Nashville is located on the banks of Cumberland River and is the capital of the State of Tennessee. Nashville was nicknamed ‘Music City’ owing to its long association with musical history. It is also called ‘Athens of the South’ owing to its long association with entertainment and performing arts. There are plenty of attractions for music lovers and history buffs. The Parthenon is a famous tourist attraction along with the adventure science center, old plantations and Civil War sites.
A historical tour of the RCA Studio B is a must; it is here that Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton used to record their tunes. You can taste the best burgers and steak here. You can even bar-hop at the Broadway.
1. Absorb Nashville’s Music Heritage at Ryman Auditorium
This auditorium was built by a local businessman Thomas G. Ryman, who after listening to evangelist Reverend Sam Jones became a follower of Christianity. The hall was built as a tabernacle that would allow others to gather and listen to the Reverend. When the tabernacle was completed in the year 1892, it was the most massive structure in Nashville. But over time, this space was used for political rallies, entertainment productions, and various other local events. Legends like Charlie Chaplin and Aretha Franklin have graced this auditorium. Numerous awards decorate this place, making it a must visit at Nashville.
Admission - Self-guided tours- $21.95 for adults and $16.95 for children between 4 to 11years.
Timing - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
2. Experience a piece of Greece at the Parthenon
A replica of the Parthenon can be seen here. The 42 feet imposing statue of Athena is the primary focus of this incredible site. The Parthenon was built in 1897 as a part of Nashville’s Centennial Exposition. It houses models of statues which were found in the original structure along with an impressive art collection.
The peaceful atmosphere, magnificent building, and well-kept grounds make an impressive place to visit, and it is highly recommended to visit it when it is illuminated in the evening.
Admission - $6 for adults, $4 for seniors (above 62 years) and children between 4 -17.
Timing - Tuesday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
3. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum-where music and history come together
If you are a music buff, then this is the place to be. It houses artifacts like Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac limo and Jimmie Rodgers' guitar. The plaques dedicated to renowned faces of country music Patsy Cline to Johnny Cash can be seen here.
Browse through every gold and platinum country record ever produced, which is plastered to the two-story wall. Then head to Studio B, where legends like Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, and Waylon Jennings music recordings were produced. It is a well-organized collection of memorabilia, which never fails to amaze visitors every time.
Admission - $25.95 for adults, $15.95 for ages 6 to 12 and free for children below 5 years. Entry and tours to Studio B are additional.
Timing - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
4. Discover the Enigmatic Musician- Johnny Cash
This museum holds an extensive collection of Johnny Cash’s memorabilia and artifacts including- handwritten letters and notes by Cash himself, more than 25 of his famous costumes, and films. The exhibits at the museum spotlights, Cash’s different periods of his life which include- his years in Air Force, his life with wife June Carter and the famous prison concert tour. His family personally endorses this museum, so the mementos displayed here cannot be seen anywhere else.
A stone wall unearthed from Johnny and June's Hendersonville Lake House can also be seen here.
Admission - Adults - $19.95; seniors, students and military personnel- $18.95, 15 years and below- $15.95. Free admission below 6 years.
Timing - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.
5. Glimpse through the ages at Grand Ole Opry
The radio show began its broadcasting in the 1920s and made Nashville famous as the "Country Music Capital of the World." Its venue has changed over the years, but the Grand Ole Opry hosts top country performers like Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood. Your trip will remain incomplete without a visit to Grand Ole Opry. Get a glimpse of behind-the-scenes, one of three ways- VIP tour, daytime backstage tour and a post-show tour. You can look at the iconic stage, the hallowed walls, and photographs which are part of their collections.
Admission - 12 years and above -daytime backstage tour -$27, children between 4 to 11-$22. Additional cost for Post-show and VIP tours.
6. Tootsie's Orchid Lounge for experiencing top-notch performances
This place is as old as the Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry, and this downtown bar features performances of both upcoming and world-renowned artists. After exploring the roots of the "Country Music Capital of the World," do not miss an experience of another kind at Music City Live. For an authentic atmosphere and top-notch performances, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is the place to go.
7. Visit the Breathtaking Belle Meade Plantation
Constructed in a Greek Revival Style this mansion, is known as the ‘Queen of Tennessee Plantations.’ The plantation surrounds the mansion, and guided tours are conducted by guides dressed in period costumes. The mansion’s antebellum style interior is awe-inspiring and so are the ground which is houses the best thoroughbreds. The visitors center is a model of the traditional Southern Paddock and the renowned Iroquois Steeplechase.
Admission - Mansion and the grounds - $24 for adults, $13 for children 6 to 18 years.
8. The Hermitage- President Andrew Jackson’s Home
A visit to this Greek Revival mansion now a National Historic Landmark, was once home to President Andrew Jackson. Sitting on some 1000 acres, a visit to this estate will provide you a glimpse into his private life. A tour will take you through the main house, kitchen, an original log cabin, President Jackson’s tomb and the Old Hermitage Church.
Another exhibit at the Hermitage narrates the story of 150 slaves who worked on the grounds from 1804 to 1865. This tour is both informative and educational.
Admission - $10 for children between 6 - 12 and $20 for adults. Free for kids below 5 years.
Timing - Open daily Oct. 16 - March 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; March 15 to Oct. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
9. Cheekwood Estate & Gardens- for nature and art lovers
For art aficionados and nature lovers, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a must visit. Its sculpture trail, greenhouses, and chromatic flower display are just fantastic. The 55-acre Botanical Garden offers a quiet sanctuary from the city life. The art museum is just as beautiful as the gardens which are displayed in the original Georgian-style Cheek family mansion; the museum has an impressive collection of American art, antique furniture, and also temporary exhibitions and artifacts from around the world belonging to 19th and 20th century.
Admission - adults costs $20, seniors above 65 years- $18 and children between 3 to 17 years -$13.
Timing - Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10. Watch for Interactive Displays at Adventure Science Center
For some hands-on educational entertainment for kids, Adventure Science Center is an ideal place. Children get to learn about science through interactive displays here, be it information about the human body or what happens thousands of light years away. Through a flight simulator, children can experience being an astronaut. Shows at the planetarium and interactive elements give the entire family a fun learning experience.
Admission - Adults- $15.95, children between ages 2 - 12 - $11.95. Free for kids below 2 years. Additional cost for planetarium and Simulator activities.
Timing - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.
11. Belmont Mansion- An Italian Style House-Museum
This beautiful Italian Style Villa cum museum is the largest in Nashville. It was constructed for one of the wealthiest women, Adelicia Acklen in the 1850s, who has been compared to Scarlett O’Hara. Initially, it was meant to be used as a Summer home, but the attention to details has to be admired. The 19,000 sq ft, the mansion is ornately decorated with lavish art and antiques of the 19th century. The beautifully preserved interiors are a pleasure to the human eye.
Admission - $15 for adults, $5 for children between ages 6 -12.
Timings - Monday - Saturday ,10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
12. Visit the oldest working capitols -The State Capitol
The State Capitol building is a historical monument and the oldest working capitols of the nation and was designed in the Greek Revival style. A tour of this grand facility will give you a glimpse of the old state library, chambers and the house of representatives. The Capitol building first opened in 1859, and the famous architect William Strickland was its designer. Unfortunately, Strickland passed away during construction and was buried in the northern part of the building.
Admission - Guided tours- Monday - Friday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
13. Appreciate the Frist Center for The Visual arts
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a must visit for art lovers. The 24,000 sq feet gallery space showcases the art of local, national and international artists. Permanent and temporary exhibitions give a new experience every time to frequent visitors. Initially, it was used as the main post office in Nashville.
Admission - 18 years and below- free, Adults-$12, Seniors above 65 years- 9$
Timing - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sunday: 1:00–5:30 p.m.
14. Watch the latest Best at The Bridgestone Arena
The Bridgestone Arena, since 1996, has been hosting famous singers like Madonna, Adele, and Rhianna. They have all given live shows in front of an audience of over 16 million people. It was originally known as Nashville Arena before several firms took over its sponsorship.
15. Get to know the beginnings of Nashville at Fort Nashborough
Nashville’s Fort Nashborough was where the city began in 1779. The enclosure was built to protect locals from wild animals and attacks from Indians. Built from logs it covers a 2-acre area and was reconstructed in the 1930’s, but these time telegraph poles were used. This fort tells the fascinating story of its origins and history.