The Music City
The sounds coming from Nashville are those authentic, soulful, powerful and unpretentious sounds that can only come from the place where music is inspired, written, recorded and performed. There is only one Music City. And today, Nashville continues its emergence as a cultural, artistic and entertainment-rich destination, filled with unique music and event venues, a myriad of art galleries, botanical gardens and greenways, plantation homes, honky-tonks, professional sports and fine dining. With an orchestra of options to satisfy every taste, youâll be encouraged to dance to the beat of your own drummer. So whether itâs listening to live music, soaking in the art scene, exploring history or just relaxing, we know youâll find many ways to enjoy Music City and learn for yourself why music calls us home.
Music is the very heart of Nashville. Long recognized as the worldâs capital of country music, the flip side of Music City boasts sounds of pop, rock, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, classical, contemporary Christian, blues and soul. Youâll find Nashville to be a friendly, dynamic community, supported by rhythm tracks of culture and history that make it uniquely and authentically âMusic City.â
Nashville never sleeps
You can hear great music 24/7, 365 days a year. A great place to begin a tour is on Lower Broadway, where the main thoroughfare halts at the banks of the Cumberland River. Honky tonks line the street, evocative names like Tootsieâs Orchid Lounge and Robertâs Western World (a boot store and music bar in one). You never know who you might see (or hear), a current star or the next big thing. From lunch âtil late you can bar-hop for free, enjoying live music, burgers and barbecue.
The centre point downtown is a 16-block entertainment area known as The District, home to a huge Hard Rock CafĂ©; the line-dancing haven Wildhorse Saloon; Printerâs Alley and Second Avenue blues clubs, including B. B. Kingâs; the church-like Ryman Auditorium (longtime home of the Grand Old Opry); and Gruhn Guitars (a guitar shop but a show in itself when browsers try out vintage instruments).
Youâll catch star-dusted pickers and songwriters all over town, in places like the bluegrass-y Station Inn, the rockinâ Exit/In or the song-centered Bluebird CafĂ©. Of course, the ultimate country venue is the Grand Ole Opry House, where every Friday and Saturday, and select Tuesdays and Thursdays, legends and current stars perform on the nationâs longest-running live radio program.
Nashville is proud of its culture.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum sets a fine example. Standing as the benchmark of Nashvilleâs âMusic Mileâ the facility is an architectural wonder in itself: the main building, with windows like a piano keyboard, ends in a Cadillac tailfin-style flourish. Inside, a million artifacts are part of an interactive experience that also explores countryâs connections to blues, R&B and pop.
Across the street you will find the new Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum which honors the talented musicians who played on some of the greatest recordings of all time. The museum features instruments used by studio musicians to record songs for artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley.
Anchoring the âMusic Mileâ stands the new home of the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony, the dazzling $123 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Inspired by the greatest concert halls in the world, the 197,000-square-foot classically-columned venue offers an unparalleled acoustical experience. The Nashville Symphony performs more than 100 classical, pops and special concert events each season as well as recitals, choral concerts, cabaret, jazz and world music events.
Music, like the weather, is exceptional year-round.
In April, Tin Pan South music festival brings hundreds of songwriters together for a weeklong festival celebrating songwriters and their craft; in June the city buzzes with the concerts and fan-events of the CMA Music Festival. The Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing! has become one of the biggest July 4th events in the nation. In the fall youâll find riverfront concerts spotlighting the diverse sounds that make Nashville hum. In September, Nashvilleâs fastest growing music festival, Next Big Nashville, showcases the best of the thriving Nashville music scene and artistic community with over 300 bands performing over five days. Also in the fall, the CMA Awards stir up frenzy with the likes of BBC Radio broadcasting back to Britain live. In April during Gospel Music Week (GMA) and in November during the week of the Country Music Awards (CMA) you may experience the induction ceremonies of the Music City Walk of Fame. Pas inductees include Reba McEntire, Elvis, Wynona and Martina McBride.
Nashville has a pristine collection of antebellum â pre-Civil War â estate mansions: Belle Meade, where a string of winning thoroughbreds was raised; The Hermitage, presidential home of Andrew Jackson; and Belmont Mansion, drenched in Victorian grandeur. Tour the beautifully-restored hilltop State Capitol building, then walk down to the educational Tennessee State Museum for a better understanding of the stateâs history and culture.
Dubbed the Athens of the South for its elegance, style and many academic institutions, Nashville claims a full-size replica of the Parthenon, in Centennial Park, and the 42-ft high statue Athena, tallest indoor sculpture in the western world. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, an exquisitely converted Art Deco post office, hosts roving exhibitions changing every couple of months. Across town at Fisk University â home of the internationally-applauded Fisk Jubilee Singers â stands the Carl Van Vechten Gallery with greats by Picasso, Renoir and Georgia OâKeeffe. The mansion at Cheekwood houses an extensive art gallery surrounded by 55 acres of divine gardens.
Eating and drinking are high on the list of priorities. For a quintessential breakfast, try the Music Row-favored Pancake Pantry or the true Southern down-home Loveless CafĂ©. An infusion of all manner of ethnic restaurants has complemented favorites like posh Radius 10 and traditional Jimmy Kellyâs. Youâll also find brewpubs, coffee bars, wine bars and plenty of places serving Jack Danielâs, distilled down the road in Lynchburg.
For sports fans, the NFL Tennessee Titans football team plays at the Coliseum across the river from The District, and the NHL Nashville Predators ice hockey team skates downtown at the striking Sommet Center. There are golf courses, tennis and other activities at dozens of parks.
Attention, shoppers: There are nine malls, including the bargain and designer factory shops at Opry Mills, near Gaylord Opryland Resort. Youâll have no trouble finding the requisite tee-shirt or boots, but there are plenty of funky fashions, accessories and art in the neighborhood districts of 12 South, Hillsboro Village, Berry Hill, Eighth Avenue South, and East Nashville.
With its charming mix of musical, historical and cultural flavors, Nashville is truly a city for all seasons and styles. Find out why music calls us home.