Things to do in Nashville

Nashville is well known as the country music capital of the world, so it's no surprise that many of its most popular attractions are music-related. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the beloved genre, while the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium offer the opportunity to catch popular acts in equally-famous settings. The General Jackson Showboat also offers dinner entertainment on a historic 300-foot (91m) paddleboat.

But there's more to offer tourists in Nashville than just country music. Visitors can learn about the city's long and proud history at the Tennessee State Museum and the Belle Meade Plantation. The city also has plenty of pretty outdoor spaces including Radnor, Centennial Park and Nashville's famous Parthenon. There are numerous golf courses for those wanting to hit the greens while children will enjoy the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and the Adventure Science Center.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum photo

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Found in Downtown Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the world's largest museums and research centres for American music. The core exhibit is Sing Me Back Home, a …

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Found in Downtown Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the world's largest museums and research centres for American music. The core exhibit is Sing Me Back Home, a journey through the history of country music, drawing on the museum's rich collection of costumes, memorabilia, instruments, photographs and manuscripts. Temporary displays focus on individual Hall of Fame inductees, and the Archive Spotlight Series highlights specific themes from the main exhibition. There's a big assemblage of moving images, recorded sounds and photographs, as well as media on the development of recordings, filming and photography. Among the exhibits are Elvis Presley's gold-leaf covered Cadillac, Emmy Lou Harris' jewelled cowboy boots and Bob Dylan's autographed lyric sheets.

Website www.countrymusichalloffame.org

Ryman Auditorium photo

Ryman Auditorium

Built in 1892, the Ryman Auditorium is regarded as the founding home of country music, having hosted the world-renowned Grand Ole Opry radio show until 1974. Originally serving as …

Ryman Auditorium

Built in 1892, the Ryman Auditorium is regarded as the founding home of country music, having hosted the world-renowned Grand Ole Opry radio show until 1974. Originally serving as an evangelical meeting hall, regular performances by gospel singers and choirs became more common with passing years, with music eventually becoming the building's main focus. Nicknamed the Mother Church of Country Music, superstars like Sarah Bernhardt, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presly have all taken to its stage. Now restored, it holds regular concerts while also operating as a museum, detailing its rich history and offering exhibits highlighting all the great names to have walked through its doors.

Website www.ryman.com

Grand Ole Opry photo

Grand Ole Opry

No visit to Nashville is complete without attending a show at the Grand Ole Opry, which has been going strong on the airwaves since 1925. From a vast 4,400 seat auditorium on Opryl…

Grand Ole Opry

No visit to Nashville is complete without attending a show at the Grand Ole Opry, which has been going strong on the airwaves since 1925. From a vast 4,400 seat auditorium on Opryland Drive, the world's longest running radio show is still broadcast on the Nashville station WSM (650 on the AM dial), featuring new stars and legends of country and bluegrass music performing live on stage. From February to October, the shows are hosted by the new Grand Ole Opry House while the winter run from November to January is hosted by the Opry's former smaller home, the Ryman Auditorium.

Website www.opry.com

Belle Meade Plantation photo

Belle Meade Plantation

Belle Meade Plantation is home to an 1853 Greek Revival mansion carefully restored to show off its original elegance. The plantation was founded in 1807 by John Harding, who brough…

Belle Meade Plantation

Belle Meade Plantation is home to an 1853 Greek Revival mansion carefully restored to show off its original elegance. The plantation was founded in 1807 by John Harding, who brought thoroughbred horses for racing and breeding to Tennessee from the commonwealth of Virginia. Visitors to the plantation today can view the authentic Civil War bullet holes that riddle the old mansion's pillars. Among the outbuildings that survive on the 30 acre (12 ha) site is one of the oldest houses in Tennessee, a log cabin built in 1790. There is also a carriage house, visitor centre, tearoom and gift shop. Tours of the antebellum furnished mansion and grounds are given by guides dressed in period costume.

Website www.bellemeadeplantation.com

Parthenon photo

Parthenon

The centrepiece of Nashville's Centennial Park is the world's only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, complete with a re-creation of the 42ft (13m) high statue of Athen…

Parthenon

The centrepiece of Nashville's Centennial Park is the world's only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, complete with a re-creation of the 42ft (13m) high statue of Athena that stood outside the temple in ancient Greece. Like the original, the Parthenon in Nashville faces east to let in light as the sun rises. The Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, with direct plaster casts of the Parthenon Marbles and sculptures which adorned the pediment of the temple from 438 BC. The massive bronze doors measuring 24 feet high and 7 feet across come in two sets of two, making them the largest set of matching doors in the world. Today, the Parthenon in Nashville serves as the city's art museum, with a collection highlighting 19th and 20th century American artists.

Website www.parthenon.org

Tennessee State Museum photo

Tennessee State Museum

One of the largest of its kind in the United States, the Tennessee State Museum tells the story of the region from prehistoric times to the modern day. Founded originally as a port…

Tennessee State Museum

One of the largest of its kind in the United States, the Tennessee State Museum tells the story of the region from prehistoric times to the modern day. Founded originally as a portrait gallery, the collection has grown to encompass anything from natural history, first peoples and the throes of independence to civil war, world wars and the Cold War era. Alongside these are numerous temporary exhibits, covering things such as the women's vote and Tennessee's musical heritage, as well as permanent displays of well-preserved artefacts . Also featured are recreations of a 19th-century gristmill, an 18th-century print shop and a Victorian painting gallery.

Website www.tnmuseum.org

Great Smoky Mountains National Park photo

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

East of Nashville on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina lies the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Covering more than one and a half million acres, the park is the …

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

East of Nashville on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina lies the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Covering more than one and a half million acres, the park is the largest in the eastern United States and most visited in the country. A designated International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site, it draws millions of visitors every year with its panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams and uninterrupted forest. The mountains are home to a variety of plant and animal life, many of which are unique to the area. A symbol of the Smokies, the American Black Bear is probably the most famous resident, while rarer inhabitants include the river otter, elk and Peregrine Falcon. The park offers numerous outdoor activities and glimpses into early Appalachian farm life, with 77 historic structures like barns, churches and gristmills.

Website www.nps.gov/grsm

Chattanooga photo

Chattanooga

The fourth largest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga lies at the junction of four interstate highways and well worth a visit. The city has had a renaissance in recent years, redevelop…

Chattanooga

The fourth largest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga lies at the junction of four interstate highways and well worth a visit. The city has had a renaissance in recent years, redeveloping its riverfront and downtown area to offer an extensive greenway system and river walk through the historic art district and several beautiful parks. Main attractions in the city are the Tennessee Aquarium, Civil War battlefields, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and a Creative Discovery Museum, as well as the renowned Jack Daniels distillery. The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, named after the song, provides the opportunity to sleep in historically decorated train cars and to look at models of trains and trolleys used in the city over the years. The main destination for visitors to Chattanooga is Lookout Mountain, offering its historic Incline Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world offering panoramic city views, and the Great Smoky Mountains 100 miles (161km) away. Lookout Mountain is also home to Battles for Chattanooga Museum, the underground Ruby Falls and Rock City Gardens, from where it's possible to view seven states on a clear day. There are zipline tours available from Ruby Falls, an adventurous way to take in both the falls and the beautiful mountains.

Website www.chattanoogafun.com

Knoxville photo

Knoxville

Visitors are treated to plenty of attractions in Knoxville, a three hour drive east of the more illustrious Nashville. Just a stone's throw away sits the Great Smoky Mountains Nati…

Knoxville

Visitors are treated to plenty of attractions in Knoxville, a three hour drive east of the more illustrious Nashville. Just a stone's throw away sits the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while downtown Knoxville is home to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the historic Tennessee Theatre. Home to the University of Tennessee, a ticket to a Vols football game is a must, with their fanatical orange-clad supporters and their monstrous 110,000 seater stadium. Lastly, the downtown area known as the Jackson Avenue Warehouse District is full of soot-blackened buildings, jazz bars and funky homestyle restaurants, immortalised by Cormac McCarthy's sprawling novel Suttree.

Website www.ci.knoxville.tn.us

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