Nashville was recently crowned the top destination in the world by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast and The New York Times. In fact, it was one of only two destinations to be named to all three lists. And the accolades do not end there. Below are just a few of the sites that have made Music City the #1 destination on Earth.
By Ashley L. Evans – Ambassador of Rock
Ryman Auditorium, known as the Mother Church of Country Music, is a National Historic Landmark and must see for anyone visiting Nashville. Most famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, its history as Nashville’s premier theater and central gathering place started even before construction was complete in 1892. It is truly the cultural epicenter of Music City. Tours daily, 9am-4pm. Adults $15.
Since opening in 1889, President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage has welcomed over 15 million guests. Located only minutes from downtown Nashville, this National Historic Site consists of 1120 gorgeous acres of family fun for all ages. There are many areas to explore around the grounds including the Hermitage Mansion, the first Hermitage, the gardens, the museum, enslaved memorials and much, much more. Open daily, 9am-4:30pm. Adults $9-52.
The historic Tennessee State Capitol, designed by William Strickland, stands today much as it did when completed in 1859. Several areas have been restored to their 19th century appearance. Unique artifacts on display at the Tennessee State Museum include the top hat worn by Andrew Jackson during his 1829 presidential inaugural; a musket that belonged to Daniel Boone; the jawbone of a mastodon, estimated to be 15,000 years old; a piano owned and played by Andrew Johnson; early ceremonial pottery from 3,000 years ago; and an Egyptian mummy, almost 3,500 years old, that was first brought to Tennessee and exhibited at the State Capitol in 1860. Guided tours leave from the Information Desk on the First Floor of the Capitol every hour, on the hour. Open Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm. Free admission.
While taking a walk or jog around Centennial Park, you can’t help but be drawn toward exploring the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the famous Greek temple, The Parthenon, which houses Nashville’s art museum and Athena Parthenos – the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. The previous course start for the Country Music Marathon, there is plenty of great grassy spots for picnics and a small lake for paddle boating. Open Tues-Sat, 9am-4:30pm. Adults $6.
There are a few really great local breweries around Nashville. Check out one, or all of them! Here are a few we have been to. Typically, Hour long tour is $7, you receive several beer samples along the way and a souvenir pint glass to take home. Check websites for tour specific info.
The General Jackson Showboat cruises the Cumberland River, from the Opry Mills Mall for several shows throughout the week and is one of the largest showboats in the country. It boasts four massive decks with a beautiful two-story Victorian Theater located in the center of the boat where live music shows are performed. The General Jackson is an experience you’ll only find in Music City! Dinner ticket: adult $60-100. Sunday Brunch: adult $45-60.
Located 30 minutes south of Nashville, Arrington Vineyards is Tennessee’s premier winery, offering 12 wines for (free!) tasting. Pack a picnic lunch (tables are all around, and the porch is great!) and enjoy the breathtaking views around the property. And since Arrington vineyards is owned by country music star Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn, you never know who will show up.
The Nashville Farmers Market (NFM) is home to farmers, artisans, restaurateurs, and local business merchants throughout the year. Since its inception on the town square in the early 1800’s, the Farmers’ Market has been a vital part of Nashville life. If you have a love of shopping for the best produce, foods, and bargains in an exciting community setting, be sure to make your way to the NFM. Open year-round; flea market weekends.
“Musica” is a recognizable statue that sits at the traffic circle where Division Street meets 16th Avenue North, known as the Music Row Roundabout or Buddy Killen Circle. It was built as part of an urban renewal project for the Music Row neighborhood in 2003. The sculpture occasionally adorns other trinkets, such as t-shirts supporting the Nashville Predators during playoff runs, as well as runners’ bibs during the Country Music Marathon!
In 1961 the Country Music Association (CMA) announced the creation of the Country Music Hall of Fame and chose its first three inductees—Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Fred Rose. There is more history in this building than any where I can think of, or how to even begin to describe its amazingness. If you are a country music fan, you should make time to visit. Self/Audio guided tours daily. Tickets $15-25.
Located just 6 miles from downtown at the historic Grassmere home, another place on the National Register of Historic Homes, the Croft home was built in 1810, as the centerpice of the Grassmere Historic Farm, which over the course of five generations grew into what is now known as the Nashville Zoo: with heirloom gardens, a cemetery, and of course the full zoo.
Open daily 9am-6pm; tickets $10-15. $1 off for everyone in party with a military ID.
Not your typical thought while honky tonkin’ in music city, but why not dress up with a trip to the beautiful Symphony. The Nashville Symphony was founded in 1946, while the current performance location at the Schermerhorn which opened in 2006. Several amazing acts will be around the week of the CMM, including this writer’s personal favorite: Brandi Carlile. Hopefully you can enjoy the beauty of the sounds and sights of this venue while visiting. Check the schedule for show performance & tickets.
Looking for a day adventure? Only an hour & 15 minutes south of Nashville, Moore County is the smallest county in the state of Tennessee, which is also a dry county, as it has been since the Prohibition. Two versions of the tour are offered, the one hour is for all ages of the distillery, and also a one hour & 45 minute tour is for guests 21+ which includes samplings of the line of products. Tours daily, 9am-4:30pm.
An all-day adventure awaits you! Saturday and Sunday mornings typically have two hour+ lines, get in early, or go for dinner. While you wait, there is lots to do on the Loveless property from look at the walls of many famous visitors before you who have dined, as well as visit the previous motel rooms which have been converted into several General Store type shops selling everything from their famous jams and bacon and gift shop items. Check out the schedule for the Loveless Barn (www.lovelessbarn.com, where Music City Roots partnered with Lighting 100 radio station has several bands perform every Wednesday nights. Tickets for Music City Roots: typically $10.
Looking for a hike / jog with some beautiful, quiet scenery? Look no further than Radnor Lake: a quiet little slice of heaven, protected area by the State of Tennessee, where no boats are allowed on this lake. There is no running on the trails, but there is many miles of paved roads (only drivable by the rangers), where the number of visitors is over one million, annually! Open dawn to dusk. Free.