Published February 26, 2013
Country music’s mecca has a lot more to offer than just honky-tonks and Southern charm. The city on the Cumberland River has a rich antebellum history with plenty of family-fun activities to please visitors of all ages. Home to award-winning symphonies, the Grand Ole Opry and stimulating art galleries, Nashville has the feel of a small town with the amenities of a cosmopolitan city. Whether you’re in Nashville for the music scene or to experience the museums and festivals the city has to offer, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Tennessee’s capital.
5…Buff Up On Your Nashville History
The Hermitage is not just the home of the 7th president of the United States and the face of the $20 bill, Andrew Jackson; it is also an impressive piece of architecture and Nashville’s best-preserved estate with many pieces of original furniture. Sitting on 1,100 acres of land, The Hermitage is the final resting place of President Jackson and his wife. Jackson welcomed many important guests to his home and visitors will get an intimate look into the life of the former president.
Another must-see historical site is the impressive Belle Meade Plantation. Visitors of the plantation are in good company; Presidents Grover Cleveland and Ulysses S. Grant both frequented the mansion. Guides dress in period costume while visitors are taken around the mansion. Tickets, which run at $16 for adults, also include access to the plantation’s dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens and log cabin. A free wine tasting awaits guests over the age of 21 upon competition of the tour.
4…Sports Fans Rejoice
If history is not your thing, head over to the Bridgestone Arena to see the Nashville Predators play. Not hockey season? Check out the city’s NFL team, the Tennessee Titans, at LP Field, which seats approximately 69,143 fans. Both venues also host concerts and special events throughout the year.
Don’t let the cowboy hats and boots fool you; it’s not just country music that this city is famous for. Visit the Schermerhorn Center where you can attend a concert of the Grammy award winning Nashville Symphony. Visit the Frist Center for the Visual Arts to experience 24,000 square feet of gallery space featuring local, national and international artists. The museum is open seven days a week and is free for children under 18 years of age.
If you are traveling with younger children, be sure to visit the Adventure science center, which boasts it’s own planetarium. A perfect place for families, both parents and children can experience what it is like to walk in outer space, simulate a space shuttle flight and learn how our different body systems work in a space over 9,000 square feet.
2…Play Something Country
You can’t visit the country music capital of the world without, well, listening to some country music. The city is overflowing with talented singers hoping to break into the music scene and this makes for more intimate concerts in local bars and restaurants. Established artists can be heard at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the nation’s longest running radio program, the Grand Ole Opry. Stars like Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban can be heard on the Opry’s stage every Friday and Saturday night. Artists from George Straight to Johnny Cash have all played there and you can get your picture taken on the same stage these legendary entertainers have performed.
If the Opry hasn’t satisfied your country itch, try visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame to see their collection of vast memorabilia. You don’t need to be a country music fan to enjoy this museum located in the heart of downtown Nashville. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with tickets running at $22 for adults and free for children under the age of five, not including guided tours, which can be purchased at an additional price.
1…Enjoy a Night Out on the Town After Visiting the Music Walk of Fame
The induction ceremony at the Music Walk of Fame take place in April, but if you are touring during other months, go see Trace Adkins, Martina McBride and Dolly Parton’s stars amongst others.
For activities that include less daylight, Nashville has a lively nightlife scene. You are on vacation so take a break from all of the museums and spend a night out on the town. Check out the historic “District,” located around Broadway, 2nd Avenue and Printer’s Alley for some of the city’s best nightlife. From country to bluegrass and jazz, experience all kinds of live music while dining at great local restaurants and pubs. You may even be witnessing Nashville’s newest emerging star at one of the restaurants you visit as many country singers got their start paying their dues at bars in the District.