Culture + Style

Want to See Nashville Like a Local? First Hit These Iconic Sights

Learn the ins and outs of a genre at the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Photo: Stephen Saks Photography / Alamy)

Music defines the heart and soul of Nashville and touring the city’s top attractions leads visitors deep into a storied, music-oriented past. Get ready to rock and roll, as you pull on your cowboy boots and gear up for a honky-tonkin’ tour of the home of country.

All About the Music

Studio B
Did Elvis really leave the building? Find out at Studio B. (Photo: Randy Ducalne / Alamy)

Visiting Nashville and can’t get enough of that Music City sound? Take time for an immersive experience in the legendary RCA Studio B. Often advertised, without exaggeration, as the birthplace of the “Nashville Sound,” this hallowed recording site helped bring to life some of the best work of 20th-century titans like Elvis, Dolly and Waylon. Today, it’s a museum lovingly maintained by the Country Music Hall of Fame and one of Nashville’s top attractions.

The studio still appears as it did 60 years ago, tugging at nostalgic heartstrings. You can experience some of rock and country’s most important recording sessions while sitting at the very baby grand piano once played by legends. Elvis may have left the building, but his spirit is alive and well in Nashville’s Studio B.

Talking Trash With the Locals

Country Music Hall of Fame
Pay your respects to Dolly at the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Photo: Alamy)

If you’re looking for a gut-busting, 5-star experience while visiting Nashville, board the Nash Trash Tour and let your guides, the hilariously irreverent Jugg Sisters, Sheri Lynn and Brenda Kay, take you on a ride of a lifetime aboard their unmistakable pink school bus.

This traveling circus is one of the very few ways to get a dose of Music City history along with all the hot Nashville gossip in one place. If you’re looking for a traditional historical tour (yawn), better move on. Sheri Lynn and Brenda Kay are dynamic entertainers with joie de vivre and charm to spare, and they’ll have you feeling like kin by the end of the night. Alcoholic drinks are allowed, so feel free to bring along your favorite drink for the ride.

Worship at the Mother Church

Ryman Auditorium
The iconic Ryman Auditorium is a must-visit in Nashville. (Photo: Paul Bryden / Alamy)

The iconic Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, perfectly embodies Nashville’s essence. No other location illustrates the city’s unique capacity to conjoin the spiritual, artistic and irreverent. Originally the staging ground for the fiery evangelist Reverend Sam Jones in the late 1800s, Ryman evolved into a catch-all venue graced by Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Bob Hope and Mae West.

Still, the Ryman’s most crucial capacity has been as the former home of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, where giants like Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe once strutted the stage. To visit the Ryman is to share space with some of the biggest names in authentically American music. Although there’s not a bad seat in the house, be sure to book your show tickets early and get a seat of your choice.


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