If you want to squeeze every ounce of fun out of your Nashville vacation, pre-planning is key to eliminating disappointment. Millions of tourists descend upon Music City USA annually, so that top attractions, such as the Grand Ole Opry sell out well in advance. Book your tickets online to ensure you’ll see the show of your choice.
In the beginning, the Grand Ole Opry was called the WSM Barn Dance, a radio broadcast. In 1943, it moved to the iconic Ryman Auditorium in order to seat the huge crowds. The Opry moved again in 1974, to the red barn-like structure, named the Grand Ole Opry House.
The energy levels onstage and in the audience vibrate so high, you’ll feel like you’re experiencing the very soul of country music. Sit back, enjoy and remember to breathe!
Try to spend at least one night in the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (formerly Opryland Hotel). The venue is so huge you will receive a hotel map when you check-in. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a tropical fairyland complete with gorgeous waterfalls, lush gardens with lime, orange and avocado trees and swaying fountains. Take the boat ride on the indoor Cumberland River. The Grand Staircase, inspired by “Gone with the Wind”, offers an awesome photo-op.
At Opryland Hotel you’ll be in close proximity to the Grand Ole Opry House, Opry Mills and the General Jackson Show Boat. This is another top Nashville attraction where you’ll want to make early reservations online.
We’d suggest the dinner cruise, which comes complete with Southern cuisine and a stage show rivaling Broadway. A live Dixieland band entertains while you board the stunning paddle-wheel boat. You will cruise on the Cumberland River to downtown Nashville and back.
While you’re in this area, pop into the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Music Valley Drive. Next door is the Texas Troubadour Theater and home of Ernest Tubb’s Midnite Jamboree, held by the record shop each Saturday at midnight. The Jamboree is broadcast on WSM radio, immediately following the Grand Ole Opry. If you’re an autograph hound, head back to the record shop after the show where the Jamboree artist’s traditionally sign autographs. All that and free admission too!
In the event you aren’t aware the beloved Opryland USA, theme park was demolished to build the mega-mall, Opry Mills. Nashville citizens weren’t pleased, calling it “one of the dumbest decisions in Nashville History”.
When flooding occurred in 2010, waters reached heights of 10-feet in Opry Mills. Many of the retail vendors have now reopened, including the IMAX Theater. Fashionistas will find the specialty shops visit-worthy.
Believe it or not, Nashville isn’t all about music. History buffs will resonate with President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. You’ll tour the mansion, guided by ladies in ruffled gingham dresses and old-timey bonnets. Most of the home is encased with glass walls to preserve the furnishings. You can take also a wagon driven tour of the manicured grounds and gardens.
So there you are – a little taste of Nashville. Have big fun and make long memories.