Establishment neighborhood
Ryman Auditorium
116 Fifth Ave., Downtown
The Ryman was founded as a church in 1892, which explains the church pew seating. In the mid-twentieth century it came to house the legendary Johnny Cash television show and the weekly Grand Ole Opry concert and radio show, which was broadcast on WSM-AM. The television show is no more, and the Opry has moved to a new home at the Grand Ole Opry House, but the Ryman remains a must-experience concert venue for its spectacular acoustics. Definitely try to get tickets to a show there and skip the daytime museum tour: You can kill two birds with one stone and check out the display cases while you’re at the concert.
401 Broadway, Downtown
Merchants has been taking up prime Downtown real estate (perfectly situated for dinner and drinks before a night of honky-tonking at Robert’s Western World), in what used to be Merchants Hotel, since 1988 but has only recently gained culinary notoriety thanks to a top-to-bottom overhaul in 2010, when it was purchased by Strategic Hospitality. It’s split into two distinct dining concepts: On the ground floor, it’s Southern comfort food (green fried tomatoes, blackened catfish, smoked brisket) and cozy leather booths. Upstairs, it's a formal dining room with a fancier menu to match (seafood towers and filet mignon).
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