Step back into the Old South and get a feel for what it might have been like to live on a plantation in the 1800s. Located 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) west of Nashville, the Belle Meade Plantation is a historic plantation mansion whose grounds now function as a museum.
First bought in 1806, and continually expanded throughout the 19th century, the Belle Meade Plantation became world renowned as a first-rate horse breeding establishment. Buyers from around the world flocked to the plantation for its annual yearling sales, hoping to purchase one of their champion thoroughbred horses. A tour of the mansion reveals Belle Meade's rich history and offers insight into the distinct Southern culture of the Antebellum and Reconstruction eras.
All of America’s great cities have a fantastic urban park. New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and Nashville’s Centennial Park.
The lush green landscape provides a needed escape from the towering skyscrapers and bustling city life. The most notable, and possibly most out-of-place feature of the park is the Parthenon replica, built to scale. Commissioned for Nashville’s celebration of the nation’s 100th birthday, it also commemorates Nashville’s reputation as the “Athens of the South” because of its many universities and arts scene.
Don’t just admire this architectural feat from the outside, the builders took this replica project to its fullest extent. According to Ancient Greek history, the Parthenon was built to house an ivory and gold statue built by Phidias to honor the goddess. Its size can’t be described as anything but breath-taking, and it’s mind-blowing to think about this being built during the B.C. era.
No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Music Row. Along with being the spot where many big names got their start in the music business, it offers numerous choices to hear live music from possible future recording stars.
RCA Studio B is the first thing on most visitors list. The famous recording studio recorded hits from the likes of Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and Chet Atkins. Elvis recorded more than 200 songs here. Music lovers will enjoy seeing all of the old houses converted into music companies and offices. Not far from Vanderbilt University’s campus, it’s the type of place where you can happily wander, especially on a sunny day.
When Nashville turned 200 it decided to throw a party—and to open a park. Since June, 1996, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park has given locals and visitors a calm and scenic place to rest. The park boasts numerous features, like an impressive view of the Capitol building, erupting geyser fountains, an informative Civil War exhibit and a Greek amphitheater for live concerts.
Visitors can take an easy walk along the .9-mile paved Bicentennial Mall Trail, or stop at the nearby Nashville Farmers’ Market before picnicking on the well-kept lawns. The 200-fee wide granite map on the park’s southern end gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the state and at the park’s northern end, travelers can wander the short Path of Volunteers and the flora-lined Walkway of Counties.
The Johnny Cash Museum may be new to Nashville, but visitors to this Mecca devoted to the Man in Black say the place feels like it’s been around forever. Bill Miller, one of Cash’s closest friends, has gathered and cataloged the country singer superstar’s memorabilia for decades, resulting in a relatively small space that still manages to hold one of the most impressive—and exhaustive—Cash collections ever.
Visitors can wander through museum halls lined with memories and artifacts from the singer’s impressive career, including performance highlights and television cameos. But what makes the Johnny Cash Museum truly unique are the personal effects only a close friend could collect—childhood report cards, military uniforms, and handwritten love letters to Cash’s wives.
Nashville may be the country music capital of America, but the Schermerhorn Symphony Center brings a touch of class to a bustling downtown area that’s filled with gritty bars and live music venues.
Since 2006, the Center’s Laura Turner Concert Hall has been home to the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony. Its natural lighting, 30 soundproof windows and custom-built organ make for a unique concert experience. The smaller Mike Curb Family Music Education Hall hosts performances for children, schools and families as part of the Center’s Music Education City initiative. While the symphony is one of the hottest tickets in Nashville, visitors say even if you can’t catch a performance, it’s still worth touring the grand space and wandering through the beautiful public Martha Rivers Ingram Garden Courtyard on a trip to Nashville.
It’s impossible to escape music in a city like Nashville, which makes a visit to RCA Studio B—where it kind of all began—so memorable. More than 35,000 songs have been recorded here, including 200 of Elvis Presley’s rock and roll hits and some 40 million-selling singles by country and rock legends. RCA Studio B is a piece of music history in the heart of city that loves its music. Visitors can wander the halls where Dolly Parton and The Everly Brothers once recorded, and even sit at the piano Elvis played.
Lovers of American history will not want to miss out on The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. Considered to be the most authentic early presidential home in the nation, the Hermitage consists of the Jackson family mansion, garden, slave quarters, and the original log cabin the family occupied in 1804.
The Hermitage was once home to 150 African-American slaves in addition to the Jackson family. A trip through the plantation grounds gives one an idea of what it would have been like to be a member of an elite family - or a slave - in the Antebellum South.
Some resorts are practically a destination all on their own. The Opryland Hotel, now known as the Gaylord Opryland Resort, just may be one of them. The massive grounds of this impressive, modern convention center include nine acres of indoor gardens, climate controlled glass atriums, and even an indoor river that visitors can navigate on a real Delta flatboat.
Opryland has nearly 3,000 guest rooms, 17 eateries, three pools, a fitness center, full-service spa and even a world-class golf course. So while there’s plenty to do in Nashville, a stay at Opryland means travelers don’t have to leave the resort to find true southern hospitality and comfort.
Bored with eating dinner at the same restaurants every night? Want a new way to relax and enjoy Tennessee's warm weather during the day? Then the General Jackson Showboat might be just what the doctor ordered.
The General Jackson is a 300 foot (91.5 meter) paddlewheel riverboat, one of the largest showboats in the country. Harkening back to the days when showboats plied the American rivers in the 19th century, a tour on the General Jackson serves as both a historic and relaxing trip. It boasts four massive decks with a beautiful two-story Victorian Theater located in the center, which serves as the site of live musical performances. Take either a day drip down the Cumberland River or a night cruise and enjoy a dinner under the stars.
Meer dingen om te doen in Nashville
In the late 1850s, a German immigrant named Johann Albert Lotz put the finishing touches on a house that he had built in Franklin, Tennessee. A skilled carpenter and piano maker, Lotz used his new home to showcase his work to potential clients. A few short years later, on Nov. 30, 1864, 20,000 Union soldiers fighting in the Civil War marched into Franklin, constructing barricades a mere 100 yards from Lotz's home. The Lotz family sought refuge from the battle in a neighbor's basement, and the ensuing battle raged for 17 hours, becoming the bloodiest day of the entire Civil War.
The Lotz family survived the deadly battle, but they were so scarred from the human wreckage that they relocated to California. Lotz's young daughter, Matilda, went on to become a renowned artist with works still today displayed in prominent venues across the country. The Lotz House was added to the National Historic Register in 1976, and today, the house is a converted museum.
In a city like Nashville where live music reigns supreme, the question isn’t always what to see, but where to see it. There are plenty of venues with plenty of glitz and glam, but it’s the unassuming Bluebird Café that’s become one of the country music capital’s premiere destinations.
This unassuming listening room in a strip mall just outside downtown isn’t much to look at. But then, music is less about what you can see and more about what you hear. For the last 32 years Bluebird Café has been showcasing some of Nashville’s most significant and recognizable talent—country superstars like Garth Brooks and LeAnn Rimes, as well as the songwriters who made them famous. It’s a venue that’s almost as popular as the stars that play there.
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