Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Photograph by Harrison McClary, Reuters/Corbis
Sunlight filters into the rotunda at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Honoring the country music genre's roots and talent, the museum's exhibits and collections include career retrospectives, galleries, and spotlights. An exhibit opening August 29 will celebrate the 25-year career of country singer Alan Jackson. Named the museum's 2014 artist-in-residence, Jackson will perform at its CMA Theater during two dates in October.
Photograph by Craig Ruttle, Redux
Don Kelley of the Don Kelley Band cheers on 16-year-old guitarist Daniel Donato at Robert's Western World, one of the numerous honky-tonks in Lower Broadway—known as Lower Broad—in downtown Nashville. Drawing music fans from around the world, the legendary honky-tonks in this three-block stretch are a can't-miss experience for live-entertainment enthusiasts.
Inside Grimey's Record Shop
Photograph by William H. Hobbs
The selection at Grimey's New and Preloved Music ensures Nashville music fans want for nothing. Having expanded its space in 2004, the beloved record shop that started out filling the city's gap in Indie-rock offerings now occupies a quartet of rooms above popular subterranean music venue The Basement.
Photograph by Martin Thomas Photography, Alamy
Originally hailing from Mexico, clothier to the stars Manuel Cuevas has been costuming rock and country musicians from a base in Nashville since the late 1980s. Known as the "Rhinestone Rembrandt," Manuel dressed Johnny Cash in black, outfitted Elvis in gold lamé, and continues to lend an all-American spin to the stage. His shop, Manuel American Designs, is now located in downtown Nashville's Lower Broadway and houses retail collections and a studio.
Live From the Loveless Cafe
Photograph by Erika Goldring, Getty Images
Performers take the stage during a broadcast of Music City Roots: Live From the Loveless Cafe in 2013, when the venerable southern eatery hosted a season of the weekly two-hour radio show. Beginning as a road stop for fried chicken and biscuits in 1951, the Loveless Cafe now includes a collection of food and gift shops housed in former motel rooms and the 4,800-square foot Loveless Barn, a music and event venue.
Photograph by Will Van Overbeek, National Geographic
Musicians transfer equipment between venues, a familiar sight below the neon lights of Lower Broadway, where famed bars and honky-tonks have hosted big names and breakthrough acts since the 1960s.
Pressed Into Service
Photograph by Andrew Woodley, Alamy
For decades vinyl albums from a mix of genres have been pressed at Nashville-based United Record Pressing, which had its beginnings in 1949 under the name Southern Plastics. The first Beatles 7-inch album released in the United States was pressed at its current location on Chestnut Street. Vinyl fans curious about the process can schedule Friday tours of the plant.
The Grand Ole Opry House
Photograph by JG Photography, Alamy
Nothing says Nashville to generations of music fans like “country’s most famous stage,” the Grand Ole Opry House. Formerly housed in the Ryman Auditorium on Lower Broad, the American icon has offered a stage for artists ranging from Patsy Cline to Carrie Underwood. Today it’s part of an entertainment complex that continues to welcome the biggest stars and newest faces in country, gospel, and bluegrass—with a six-foot circle of the original stage to stand on.
Welcome to Tootsie's
Photograph by Lane Christiansen, Chicago Tribune/Getty Images
Friends dance on the bar while the Scott Collier Band performs at Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge. Founded by Tootsie Bess when she bought what was formerly Mom’s in 1960, the Lower Broad honky-tonk is named for its orchid exterior and, now, its renown as one of Nashville’s most legendary music venues. A haunt for artists from Kris Kristofferson to Kid Rock, Tootsie's is a Music City institution that shouldn’t be missed.
Hatch Show Print
Photograph by Gerry Matthews, My Shot
Founded by Hatch brothers Charles and Herbert in 1879, Hatch Show Print and its letterpress posters have given the entertainment scene in Nashville and beyond a visual voice for more than a century. Tour the gallery, take a workshop, or watch as new posters are born at its design spaces on 5th Avenue.
Explore More in Nashville
From the Grand Ole Opry to the Country Music Hall of Fame, find out out the best places for all ages to visit in Nashville.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.