Start your visit with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Not only will you experience the evolution and growth of one of the fastest-growing music genres, but you’ll also see how country music has influenced so many other genres of music and why Nashville is the epicenter of the country music industry. From there, head up the street to The Parthenon at Centennial Park where you’ll find a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon. There you’ll learn why Nashville was called the “Athens of the South” before it was known as Music City.
Plan ahead and book tickets for shows at the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman Auditorium was originally built as a tabernacle and was home to the Grand Ole Opry for 40 years. Located in the heart of downtown you can tour the building during the day and hear stories about musical legends who performed on the Ryman stage during its Opry era such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and even Elvis. Today, it hosts a diverse lineup of headliners throughout the year such as Mumford and Sons, Robert Plant, Grace Potter, and Sara Bareilles. If you make it to a show at the Ryman, get there early to purchase a Hatch Show Print concert poster, a perfect Nashville souvenir. The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Opry House in 1974 and proudly boasts to be “the show that made country music famous.” The Opry puts on three live shows a week in the same live radio format it's used for more than 90 years. In one show, you’ll hear a dozen performers, from country music greats to newcomers on the scene. Also, make sure to check out The Music of Nashville, a live show that takes the audience through 60 years of Music City's most memorable songs and the stories behind them. This performance will entertain and give you a new appreciation for the historical importance of Nashville to the world of music.
Of course, any first-timer to Nashville has to check out the honky tonks on Lower Broadway. The neon lights and music streaming out onto the streets are often what people think of when they think of Nashville. Rows of honky tonks line the street and offer live music all day and night. There’s no cover charge, but don’t forget that the bands play for tips. If you’d like to experience other genres of music, you can hit one of more than 180 live music venues that fill the city. Download the free Nashville Live Music Guide app to search live music by genre, date, or area of town.