When people think of Nashville, their minds drift straight to its legendary music scene — and for good reason. Also known as Music City, it’s known for its rich country music history and its eclectic mix of modern artists across all kinds of genres. Any Nashville visitor’s guide will have this iconic status headlining, but a local’s guide to Nashville and an Old Town Trolley Nashville tour will tell you there’s far more to this vibrant city than just that.
Known as the home of country music, Nashville is a top destination for all things culture and history. Raking in record visitors year after year, it’s no surprise that it’s quickly climbed to the top spot for families, couples and solo travelers alike. It might be a beautiful day in Music City when the sun is shining, but sometimes even more so when it rains. With plenty of activities to do on a rainy day and an abundance of indoor activities in Nashville, you’ll never be at risk of having a bad vacation.
A stylish neighborhood, 12 South has plenty to do. The area recently enjoyed a renaissance — thanks to entrepreneurs and heavy investments in real estate, the area has blossomed with things to do. A variety of quirky boutiques, bars and restaurants have emerged and now grace the area bordered by Linden and Kirkwood Avenues. 12 South is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Nashville, a shopping destination jam-packed with boutiques featuring local designers and makers. For those interested in fashion, shopping with friends is the “thing” to do in 12 South. A wide variety of shops enhances the experience. A few “must-visit” places include Judith Bright, White’s Mercantile, Ceri Hoover and imogene + willie.
The National Museum of African American Music explores the rich history of black music, touching on more than 50 genres and styles, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip-hop. Featuring six interactive galleries equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the museum’s mission is to educate and transform the appreciation of African American music history and culture.
6th & Peabody, the leading craft distiller of moonshine and home of the world’s most visited distillery, has expanded their presence in Tennessee by joining forces with Yee Haw Brewing Company, one of Tennessee’s top craft breweries.
When in Nashville, visit the famous 6th & Peabody and enjoy the distillery, brewery, bars, and more. Visitors are able to enjoy moonshine, cocktails, & beer.
The pulse of a city that lives and breathes music is present in every honky-tonk, every bar and in the warm breeze coming off the Cumberland River. Experience the true heart of Nashville aboard our new Soul of Music City – Nashville’s Night Tour! It’s an evening filled with music, history and fun and a close-up view of some of the most legendary spots in town.
Although it is steeped in art, culture and history, Nashville is known as the Country Music Capital of the World. It is a popular destination for fans of this uniquely American art form. For generations, music emanating from frontier fiddles and guitars has been the common thread connecting the life and soul of the city and its people. Immersing yourself in the cultural, business and social aspects of the genre is essential for understanding its importance in the story of Music City.
When you permanently set your dial to the country station on your radio, you know you’re a fan of that special brand of music. Your closet is full of boots and hats, your mind is filled with lyrics aplenty and you wait with baited breath for Tim and Faith’s new tour dates to arrive. If your heart gets happy when the likes of Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton or Luke Bryan pop through your speakers, you’re in need of a visit to Nashville. This capital city of Tennessee is home to country music, its legends and the place to which country artists hitch their wagon and their star. When you get there, you’ll know it’s for you and there’s a good chance you’ll never want to leave.
Welcome to Tennessee’s capital, Music City! This southern city is filled with all sorts of sensational sounds, tourist trinkets, southern comforts and the hustle of the honky tonks. Listen and the city calls to you. You’ll find your ears leading the way as you wander towards the melodious sounds. Known for all things country, Nashville excites, invites and entices newcomers and returning veterans alike. Whether you’re digging your taste buds into your newfound love of fried green tomatoes, chowing down at festive barbecue joints or hanging with the legends at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville is bound to convince you to return.
Known as Music City, Nashville has a lot to offer musical aficionados. From honky tonks, Country Music Hall of Fame, to musical night tours. If you are in the city and are interested in learning and experiencing more about the state of Tennessee and the distinctive American art form of country music, a day trip from Nashville to Memphis, TN is a perfect way to get acquainted. Keep reading for different ways to get there and where to stop along the way as well as what to see and do in Nashville.
The best ways to make the trek from Memphis to Nashville are by taking a bus or driving a car, which is the fastest and least expensive way to travel. Interstate 40 eastbound is the thoroughfare connecting the cities. A car trip will take approximately three hours each way.
The Nashville metro area contains more than 120 parks and greenways encompassing over 12,000 acres. Attractions range from small neighborhood parks to large expanses of lawn that host outdoor concerts and cultural festivals. Nature trails enable you to explore the indigenous flora and fauna. These urban oases offer a range of amenities, including public art, memorials, picnic shelters and playground equipment. Many parks in Nashville are dog friendly.
No trip to Music City would be complete without a visit to the area of Lower Broadway between First and Fifth avenues, a landmark district known as the Honky Tonk Highway. A honky tonk is a laid-back watering hole where locals gather to hear live music. When the Ryman Auditorium became home to the Grand Ole Opry, many performers would cross the alley behind the building and enter these venues through their backdoors. It was a common sight to see headline acts performing alongside local bands. These music venues were also the places where many future stars were discovered. You can stroll down the street and hear a wide variety of music emanating through the open doors.
Southern charm, beautiful surroundings and a vibrant art, music and culinary scene combine to create the perfect setting for a memorable Nashville date night. The wide assortment of romantic things to do in Nashville is sure to please nature lovers, history buffs and music fans. Whether it is your first date or a rendezvous to rekindle the sparks of a long-term relationship, this guide can help you plan a memorable outing.
The largest Christian university in Tennessee, Belmont University is a private coeducational liberal arts institution. It is also the state’s second largest private university. A highly ranked regional university by “U.S. News and World Report,” Belmont occupies 84 picturesque acres just two miles west of downtown Nashville. Virtually all traffic is rerouted around the campus to create a tranquil learning environment.
The Patsy Cline Museum chronicles the life and career of the country music legend known for famous hits like “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces.” Unique among Nashville museums, it celebrates the singer who tragically died at the age of 30. The 4,000-square-foot gallery features interactive exhibits displaying hundreds of artifacts, personal belongings and rare video clips. Visitors to the Patsy Cline Museum will enjoy viewing awards, costumes, furniture and other memorabilia. It contains the largest collection of items related to the entertainer. Located above the Johnny Cash Museum, the attraction should be included on your list of must-see Nashville museums.
One of the most well-known spots in the city, Printer’s Alley in downtown Nashville is a must-see when planning your Nashville vacation. Tucked away between Third and Fourth Avenue, an array of nightclubs and restaurants beckons visitors and locals alike—and holds a vibrant reminder of the city’s rich heritage.
Madame Tussauds Nashville is a wax attraction that offers guests the unique opportunity to interact with incredibly lifelike iconic figures from the celebrity world of music. With a completely different concept, the attraction in Nashville is the company’s first offering in the US that focuses solely on music icons that have shaped America’s musical landscape.
Renowned for its music-centric attractions and events, Nashville also boasts a wide range of scenic views that include historic architecture, panoramic sunset vistas and the colorful fall foliage. After experiencing Music City’s honky tonks, museums and other cultural attractions, relax and soak in the Country Music Capital of the World’s wonderful scenery. Many of the following scenic overlooks are easily accessible from various stops on the Old Town Trolley Tour.
While Nashville boasts a wide range of eateries serving Southern favorites, Music City is the home of the classic “meat and three” meal, which includes a choice of meat as well as three side dishes. Nashville is also the birthplace of Hot Chicken, a fiery dish originally concocted in a failed attempt to inflict suffering. When visiting Nashville, you can treat yourself to a wide assortment of delicious down-home and fusion dishes.
Nashville hosts great family activities, an impressive array of musical entertainment & one of the best fireworks extravaganzas in the country. During this popular multi-day celebration of food, family, fireworks & America’s independence, events take place in various locations throughout the city.
Cheekwood is considered one of the finest American Country Place Era estates in the nation. Formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, the extraordinary 1930s estate, with its Georgian mansion and 55 acres of cultivated gardens and expansive vistas, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and museum with historic rooms and art galleries, showcasing works from its 7,000 piece permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions.
Established in 1990, the 200-acre zoological park features over 2,200 animals from more than 350 different species from around the world. Guests can view amphibians, birds and mammals as well as fish and reptiles, such as the blue poison arrow frog, colorful lorikeets and ring-tailed lemurs. You can also see South American piranhas and dwarf caiman crocodile. Many exhibits replicate the inhabitants’ native environments, giving you the opportunity to see the animals interact in their natural elements. The Jungle Gym is a children’s playground that includes slides, cargo nets, swings and other play structures. The Nashville Zoo is also the setting for the historic Grassmere Farm and its 19th-century plantation house, which is a public museum.
From its founding as a backcountry trading post to its ascendancy as the “Country Music Capital of the World,” Nashville has played a significant role in the nation’s history for over two centuries. The city offers historic landmarks, buildings, museums and attractions that are fun and educational for the whole family. Located in and around Music City, several of these historic places are stops along the Old Town Trolley Tour, making it easy to visit and learn more about these popular attractions. This guide will help you explore the city’s fascinating historic sites while on vacation.
As the vibrant capital of Tennessee, Nashville has earned several monikers over the years. Once a sparsely settled trading post founded in 1779, the cosmopolitan city is now a popular tourist destination. A leading center of higher education for more than 100 years, it was dubbed the Athens of the South in the 19th century. Because of its reputation as a mecca for singers and songwriters as well as its music publishing industry, Nashville is also heralded as the Country Music Capital of the World. The area centered on the intersection of Second Avenue and Broadway is a popular destination for locals and tourists with its shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
Nashville is chock full of attractions and points of interest and to those who live and work there, it’s an easy city to navigate. But if you’re planning a Nashville vacation, it’s a smart idea to be aware of the various transportation options—if you’re considering renting a car, keep in mind that parking can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a look at the best ways to get around Music City.
“What is there to do in Nashville during Fall”? There’s plenty going on in the lively music city during this season; the fall foliage takes over the landscape and the air gets crisper, cooler and perfect for outdoor activities, which is probably why these months are full of cultural festivals, weekly live music events at Centennial Park, city night tours and more. Read our travel tips for more info from the variety of events that highlight the true heritage of Nashville, including the Tennessee Craft Fair, Oktoberfest and History Festival.
Designed by Edward Dougherty, the 2,000-seat War Memorial Auditorium was completed in 1925. It received the highest award from the American Institute of Architects that same year. Featuring near-perfect acoustics, it was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1939 until 1943. The auditorium would host the Opry again in 2010 when flooding caused the current Grand Ole Opry House to close for renovations. The auditorium’s courtyard displays tablets inscribed with names of Tennesseans killed in battle and a triumphant statue entitled “Youth” by Nashvillian Belle Kinney Scholz. A quote by President Woodrow Wilson is engraved over the entrance.
The Tennessee State Museum is a top attraction that tells the story of the state’s rich history including the civil war, the age of Jackson, antebellum south, reconstruction era, and the prehistoric frontier. Expanding approximately 120,000 square feet, the museum currently occupies three floors with about 60,000 square feet devoted to exhibits. The exhibitions and programs at the Tennessee State Museum are designed for your educational and cultural enrichment.
Hosting the renowned Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a prominent example of 21st century Neoclassical architecture, which was designed by David M. Schwarz of Washington, D.C. Completed in 2006, the performing arts venue has excellent acoustics and is one of the few concert halls in the country featuring natural light. The 30,000-square-foot, shoebox-style concert venue is decorated with irises, the Tennessee state flower, as well as horseshoes and coffee beans to honor patrons Laura Turner and the Cheek family. The Center also houses the Mike Curb Family Music Education Hall and a colonnade-enclosed public garden.
Broadway is a major thoroughfare running from the southwest to the northeast through the heart of downtown Nashville. Extending from 21st Avenue South to First Avenue, the street connects neighborhoods like the Gulch and Music Row with the Cumberland River waterfront. Broadway is the demarcation line where many of Nashville’s roadways change their designation from north to south.
Seating up to 19,395 guests, the Bridgestone Arena is a multipurpose indoor entertainment venue. The home arena for the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the stadium hosts concerts, religious gatherings and sporting events like basketball, indoor football and professional wrestling. The arena can also be configured for theater-style concerts and Broadway shows. One of the nation’s most highly acclaimed entertainment venues, the arena is Nashville’s top venue for large-scale musical productions. The Bridgestone Arena tower contains the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Situated on the campus of Vanderbilt University, the stadium was originally built in 1922 as the first athletic venue in the South to be constructed solely for hosting collegiate football. Home to the Vanderbilt Commodores, the stadium accommodates approximately 40,550 fans. It is the smallest football venue in the Southeastern Conference. In addition to a high-definition video scoreboard, Vanderbilt Stadium features a grassy berm at the north end where fans can spread their blankets and enjoy a picnic while watching the game. The university Navy ROTC detachment blasts the “Admiral,” a foghorn, when the Commodores take the field, score points and win home games.
President Rutherford B. Hayes laid the Customs House cornerstone in 1877. Opening five years later, the federal building housed the post office as well as the area offices for the Treasury and Justice Departments. Designed by William Appleton, the ornate stone building features a Victorian Gothic-style with a soaring central clock tower. Exterior architectural details include lancet windows and a deep inset triple-arched entrance. Considered nonessential by the federal government in the 1990s, the building was repurposed as private office space.
The late-Victorian Romanesque Revival-style Union Station was completed in 1900. A passenger terminal for several rail lines until 1979, the site was a way station for Al Capone during his trip to a Georgia penitentiary. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the landmark building experienced years of neglect until it was converted into a luxury hotel. The majestic lobby features a barrel-vaulted, 65-foot-high ceiling enclosed by Tiffany-styled stained glass. Modern conveniences combine with the opulent public spaces that are filled with architectural details like wrought iron and Italian marble. The likeness of Mercury adorns the clock tower.
The Art Deco-style Frist Art Museum displays works by local, state and regional artists along with national and international exhibits. The center is housed in the former post office that was completed in 1934 as part of the Public Works Administration. Architectural details, including fluted pilasters and stone eagles, blend classical elements with national symbols to create a style known as Grecian Moderne. Listed on the National Register, the marble building was repurposed as the Frist Art Museum in 2001. Encompassing 24,000 square feet of gallery space, the non-collecting museum exhibits traveling collections from around the world.
Opening in 1974, the award-winning Station Inn is considered to be one of Nashville’s premier venues for bluegrass music. Notable artists to perform at this world-famous bluegrass Mecca include Dolly Parton, Randy Travis and Reba McEntire. The no-frills atmosphere is the backdrop for concerts and impromptu jam sessions by up-and-coming artists as well as established performers. The Station Inn features drinks, snacks and live acoustic music every night. A Swedish fan gave the Inn the massive cowbell hanging over the bar, which is rung after an impressive performance.
Located in the Gulch, Two Old Hippies is a retail store offering a selection of guitars, music, clothing and other novelty merchandise in an atmosphere of peace, love and understanding. The 8,000-square-foot shop features a stage outfitted with an organ, several guitars and a drum set as well as lighting and a mixing board. “The Vault” is a room where customers can try out various guitars in a quiet space. In the center of the store is a converted VW “Magic Bus.” The walls of the store are lined with an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia.
The Gulch is a historic neighborhood located south of downtown with a hip atmosphere. This easily walkable former industrial area once housed the downtown railroad terminal, now the Union Station Hotel. Today, it is the setting for renovated warehouses that feature residential and office spaces as well as a variety of upscale restaurants, eclectic boutiques and vibrant nightlife venues. It is a popular destination for tourists, locals and college students. The Station Inn, a highly regarded concert venue for bluegrass music, is located in the Gulch.
Headquartered on Music Square East, Curb Records is an independent music label founded by Mike Curb in 1964. The label’s top recordings include hits by legendary artists like the Righteous Brothers, Roy Orbison and Tim McGraw as well as Gloria Gaynor, the Judds and LeAnn Rimes. A philanthropist, Curb has been instrumental in restoring historic buildings, including Columbia’s Historic Quonset Hut, a recording studio originally established by Owen Bradley, and the Johnny Cash Museum. Curb is honored with a star on the Music City Walk of Fame. The company operates a retail shop that offers a wide selection of vinyl records, DVDs and specialty merchandise.
The Renaissance Revival-style Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged buildings were constructed in 1916. The complex occupies more than two acres on Horton Street between 17th and 18th Avenues. The main, E-shaped four-story building is a historically significant example of early-20th century architecture. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic relief agency, operated the home until 1968. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings have been repurposed to house the Nashville offices of BMG Music Publishing. The main building’s chapel has been converted into a concert hall for various live music and video performances.
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) is an organization that collects and distributes royalties and licensing fees in order to protect the copyrights of its members. The organization sponsors an annual awards gala honoring its top members. Founded in 1939, it is the world’s largest music rights organization. It tracks the public performance of more than 10.5 million works worldwide and issues licenses to companies like nightclubs, radio stations and digital music providers. BMI’s Nashville offices are located on Music Square East.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is an organization created to protect the performing rights of various musical artists. It represents hundreds of music creators worldwide. ASCAP licenses and distributes royalties for their members’ copyrighted materials. Each year, ASCAP honors its top members in a series of award shows based on different musical genres, including pop, soul and Christian. The organization’s headquarters is located on Music Square West.
Situated southwest of downtown, Music Row is home to several businesses and attractions related to the city’s musical heritage. Considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry, the Music Row area is centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South, which are known as Music Square East and West respectively. Points of interest in the district include the historic RCA Studio B, Columbia’s Historic Quonset Hut, the first recording studio on Music Row, and Owen Bradley Park as well as numerous shops and upscale eateries. “Musica,” a large bronze statue designed by Alan LeQuire, is the centerpiece of the Music Row Roundabout.
Located on the campus of Belmont University, the house museum is a historic Italianate villa-style mansion constructed in the mid-1800s by Adelicia Hayes Franklin. It is the work of architect William Strickland, who also designed the Tennessee State Capitol. The residence served as the headquarters for Union General Thomas Wood before the Battle of Nashville in 1864. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the mansion is the largest house museum in the Volunteer State. The ornate home features a collection of Venetian glass, period furnishings, paintings and statuary as well as elaborately landscaped gardens.
The West End Methodist Church traces its origins to an 1869 religious mission that originally met in a repurposed army barracks. The congregation erected a wood-frame church six years later. The building was replaced by a brick edifice in 1890. Fifty years later, the congregation moved to their current building. The completed sanctuary was dedicated in 1948. The towering stone church features customized stained glass windows by the Italian-born artist Nicola D’Ascenzo, a cloister garden and a 136-rank Moller organ, the largest pipe organ in the mid-South. Renowned for its music program, the church sponsors a variety of concerts throughout the year.
The Natchez Trace is a historic 440-mile-long forest trail that extends from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville connecting the Mississippi, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Centuries after Native Americans created the trail, European explorers, trappers and settlers used the land and water routes during America’s westward expansion. The drive near Nashville includes monuments, overlooks and historical markers as well as the award-winning double-arched Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge spanning Birdsong Hollow. The excursion is popular during the spring and fall foliage seasons.
Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt University was named in honor of shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. Although the industrialist never visited the South, he felt that his $1 million endowment would help heal Civil War wounds. The largest private university in Tennessee, the school enrolls students from all 50 states and 90 foreign countries. The university’s 330-acre urban campus is a national arboretum featuring hundreds of different tree and shrub species. The Bicentennial Oak pre-dates the Revolutionary War. Several buildings on the campus are listed on the National Historic Register, including the Alumni Hall, the Old Gymnasium and the Mechanical and Engineering Building.
Located on a 110-acre estate, Grinder’s Switch Winery is an award-winning artisan wine producer. The winery offers tours of the beautiful property and their handcrafted log cabin where you can sample unique wines in the tasting room. Grinder’s Switch Winery has a satellite location in the historic Marathon Village in Nashville. Guests are encouraged to come and relax while enjoying the company’s wine and hospitality. In addition to a wide selection of various vintages, the winery also offers an array of local handmade crafts in the 1,250-square-foot tasting room and retail shop.
Located in Robertson County, Green Brier is a celebrated Tennessee whiskey distillery listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Descendants of the original founder have revitalized this centuries-old iconic brand with a new distillery located in Nashville. Two of Charles Nelson’s great-great-great grandsons are distilling whiskey using their forebear’s original recipes. The distillery is open for tours. While all guests visit the production floor and experience the history of the storied Green Brier whiskey, individuals over 21 can also sample a variety of the award-winning spirits in the tasting room. The modern iteration of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is located in Marathon Village.
With their popular History Channel television show “American Pickers,” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have introduced new generations to the art of discovering a hidden treasure in someone else’s trash. They travel across the United States in search of just the right pieces. Wolf opened a store in Nashville called Antique Archaeology where he exhibits and sells the duo’s unique finds. There are also pieces from Mike’s personal collection like a vintage 1919 Indian motorcycle. The shop is located in the former Marathon Automobile Factory that has been repurposed into a retail shop, design and event space.
The Marathon Motors Factory is a popular must-visit on any Nashville sightseeing itinerary, located in the heart of downtown Nashville. The four-block complex of cultural offerings, includes an array of music recording studios, numerous shops, a film production company, artist’s and photographer’s studios, a radio station, a distillery, a winery and more. Read on to learn more about this attraction and what you can expect when you visit during your vacation in Nashville.
The 1,400-foot-long Pathway of History is an engraved wall featuring important historical events that played an integral role in the culture and heritage of the Volunteer State from 1776-1996. Granite pylons, representing each decade, serve as stone tablets. There’s a symbolic break in the wall during the Civil War period to denote how the state was divided during that period. The pathway also includes a World War II Memorial with its floating 9-ton granite globe, a memorial to the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Walkway of Counties that includes time capsules from every county.
Located on the northern edge of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park near Jefferson Street, the 95-bell carillon represents the musical heritage of the citizens of Tennessee. There is a bell for each of the Volunteer State’s 95 counties. Each quarter hour, the carillon plays a portion of the Tennessee Waltz. At the top of every hour, the 50-tower carillon plays the entire song. A 96th bell on the capitol grounds rings an answer symbolizing the government answering the call of the people.
Located in the heart of downtown in the shadow of the Tennessee State Capitol, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is patterned after the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It opened on June 1, 1996 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Volunteer State’s admission into the Union. Bordered on the north and south by Jefferson Street and James Robertson Parkway, the 19-acre park is bounded on its east and west sides by the northern sections of Sixth and Seventh Avenues. This expansive memorial to the state’s bicentennial celebration introduces visitors to the history and natural beauty of Tennessee.
Tracing its roots back to the 1800s, the Farmers’ Market stretches from Jackson Street to Harrison Street along Rosa Parks Boulevard adjacent to the Bicentennial State Park Mall. Covering 16 aces, the market hosts farmers, artisans and other merchants as well as eateries, a weekend flea market and various special events. The North and South Farm Sheds house stalls dedicated to fresh produce and other local goods while the Market House is home to a variety of retail shops and eateries. Open year-round, the market is busiest during the May to November growing season.
The Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the Nashville Sounds is a minor league baseball team that plays their home games in First Tennessee Park. Opening in 2015, the 8,500-seat stadium features a unique guitar-shaped scoreboard that is capable of displaying a variety of graphics as well as in-game statistics. Located downtown, the park’s music and imagery are designed to connect the team with the city’s entertainment heritage. The I-40 Cup Series is the name for matchups between the Sounds and their main rivals, the Memphis Redbirds.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) hosts the Nashville Repertory Theatre as well as the city’s professional ballet and opera companies. The center is a leading venue for a variety of classical performances and Broadway-style shows that are designed to entertain families as well as discerning theater devotees. TPAC is located downtown in the James K. Polk Cultural Center, which encompasses an entire city block. The performing arts center includes Andrew Jackson Hall, the James K. Polk Theater and the Andrew Johnson Theater along with the War Memorial Auditorium situated across the street from the TPAC.
The Musicians Hall of Fame at Historic Nashville Auditorium honors the artists and session musicians who have accompanied legendary performers in a broad range of musical genres, including country, rock, jazz and soul. Honorees include groups like the A-Team, Booker T and the MGs, the Memphis Boys and Toto. These versatile performers provided background music during recording sessions for numerous hit records. The museum’s galleries and artifacts commemorate these talented musicians along with the unique sounds emanating from cities like Nashville, Detroit, Muscle Shoals, Memphis and Los Angeles.
The limestone Greek Revival style Tennessee State Capitol was designed by William Strickland whose remains are interred near the building’s cornerstone. The tower was inspired by the monument to Lysicrates in Athens. Completed in 1859, the national historic landmark is one of the country’s oldest working capitols. In addition to large ornate chandeliers, the interior features incredible frescoes, portraits and other artwork. The Capitol Grounds display statues of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson as well as Sergeant Alvin York. The site also includes the tomb of President James Polk. The building and grounds are open for public tours.
Also known as Music City, Nashville established its humble beginnings in the late 1700s when the early settlers disembarked on the shores of the Cumberland River amidst fiddle tunes and buck dancing. Shortly after the production of Western Harmony, which was a book of hymns and instructions for singing, Nashville gradually became recognized as the city for music publishing. Throughout the years, the city has welcomed songwriters from around the world to learn the art and express their passion for music.
The plaza is located adjacent to the east wing of the War Memorial Building, which was constructed to honor Tennesseans who died during World War I. Overlooked by the State Capitol, the plaza is a central connecting point for the statehouse, the War Memorial Building, the State Museum and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. It is an open space used for various public events. The plaza contains a statue designed by Belle Kinney that is dedicated to the Women of the Confederacy and a monument by Russell Faxon that honors the state’s Korean War veterans.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a renowned honky-tonk bar located behind the iconic Ryman Auditorium. The lounge, featuring three stages, hosts a variety of live musical performances every night by local artists. Located on Broadway in downtown, Tootsie’s nurtured the careers of several country music legends. According to local lore, Willie Nelson received his first songwriting job after singing at Tootsie’s. The interior walls are decorated with memorabilia from numerous famous and not-so famous artists who have performed on an Orchid Lounge stage. The bar, formerly known as Mom’s, acquired its name when the exterior was accidentally painted purple.
A native of the Volunteer State, Chet Atkins was a highly regarded musician and producer who signed Charley Pride, country music’s first African-American singer. After Atkins’ death in 2001, Bank of America commissioned Tennessee sculptor Russell Faxon to create a statue in his honor. The life-sized bronze statue of Atkins is situated outside their Nashville headquarters at the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Union Street. Atkins is depicted sitting on a stool and playing a guitar.
After more than a century, Nashville’s first enclosed shopping center is still a popular attraction. The Arcade was created in 1902 with the enclosure of the former Overton Alley. Featuring identical Palladian entrances, the Arcade is located between Fourth and Fifth avenues north of Broadway. The local firm Thompson, Gibel & Asmus patterned their design of the two-story arcade after the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. The Edgefield and Nashville Manufacturing Company was entrusted with the task of constructing the Arcade. A gabled glass roof whose rolled steel bracing system was installed by the Nashville Bridge Company allows natural light to enter the interior space. The exterior face of the first floor shops boasts a funky Art Deco style. More than 40,000 people attended the grand opening. The popular attraction was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Tracing its origins back to a little country store situated in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant began serving customers in the 1950s. This down-home, local eatery founded by the Puckett family features authentic barbecue slow-smoked over cherry wood and live musical performances in a laid-back atmosphere. The downtown Nashville location offers supplies and groceries for city residents as well as a large stage for upcoming and established local acts.
A National Historic Landmark, the Downtown Presbyterian Church was built in 1851. State Capitol architect William Strickland designed the building, which is one of the country’s largest and best-preserved examples of Egyptian Revival style architecture. Serving as a Union military hospital during the Civil War, the church was renovated in the 1880s. The interior, painted to resemble an Egyptian temple, features walnut benches and vivid motifs like winged globes representing the Egyptian sun god Amun-Ra, which signifies eternity. The 4,000-pound church bell, donated by Adelicia Acklen, served as the city fire alarm for more than two decades.
Known colloquially as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman Auditorium began as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Local entrepreneur Thomas Ryman built it as a permanent location for tent revival-style gospel meetings. The auditorium was also the site of secular gatherings like Helen Keller’s lectures, Fisk Jubilee Singers’ performances and WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. While a statue of Ryman is located outside this National Historic Landmark, a bronze tribute honoring Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff is situated inside the lobby.
The 33-story AT&T Building is the tallest office tower in Tennessee with the antennae spire reaching 617 feet into the air. Completed in 1999 and encompassing 2.7 acres, the edifice includes a three-story winter garden atrium and a nine-story underground parking facility. The iconic landmark is known locally as the “Batman Building” because its distinctive design resembles the comic book superhero’s mask. In 2009, Le Journal de Net, a French online business publication, named “La Bat Tower” as one of the world’s 12 most original office buildings.
Founded in 1947 by Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb, the music store is a one-stop shop for country and bluegrass sheet music, records and memorabilia. This charming store offers a wide variety of works by contemporary and classic artists. The store is famous for stocking obscure and forgotten musicians as well as their ability to locate hard-to-find releases. With its creaking hardwood floors and walls lined with autographed photos, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop is an essential stop for people interested in Nashville’s rich homespun cultural legacy.
The Goo Goo Chocolate Co. is the home of America’s first combination candy bar- The Goo Goo Cluster. Inside, visitors can design their own Premium Goo Goo and also choose from an assortment of house-made items such as boozy milkshakes, cookies, brownies and bonbons from the Chocolate Bar.
Honoring the life and memory of the “Man in Black,” the Johnny Cash Museum features a wide collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the career of this legendary performer. The exhibits highlight various periods in his life, such as his stint in the Air Force and marriage to June Carter. The collection includes Cash’s costumes, handwritten letters and other personal mementos.
Encompassing 1.2 million square feet, Music City Center is Nashville’s downtown convention and exhibition complex. The work of Tvsdesign, the facility is adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bridgestone Arena. Along with stunning skyline views of downtown, the complex features a variety of flexible event spaces, including a 350,000-square-foot exhibition hall, 90,000-square-feet of meeting rooms and a 57,000-square-foot grand ballroom. The structure incorporates numerous eco-friendly designs, such as a four-acre green roof and a rainwater collection tank that is used to irrigate the building’s landscaping. Inside are several works by local area artisans.
Hatch Show Print has grown from creating handbills for tent revivals headlined by Henry Ward Beecher, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, in the late 1800s to posters announcing the latest headline acts. They are highly regarded for their signature letterpress style. The work celebrates American history, entertainment and southern culture. Guests can tour the print shop and see these unique works of art roll off the presses and a gallery containing many of the shop’s famous prints. While visiting the workshop, you can even try your hand at designing and printing your own poster.
Located near the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame honors legendary performers, songwriters and others who made a significant contribution to country music. Forming a bass clef when viewed from the air, the unique building is an iconic feature of the Nashville skyline. The Hall of Fame, surrounded by honky-tonks and other live entertainment venues where many of the honorees got their start, features a rotunda that chronicles the history of recording technology.
Home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Nissan Stadium is a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue located on the east bank of the Cumberland River across from downtown Nashville. Opened in 1999, the facility has a maximum seating capacity of over 69,000. The stadium hosts the Tennessee State Tigers and the annual Music City Bowl, a postseason college football bowl game held in December. It also serves as the main stage for large concerts during the CMA Music Festival in June.
The Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks was the inaugural piece of municipal art funded by Nashville’s Percent for Art program. Situated on the East Bank Greenway, the colossal aluminum and steel artwork symbolizes the industrial heritage and vibrant energy of modern Nashville. Sitting upon a gantry crane once used to launch barges, the sculpture is comprised of red-painted steel trusses soaring toward the sky and a turbine whirlwind at the center of its base. The structure, evoking the image of an ethereal ballet, is illuminated with glowing neon lights after dark.
Situated on the bank of the Cumberland River, West Riverfront Park features over a mile of scenic multi-use trails, a 13,400-square-foot dog park and ornamental gardens. The sports facilities include basketball courts and adult-friendly swings. Guests also enjoy The Green, a 1.5-acre event lawn, and live performances in the Ascend Amphitheater. In addition to hosting a summer concert series, West Riverfront Park is the setting for various annual festivals, including Music City’s Independence Day celebration and fireworks display.
Also known as the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, the span over the Cumberland River connects downtown Riverfront Park on the west bank with Cumberland Park on the eastern shore. It is one of the world’s longest pedestrian-only bridges. Dramatically lit at night, the overpass offers expansive views of the river and Nashville’s skyline. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Cumberland Park features sandboxes, spray fountains, a climbing wall and walking trails. Riverfront Park is home to a 1,200-seat amphitheater that hosts summer concerts as well as the New Year’s Eve and July 4 festivals.
The backdrop for the CMT reality series “Can You Duet,” the world-famous Wild Horse Saloon is a 66,000–square-foot country western-themed bar, restaurant, dance club and concert venue. Located downtown and housed in a converted historic warehouse, the three-tier entertainment space invites guests to enjoy award-winning Southern smokehouse cuisine and great music. The two top tiers overlook the large dance floor. You can learn the latest dance steps during free nightly lessons before heading out on the largest dance floor in Tennessee. The stage hosts a variety of acts from different musical genres.
The George Jones Museum is one place that embodies the true (and new) spirit of this city that’s brimming with iconic spots. Dedicated to the life and career of one of Nashville’s greatest, this unique museum gives you the opportunity to view memorabilia, artifacts and personal belongings of the man that many consider to be the greatest country singer of all time. Here’s a guide that covers everything you need to know about the George Jones Museum.
Surrounded by walls decorated with memorabilia, diners inside the rock ’n’ roll-themed Hard Rock Café enjoy a high-energy vibe and a menu featuring a variety of American classics. The almost 13,000-square-foot historic building includes a restaurant, an open-air terrace and a state-of the-art concert venue for live performances. This entertainment and dining destination is located downtown in the heart of Nashville’s Historic District, the hub for one of the best music scenes in the country.
The very mention of Nashville often conjures up the image of a stage full of ornate boot and cowboy hat clad, banjo picking entertainers performing in front of star-struck concert-goers keeping time to the rhythm and dreaming of one day gracing that stage themselves. While that’s a fairly common scenario, we’re going to show you that Nashville is so much more than that.
Containing a full-scale replica of the original statue of Athena, the Parthenon was constructed in 1897 for the Tennessee Centenary Exposition. The 42-foot tall Athena Parthenos sculpture is the tallest indoor artistic work of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. While other exposition buildings were removed, the Parthenon was preserved as a museum. In addition to its elaborate statue, the building houses sculptures and paintings by 19th- and 20th-century American artists. A precise copy of the original Parthenon in Athens, the edifice sits atop a rolling hill in Centennial Park adjacent to a duck pond.
Situated in Nashville’s West End Neighborhood, Centennial Park is a lush oasis that offers a tranquil respite from the glittering lights of Lower Broadway, Music City’s Honk Tonk Highway. One of the most beloved parks in town, this gorgeous natural setting occupies 132 acres. The site has served as a fairground, a racetrack and the location for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. The recreation area welcomes visitors of all ages with a variety of attractions and activities.