Things to Do and See in Nashville

Are you thinking of taking a vacation in Nashville, Tennessee? It may surprise you to know that the Grand Ole Opry, while the best known attraction in the area, is far from the only attraction worth seeing in this Southern city. You can also see the only full-size replica of the Parthenon in Greece, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, old plantations, a beautiful botanical garden, the studio where Elvis, Dolly Parton, Lee Ann Rimes, Billy Ray Cyrus, and others have recorded, a zoo, the state capitol, and many other attractions.

Naturally, the Grand Ole Opry, at 2401 Music Valley Drive, known worldwide, is the most famous attraction you could see in Nashville. The Opry has been home to America’s longest continuously broadcasting radio show since 1925.

The Opry gives newcomers and veterans the chance to sing on the same stage as country stars such as Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubbs, and others. While many things have changed over the years; even the music has changed a little, the six-foot circle of dark, oak wood in the Opry house stage has not. As singer Brad Paisley has said, the circle might “still contain dust from Hank Williams’ boots.” Audiences can listen to not only the best of country, but also bluegrass, comedy, and gospel music.

Tickets range from $21.50 for a child and $31.50 for an adult for a nightly show, for a limited view, to $46.50 for a gold circle seat for an adult or child.

If you are a country music fan, you would not want to see another important site in Nashville – the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at 222 Fifth Avenue. Tickets are $16.95 each for an adult, $14.95 for students, the military, and those over 50, $8.95 for those 6-17, and admission is free to those five and younger. There are also discounts for AAA members. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It is also closed on Tuesdays in January and February.

If you visit the museum, you can also visit RCA Studio B, where Elvis, Chet Atkins, Eddie Arnold, Bobby Bare, Jim Reeves, and the Everly Brothers recorded. Tickets are only sold in conjunction with a museum trip, and tours are given daily to those who leave the museum for the studio. Tickets are $11 for an adult and $9 for those 6-17. Group rates are available.

Those involved with the museum consider it an educational institution, and programs are offered for students, teachers, families, and the general public. According to the official website of the museum, programs expand on the story told in exhibits and include interactions with songwriters, musicians, and artists.

Free workshops for families are interactive with the songwriters, musicians, and artists and are on one Saturday a month at 1 p.m. The Saturday songwriter sessions are at noon every week, and the public gets to see a performance.

One current exhibit is the Ray Charles exhibit from March 10, 2006 to December 31, 2007, which is a biographical exhibition, which provides an overview of the late singer’s career.

Present and future exhibits include a permanent exhibit which provides a journey through the life of country music, a Ray Price exhibit, which will be from August 2006-June 2007, a Marty Robbins exhibit from August 2007 to June 2008, and others.

As an example of the exhibits, the permanent one provides information through artifacts, photographs, original recordings, a touchtone interactive media, and text panels.

You will also be able read about your favorite inductee, and while some of the inductees will be famous to you, some may not. For example, there is DeFord Bailey, an African American whose harmonica music was influential in both country music and blues. He was born in 1899.

In Centennial Park, Nashville’s premier park, you can see the Parthenon, which includes a recreation of the 42-foot statue Athena, which is the focus of the Parthenon, just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena are full-scale replicas of the originals. The originals were considered to be the pinnacle of classic architecture. The Parthenon also serves as the city’s art museum.

While visiting Nashville, you wouldn’t want to miss the chance to see the Belle Meade Plantation at 5025 Harding Road, which was named one of America’s greatest mansions by Budget Travel Magazine. The huge Old South plantation is home to an impressive Greek Revival mansion. There are sometimes concerts at the plantation, like a planned concert involving the group, Little Texas.

Visitors can learn more about the life of a slave in America, dairy farming, view a smokehouse, a carriage house and stables, and a dollhouse.

Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors older than 65, $5 for those 6-12, and free for those younger than 6.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Cruises are available from General Jackson’s River Cruises. Morning or midday cruises are available on the General Jackson. You can receive a southern-style buffet on the morning cruise enjoy a fresh breeze, and calm waters. On the midday cruise you receive an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are evening cruises year round. You will receive a three course prime rib dinner and watch an exciting stage show.

Those are only a few of the countless exciting things a visitor can see in Nashville. If you really love country music, another thing to see is the Grand Ole Opry museum at 2802 Opryland Drive, which features exhibits on stars from Patsy Cline to George Jones. You could also see the Ryman Auditorium, at 116 Fifth Avenue, which provided the first home for the Grand Ole Opry, and which still hosts live music events.

If you like architecture, besides the Belle Meade Plantation, you might want to visit the Belmont Mansion, an Italian villa style mansion at 1900 Belmont Boulevard or the Travelers Rest Plantation and Museum at 636 Farrell Parkway, which was built in 1799 and now serves as a museum to early Nashville history.

If you are an aspiring country music star, you might want to visit the Bluebird CafÃ?© at 4104 Hillsboro Road, an establishment where many stars started their careers, and you never know when a current star, like Garth Brooks, might show up, as he has previously. Aspiring stars have also taken the stage at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, 422 Broadway, since the 1960’s, in hopes of being discovered.

These are only a view of the things to do and see in Nashville. A little Internet research or contacting your travel agent might find many others you might find even more interesting. Regardless, you will not run out of things to see in Nashville, if you decide to take your vacation there.

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