A day in Music City – Nashville, TN

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Music City, Nashville

Music City,NashvilleOur home base at Cave Country RV Campground (Steve’s review here) near Bowling Green, KY was only 90 miles from Nashville.  That’s closer than we got while we were in Tennessee, so we decided to cross the state line to spend a day there.  Of course, everyone connects Nashville with country music, but my mind was changed after spending a few hours there.  Nashville is about ALL kinds of music; country, pop, gospel, and rock.  Nashville’s monicker “Music City, USA” was coined by David Cobb when he was on the air in 1950, and has stuck until today. Surprisingly, music is not its number one industry – ranking third with health care and printing/publishing being #1 and #2, respectively.  Be that as it may, music is definitely what Nashville is most famous for.

Nashville Skyline

Nashville’s Skyline with the “Batman Building” on the left, so called because of it’s “pointy ears”.  It’s actually the AT&T building, but we liked Batman Building better

With our time limited to just a day, we opted once again to start off with a guided tour – alway the best way to learn about a city quickly.  We like to take the first tour of the day to learn what areas we will want to explore further afterward, and also to get some good tips about the best local places to eat.  On this tour, one attraction was really “Greek” to us, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me first take you to the music scene in Nashville, where our guide showed us areas that we later walked ourselves.

Broadway,Nashville

Broadway is the main drag where music, shopping and eating abound

Johnny Cash Museum

Johnny Cash Museum, next to one of the many excellent hat/boot stores

Music Row, along a portion of 16th and 17th streets, is widely considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry.  In this section of the city, our guide pointed out numerous record labels, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios and video production houses.  There are also many other businesses here that serve the music industry, as well as radio stations and networks.  Elvis Presley recorded more than 250 of his songs at RCA’s Historic Studio B.

As we left music row via a roundabout, a controversial sculpture labeled “Musica” came into view.  It’s a very large statue of naked men and women dancing up out of the ground in a flower-lined circular drive.  It caused quite a stir when it was first unveiled.  Many locals felt it does not belong in Music Row, but tourists seem to love it – an hey, we’re tourists!

Musica Sculpture

Controversial Musica sculpture

The honky-tonk section along lower Broadway (roughly a four-block stretch) is where we heard and saw live country music, which usually goes from 10am to 2am every day – and it’s all free!  This is the place for eating and partying, if you like Country music and want to see the various local and up-and-coming musicians perform.

 

Honky Tonk

Lower Broadway, scene of live music venues and even more shopping and restaurants

The Ryman Auditorium, also called the “Mother Church of Country Music,” is a 2,362-seat live performance venue, and original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  It was originally built as Union Gospel Tabernacle for evangelist Reverend Sam Jones in 1892.  After his death in 1904, it became known as the Ryman Auditorium, in honor of the man who built this Nashville landmark.

The Music Mile is a roughly one-mile stretch which connects downtown to many other area venues.  These include Music Row, Schermerhon Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (which can be seen with its symbolic windows that mirror the configuration of piano keys), the Bridgestone Arena, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, and the newly opened Music City Center.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Music City Center

The recently-opened Music City center is huge, covering 2.1 million square feet!

Bridgestone Arena

Bridgestone Arena, where many big events are held

Music City Walk of Fame PArkThe Music City Walk of Fame is a landmark and tribute to those men and women from all musical genres who write, perform, promote and produce music.  The stars lie in the walkway across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

 

We had a chance to stroll along the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses over the Cumberland River.  Here we had great views of Nashville and LP Field (known as “Last Place Field” by locals, as our guide told it).  The stadium is home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Nashville Skyline

Nashville skyline viewed from the pedestrian bridge

LP Park

LP Field, the “LP” actually stands for Louisiana Pacific

For you history buffs, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is a 19-acre free outdoor museum built in honor of Tennnessee’s 200th year of statehood.  I would have loved to walk this park and follow the trail to read the historical events in the state’s history, but it would have literally taken most of a day to do.

black granite globe

This 9-ton black granite globe at the WWII Memorial floats and rotates on 1/8″ of water!

 

Tennessee State Capitol

The Tennessee State Capitol building on the hill overlooks Bicentennial Park

Volunteer State

And this is why Tennessee is called the Volunteer State!

Finally, we arrived at the stop that was really Greek to us, The Parthenon!  We were pleasantly surprised to be transported to Athens for a few minutes, as we learned that the structure was originally built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition in1897.  It is the world’s only exact and full-size replica of the ancient Greek temple.  It houses the largest indoor statue, which we unfortunately did not have time to see.  It’s a 41′, 10″ tall gold-leafed statue of the Goddess Athena.  The Parthenon now serves as an Art Museum.

The Parthenon, Nashville

The Parthenon

 

The Parthenon, Nashville

And that concluded our whirlwind tour of Nashville – much too short, but long enough to make us want to come back!

 

Next up:  Chigger attack!



 

21 thoughts on “A day in Music City – Nashville, TN

  1. Oh me, Oh my! You and I may have passed each other up or were taking pictures of the same places at the same time. I was there about the same time as you. I did not blog about it as I have been offline for most of the summer and find the WordPress App very difficult to do posts on. Did you get to The OpryLand Grand Hotel? My friends and I also got to experience The Grand Ole Opry. You took fabulous shots of the City! 🙂

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    • Oh, maybe you are one of those ladies that I noticed taking pictures 🙂 It would have been fun if we bumped into each other!

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  2. hu-WOW! I never knew about that Parthenon. Amazing that it’s in the US. The pillars look so awesome enough! Reminds me so much of both the Pantheon-s in Rome and Paris. That looks like it can hold its own for being a majestic one. I had a great time exploring Memphis. I’m sure I would have a great time exploring The Music City. Thanks for the tour.
    Ow, it’s Batman’s 75th anniversary. 😉

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  3. I don’t think I could keep up with you two! I agree with Pam, you sure do get a lot in in such a short time…great tour of Nashville! Thanks MonaLiza and Steve…
    Yikes chiggers…hope you had clear fingernail polish handy!

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  4. Excellent job. We have been there twice. Unfortunately, we never visited the park either. Now we have a reason to go back too!

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    • There are two parks that I wished we could have walked and explored, the Bicentennial and the Centennial. And yes an excuse to swing by there again someday.

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  5. Well I wish I hadn’t read your next up after such a great tour through Nashville. Now I’m worried. I hate chiggers more than anything – ticks, mosquitoes, anything.

    Ok back to the great post for today. I had no idea about the Parthenon either. I would love to see that and Athena. I guess maybe we’d better get over our avoidance of cities. We stayed in a COE campground near Nashville just so we could go see the Grand Ole’ Opry and did nothing else in the city. So thanks for taking me there.

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  6. What a great tour! Can’t believe you were there for only one day and did so much. We’ve never been to Nashville, but would love to visit, primarily because of the music. I think we need a few days there!

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    • I thought of you Laurel when we learned about the music venues. One day was not enough.

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    • Thank you Linda, Nashville is not too crowded and there other things to do other than music.

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  7. Tennessee is a state we have yet to explore. Your whirlwind tour will help us to plan when we get back down south. Thanks MonaLiza. 🙂

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    • Chattanooga and Nashville are really fun and cool cities to visit. LuAnn make it one of your stop someday. There are areas there that I know you will like.

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  8. You two certainly do make the most of your time in new places:) We’ve been to Nashville a few times but never get too much further than the main music/bar area. Tootsies is my favorite place to listen to lots of different musicians. The new Music Center is huge! The WWII memorial sounds interesting. I’d like to see how it turns. Thanks for sharing all that we have never seen while:) Chiggers???

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    • John would have enjoyed that Bicentennial Park, 200 years worth of history to digest and across the park is a Farmers Market. I too wished we stopped at that globe or that park to explore more.
      Chigges, nasty!

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