Nashville attractions for country music haters?

I’m going to Nashville for a conference in early December and was wondering if there were any good attractions there. I have absolutely no interest in seeing the Grand Old Opry or any of that crap. What is there to do in Nashville for someone in my boat? I know it’s where Kesha grew up, but even that in itself isn’t enough to make Nashville a destination for tourists.

There’s The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home now a museum)

If you like football, check the schedule, maybe the Titans will be playing at home.

The Museum of the Goddess Athena is pretty neat.

I lived there as a child, 40 years ago, so my info is a little dated. Check out Centennial Park, the Parthenon, the observation deck on the Life and Accident building, and the riverboat at Fort Nashborough. I’m sure there’s live theater and comedy clubs, but couldn’t cite any particulars. Vanderbilt University has a lovely campus, as I recall.

I liked their science center when I was there three years ago.

Here are some links to assist in the search for things to do in Nashville:,_Tennessee
One Day in Nashville: What do you do?
Tell me about Nashville

Nashville is “Music City USA” for many reasons other than Country. And there are many places to hear all sorts of other types of music if that’s your thing. One site to check for current activities as it gets closer to time to get here is

Exactly what I was going to post - I have not been, but would love to go. The local band scene is supposed to be great with excellent players everywhere you look. I can appreciate great musicianship regardless of genre…

You could try to catch a show by the Protomen… they’re an indie rock group based out of Nashville that does rock operas based on Mega Man. Great musicians and an awesome fanbase.

Lots of music bars/clubs in Nashville of all genres, not just country. And if I can speak as another non-Country fan, the Country Music Hall of Fame is actually pretty interesting just as a museum of American pop culture.

There’s the Frist Center museum of art which is very nice, and Cheekwood botanical gardens and art museum if you want to see some nice gardens.

You don’t say where you’re staying, but you should check out Gaylord Opryland Resort. It’s amazing just to go in and look around; it’s full of shops, restaurants, huge botanical displays, and an actual (artifical) river wandering through the hotel, even boat rides.

Plenty of up and coming new restaurants in areas like East Nashville, the Gulch, and South 12th avenue, not to mention the “touristy” area around 1st and 2nd avenue. You might check to see what’s going on at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center or Bridgestone Arena.

Have a great trip!

If you’re more into the avant garde/fringe scene, check out this site:

It will let you know if anything is going on in that scene in Nashville while you’re there.

Broadway is the main strip of tourist bars. You’ll actually hear more bad top 40 than country. It’s kind of like Bourbon St in New Orleans. Loud, tacky, but you at least have to see it. You might hear some good blues at some places. I don’t care for country music, but what we heard was actually pretty good. More in the honky tonk/rockabilly genre. More Johnny Cash than Shania Twain (YMMV). Anytime we went, we did Broadway in the afternoon.

As mentioned before, Nashville is a big city with all kinds of music. Some places we hit were 3rd and Lindsley, Whiskey Kitchen (my wife met Gwynyth Paltro there), 12th and Porter, Exit/In, and Mercy Lounge.

The place is lousy with small bars and good restaurants, and don’t forget, Jack White and Kid Rock now call it home.

I forgot to add, by early December the Opryland Resort will be all decked out for Christmas including some kind of Dreamworks-themed Christmas experience, and the Opry House will be hosting the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (featuring the Rockettes). If you’re into, you know, spectacles.

One more piece of evidence that Country ain’t all there is here in the music game:

It might be educational to many (including us Nashville residents) to learn how many world-renowned studio musicians live and work here. Maybe a list exists somewhere…

If you’re into this sort of thing, here’s a clue:

Just last night, out in Woodbury (about 60 miles from Nashville) I saw a Beatles tribute band called Mystery Trip. These are guy who’ve won Grammies, toured with Elton John, etc., who now live here and just get together to play Beatles music. $10 for a show that lasted 2 1/2 hours, only about 300 people. $6.50 meat & three before the show. It was a blast.


Glad you mentioned the Beatles, because we heard a lecture recently by a Nashville author who has written a couple (maybe more) books on them, and in his lecture he stressed how Nashvillians should be aware and proud of how many top-notch players (all genres) there are making their livings and claims to fame in Music Row studios. Some of the stories he had of the quick-study players were fascinating and one in particular related to Pete Drake and how, even though his Country work was uppermost in his repertoire, his skills on the steel were such that he was sought out by artists of all stripes. One gig he had to go to London for was for an album that they wanted to get out in a week and Drake was shocked that they needed that long to do one. He said something like, “In Nashville we do an album a day!” The producers were stunned enough to ask him how that could be, and he took his parts to the songs they were doing and spent a little over an hour on all of them in the booth and told them, “That’s my part, See y’all later.” and left!

That’s not atypical of the quality of guys in Nashville studios. There’s even an old (country) song about Nashville Cats that’s about as true as it is funny.