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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 city of Nashville boasts a unique and singular character that sets it apart from the other cities and towns in the United States. One of the reasons for this distinction is that the city's neighborhoods and areas are rooted deep in history and heritage. The Hillsboro Village, located a few miles southwest of the downtown area, is one such neighborhood that contributes immensely to the city's charm. The neighborhood started as a streetcar suburb, and gradually establishments like theaters, shops, restaurants, bars and more started sprouting up, increasing its popularity as an entertainment spot in the city. The attractions here are best discovered by foot, as the neighborhood is one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas in the city. The Hillsboro Village is also the venue for a plethora of community events, so plan a trip here when visiting Nashville.
It is fitting that the "Athens of the South" is home to the world's only full-size replica of the ancient Parthenon. Forty-six Doric columns encircle the building. The largest bronze doors in the world, weighing 7.5 tons each, stand at the East and West entrances. Featured is Athena Parthenos, the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. Sculptures and friezes are modeled from Elgin Marbles at the British Museum in London. There are also four art galleries. While the prices are reasonable, you can avail discounts for groups of ten or more with a reservation.
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.
Once the former location of Nashville's publishing and printing industry, Printers Alley has now become the city's epicenter for nightlife. A sign, extending across Church Street, marks the entrance to this brick-paved, bar-lined alleyway. Neon signage lights up the evenings, beckoning customers. From restaurants to live music bars, Printers Alley is filled with unique and interesting nightlife gems and is even known to be a prime spot where great musicians have performed and gotten their big breaks.
This 200-acre walk-through zoological park is home to the rare and beautiful. You'll encounter cougars, black bears, Bengal tigers, zebras, cheetahs and playful river otters. Kids can even go a bit wild on the Jungle Gym playground. The Croft Center, named for the sisters who left the estate to Grassmere, houses the Unseen New World exhibit and a variety of reptiles. There is also a working farm exhibit and a petting zoo.
Perched atop a prominent hill, this magnificent whitewashed building presides over downtown Nashville's skyline with indubitable grace and finesse. Constructed between 1845 to 1859 by well-renowned architect William Strickland, the structure's design is a stunning specimen of exquisite Greek-Revival architecture. What makes the building really unique is the fact that it is one of only ten capitol buildings to not feature a dome. The building's neoclassical facade is perhaps one of its most salient features that effortlessly captivates onlookers with its assemblage of elegant Corinthian stanchions and pronounced neoclassical rooftop. The facade's beauty is enhanced quite drastically at night when its sharp edges are highlighted by a series of ambient lights. Its interiors are equally as impressive, with the governor's house chamber being the building's centerpiece.
The home of the National Football League's Tennessee Titans boasts a 69,000-seat, natural-grass facility. The stadium offers excellent seating, most along the sidelines. There are 144 luxury suites, 7,500 on-site parking spaces and 60 concession stands. If you are driving to the game, the easiest thing is to park downtown in one of the many garages/surface lots in or near the District, and then use the pedestrian walkway on Woodland Street.
Athena stands 42 feet tall, towering above all who enter her temple through seven-ton bronze doors. Daughter of Zeus and patron goddess of wisdom and arts, her presence amidst Nashville's university and arts communities is appropriate. Other classical and modern works of art surround Athena. Her Parthenon and grounds, Centennial Park, are favorite spots for visitors to stroll or relax after a long day of site seeing.