Things to Do in Nashville - page 2
Oddities and artifacts abound in the permanent collections of the free-to-the-public Tennessee State Museum, together they tell the story of this particular swath of the American South from 12,000 years ago to the early 1900s. The main exhibit space consumes the ground floor of the massive office tower at the James K. Polk Cultural Center, and is divided into six eras such as the “First Tennesseans,” “Civil War and Reconstruction,” and the “New South.” The Military Branch Museum, a vestige of the museum’s former nearby location in the War Memorial Building prior to its 1981 move, is run separately and offers an in depth look into major battles from the Spanish American War to World War II featuring weapons, uniforms, flags and personal items from Tennessee soldiers.
Among the more unusual finds in the main space are a 3,600-year-old mummy brought by Tennessean merchant marine to the state during the prosperous antebellum period, a Frontier-era log cabin showing colonial life, mastodon bones, a huge collection of quits, a hand-drawn Confederate battle field map, a covered wagon, a horse-drawn fire engine with brass water pump, Daniel Boone’s cutlery set and pocket knife, an early model of a flying machine, a moonshine sill, a model of a white wooden riverboat, Andrew Jackson’s personal items and a leather jacket once worn by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower during his role as a WWII General. Rotating exhibitions keep things fresh and have included artwork from Japanese museums, the original Emancipation Proclamation, photographs of Elvis and a collaborative exhibit with the adjacent Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Tennessee’s African American musical heritage. Though captivating for school children and adults, there is little interactive here to entertain families with very young children. Plans for a shiny new State Museum, proposed for a location along Bicentennial Mall a few blocks away, are in the works.
If you've always wanted to meet your favorite music celebrity, a visit to Madame Tussauds Nashville might be the next best thing. Visitors can marvel at true-to-life wax likenesses of music legends, interact with the figures, and snap great selfies.
For a rejuvenating stroll through manicured gardens, head to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum of Art, a 1930s estate just a stone's throw from downtown Nashville. Enjoy the extensive gardens, and visit the exhibition galleries and contemporary sculptures at this art hub.
The George Jones—a premier Nashville bar, eatery, and music venue—has a lot to offer, including a smokehouse menu, rooftop cocktails, live country music, and an on-site museum. Find world-class musicians performing daily on two stages, or just stop by for great views and libations at a top Nashville rooftop bar.
Located on downtown Nashville’s famous Lower Broadway district, this live music destination attracts visitors in search of a true country experience. With three stories of performance space, down home food and stiff drinks, Honky Tonk Central is Nashville at its finest.
Live acts at this local institution typically play to a packed house, and travelers will find music to meet all tastes on each of Honky Tonk Central’s three sprawling levels. There’s room to dance at this top nightlife spot that guarantees a good time, and plenty of tables mean there’s a place to rest when visitors are done kicking up their heels.
Travelers can venture to Honky Tonk Central on their own for a quintessential Nashville evening, or purchase a popular Honky Tonk bar pass that includes skip the line fast-track access and vouchers for drinks at several of the city’s live music destinations.
Standing at the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin, the Lotz House bore witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Today, the historic house is a museum chronicling the fateful events of Nov. 30, 1864 and providing a fascinating insight into Tennessee’s Civil War history.
A grand historic house–turned–Civil War field hospital, Carnton is a must-see for history buffs visiting the Nashville area. The house, now a top area attraction, once served as the grounds of the Battle of Franklin, one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is the historic home and plantation of Andrew Jackson, the seventh US president. Visiting gives you a sense of Jackson’s everyday life—original furnishings make the mansion homey—and also of 19th-century life in the South for everyone, from aristocrats to enslaved persons. Plus, it’s a great Nashville day trip.
Uncover a treasure trove at Historic Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum, a storied property with origins as a Native American village and a role in the Civil War. The 1799 home and historic buildings are open for you to stroll the lush grounds and take a guided tour that's rich in Tennessee history.
The former home of Country Music Hall of Famer Barbara Mandrell, Fontanel mansion is a luxe log home in Nashville, Tennessee. The home, nestled in the woods and fronting a vast lawn, comprises 33,000 square feet (10,058 square meters) of living space including more than 20 rooms, 13 baths, five fireplaces, and an indoor shooting range.
More Things to Do in Nashville
In a city filled with auditoriums and concert venues, it’s the unassuming Bluebird Cafe that best captures the spirit of Nashville. For the last 32 years, the Bluebird has been showcasing some of the Music City’s most significant and recognizable talent. Many country superstars, like Garth Brooks, LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift—as well as the songwriters who made them famous—got their start in this small café.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort, known to many as the Opryland Hotel, is practically a destination all on its own. The grounds of this resort and convention center in the heart of Nashville include nine acres of indoor gardens, climate-controlled glass atriums, and even an indoor river that visitors can navigate on a Delta flatboat.
Fun for all ages, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is home to thousands of animals from all over the world—as well as a large community-built playground featuring a 35-foot-tall (10.6-meter-tall) tree house. You can also visit the grand on-site Grassmere Historic Home.
The streets of Nashville are home to some of the best honky tonk bars in America. But there’s more to this city than country music and two step. Cumberland Park offers visitors 6.5 acres of outdoor fun along the picturesque riverfront.
Travelers with small children can make a day of this beautiful new park, which includes plenty of activities for the younger set. The Hollow offers up an interactive nature center, complete with a life-size maze. The Gorge’s climbing wall provides kids with an opportunity to scale walls and engage with peers. And the Explorer Trail winds through wide open spaces—a respite from the sounds of downtown Nashville.
Cumberland Park is known for attracting children and families, but a full calendar of events aimed at an older crowd means there’s something for everyone at this popular spot. Visitors can spend an afternoon enjoying the park on their own, or see it as part of a Nashville carriage ride, which hits up all the Nashville monuments, too.
Located inside the Johnny Cash Museum in downtown Nashville, the Johnny Cash Museum Store features memorabilia and souvenirs dedicated to the legendary musician and his career. The store sells a vast array of guaranteed-authentic collectibles and merchandise officially licensed by Johnny Cash’s estate.
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