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Made famous by its celebrated music scene, endless honky-tonk bars, and family-friendly fun, Nashville is a true Southern gem. While attractions like the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry draw in music lovers from around the world, the Parthenon and the Adventure Science Center are unique attractions that appeal to all types of travelers. In a city that breeds American music and Southern hospitality amongst a long list of historical landmarks, discover the top things to do in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Appreciate Music at the Grand Ole Opry
A radio show that put Nashville on the map, the Grand Ole Opry helped facilitate the world’s perception of the “Country Capital of the World.” Boasting some of the top performers in the world including Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley, a trip to the city isn’t complete without a glimpse into the history of this iconic landmark. Visitors can hear stories about musical legends, see photos of past performers, and walk across one of the most famous stages in the world.
Take a Musical Journey at the Ryman Auditorium
Considered the mecca of Nashville’s musical heritage, the Ryman Auditorium is nicknamed the “Mother Church of Country Music.” With a long list of award-winning artists performing on its legendary stage since 1892, visitors are able to tour the premises and see pictures of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Louis Armstrong and record their own song as a souvenir in the world-renown studio.
Explore the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Newly expanded and located in the heart of Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must see. Boasting the title as the world’s largest popular music museum, here visitors will be able to explore rotating exhibits featuring both today and yesterday’s country music legends. Both music and history lovers will appreciate the plaques and artifacts in this museum, including Elvis Presley’s gold Cadillac limo.
Tour the Iconic RCA Studio B
Once the recording home of classical musical icons Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Chet Adkins, Roy Orbison and much more, touring through the RCA Studio B is the highlight of any music lover’s Nashville itinerary. Playing an influential role in establishing the city as the international mecca for recording, dozens of country and pop stars have recorded their music here. Touring the studio has become a cultural attraction for visitors around the world for those who want to learn about the science of sound and the history of recording technology.
Salute the Past at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
More than just the face of the $20 bill, former President Andrew Jackson inspired, shaped, and became an icon of a New America. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage offers bold visuals and a handful of interactive displays focusing on Jackson’s origins, military presence, and leadership as the President. Here visitors can get an up-close and personal look on guided tours of this National Historic Landmark and Jackson’s home life.
Pay Homage at The Johnny Cash Museum
Located on 3rd Avenue, music lovers flock to The Johnny Cash Museum to pay homage to the famous Man in Black. Featuring the most extensive and comprehensive collections of Johnny Cash, visitors can explore artifacts and memorabilia not seen anywhere else in the world. Considered the place to be if you’re a fan of Cash, there are exhibits displaying films, handwritten notes, and costumes made famous during his career.
Explore the Belle Meade Plantation
Built in 1853, the 30-acre historical Greek Revival Bell Meade Plantation is nicknamed the “Queen of Tennessee Plantations” and was home to 5 generations of the Harding-Jackson family. With columns showing signs of bullet holes from the Civil War, visitors will find guides dressed in period costumes detailing the Plantation’s history at the center of the mansion’s antebellum-style interior.
See a Full-Scale Replica of the Parthenon
Standing as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, the Parthenon includes a 42-foot Athena statue and accompanying building replica, a re-creation from ancient Greece. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this representation of classical architecture now serves as Nashville’s art museum. Due to popular demand, Nashville, or the “Athens of the South,” left the structure and has since become a beloved attraction housing an impressive art collection and a popular photo backdrop.
Visit Honky Tonk Highway at Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge
A trip to the Music City would not be complete without experiencing the sounds of the city’s music first-hand. Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge, one of the top honky-tonk bars, is an expert at serving up an authentic atmosphere and top performances in its world famous lounge. This charming downtown bar has seen the likes of both up and coming artists and world renown music icons, where visitors love to let loose and stomp their boots on the dance floor.
Interact With Science at the Adventure Science Center
Perfect for taking a break from country music and the history of Nashville, the Adventure Science Center is a family-friendly attraction that offers entertainment and education. With interactive displays, kids can explore a flight simulator, learn about becoming an astronaut, and discover what goes on inside the human body. Catch a show in the planetarium or watch one of the regular demonstrations as an added bonus.
Visit Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art
Ideal for both art and nature enthusiasts, the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art has a sculpture trail, flower display, and 55 acres of botanical gardens. A peaceful oasis in the midst of the downtown bustle, here visitors can explore a Georgian-style Cheek family mansion in addition to a collection of 19th and 20th-century American art. Soak in the colorful sights of horticultural diversity and natural landscapes while appreciating notable paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
Tour an Italian-style Villa at the Belmont Mansion
History aficionados will appreciate the Belmont Mansion, the largest house museum in Nashville. A gorgeous Italian-style villa built in 1850, Belmont was originally constructed as a summer home for Adelicia Acklen, one of the richest women in the country at the time. Tour the 10,000 square foot mansion to find lavish gardens, ornately decorated 19th-century antiques and extravagant artwork.