Planning a visit to Nashville? The city is full of things to do and places to see, but there are some destinations everyone agrees are THE top spots to see for a real appreciation of Music City’s history, culture, and spirit. Connect to Nashville’s legacy by checking out these top 10 Nashville landmarks.
One of the most famous landmarks in Nashville, Ryman Auditorium represents the heart and soul of the city. Situated just behind Broadway’s bustling honky-tonks, the Ryman was originally constructed in 1889 as a church before it became the home of the Grand Ole Opry in 1943. During the 30-plus years it housed the Opry, the Ryman stage hosted countless country music legends, including The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, and Roy Acuff.
The Ryman is recognizable for its iconic stained glass windows and original church pews. The auditorium’s signature curves create impressive acoustics that make it a one-of-a-kind performance venue for artists and music fans alike. Today, Ryman Auditorium hosts concerts of all genres, from country to rock to hip hop—and tickets sell out fast!
A trip to Music City isn’t complete without a visit to the Home of Country Music: The Grand Ole Opry. It’s the permanent home of the longest-running live radio broadcast in the world, which was responsible for introducing country music in living rooms across the US. When the show relocated from Ryman Auditorium in 1974, a six-foot circle of the wooden stage was removed and placed in the center of the Opry stage as a tribute to its former home. When you take a tour of the Opry today, you have the chance to get your photo taken in that very same circle.
A visit to the Opry is a bucket-list item for any true country music fan. The venue can also be rented for special events, like cocktail parties or wedding receptions. Check out the show calendar or book a tour for your behind-the-scenes look at this iconic Nashville stage.
The former home of President Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage is located just outside of Nashville. With over 30 historic buildings, a museum, and a reenactment of The Duel, it’s one of the largest and oldest site museums in the US. The Hermitage is open to visitors Thursday-Monday each week.
The Parthenon brings ancient Greece to the Athens of the South. Erected in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, today the Parthenon is a centerpiece of Centennial Park. It houses a museum with art exhibits and a 42-foot statue of Athena, a full-scale replica of the original sculpture in Athens. The Parthenon is open for daily tours.
See Nashville’s growing skyline aboard a boat on the Cumberland River. One of the largest showboats ever built, the General Jackson sails at a maximum of 13 mph and offers daytime and nighttime cruises on the river. Enjoy a delicious meal, live entertainment, and views of Music City you can’t get anywhere else.
Constructed in the mid-1800s and surrounded by elaborate gardens, the historic Belmont Mansion is one of the most well-maintained plantation homes in the US. It originally served as the summer home of Adelicia Acklen, one of the wealthiest Southern women of her time. She raised her family there throughout the 1800s. In 1890, after Acklen passed away, two women bought the property and opened Belmont College for Young Women; The school would eventually become Belmont University. Today, the mansion is open for tours five days a week.
RCA Studio B is a recording studio in Nashville famously known as the birthplace of the Nashville Sound, a softer style of country music that incorporates crooning background vocals and strings. Studio B has been a recording home for countless music legends, including Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson, among others. The Studio is open for tours seven days a week.
Belle Meade Plantation is a former plantation home built in the Greek Revival style. Originally constructed by John Harding in 1819, the home saw many additions in its first few decades as the Harding family grew wealthier. The property was sold in 1904 after the sudden passing of both William Harding Jackson, who had inherited the plantation, and his 29-year-old son. Today, the mansion as well as the plantation grounds, carriage house, and slave quarters are open for public tours. The site also houses a winery for daily tastings.
The Tennessee State Capitol has stood in downtown Nashville since 1859. Well-known architect William Strickland, who designed the building, called it his crowning achievement. It’s one of the oldest working capitols in the US, serving as the home of the Tennessee General Assembly and governor’s office, as well as the final resting place for President and Mrs. James K Polk. The capitol grounds are open to visitors Monday through Friday each week.
Located northwest of the Tennessee State Capitol building, the Bicentennial Mall is an urban state park in downtown Nashville. Opened in 1996 to commemorate the state of Tennessee’s 200th anniversary, the 11-acre mall is a popular place for walking, hiking, and monuments representing important moments in Tennessee history.
There’s so much to do in Nashville. Check out the Nashville Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the US and one of Tennessee’s top attractions. The Frist Art Museum hosts world-class exhibits and fun for all ages, including a family-friendly art studio where visitors can create art of their own. Music fans will love learning about country music’s roots at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or celebrating the life and legend of the Man in Black at the Johnny Cash Museum. Those looking for fun off the beaten path will enjoy Printers Alley, an alley tucked away from the bustling Broadway strip with bars, nightclubs, and an amazing blues club, Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar.
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