Nashville, Tennessee, similar to most great American cities, has a long history and stands today as one of the most entertaining, fun and interesting areas in the country. According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., the city was founded on Dec. 25, 1779. After Tennessee became a state in 1796, Nashville became its temporary state capital from 1812-1815 and then was permanently named the capital in 1843.
Today, Nashville is the 25th largest city in the U.S. And according to U.S. Census Bureau 2015 statistics, with a population of 644,014, Nashville now ranks just below Boston, which has a population of 655,884 people, and Memphis, which has 656,861.
Sure, Nashville is known for its vast country music history, including: the iconic Grand Ole Opry, home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry” stage and radio show, in Music Valley; the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; the Ryman Auditorium; and its District area, which is filled with legendary honky-tonks, bars and dance halls.
There is plenty to see and hear in Music City. Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest sightseeing attractions to add to your tourism list when in Nashville for The Car Wash Show 2016, taking place May 9-11 at the Music City Center.
No. 1: Grand Ole Opry
In 2015, this infamous venue celebrated its 90th anniversary. According to its official website, www.opry.com, “What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live entertainment phenomenon. Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps.”
Referred to as the “home of American music” and the “country’s most famous stage,” hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists from around the world come to the Grand Ole Opry to see live entertainment.
No. 2: Parthenon
The Parthenon is the centerpiece of Centennial Park, which is Nashville’s premier urban park. According to www.nashville.gov, the recreation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon, just as it was in ancient Greece. And, the building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.
The Parthenon was originally erected for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. And, it as the city of Nashville’s art museum. The focus of the Parthenon’s permanent collection is 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan.
No. 3: Country Music Hall of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and research centers of American country music. This self-guided museum allows visitors to create their own experience with an audio tour that contains approximately 60 minutes of narrative.
According its official website, www.countrymusichalloffame.org, the facility’s newly expanded exhibit space requires approximately two to three hours to experience the museum, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No. 4: Honky-Tonk Highway
In case you are not familiar with the term honky-tonk, www.visitmusiccity.com offers the following definition: A honky-tonk is an establishment that contains at least one rockin’ stage, cold beverages and a party that lasts all day, every day. According to the website, Nashville’s Honky-Tonk Highway, located on Lower Broadway, is a row of honky-tonks with live music playing from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Many well-known country stars, such as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley and others, began their careers on Honky-Tonk Highway. The area includes such great honky-tonks as Full Moon Saloon, Honky Tonk Central, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, Legends Corner, Nashville Crossroads, Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill, The Wheel and many more.
No. 5: Ryman Auditorium
Take a self-guided or guided backstage tour of the Historic Ryman Auditorium. Established in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, this national landmark is a must-see for any Nashville visitor. It’s most famous as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74, but it is known as the “Soul of Nashville,” according to www.ryman.com.
With almost 125 years of history and stories to tell, this national landmark has been “historically cool since 1892.”