Nashville, Tennessee, fondly known as the Music City, is famed as the country music capital of the world. This buzzy city attracts visitors from all corners of the globe who want to immerse themselves in the country music scene – including those who love country music and even those who don’t.
With its rich history, soulful culture, and countless music venues and museums, Nashville offers an unforgettable experience for those dreaming of experiencing the heart of country music, whatever their musical tastes.
If you’re planning a trip to Nashville and want to explore its iconic country music scene, here are our top tips and recommendations to make the most of your visit.
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
No exploration of Nashville’s country music scene is complete without a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This famous museum is one of the most popular Nashville attractions, showcasing the history, legends, and artifacts of country music. Guests can explore interactive exhibits, admire memorabilia from iconic artists, and learn about the evolution of country music.
Be sure to pop into the legendary Hatch Show Print shop, known for its charming woodblock prints of classic country music stars.
Cost: Adults $27.50, children under 5 free
Opening hours: Daily, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Catch a Show at the Grand Ole Opry
For over 90 years, the Grand Ole Opry has been a pinnacle of country music entertainment. This historic venue hosts live performances featuring legendary artists and rising stars alike, with megastars like Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn having previously taken to the stage.
Make sure to experience the excitement of the Grand Ole Opry and soak in the special atmosphere that has made it a country music institution. Take a daytime backstage tour to see where the magic happens, or watch one of your favorite stars perform in awe with the rest of the audience.
Cost: Check the Grand Ole Opry website for the show schedule and ticket information.
Opening hours: Daily, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, and Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm
Explore Broadway’s Honky Tonks
Nashville’s roaring Broadway is synonymous with live country music. Lined with bright and colorful honky-tonks (a bar in which country music is played), this vibrant street is an absolute must-visit for anyone visiting Nashville.
Enjoy live Nashville songwriter performances from talented local musicians as you hop from one honky-tonk to another. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Stage, and Legends Corner are just a few of the popular Honky-tonks in Nashville you should check out. Remember to bring your dancing shoes – and be prepared to keep moving until the early hours of the morning.
Check Out the Bluebird Cafe
For an intimate Nashville live music experience, make a beeline for Bluebird Cafe. This small music venue has gained worldwide fame for its close-knit songwriter performances.
Listen to talented local musicians as they share their original songs and stories in a tiny, cozy setting – you’re sure to feel super special being part of such a small audience. Due to Bluebird Cafe’s popularity, it’s recommended to make reservations in advance.
Cost: Visit the Bluebird Cafe website for more information on shows and reservations.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Celebrate the CMA Music Festival
If you visit the city in the summer, don’t miss the Country Music Association (CMA) Fest, one of the best Nashville music festivals. This annual four-day event takes place in June and features live performances from some of the biggest names in country music. This year we can expect huge performances from big-name country superstars like Dan + Shay, Keith Urban, and Eric Church.
Artists perform at various Nashville music venues throughout the city, including Nissan Stadium, Riverfront Park, and the Ascend Amphitheater. Immerse yourself in the lively energy of the festival, don your favorite cowboy boots, soak up the sun with outdoor concerts, and meet-and-greets with artists. Be sure to explore the Fan Fair X, where you can interact with country music exhibits and shop for merchandise.
Cost: From $563.55 for a four-night stadium pass
Dates: Thursday, June 8th to Sunday, June 11th 2023
Stroll Around Music Row
Located on 16th and 17th Avenues South is the Music Row neighborhood that has played an influential role in the country music industry. Amble through this historic area and admire the iconic record labels, publishing houses, and recording studios.
Don’t miss visiting Owen Bradley Park, dedicated to the legendary producer who shaped Nashville’s sound. Keep an eye out for famous landmarks like the RCA Studio B and the historic Monument Records building, which now houses the Musicians Hall of Fame, first listed in this article.
Visit the Johnny Cash Museum
For fans of the legendary “Man in Black,” a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum is a must. This niche museum showcases the life and career of one of country music’s most famous figures.
Explore exhibits filled with memorabilia, artifacts, and interactive displays that pay homage to the legendary Johnny Cash. Dive into his music, his activism, and his enduring legacy.
Cost: General admission $24.95 + tax, ages 6 to 15 $20.95 + tax, under 5 free
Opening hours: Daily, 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
Find your Perfect Nashville Vacation Rental
Nashville lives and breathes country music, and exploring its thriving music scene is an adventure you won’t want to miss. From iconic venues and museums to intimate songwriters’ nights, the Music City offers diverse experiences for every music enthusiast.
To fully embrace the essence of Nashville, consider staying at Dream House, a fun vacation rental that captures the charming spirit of the city. Grab your cowboy boots, embrace the twang of a steel guitar, and get ready to discover the heart and soul of Nashville’s country music scene!