As capital of Tennessee and home to the Grand Ole Opry and President Andrew Jacksons home, the Hermitage, Nashville is a city of tradition, architecture, entertainment and commerce. It is home to 16 colleges and universities, religious publishing firms, and over 750 churches and has been called the Athens of the South and is a leading cultural center of the South like Atlanta. Its leading industries are publishing, finance and insurance, healthcare, music and entertainment, technology, higher education and tourism. It is host to A Country Christmas held each year at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, numerous music festivals, the Tennessee State Fair, and the Running of the Iroquois Memorial Steeplechase each May at the entrance to Percy Warner Park. And, whether you decide to stay at a national hotel chain, the Hermitage Hotel or any of the full-service hotels, your stay Nashville will be a vacation (or business trip) highlight!
One of the best ways to tour Nashville is on one of the various bus tours offered by Grayline Bus Tours. The tours last from 1-6 hours and visit the areas most popular attractions such as Nashville landmarks, music studios and the homes of the stars.
Is art your passion? Do sculptures make you speechless? Then Nashvilles Parthenon is the place for you! This concrete aggregate is a replica of the Parthenon of the time of Pericles. And, like the original, there is not a straight horizontal or vertical line, nor are any of two columns placed the same distance apart. The Parthenon displays artwork from the 19th and 20th century, Elgin Marbles replicas and has a 42 foot statue of the goddess Athena.
At Fisk University, you can see African Art at the Douglas Gallery and the Steiglitz collection of modern art at the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery. At the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art you will find a cultural complex with a permanent display of 19th and 20th century American art, a Botanical Hall with tropical flora and changing plant exhibits, greenhouses, and five major specialized gardens.
For architectural art, a trip to Belmont Mansion is the perfect afternoon activity. You will find the 1850s Italian style villa, once considered one of the finest homes in the United States, to be awe inspiring. The 15 rooms display Venetian glass, gasoliers, mirrors, paintings and statues, and in the gardens, you will see a large collection of 19th century ornaments and cast iron gazebos.
At the Travelers Rest Plantation and Museums restored Federal-styled house, you will see period furniture, records and letters. The 11 acre grounds have a formal garden, a weaving house, and a smokehouse. At Belle Meade Plantation, you will see an antebellum mansion as well as one of the greatest breading forms in the nation. The Greek Revival mansion contains Empire and Victorian furnishings as well as an heirloom showcase with racing trophies and mementos.
The Sam Davis Home has been described as the most beautiful shrine to a private soldier in the US. The house and 168 acre working farm has been preserved as a memorial to Confederate Scout Sam Davis. The restored house is furnished with many original pieces. The Hermitage, rebuilt in 1834, was the home of President Andrew Jackson. This Greek Revival home is furnished with original family heirlooms. You can take a guided tour of the 600 acre estate where you will see the Tulip Grove Mansion, the Hermitage Church, log cabins, a visitors center and a biographical film on Jackson.
One of Americas largest museums is found in Nashville. The Tennessee State Museum at Polk Cultural Center house permanent exhibits telling Tennessees history from pre-historic to the Reconstruction period. It has hundreds of Civil War artifacts displayed in the 60,000square foot space. For more kid-friendly fun, visit the Adventure Science Museum. With 6 hands-on main concept areas, kids can learn about Earth Science, Creativity and Invention, Sound and Light, Air and Space, Health and Energy. There is a 75 foot tall structure with 7 levels of activities, the Construction Junction, the Mission Impossible exhibit, and the Dino Rumble. Other energizing fun can be found at the Centennial Sportsplex where you can purchase passes in blocks of ten and use the aquatic center, the fitness center, a tennis center, and two ice rinks.
Do you love nature hikes, camping, fishing and the numerous activities the outdoors provide? Well, Nashville has plenty to keep you moving! The Chatham Lake, Loch and Dam and the J. Percy Priest Lake offer many outdoor activities. For more outdoor learning, go to Fort Nashborough. Here you can tour a pioneer fort, cabins and view exhibits of pioneer implements. For relaxing by the water, you dont to overlook Old Hickory Lake where you can go sailing and fishing on the 22,000 acre lake. Or, you may prefer Radnor Lake State Natural Area just south of Nashville. This 1,100 acre environmental preserve has an 85 acre lake and some of the highest hills in the Nashville Basin. You can go hiking in the beautiful biological and geological areas, as well as take advantage of the opportunities for observation, photography and nature study.
And what trip to Nashville would be complete without a touring its many musical venues? At the Country Music Hall of Fame you can see costumes and instruments from country music legends like Minnie Pearl and George Jones and tour RCA Studio B where 1,000+ hits by Elvis, Willie Nelson, and many others were recorded. Want more country fun? Then take the Grand Ole Opry Tours where you will see the homes of country music stars, Music Row, recording studios and go on a backstage visit of the Grand Ole Opry House. The Grand Ole Opry House has a Minnie Pearl Museum, a Roy Acuff Museum, and a Grand Ole Opry Museum. At the Ryman Auditorium and Museum you can see the Mother Church of Country Music and enjoy one of the various evening shows.
Do you love going to concerts and shows? Well, in Nashville you may have trouble deciding where to go. For dinner or lunch entertainment, a meal and music can be found on the worlds largest showboat, the General Jackson Showboat. Each weekend at the Grand Ole Opry, you can see/hear the best of bluegrass, country, gospel and Cajun music as well as whatever surprise star is that week.
If dancing is on your itinerary, then you will want to go boot scootin on over to the Wild Horse Saloon. Here you can go line dancing, enjoy country music acts, and learn some new dance steps. And, if you work up an appetite, then sit down a spell in the restaurant for award winning Southern barbecue. And, after visiting all these great music attractions, dont forget to stop by the Earnest Tubb Record Shop where you can find not only the latest releases, but also the hard to find rarities. The Earnest Tubb Record Shop also hosts the Midnight Jamboree every Saturday at the Texas Troubadour Theatre.
Just outside of Nashville, Tennessee is the 135 acre Nashville Zoo. Set in a wooded area, the shaded paths and elevated walkways provide great views of the prairie and plains exhibits. The zoo has more than 700 animals living in natural habitats, a childrens petting zoo, and an animal nursery. Some of the animals you can see are the Oryx antelope, Bengal Tigers, monkeys, lemurs, Siberian tigers, and deer and antelope of Asia. There is also an African Savannah exhibit, a Wilds of India area, the Valley of the Cats, a Reptile house and the Fields of North America exhibit.
Nashville Shores Water Park
Located on 385 acres which include 3 miles of shoreline along the Percy Priest Lake, Nashville Shores is a great place to spend the day! There are waterslides, a wave pool, a lazy river and free play areas that the whole family can enjoy. If you want some fun of a drier nature, then head to the miniature golf course, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and the open play spaces. Other activities include Jet Ski rentals, pontoon boats, or taking a 45 minute ride on the Nashville Shoreline paddlewheel boat.
Open: weekends only in May & September and daily from June to August
Banner Picture by KarynSig
Grand Ole Opry Picture by J.D. Tornow
Belmont Mansion Picture by Sam
Nashville Sign by Brent K. Moore
Andrew Jackson Home by Jim Bowen
Train Station by Bob Jagendorf