A Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

By: Margaret Littman

June 25, 2013

Our new codeshare agreement with Delta means we can now offer easy connections from the UK to 45 exciting new North American gateways – including Music City, otherwise known as Nashville, Tennessee.

There’s a stereotype of the Nashville transplant: guitar on his back, cowboy hat on his head, slowly hitchhiking his way to Middle Tennessee to seek fame and fortune by singing songs about breakups and pickup trucks.

Modern Nashville doesn’t look much like that silhouetted cowboy. Our beginner’s guide to Nashville reveals a vibrant metropolis, home to the Kings of Leon and Jack White, as well as a new convention centre with a sleek design and a green roof. The city is the subject of a sexy nighttime soap opera on TV. But, like the stereotype, there is a certain feeling that “anything can happen here”; an energy that filters through the city streets, whether you come for a weekend or stay to chase a dream.

Even with just a short break in Nashville, you can still get a feel for the pioneers who built the Grand Ole Opry, as well as those who come today to take the Tennessee capitol into the next century. As new singers, songwriters and entrepreneurs forge new traditions in Music City, there are certain Nashville essentials that no first-time visitor should miss. Take a look at our beginner’s city guide to Nashville for some of the city’s must-see spots.


Nashville skyline © Margaret Littman

Even if you think you don’t like twang, you ought not to skip the Country Music Hall of Fame. This musically themed museum – the building itself looks like piano keys or a bass clef, depending on your vantage point – is arranged chronologically and gives a sense of how country music has influenced other genres through the decades. Its true American essence is explored, and in addition to the Hall of Fame itself (where you can honour those who keep this music alive) you can visit Studio B where Elvis once recorded.

Hall of Fame | Nashville

Hall of Fame © thelittleone417

Right downtown, just blocks from the Hall of Fame, is The Ryman Auditorium: the historic Mother Church of Country Music. The 1892 building is a musician’s dream to play, and as such attracts acts ranging from Jack Johnson to She & Him to the Grand Ole Opry on nights it isn’t at the Opry House. Backstage tours are also available.

Ryman Auditorium | Nashville

Printers Alley © Margaret Littman

Nashville’s other must-see stop is The Parthenon, a replica of the Athens original. Built in 1897, it’s now a museum – home to a 42-foot tall gleaming gold Athena sculpture, and a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Surrounded by the city’s Centennial Park, The Parthenon is alive with people walking around its mammoth columns most days.

Nashville Parthenon

The Parthenon, Nashville © schnaars

Header Image: Nashville Skyline © Kenton Forshee

Travelling to Nashville? Then book a flight with Virgin Atlantic and Delta to one of over 80 US cities.

Have you visited Nashville recently? Where are your favourite spots in the city? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Margaret Littman

Margaret Littman [] is a Nashville-based journalist who covers small businesses, travel and all manner of other topics. She is the author of many travel guidebooks, including Moon Tennessee and the Moon Nashville, which will be updated for 2016. Since moving to Music City she has acquired a 1967 Ford pickup and a lot of pairs of boots, but still not the ability to carry a tune.

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