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Welcome to Nashville


Country music is synonymous with Tennessee's state capital, the rapidly growing city of Nashville, where the strains of the guitar and accordion are big business, drawing millions of fans to the city every year. Dozens of famous names in the music world have been nourished in Nashville since 1925 when the legendary 'Grand Ole Opry' went on the air, broadcasting weekly shows touting the talents of up and coming singers. It all began in the downtown Ryman Auditorium, originally a church, which became the music hall where the likes of Dolly Parton and Roy Acuff first strutted their stuff.

Visitors still come today to visit Opryland, the resort that incorporates the new Grand Ole Opry, northeast of the city. Daily shows are presented here, and just around the corner is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Fans also flock to the area known as The District, crammed with nightclubs, bars and restaurants where country music reigns supreme. Everyone, country music fan or not, cannot fail to leave Nashville with their toes tapping!

Information & Facts


Nashville has a moderate climate with hot summers and cold winters. An ample annual rainfall keeps things green and clean, but there are enough sunny days in between to keep everyone happy. Summers can be very humid, which pushes up the discomfort index even if temperatures do not hit major highs.

Getting Around

Buses and trolleys ply the streets of Nashville, the Metropolitan Transit Authority running several bus routes from 5.30am to midnight each day. Bus 34 is the Music Valley Express that links the downtown district with Opryland, where it meets the Music Valley Trolley serving Music Drive. This service operates every 40 minutes daily between 8.15am and 6.15pm. There is a free trolley route, the Lunch Line, looping through the central city area between Second Broadway and Sixth Avenue. For sightseers a trolley leaves the Frist Arts Center on Broadway at midday and 2pm for a two-hour tour that takes in the main attractions. There are several taxi companies operating in Nashville, and the major car rental companies offer services. Driving in Nashville's small downtown area can be frustrating, but a hire car is useful for excursions out of town.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.


The home of country music, Nashville is synonymous with entertainment and is anything but dull. With a music industry that keeps on churning out headlining acts, visitors are sure to have a toe-tapping good time when they hit the streets for a night out on the town.

Don't be fooled by the charming southern drawl, Nashville is not just about country music and visitors will find enough rock, jazz, bluegrass, country, and gospel to meet their musical needs. First stop has to be the District, crammed with nightclubs, bars and restaurants where country music reigns supreme, the District is the heart of Nashville's nightlife scene. For a night out with a difference visit the Wildhorse Saloon where you can get in on free country line dancing lessons, head to the Mercy Lounge for a more edgy, laid back atmosphere, while the Tin Roof is a popular hotspot where live bands are hosted six nights a week. For party animals looking for a last stop before heading home, Orbit is a good bet as it keeps the dance floor and music going for die-hards between 3.30am and 5am.

For a more relaxed, suburban night out, look no further than Music Valley where you'll find the long-running country music radio broadcast known Grand Ole Opry as well as Nashville Palace and the Opryland Hotel, which has bars featuring live music while Five Points neighbourhood boasts some great bars and cafés for a mellow night out.

One popular Nashville attraction that is not music-related is the Belle Meade Plantation, known as 'the queen of Tennessee plantations', boasting an 1853 Greek Revival mansion that has been carefully restored to show its original elegance. The authentic Civil War bullet holes that riddle its columns are still visible. Among the outbuildings that survive on the 12-hectare (30-acre) 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. The Belle Meade estate was one of America's first and finest thoroughbred breeding farms. Tours of the antebellum furnished mansion and grounds are given by guides dressed in period costume.

The fourth largest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga is near the south-east border with Georgia, lies at the junction of four interstate highways, is easily accessible and well worth a visit. The city has brought about a renaissance in recent years, redeveloping its riverfront and downtown area to offer an extensive greenway system and river walk that takes strollers through the historic art district and several beautiful parks. Main attractions in the city for tourists are the Tennessee Aquarium, Civil War battlefields, the African American Museum and a Creative Discovery Museum. The main destination for visitors, though, is Lookout Mountain, offering its historic Incline Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world that offers panoramic views of the city and the Great Smoky Mountains 100 miles (161km) away. Lookout Mountain is also home to The Battles for Chattanooga Museum, Ruby Falls (a waterfall that plunges 145ft (44m) inside the mountain), and Rick City Gardens from where it is possible to view seven states on a clear day.

If you are a visitor to Nashville, chances are you are there because you are a country music fan. That being the case the best place to begin your visit is the not-to-be-missed Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the Downtown entertainment district. The main permanent exhibit, Sing Me Back Home, is a journey through the history of country Music, drawing on the museum's rich collection of historical costumes, memorabilia, instruments, photographs, manuscripts and other objects. Live performances, interactive exhibits, and lots of great music supplement these artefacts. Among the exhibits are Elvis Presley's gold-leaf covered Cadillac, Emmy Lou Harris' jewelled cowboy boots and Bob Dylan's autographed lyric sheets. Live music is played in the atrium and digital film presentations are offered in the theatre. Visitors can also watch museum archivists and restoration experts at work, and study a vast wall displaying chart-topping gold and platinum country records.

The home of the world-famous country music show, the Grand Ole Opry, is now in Opryland Drive in a vast 4,400 seat auditorium which is part of the Opryland resort complex north of Nashville's city centre. From here the world's longest running radio show is still broadcast on the Nashville station WSM (650 on the AM dial), featuring new stars, superstars and legends of country and bluegrass music performing live on stage. 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.

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 largest national park in the eastern United States. The park is a designated International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site drawing millions of visitors every year to enjoy the panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams, uninterrupted forest and historic buildings it encompasses. The main route to the park is via Knoxville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, all worth a visit in their own right. Inside the park itself there are more than 270 miles (435km) of road through the ancient mountains, which are home to a variety of plant and animal life, many of the species unique and rare. The park offers numerous outdoor recreational pursuits and offers a glimpse into the lives of early southern Appalachian farming families, boasting 77 historic structures like log cabins, barns, churches and gristmills.

The third-largest city in Tennessee, Knoxville - although not as illustrious as Memphis or Nashville - is well worth a visit. Serving as Tennessee's capital from its admission into the Union in 1796 until 1817, early reports of Knoxville described it as an "alternately quiet and rowdy river town." Modern-day visitors to Knoxville - just three hours east of Nashville on Interstate 40 - have plenty of attractions to choose from. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a stone's throw away, while downtown Knoxville - the venue for the 1982 World's Fair, which brought 11 million visitors to this compelling city on the banks of the Tennessee River - boasts the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and the historic Tennessee Theatre. Knoxville is also home to the University of Tennessee: if at all possible, try get a ticket to a UT Vols football game. Their fanatical, orange-clad supporters are a sight to behold on game-days; filling the 100,000-seat Neyland Stadium with ease, and raising a cacophony that can be heard right around the city. The downtown area known as the Jackson Avenue Warehouse District - immortalised by Cormac McCarthy's sprawling novel Suttree- is an invigorating place to walk around, full of soot-blackened buildings, jazz bars, and funky home-style restaurants.

The centrepiece of Nashville's Centennial Park is the world's only full-scale replica of the Parthenon temple in Athens, Greece, complete with a re-creation of the 42ft (13m) high statue of Athena that stood outside the temple in ancient Greece. The Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, it's plaster decoration being direct casts of the Parthenon Marbles and original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Greek Parthenon that was built in 438 BC. The building today serves as Nashville's art museum, with a permanent collection that highlights 19th and 20th century American artists. A variety of temporary shows and exhibitions are also presented.

This National Historic Landmark in downtown Nashville is regarded as the founding home of country music, having been the performance venue for the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. The theatre was originally built in 1892 as a gospel tabernacle and served as an evangelical meeting hall. A stage was built for the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts and such great names as Sarah Bernhardt, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley trod the boards here in their time. Today the Grand Ole Opry has moved on to a new theatre, but the Ryman Auditorium has been restored and is still a popular performance venue where concerts are held regularly. By day the theatre acts as a museum, which visually portrays the stories of its rich history with a series of displays and exhibits.

The interesting Tennessee State Museum is one of the largest of its kind in the nation with a huge array of permanent exhibits telling the story of Tennessee, starting out 15,000 years ago in prehistoric times and culminating in the early 20th century. Prominent historic figures are highlighted, like former US President Andrew Jackson, Daniel Boone and legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett. Exhibits include displays of furniture, silverware, weapons, uniforms, battle flags, quilts and artworks from the civil war period. The museum also features reproductions of a 19th-century gristmill, and 18th-century print shop, a frontier cabin, antebellum parlour and a Victorian painting gallery.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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