Nashville, Music City, the Country Music Capital of the World. There's no question why people visit Nashville. But you may be surprised to find that there's more to see and do here than just chase country stars. Sure, you can attend the Grand Ole Opry, linger over displays at the Country Music Hall of Fame, take a tour past the homes of the country legends, and hear the stars of the future at any number of clubs. However, the state capital of Tennessee also has plenty of museums and other attractions that have nothing to do with country music. The city has many other enriching cultural attractions, including the impressive Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, and Van Vechten Art Gallery at Fisk University -- not to mention Nashville's full-size reproduction of the Parthenon.
So even if you could care less about Toby Keith and Taylor Swift, you'll find something to keep you busy while you're in town. However, if you can't wait for the next Kenny Chesney or Sugarland release, you'll be in hog heaven on a visit to Nashville.
All downtown attractions are accessible from the downtown trolley.
On the Music Trail
If you want to drive by some houses of the country stars, pick up a copy of the "Homes of the Stars" map, sold at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, 417 Broadway (tel. 615/255-7503), and at other country music souvenir shops around town. But consider yourself forewarned: The reality is that most of today's superstars live in ultraexclusive, gated enclaves, so your chances of driving by a mansion to catch Tim McGraw mowing his grass are slim to none.
At the Visitors Center in the Sommet Entertainment Center, you can also get a booklet with more information on the homes of the stars. With celebrity books all the rage these days, it's not surprising that Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 2121 Green Hills Village Dr. (inside the Mall at Green Hills; tel. 615/385-2645), brings in country music stars for book-signings several times a year. Call them for a schedule.
Traveling Between Downtown and Music Valley -- A cab ride from downtown to the Opryland Resort costs about $25. A trolley serves Music Valley attractions, but a car is really the best way to get around. If you're staying as a guest at Opryland, you'll have access to daily, round-trip shuttle service to downtown tourist sites, including the Wildhorse Saloon and the Ryman Auditorium.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.