When you think of Nashville, you probably picture these swinging cowboy types of people. You may conjure the stereotype of rednecks decked out in a rhinestone suit while they drive the latest model of Cadillac. That was definitely the image that Nashville had crafted for itself when it started to become known as the ‘Home of Country music in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s a lineage that Nashville is certainly proud of, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Since 2005, Nashville has experienced an explosion of growth and diversification. As more people from all across the U.S. move into the suburbs and townships, Nashville has become a melting pot of different tastes and cultures. Despite the growth and change, Nashville remains a warm and inviting city, with plenty of things to do, and all kinds of amazing things to see!
If you’re wondering where would make a great getaway, that won’t bust your bank account, I can’t recommend Nashville enough. To help you plan, I’ve put together this list of the top three attractions you’ve got to see in Nashville.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Though Nashville has certainly grown beyond its roots, the city got its start with Country music, and it certainly keeps that tradition alive.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a living chronicle that celebrates over 100 years of music. Starting way back at the turn of the 20th century, the museum explores everything from the old mountain folk songs that laid the foundations of Country music, to the latest chart-topping artists, that have made Country music what it is today.
Why Go to the Museum?
The museum has one of the largest single collections of music antiques and artifacts in the world, with over 200,000 sound recordings, and over 500,000 photographs. This also includes the guitars and stage costumes used by Country’s pioneers and legends, from Hank Williams, Bob Wills, and Loretta Lynn to the renegades of Outlaw Country like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and David Allan Coe; to the modern day, worldwide superstars like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and George Strait.
The museum also features a revolving list of exhibits that focus on a particular artist or period of music, including its newest attraction, Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s.
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The Grand Ole Opry House
Speaking of Country music legends, one of the most famous concert halls in North America is located right in the heart of Nashville, and it has hosted some of the biggest names in Country music throughout the years.
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Nearly a Century of Great Music
Beginning as a radio show in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry promised to bring the best artists, with the best music, under one roof. That wasn’t more than what other music shows of the time promised, but there was one key difference – you could enjoy it at home. Radio was a fairly staple in many households and the Grand Ole Opry was one of the first popular broadcasts that gained traction in the early days of radio.
The Opry played some of music’s biggest stars as the show progressed, and helped many get their start, including:
- Johnny Cash
- Patsy Cline
- Alison Kraus
- Marty Stuart
- Dolly Parton
The show has continued right up to the modern day and remains just as endearing and entertaining as it did when it first started.
Though it has changed locations throughout the years, including a stint of over 20 years at the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the Opry is now showcasing its amazing lineup of Opry Members and guest artists at the Grand Ole Opry House.
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
What kid doesn’t love going to the zoo, and getting to see the amazing species of animals with their own eyes? The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is one of the best zoos of it’s kind, housing over 2,000 different animals that represent 375 different species, originating everywhere from the African plains to the Galapagos Islands. Some of the amazing animals that you’ll be able to see and learn about include:
- Red Pandas
- Andean Bears
- Spider Monkeys
In addition to the normal attractions, the zoo has a variety of fun learning events and activities that are hosted throughout the year, including:
Visitors are able to interact directly with some of the gentle, highly social species at the zoo.
Enter the pen and walk along the path as the 18 Red Kangaroos that call the zoo their home move about freely. You’ll have the opportunity to pet the kangaroos, and take selfies with them! (Just don’t challenge them to a boxing match.)
Within this 2,400 square ft. aviary, you’ll be able to freely interact with over 50 of the astonishing, beautiful birds known as the Australian Lorikeet. With a small donation to the zoo, you can purchase bird feed to attract these magnificent birds. Your family will squeal with delight as they feed a bird that’s just landed on their shoulders!
Need a little break during your visit? No problem- you can slow things down, literally and figuratively, with a stop at the Shell Station. The station houses 10 Sulcata Tortoises, some of the most long-lived animals on Earth, with some of their species reaching ages of up to 70-years-old. A small donation will net you a bit of food that you can use to feed these gentle reptiles as they casually stroll up to you. Try to take your time and not rush through this fun activity – the tortoises certainly aren’t.
The Perfect Place for the Perfect Vacation
When I was researching this article, I was surprised at just how little I could find about Nashville. In particular, there are very few blog posts that deal with Nashville travel specifically. I wanted to change that, so I drafted this post in the hopes that it would help other travelers. I hope it inspires you to visit Nashville, start your own blog, and share your own adventures! When one traveler blogs, all travelers benefit!
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With so much to do and so many amazing things to see, you owe it to yourself to take a trip to Nashville and experience the thriving culture that can only be found in the heart of the Volunteer State!