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Nashville see + do

They don't call Nashville "Music City U.S.A." for nothing. The art of honoring country music and its greatest practitioners has been perfected here, especially downtown, which is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Even if you're not a fan of country and western, you can't help but love the flashy displays of Dolly Parton's rhinestone-studded stage clothes and Elvis Presley's gold Cadillac. You can see music history in the making just a few blocks away at the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry's most famous home. Today, the theater hosts performers in genres across the board, from gospel to rock. Each June, many Ryman acts show up on the stages of the CMA Music Festival, held a block away on Lower Broadway, or at Bonnaroo, the massive four-day concert held on a farm in Manchester, about an hour's drive southeast of town. See our Nightlife section for more recommendations for catching live music in Nashville.

Not every activity in the Nashville area involves music. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts brings in major traveling exhibits from museums around the world, and Cheekwood's museum of art houses works from Andy Warhol and native son Red Grooms. History junkies enjoy the antebellum grandeur of mansions from the pre–Civil War era like the Belle Meade Plantation, and any sightseeing trip out of town should involve a drive through the green, green hills of Leipers Fork, the tiny (and wealthy) farm community 45 minutes south of town, near Franklin.

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The Warner Parks, Nashville

The Edwin and Percy Warner parks—a.k.a. the Warner Parks—are less than a ten-minute drive from downtown and offer opportunities for walkers,...more

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Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

The ghost of Hank Williams is said to haunt this storied auditorium, often called the "mother church of country music." The Ryman is indeed a former house of...more

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Leipers Fork

Leipers Fork has a shabby-chic appeal—with the emphasis on chic: This bucolic country village of just 500 is home to some of Middle Tennessee's wealthiest...more

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Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville

The lack of a broad permanent collection allows the Frist Center to operate like a large gallery for a rotating roster of big-name installations organized by...more

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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville

Country music fans are in heaven here, surrounded by photographs, videos, and other memorabilia depicting the evolution of "hillbilly" music from the 1930s to...more

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CMA Music Festival, Nashville

The CMA Music Festival draws 200,000 country fans to Nashville—the largest gathering of its kind on the planet. During the four-day festival, held each...more

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Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Nashville

When garden-club doyennes dream, Cheekwood is what they see. This 55-acre spread on the edge of Belle Meade contains a dozen gardens planted to ensure colorful...more

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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester

Each year in mid-June, tens of thousands of music fans brave sun and sweat at the 'Roo, a four-day rock fest featuring more than 100 well-known bands and...more

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Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville

For over a century, horses were the name of the game at this former thoroughbred nursery, a 30-acre plantation on the north edge of the elegant Belle Meade...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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