516 Hagan St., Wedgewood-Houston
Zeitgeist hosts some of the city’s coolest contemporary art exhibitions.
National Museum of African American Music
510 Broadway, Downtown
This museum opened in 2021 to honor music created by African Americans. Wind your way through the galleries, which are broken out by genre—they focus on jazz, R&B, hip hop, gospel, and the blues—and make a bit of your own music in the interactive exhibits.
David Lusk Gallery
516 Hagan St., Wedgewood-Houston
This gallery is one of Nashville’s best. It’s well-curated, with exhibitions that you’d expect to see in a much bigger city.
116 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Downtown
The Ryman Auditorium is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and it's one of Nashville’s oldest music venues. It’s worth buying tickets if only to see the venue.
Third Man Records
623 7th Ave. S, Pie Town
Jack White—of White Stripes fame—initially launched Third Man Records in Detroit. The label moved to Nashville in 2009 and is now a sprawling complex that includes a record store, a distribution center, and a photo studio, as well as the actual offices. Come see a show, or book a tour to learn the ins and outs of the modern music industry.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 5th Ave S., Downtown
Not only is a visit to this museum a must for anyone with a passing interest in country music; it also provides a lot of context for the city as a whole. Every aspect of the industry is documented in painstaking detail. Standout exhibits include Sing Me Back Home, full of photographs and original recordings that go back to the nineteenth century. Kids get their own exhibits and programs—there are live instrument demonstrations, songwriting classes, and interactive galleries in the Taylor Swift Education Center.
Belle Meade Plantation
5025 Harding Pike, Belle Meade
More than just a farm, Belle Meade Plantation features a mansion, a winery, and was once the premier breeding farm for American Thoroughbreds in the South. The Harding-Jackson family lived here for over a hundred years. Bullet holes and other damage from the Civil War are still evident on the exterior of the Greek Revivalist mansion, and the winery is fully operational and produces traditional Southern wines like Muscadine and Blackberry. Overall, a visit here is a fascinating look into the area’s history.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Pl., Downtown
This neoclassical stunner looks straight out of the nineteenth century but was actually completed in 2005. And it’s so much more than a typical symphony hall. Aldridge is a fan of the movie nights, where feature films (like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Star Wars) are played with a live orchestral accompaniment: “It’s such a magical experience for families to hear the symphony play alongside classic movies,” she says. “We love watching Home Alone at Christmas. It’s fun for both grown-ups and kids.”
4104 Hillsboro Rd., Green Hills
Located just fifteen minutes outside of Downtown Nashville, this low-key spot hosts an open mic where you can hear up-and-coming and established singer-songwriters. Some of the biggest legends in country music have performed here, including Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban. A typical nightly performance consists of a “songwriters in the round,” where three to four take turns playing their songs and accompanying each other instrumentally and with harmony vocals. This is another rec from Reese Witherspoon.
Ernest Tubb Record Shop (Closed)
417 Broadway, Downtown
The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, with its vast array of bluegrass and classic country music, also hosts a live WSM-AM radio show each Saturday night after the Grand Ole Opry. It airs from the Texas Troubadour Theatre in Music Valley and was established in 1947.