Probably Nashville, Tennessee's most iconic event space, the Ryman Auditorium has been standing proudly on the edge of 5th Avenue North since its inception in the year 1881. Named after its founder, renowned local businessman Thomas Ryman, the building's stunning red sandstone walls and grandiose Gothic-Revival facades enable it to stand out above the rest in the very heart of the city's pleasant urban landscape. Drenched in history, the auditorium's vintage-style wooden stage is no stranger to superstars having hosted the likes of Johnny Cash and the legendary Charlie Chaplin back in the early periods of the 20th-century. The venue's popularity really gained momentum the day it started hosting the Grand Ole Opry radio show, earning it the title 'The Mother Church of Country Music'. Historic site by day, the auditorium transforms into a happening venue for enthralling bluegrass, jazz, classical, country and gospel performances in the evenings.
When the world-famous Ryman Auditorium closed its doors to country music performances, a section of the stage was removed and installed here at the new home of the Grand Ole Opry. Country music artists, past and present, consider performing on this stage as one of the highest of honors that can ever be bestowed upon them, which is why many of the American music industry's all-time greats have graced the Opry at some point in their careers. The 45,000 square foot (4,180 square meters) building seats 4,400 people. The stage markets itself as 'The Show That Made Country Music Famous' and plays host to the prestigious Country Music Association Awards. Bluegrass, gospel, Americana and folk music concerts are also held here.
The oldest print shop in America opened in 1879. For decades, Hatch Show Print was the leading poster printer for circuses, vaudeville shows and sporting events. Today, it is located in the Country Music Hall of Fame and is best known for creating images of Grand Ole Opry stars, thousands of which line the shop's walls. Modern-day artists employ the same techniques that have been used since the 15th century, including printing works on site.
Located in the famous Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum is dedicated to music, of all genres. The museum through its massive space has on display, many original music instruments played by artists and memorabilia. The exhibits showcase the work of not just renowned artists but also honors the lesser-known performing artists from the different genres of music. You will get insights and facts about many instrumental and background artists who contributed significantly to some celebrated master pieces. The museum also houses an interactive display gallery, Grammy Museum Gallery which gives visitors a chance to witness and try out the creative process of recording music.
Having the largest and most comprehensive collection of memorabilia and artifacts from the late legend, the Johnny Cash Museum is a true gem of the downtown Nashville area. The legendary country superstar and entertainer's life can be seen through the many photos, handwritten song lyrics, costumes, awards and musical instruments lovingly displayed throughout the building's raw brick and motor space. Catch his booming voice as he croons out "Folsom Prison Blues" in one of the many interactive displays. Whether you're a country music fan or not, a visit to this museum will leave you with a newfound respect for one of the music industry's greatest legends.
Loved by locals and tourists alike, this 1853 mansion was once the centerpiece of a 5,400-acre (2,185 hectares), 19th-century thoroughbred farm and nursery that back then sheltered president Andrew Jackson's thoroughbred. Awash in a stately Greek Revival style, the plantation boasts a dramatically-picturesque landscape that is dotted by many plantation remnants like a stable, the Hardings Cabin and the restored slaves quarters. Still referred to as the “Queen of Tennessee Plantations,” the present 30-acre (12-hectares) environs includes many of the original outbuildings and an antique carriage collection. The plantation has also played host to many famous guests including Presidents Grover Cleveland and General Sherman. Lending insights into the indelible plantation legacy left behind by John Harding, the Belle Meade Plantation is deeply entrenched in a long-standing lineage which has been an important part of the cultural history of America.
This landmark Romanesque structure, once a thriving railroad station, is now a first-class hotel. Many features of the elegant old terminal remain, including domed skylight, clock tower, and decorative gold-leaf medallions. Thanks to a spirited 2007 renovation, this ancient travel hub is as grand as it ever was - marble accents are everywhere, each exquisitely appointed guest room is fully unique, and on-site dining such as Prime 108, is on par with the best Nashville has to offer.
The Bridgestone Arena (formerly Sommet Center) is an immense building that hosts impressive events that range from classical concerts to sports. This entertainment center has hosted the Miss Teen America Pageant, a concert by American Idol's Clay Aiken, Sarah McLachlan, Prince, and even the US 2004 Gymanstics Championships. Within the center there are meeting rooms, rehearsal halls, the Levy Restaurant, scoreboards and VIP suite facilities. Dedicated to music is the Music City Theater with excellent acoustics for a musical performance.
Discover the stories behind the music as you view over 3,000 stage costumes, original song manuscripts and musical instruments at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Many of the personal items of music legends are on display including Elvis' solid gold Cadillac. Tour packages include a visit to the historic RCA Studio B and the Music Row walking tour. Allow at least two hours for exhibits and the tour.