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Music city

In the cold of winter, Nashville turns on the heat

Just across the Kentucky–Tennessee border, Nashville is a city of musical musts, and fortunately, considering the season, many of those musts are indoors.

The long list of can’t-miss musical draws begins with the world’s longest-running radio broadcast: the Grand Ole Opry. Since 1952, the biggest names in music have performed almost every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night. Seeing the broadcast unfold onstage at the Grand Ole Opry House or Ryman Auditorium provides a new perspective on the venerable show.

Another must is a tour of Music Row and the Historic RCA Studio B, where Elvis recorded more than 260 songs. Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and many more stars recorded hits here. Tours of Historic RCA Studio B depart daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

If you want to get into the action yourself, go to the Ryman Auditorium, also called the “Mother Church of Country Music.” Take a backstage tour, record your own song in the Ryman recording studio, and see the legendary stage where artists as diverse as Elvis Costello and Patsy Cline have performed.

In the shadow of the Ryman is the Honky Tonk Highway—Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legends Corner, Second Fiddle, The Stage on Broadway, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, Robert’s Western World, Nashville Crossroads, Full Moon Saloon, Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grille, Honky Tonk Central, The Wheel, and Whiskey Bent Saloon. You never know who you’ll see in these Lower Broadway clubs. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, and others began their careers on Lower Broadway.

If you love discovering new talent, then head to a songwriters show. Called a “writers night,” singer/songwriters play in the round, accompanied by only a microphone and a guitar. These shows can be found in small, intimate clubs all over town, including the famous Bluebird Café and downtown’s The Listening Room Café.

To learn more about the colorful history of country music, be sure to include time for some museums. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is the world’s largest popular music museum, offering exhibits about the legends of country music and today’s big names. The museum includes a restaurant and retail stores.

Housed in the Nashville Municipal auditorium, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors musicians from stars to studio players that represent all genres of music from Hank Williams Sr. to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

And don’t forget the Johnny Cash Museum. It features the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. One block away is the new George Jones Museum, which explores the singer’s life.

If you like to make plans well in advance, consider making Nashville part of your New Year’s Eve 2016 musical celebration. A 15-foot, red music note drops from a 125-foot structure, triggering a fireworks display and confetti cannons. And of course, being Music City, there is music, lots of it free.


Bluebird Café
4104 Hillsboro Pike
(615) 383-1461

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Avenue South
(615) 416-2001

Honky Tonk Highway
(Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Legends Corner, Second Fiddle, The Stage on Broadway, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, Robert’s Western World, Nashville Crossroads, Full Moon Saloon, Rippy’s Smokin’ Bar & Grille, Honky Tonk Central, The Wheel, Whiskey Bent Saloon)
Venues above are along Lower Broadway in Nashville; call number below or see Web site for individual listings.
Fourth Avenue North
(800) 657-6910

Johnny Cash Museum
119 Third Avenue South
(615) 256-1777

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
401 Gay Street
(615) 244-3263

George Jones Museum
128 Second Avenue North
(615) 818-0128

Grand Ole Opry
Ryman Auditorium (November–January)
116 Fifth Avenue North
(615) 889-3060

Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry House (February–October)
2804 Opryland Drive
(615) 871-6779 or (800) 733-6779

The Listening Room Café
217 Second Avenue South
(615) 259-3600

Historic RCA Studio B
222 Fifth Avenue South
(615) 416-2001
(Tours depart daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at the above address)

Plan your trip to Nashville while listening to the Music City Playlist at Choose among categories such as Foodies, Americana, Spring Break, Winter, New Year, and more. It’s a fun, musical way to get into the Nashville spirit.

For general information about the city and its attractions, go to the main Web site at or call (615) 259-4758.

Owners of a wide array of Nashville restaurants created Nashville’s Restaurant Week. January 18–24 is the first of two restaurant weeks in 2016. Restaurants offer special menu items and deals on three-course meals. To see a list of participating restaurants, their menus, and pricing, go to

Nashville is home to the Nashville Predators ice hockey team. The Predators take the ice three times in January. On January 5, they face off against the Winnipeg Jets; January 16, Minnesota Wild provides the competition; and January 19, it’s the Predators versus the Chicago Blackhawks. For more information and tickets, go to

Nashville has a plethora of unique shops. While it is impossible to list them all, here are a few hometown favorites:

White’s Mercantile: Owned by Holly Williams, Hank Williams Sr.’s granddaughter, this gift shop mimics an old-time general store. Williams also owns H. Audrey, one of Nashville’s favorite women’s clothing boutiques.
Sisters of Nature: Women’s clothing, accessories, gifts, and home decor boutique featuring collections inspired by deserts, fields, forests, and seas. 521 Gallatin Ave., #5, (615) 270-9219.
Epergne: Unique and luxurious home decor, tabletop, and gifts.
Gilchrist Gilchrist: Shabby chic furniture, decorations, and jewelry.
Preservation Station: Architectural salvage.
Judith Bright: Handmade jewelry.
Batch Nashville at the Nashville Farmers Market: Locally made items shipped across the nation.
AshBlue: Fine apparel, gifts, home goods, jewelry, and handbags.
Spirit of Nashville: Poster, postcards, books, and gifts.

Debra Gibson Isaacs from January 2016 Issue
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

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