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Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Centric-Authentics and Mid-Authentics like it most

Did you know… ?

  • The driveway at President Jackson’s Hermitage is shaped like a guitar.
  • Nashville’s first hit was called “Here’s Your Mule,” written in the 1850s.
  • The Jack Daniel Distillery is America’s oldest registered distillery (1866).
  • Elvis Presley made more than 300 recordings in Nashville.
  • “The Grand Ole Opry” is the world’s longest-running radio show (1925).

Music City USA

In Nashville, music isn’t just the entertainment that lures millions of visitors every year. Music is big business. The city hosts scores of song-publishing firms and recording companies. What tourists see — and hear — is live music of many genres offered up in more than 120 venues.

A southern city, Nashville also has antebellum homes to explore and gardens to inspect. With its mild climate, the city offers outdoor options, whether on a golf course or in a canoe. And there is NASCAR racing at the Nashville Superspeedway.

America’s Music City is a relatively small metropolis (population: 600,000-plus; metro area: 1.7 million) set amidst rolling hills and horse farms in north central Tennessee. It is also the state’s capital. Although tourists venture into the bucolic countryside for sightseeing or other activities, music is the prime draw.

Nashville’s musical roots are country and gospel, but the environment is ecumenical, also having brought blues, Christian contemporary, folk, hip-hop, jazz, pop and rock into its recording studios and onto its stages.

Nashville’s newest major venue is Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home to the city’s orchestra. The center is across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, effectively making a point. Other museums include the Grand Ole Opry Museum and a Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

Dedicated fans also may take backstage tours of the Grand Ole Opry House and Ryman Auditorium, both of which are venues for the radio show, and make a daytime pilgrimage down Honky Tonk Highway (Lower Broadway) looking for the legendary Ernest Tubb Records and Gruhn Guitars, the latter known for its vintage instruments. The daylight Honky Tonk itinerary may include the 1879 Hatch Show Print, a letterpress poster shop best known for its posters of Opry stars.

It’s easy to determine what to do at night — hear music — and it is difficult because there are so many choices. They range from the “Grand Ole Opry” itself to musicals, stage productions and the more intimate clubs that dot the city .

Nashville says this is the place music calls home. More than 10 million visit this home each year.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Cut your own CD in Ryman Auditorium’s recording studio.
  • Study whisky. Free tours are offered at the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg and the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma. Have lunch in historic Lynchburg Square. At the George Dickel facility, mail a letter to friends from the only U.S. Post Office in a distillery.
  • Pursue your love of the blues at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Restaurant.
  • Haunt Honky Tonk Highway, that section of Lower Broadway peppered with popular clubs like Second Fiddle, the Stage, Tootsie’s and others.
  • Come to town in late March for Tin Pan South, a series of events — including a symposium — celebrating songwriters and their craft, then stay on for as much of Awesome April as you have time for. The year’s fourth month is chock-a-block with music events including Gospel Music Week.  Or, schedule your visit to coincide with the September Music City Jazz, Blues & Heritage Festival in Riverfront Park.
  • Get the skinny on ghosts in Nashville, described as one of the most haunted cities in the country. Take a guided walking tour or a carriage tour. You can choose a walking tour that features haunted taverns and a few drinks with their ghosts.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Join a walking tour that highlights the untold tales behind Nashville’s published history, operated by Gray Line Tours.
  • See a show at Nashville’s oldest professional theater, the Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre. Dinner is a southern-style buffet; a box lunch is available for those who prefer a matinee.  Or, go more upscale at Miss Marple’s Restaurant & Dinner Theatre, where the fare is a gourmet dinner and a comedic murder mystery. The first table of dinner guests to solve the mystery wins a prize.
  • Tour the restored homes of two U.S. presidents: Andrew Jackson and James Polk. At President Jackson’s Hermitage, costumed guides are your hosts. A wagon tour of the 1,120-acre property highlights slave life and takes you to out buildings, the Jacksons’ tombs and an heirloom garden.  President Polk’s home is an hour south in Columbia.
  • See a “Grand Ole Opry” program, bearing in mind this fabled institution is only one of dozens of live music venues in Nashville. Also, take free dance lessons at the Wildhorse Saloon.
  • Attend one of the Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society concerts offered April through August on the lawn of the Belle Meade Plantation.  Also, add Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman to your dance card in June or July.
  • Take something of the Nashville sound home. Shop at the historic Earnest Tubb Record Shop, and fill out your collection of bluegrass and country music.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Tour the Historic RCA Studio B at the Country Music Hall of Fame where legends Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley, among others, recorded numerous songs.  Also, take a look at the new Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • Board the General Jackson Showboat, a 300-foot paddlewheel riverboat, for a cruise on the Cumberland River and a dinner show.
  • Pay your respects to the king when you attend the long-running musical show, “A Tribute to the King: Thru the Years 1953-1977.”
  • Sleep in a train station, meaning the 125-room Union Station hotel. The hotel was carefully restored to preserve the unique design features that make this building an architectural treasure.
  • Enhance your schedule with a guided backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry House.
  • Live in the past at the 18th Century Colonial Fair in early May, or make that the Tennessee Renaissance Festival on all weekends of the same month.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation at www.visitmusiccity.com