Photo: Woman looking at wall of gold records

A wall of gold records dazzles visitors to Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame.

Photograph by Will Van Overbeek, National Geographic

You can’t go to Nashville without touring two of the city’s biggest attractions—the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the former, learn interesting trivia about some of country’s greatest stars and stand on the same stage they have (and still do) when performing at the Opry. The Country Music Hall of Fame, housed in an impressive contemporary building with a 5,300-square-foot (492-square-meter) rotunda, pays homage to the great singers and songwriters of country music. Listening booths, an interactive computer exhibit that allows you to ask your favorite artist questions, and a display of country music’s most venerated instruments will keep you entertained for hours. To round out your experience of traditional Nashville, book a room at the Union Station Hotel, a beautiful Romanesque building that once served as a railroad station.

Where to Play

While musical attractions may be Nashville’s main draw, there are plenty of other places to check out. Visit the Sudekum Planetarium for a summer laser show or go to an open-house telescope night at Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory. At the Adventure Science Center, learn the science behind music by standing in a giant guitar or walking on a giant piano’s keys. At the Nashville Zoo, take on the giant Jungle Gym playground after paying a visit to the furry inhabitants.

At Day’s End

After a long day, cool off with a sweet treat at Las Paletas popsicles. Their popsicles are made from natural ingredients, and they offer a variety of flavors (which change frequently), including rose petal and hibiscus. Later in the evening, visit the planetarium for a telescope viewing or take in a summer laser show at Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory.


Lodging at the Union Station Hotel.

Tickets for telescope viewing, $5 per person; $10 per family. Visit for a schedule and to make a reservation.

Editor's Note: In early May 2010, Nashville's worst flood in over a hundred years destroyed the Grand Ole Opry complex but refurbishment plans began almost immediately. Scheduled concerts are being held in other Nashville venues. Check the website for updates.

Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux

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