Nashville's Historical Sites
Nashville has a story to tell. From Greek temples to Greek-Revival mansions to its strong musical heritage, Nashville wears its history proud. Take a journey inside any of Nashville historical attractions, or be guided on your own personal tour of the city. Either way, Music City's history awaits to be unraveled by families and friends. Take a look below at Music City's historical attractions & the latest information on their new exhibits, latest tours, or upcoming events.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Tour Tennessee via a 200-foot granite map of the state, a walkway featuring the 95 counties, 31 fountains representing the major rivers of Tennessee and an extraordinary wall depicting the history of the state all at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The park also includes the 95 Bell Carillon, the World War II Memorial, Court of Three Stars, a 2,000-seat amphitheater and a visitor center. Rangers may be seen reenacting characters in Tennessee's history such as David Crockett, Alvin C. York and soldiers of Tennessee's past wars.
Belle Meade Plantation
Belle Meade Plantation, which includes a 150-year-old antebellum home, tells the history of the Old South from slavery to prosperity to the Civil War. Each visit to Belle Meade Plantation includes a tour led by a trained and costumed guide through the plantation's beautiful Greek-Revival mansion commissioned by John Harding in 1845.
2014 Artists' Workshop
150th Battle of Nashville Event
Discover an amazing American adventure at Belmont Mansion, one of the largest house museums in Nashville. Enjoy a personalized docent tour of the mansion's 10,000 square feet while experiencing the beautiful architecture, and the life and legacy of its mistress: Adelicia Acklen. There is so much to be discovered at this beautiful 19th century antebellum home that both family and friends can enjoy.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
One of Music City's favorite stories can be found at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum. A story all about one of Nashville's early entrepreneurial families, the Cheeks, that lived during a very exciting time in Music City's history. They offer both self-guided and docent-led tours of its permanent collection, botanical garden, and special traveling exhibitions.
El Dia de los Muertos
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
In the heart of the SoBro district of Nashville is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The facility boasts a vast collection illustrating country music’s story as told through the years. An immense compilation of historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design, a regular menu of live performances and public programs, a museum store, live satellite radio broadcasts, on-site dining and fabulous public spaces all contribute to an extraordinary museum experience.
The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country
March 24, 2012-December 31, 2014
Miranda Lambert: Backstage Access
May 16-November 9
Crystal Gayle: When I Dream
May 1-November 3
Kenny Rogers: Through the Years
August 15-June 14
Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin' It Country
August 29-March 30
Battle of Franklin Trust
Carnton Plantation - 615-794-0903
Carter House - 615-791-1861
Lotz House - 615-790-7190
Discover Nashville's role during the American Civil War through three historic landmarks including the Carter House, Carnton Plantation, and Lotz House. The Carter House, built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter, was commandeered as the Federal command post while the family sought refuge in the basement during a battle that lasted five hours. The Carnton Plantation was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock, and housed as a field hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. Take a tour through the Civil War House Museum at the Lotz House where you will discover the history of the house, as well as the heritage of its historic furnishings, fine arts, antiques, and the Lotz family history. Each house has its own separate admission, or you could purchase the Battle of Franklin Trust Value Ticket to witness the entire history of all three homes together for one single price.
Blue & Gray Days
Nashville was founded when James Robertson led his group of pioneers across the frozen Cumberland River to a place called The Cedar Bluffs. It was here that these men built a fort called Nashborough which would be shelter for the first families. Self guided tours of this historic site which is located at the end of Broadway are free. Fort Nashborough is currently being renovated and will open soon.
Fort Negley was the largest and most important fortification built by Union troops occupying Nashville during the Civil War. Today, guests can enjoy interactive exhibits and videos covering the 1862 surrender of Nashville and the building of Fort Negley. It also includes education panels and self-guided walking tours. The admission is always free and the fort is only 2 miles from lower Broadway.
George Dickel Distillery
In 1870, George A. Dickel used pure water from Cascade Springs to distill his first bottle. That same tradition of using pure water is carried out today in every single bottle of this prized Tennessee whisky. Visit the George Dickel Distillery to discover the history of their whisky and the process of its creation through milling, yeasting, fermentation, and distillation.
Hatch Show Print
Hatch Show Print is one of America's oldest working letterpress poster shops. Since 1879, Hatch has created original art for Mumford and Sons, Elvis, Grand Ole Opry Stars, and more. They offer daily tours that dive deep into the history of Hatch Show Print giving guests the opportunity to discover more about letterpress printing, and you even get to print your own commemorative poster.
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson
Get ready for the epic adventure inside the beautifully preserved home of our nation's 7th President at The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson. The Hermitage holds one of the nation's most fascinating stories of early 19th century from the western frontier to the White House. Enjoy the 1,100 acres of original land owned by Andrew Jackson and learn about life during the 19th century. Each tour will also give guests the opportunity to discover many of the original buildings preserved from Jackson's time including: The First Hermitage, The Hermitage Garden, Alfred's Cabin, and much more.
Slavery by Wagon Tour
Monday-Friday at 2pm
Jack Daniel Distillery
The Jack Daniel Distillery invites guests to drop on by and hear the story of the oldest registered distillery in the United States. Enjoy a complete guided history of the distillery including a couple stories about Jack and his famous sour mash. The distillery is the place where Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 was originally created and continues to be made today.
The Johnny Cash Museum
The Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the life and music career of the late “Man in Black” and features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Exhibits chronicle The Man in Black's life with stunning graphics, artifacts and interactive technology and include stage costumes, instruments, personal letters, artwork, and handwritten songs as well as artifacts from family members and notable friends. This amazing historic museum is walking distance from Nashville's Broadway.
Legends of Sun Records
Historic Manskers Station
Just outside Nashville is the Historic Manskers Station, a reconstruction mansion of a 1779 frontier log station of the early Cumberland settlements. The fort offers guests to experience the lifestyles during the early settlers' time through their history demonstrations. Near the fort is the Bowen Plantation House which was home to Captain William Bowen and his wife Mary during the 1780s.
Serving as a model of adaptive reuse of historic structures, Marathon Village is one of Nashville's most creative communities -- with more than 45 tenants representing fine, commercial and performing arts. The building used to house the Marathon Factory back in 1910, which produced the Marathon Automobile. Guests are welcome to browse the facilities to see some of the old remains of this historic building in Music City.
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors all musicians regardless of genre or instrument. The museum showcases the stories of various artists throughout music history, and the instruments they used to record their classic hits. Throughout the years many musicians have been honored to be inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame. The list of musicians includes: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Charlie Daniels, Keith Richards, Kid Rock, Chet Atkins, Barbara Mandrell, and so much more.
The Parthenon, the world’s only exact replica of the ancient Greek temple, was originally built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition in 1897 and was reconstructed permanently in 1931. Inside the temple stands the goddess of wisdom, Athena. At 42 feet tall, Athena Parthenos is the western hemisphere’s largest indoor statue. The goddess Nike in Athena’s right hand is 6 feet tall. The current statue was built in 1982 by Alan LeQuire, a local Nashville artist. In addition to housing the goddes of wisdom, the Parthenon host's many exhibits throughout the year including both art and history.
The James Cowan Collection
Historic RCA Studio B
The Historic RCA Studio B provides a glimpse into Nashville music-making during one of its most exciting periods. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “He’ll Have to Go,” “All I Have to Do is Dream,” and “I Will Always Love You” are just a few hits that were recorded here. Tours depart daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and are available in conjunction with Museum admission.
The Ryman Auditorium was built in 1892, and does it have a story to tell. Since its creation it has been called "The Mother Church of Country Music", "Home of Bluegrass", "Carnegie Hall of South", and won multiple awards for best music venue by Pollstar, and the Academy of Country Music. Musicians, songwriters, performers, presidents, and more have stepped inside its halls to relish in its marvel. Explore ever facet of this historic landmark as you tour exhibits that show you unique artifacts that unravel the amazing story behind the Ryman Auditorium.
Grand Ole Opry 1940s-1970s
Ryman Stage to Screen
Tennessee State Capitol
The Tennessee State Capitol stands today much as it did when it first opened in 1859, and is a magnificent tribute to the people of Tennessee. The grounds of the State Capitol contain statues honoring Sam Davis, Sgt. Alvin York, and Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. The tombs of President and Mrs. James K. Polk are also located on the Capitol grounds.
Tennessee State Museum
From Tennessee's early beginnings to present day, the Tennessee State Museum tells the entire story of Tennessee's rich history including Music City. The Tennessee State Museum offers more than 60,000 square feet of permanent exhibits and a 10,000 square foot changing exhibition hall. Travel through time and witness the Prehistoric Frontier, Age of Jackson, Antebellum South, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras at this wonderful Nashville museum. Make sure to stop by the Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum located at War Memorial Auditorium across the street. It offers a multitude of different exhibits dealing with America's overseas conflicts, beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898, and ending with World War II in 1945.
Current Exhibits for the Tennessee State Museum
“Rendezvous with Destiny:” the 101st Airborne Division and D-Day
June 6-January 10, 2015
Eyes on LaFollette
Open to the public
Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum
Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum is the home of Judge John Overton, one of Nashville's early political leaders. Built in 1799 when Tennessee was the western frontier and Nashville was a place full of possibilities. At this historic home guests are invited to step inside the past as historic interpreters reenact the daily life of the 19th century right before your eyes and tell one of Nashville's famous stories.
Echoes of Nashville Walking Tours
Echoes of Nashville Walking Tour is a 90 minute walking tour of historic downtown Nashville. From its revolutionary founding to the dark years of Civil War, and from civil rights to Music City, this tour has it all. Sites include Fort Nashborough, Lower Broadway, the State Capitol, Hermitage Hotel, The Ryman Auditorium, and much more. Discover why Nashville is truly one of the most historic cities in the South on this unbelievable tour.
Franklin on Foot
Experience the charm of historic Franklin just south of Nashville during Franklin on Foot. Tours include history, ghosts, crime, the Civil War, cemeteries, and I Spy for children. Guests can explore further by hopping on a bike to enjoy the scenic beauty of Franklin. For an authentic culinary experience, visits six of Franklin's fine eating establishments on their Southern Style Food Tour.
Feel free to browse through all of Nashville's historical sites here: visitmusiccity.com/visitors/thingstodo/historical.