When most people think of Nashville, they think of coffee shops, country music, and the downtown strip, but most out-of-towners don’t know about all of the historic and scenic attractions that Nashville has to offer. Here are five of the most Nashvillian places to go when you visit Music City.
1. The Ryman
One of the most historic and iconic venues in music, Ryman Auditorium has been called “the church of country music”…or just music in general, really. Most artists consider performing at the Ryman to be a benchmark in their career – once you have performed at the Ryman, you’ve made it. This hallowed concert hall was home to the Grand Ole Opry during its golden years and has seen the greats from Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
You can experience the Ryman by either taking an informational and entertaining daytime tour or by actually going to a concert in the venue – I suggest the latter.
2. The Parthenon/Centennial Park
Centennial Park is a 132-acre park in the heart of the city and is home to a massive replica of the Greek Parthenon. When the weather is nice, you can find locals out at the park playing frisbee, picnicking, suntanning, or exploring the Parthenon. Explore the Parthenon by walking around the outside and admiring its gargantuan columns and doors or pay a few dollars and go inside to see an impressive statue of the Greek goddess Athena standing 42 feet tall.
3. Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
Cheekwood, a 55-acre estate on the west side of Nashville, has a lot to explore. At Cheekwood, you can wander around the art museum inside of an incredible 30,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion that was formerly the family home of Nashville’s Cheek family. After you’re done looking at the 600 paintings and 5,000 prints, drawings and photographs inside the 86-year-old mansion, step outside and walk through the botanical gardens that sprawl across all 55 acres of land. The property has many styles of garden design and plants from all over the world.
4. Love Circle
Of all places on this list, Love Circle is probably the most “local Nashvillian” place to go. Love Circle sits atop one of the tallest hills in Nashville and, therefore, has one of the best views of the city. Just take a turn off Broadway and you will start to wind your way up the urban mountain. On the drive up, you will pass a mixture of both classic, quaint Nashville-y homes and modern, architecturally spectacular houses; you may also notice a giant, modern house towards the summit with a gate that reads, “Mt. Richmore” – that house belongs to Rich from the country duo Big & Rich. When you reach the top, you can park your car and walk up some steps on the grassy hill and sit and look over the city, have a picnic, or really do whatever you like to do when you have an awesome view. The view looks over downtown, and you can see all of the iconic Nashville skyline. I would even suggest going twice – once during the day and once at night.
5. Pinewood Social
This new, modern style establishment is hard to put into a box as a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or just a hangout. It’s all of the above…and maybe even more. Pinewood Social is built around the idea of creating a space for community and social interaction at all times of the day, morning, afternoon, and night. Not only does Pinewood offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night food, but it also has a pool, vintage bowling lanes, bocce ball, and spaces for hanging out both inside and outside. If you find yourself struggling on what exactly you and your friends would like to do, you can’t go wrong with Pinewood Social; it’s so many things in one.