Kick off your Nashville experience with a day at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. The world’s largest popular music museum offers ever-changing exhibits featuring the legends of country music past and today’s hottest stars. Grab a bite to eat inside the museum at 2|22 Eatery, a full-service restaurant serving Southern favorites, or at Bajo Sexto, an authentic Mexican taqueria. Then take some time to explore the museum’s two retail stores offering locally-made gifts, clothing, and a comprehensive selection of books and music.
Take a tour of Music Row and visit historic RCA Studio B, the famous recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 200 songs. Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and many more recorded classic hits here. Not surprisingly, the heartbeat of Music City is driven by music — from country to classical. Tours of RCA Studio B depart daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.
In Nashville’s Centennial Park, you’ll find the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon houses an art gallery and museum as well as Alan LeQuire’s Athena Parthenos. Standing at almost 42 feet in height, Athena is the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. Just a mile from The Parthenon is the LeQuire Gallery, where you can visit Alan in his studio and witness one of the nation’s premier sculptors.
One of the most unique ways to hear music in Nashville is at a songwriters show. Typically called a “writers night,” songwriters are put somewhere they are not used to being — in the spotlight. Several singer/songwriters will play ‘in-the-round’ as they sit on stage accompanied only by a microphone, a guitar, and their immense talent. These shows can be found in small, intimate clubs all over town, including the famous The Bluebird Cafe in Green Hills and downtown’s The Listening Room Cafe.
Nashville’s art scene is booming with art galleries, festivals, art crawls, and more. Be sure to head over to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, the Downtown 5th Avenue art galleries, OZ Arts Nashville, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, the Wedgewood/Houston galleries, the First Saturday Art Crawl, Shakespeare in the Park, Fall Craft Fair, and more.
The Ryman Auditorium, also called the “Mother Church of Country Music,” has had artists as diverse as Elvis Costello and Patsy Cline perform on its legendary stage since 1892. You can take a backstage tour and record your own song in the Ryman studio. The stars of the Grand Ole Opry take the stage every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night (at the Ryman Auditorium November-January; at the Grand Ole Opry House February-October) with guest appearances by the biggest names in music. With 90 years of history, the Opry is the world’s longest-running broadcast and shows no signs of slowing down.
Honoring musicians from stars to studio players that represent all genres of music, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is housed in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. From Hank Williams, Sr. to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motown to Southern Rock – there is truly something of interest to everyone. Then stroll up to the George Jones on 2nd Avenue, which offers visitors a never-before-seen look into the life and career of the musical icon. Also, you need to see Madame Tussauds Nashville! The world-famous family friendly wax attraction will provide an interactive experience, allowing you to step into immersive iconic scenes and musical performances that cannot be found anywhere else.
Three U.S. Presidents call Tennessee home: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. You can revisit the past at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President. Polk is buried on the grounds of the historic State Capitol building in downtown Nashville.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Robert’s Western World, Crazy Town, Honky Tonk Central, Rippy's Smokin' Bar & Grill, are all experts at serving up cool longnecks and hot country music. You never know who you’ll see in these Lower Broadway clubs in the shadow of the Ryman. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, and other stars began their careers on Lower Broadway.
If it’s spring, then it’s an awesome season for fun in Music City. Kick off the festivities with the NFL Draft, Tin Pan South Songwriters’ Festival, and the Nashville’s St. Jude Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. Be sure to also check out the Nashville Sounds baseball games, Triple-A affliate of the Texas Rangers.