With beautiful architecture, plenty to do, and a history dating back to 1779, Nashville in Tennessee has so much to offer its visitors. For many people, it is known as the “Country Music Capital of the World”, and it has that title for good reason. The city has been the launch pad for so much talent that it would take a long time to list them all. Being located in the south of the US means that the weather is good for most of the year. Whether you are looking for culture, a great nightlife, or some live music, then Nashville is where it is at. When visiting the following 10 things to do in Nashville should be on your agenda.
It would be weird for someone to visit Nashville and not go to one of its musical museums. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the most well known of them all and attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. There are many things on show here, including plaques relating to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. You can even view Elvis Presley’s solid gold Cadillac limo and one of Jimmie Rodger’s guitars that he used during live concerts. Studio B is where over 30,000 songs were recorded, some by major artists. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., tickets for adults cost $22, and it is money well spent. It is cheaper for youths, while under 5’s get in for free. Tours are available every day, but they do cost extra.
Johnny Cash was known as “The man in black”, the title of one of his hits. He was born in 1932 in Arkansas, and lived till he was 71. Although he was at heart a country and western singer, he did cover other genres, such as gospel and rock’n’roll. The museum is a celebration of his fame and life. There are many exhibits on display that includes 25 costumes that he used during his career, handwritten notes and a lot of other memorabilia. Everything is laid out in an easy to follow manner, which makes it easy to follow his career for those who never really knew his music. The museum is open most days of the year between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the highest admission charge being $14 for adults.
The great thing about this location is that it provides not just art, but natural beauty in its surrounding grounds. The buildings and gardens are reminiscent of a British stately home. There is a lot of art to be found on the sculpture trail, as well as in the Georgian-style home, which includes a lot of 19th- and 20th-century American art. Plenty of antique furniture is also on show, and some of the exhibits change during the year. Outside there are many wonderful gardens to stroll around, and the greenhouses include many foreign species of plants. Located to the southwest of downtown Nashville, it is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Adults are charged $12, and it is possible to spend most of the day here.
4. The Hermitage
This is a very historic site for the city. Built by President Andrew Jackson in 1821, it is now listed as a National Historic Landmark. For those who are not well up on US history, this President was in charge during the War of 1812 when the US battled with Britain and Ireland. The building is built with Greek Revival architecture in mind, and the whole estate covers 1,000 hectares. A guided tour of the house and the surrounding property is available, and this makes for an educational day. On the grounds is also a log cabin, a church and the tomb of the President, which is an impressive structure. Prices start at $9 for kids, and $19 for adults. This is money well spent on a piece of history that changed the US forever.
Another stunning and historic site in the area is the Belle Meade Plantation. Built in 1853 in the same Greek Revival style as The Hermitage, it is clearly a building that makes a statement. One notable thing about the mansion is that the supporting columns on the outside have numerous bullet holes in them. This damage occurred during the American Civil War. The tours here are a wonderful experience, as the guides are all dressed in period costumes. Throughout the year there are many events which take place on the grounds, including antique auctions and an egg hunt during the Easter holiday. This is open every day of the year apart from a few holidays such as Christmas. The entry cost is only $16, while the kids get in for half of that.
This venue is also referred to as Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge and is one of the most famous Honky Tonk bars in the United States. Inside you will find two stages that are host to live acts every night. All of the acts are locals that sing country music. Customers soon find themselves tapping their feet along with the music. Many of the stars of country and western have been here; Kris Kristofferson, Patsy Cline, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings to name a few. As Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is so well known in the city with all the artists who pass through Nashville, it has been mentioned in quite a few songs. Enjoy a bite to eat and a nice drink in this piece of musical history.
7. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
One thing about Nashville is that it has attracted cuisine from all around the world, and this means that there is plenty of choice for the hungry tourist. One place that the locals love is the Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, and that means it is also a place that tourists should visit. This restaurant makes hot chicken its specialty. The business has been around since 1945 when it was opened by James Thornton Prince. Although it changed ownership in 1980, it was to his niece, and she has kept things just the way they were.
8. Bluebird Café
Even though this club only opened in 1982, it quickly became a favorite with locals and artists. Some of the people who perform here have been well established in Nashville as singers for years. It was here in 1987 where one of the greatest country and western singers was discovered; Garth Brooks. The film “The Thing Called Love” features a lot of this venue, and starred Sandra Bullock and River Phoenix. The Bluebird Café is now as much a part of Nashville as some of the other music bars that have been around for decades.
For something totally different to do, take a trip on the General Jackson Showboat. This is one of the biggest paddle-wheel boats in the US. There are different cruises available for trips along Nashville’s Cumberland River, and they include lunch or dinner. The cuisine is traditional southern food, and is accompanied by live music, dancers, and sometimes comedy acts. These trips are a great way to view Nashville’s skyline during the day or night. It is also something that can be done regardless of the weather conditions. Prices are around $80 for the lunch, and $110 for the dinner. This includes pick-up and drop-off from a number of hotels. This is an experience that will never be forgotten.
The Nashville Zoo covers an area of about 200 acres, so it takes a while to get around the place. It is also the location of the historic plantation farmhouse, while the Adventure Science Center is next door. Taking in all three will take a whole day. The zoo is relatively new, having only been founded in 1991. It now holds a wide range of amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. The Flamingo’s and Lorikeet’s are a couple of the bird species loved by the visitors. There are also giraffe’s, lions, tigers, primates, kangaroo’s, and a petting zoo for the kids, although adults also this. A couple of the zoos most beautiful mammals are the Clouded Leopard’s and Cougar’s. While the cutest are the Red Panda’s and Lemurs. Prices for the zoo are low; $15 for adults and teens, seniors $13, kids 2-12 just $10. The really young get in free. For those who like to support zoos, annual membership is available which includes admission.
There is a lot going on in Nashville, with many singers performing live every night. It is worth checking online to see which acts are on when you are there. For those who want to see more of the music scene, there are a number of tours available that cover all of the main venues, and the guides cover the local history in detail. Nashville is the root of country and western music and the city also offers so much to see and do.
10 Things To Do In Nashville