cause, during the civil war Harding donated large sums of money to the formation of the confederate army. When the Union army took control of Nashville, Harding was arrested and sent north to be imprisoned. During the war, Confederate troops also occupied Belle Meade.
After the war Harding gave up racing, to concentrate on breeding at which they were very successful. The property was sold after Harding and his son both died and much of the land was bought to be turned into the city of Belle Meade. The remaining 30 acres and the mansion were preserved and in 1953 the State of Tennessee purchased the property.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee is a large museum devoted to American popular and folk music.. It was chartered in 1964 and since then has built up one of the world’s most extensive collection of recorded music.
In the early 1960s the Country Music Association (CMA) was running a major campaign to publicize country music, and they decided that a new organization was needed to set up a museum of country music and to carry out research and education. These were things that the CMA could not do as a trade association. In 1964 the State of Tennessee chartered a non-profit organization “The Country music Foundation” to undertake the work. In the early days staff from the CMA had worked for the CMF, but by 1972 the Museum started to employee its own staff.
In May 2001, the Museum moved to a new facility in Downtown Nashville. In 2014, they doubled the size of the museum with the addition of new facilities. In addition to the museum, the CMF has a 776 sq ft CMA Theater, The Taylor Swift center, and also spaces for multi-purpose use.
Membership of the Country Music Hall of Fame is an honor which is highly prized and is offered to performers, as well as songwriters, broadcasters, and executives that have served Country music The very first inductees were Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Roy Acuff.
There are exhibits to see, special performances, family and youth programs and a great deal more. You may want to check their website for current events taking place.
The Tennessee State Capitol
In addition to all the remarkable music attractions in Nashville, we should not forget that Nashville is also the State Capitol of Tennessee. The Capitol is now open for self-guided tours. The building itself is pretty much as it was when it first opened in 1859. It is one of the oldest working State Capitol buildings in the USA. It houses the Tennessee General Assembly and also houses the offices of the Governor. In the grounds of the capitol building are numerous statues including those of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson.
When you’re done with all the attractions in Nashville itself, don’t forget to take a trip out into the surrounding countryside where you will see gorgeous landscapes. Of course, we have only been able to list a selection of the wonderful places to visit in Nashville. This is a city that welcomes tourists and there is just so much that the people of Nashville want to share with you.