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The day begins with a crash-course in the origins of American popular music, but it's a history lesson most pop-culture enthusiasts will love. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an endlessly entertaining and informative experience that will help you grasp Nashville's importance as a songwriting and recording mecca. A few blocks away is the hallowed hall where it all began: the Ryman Auditorium. Soak up the spirits of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, and then stroll the lively strip along Broadway. Your afternoon continues with a visit to Nashville's best art museum, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The evening is yours to barhop or boot-scoot at the Wildhorse Saloon, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, B.B. King's Blues Club, or any other nightspot that strikes your fancy. Start: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Start your day downtown at the acclaimed Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It's chock-full of colorful exhibits and music, and seeing this will help you get your bearings for later exploration.

Walk north 4 blocks until, on your right, you see:

2. Ryman Auditorium

This sacred concert hall was a magnet for the so-called hillbilly and country music boom back in the 1940s and '50s. And because you're going to attend a performance of the Grand Ole Opry while you're here, it will be nice to see the modest venue where it all began.

Walk south back to Broadway, and then turn left and continue past the honky-tonks almost to Third Ave. On your left, you'll see:

3. Hatch Show Print

Take a trip back in time and get lost in the nostalgic aura of this long-time print shop, where posters of live concerts by virtually all of country music's greatest stars were created.

4. Take a Break - Jack's Bar-B-Que

Slip in here and grab a Coke or a shredded-pork sandwich and some greasy fries. Jack's is a basic, no-frills dive. Make yourself at home. 416 Broadway. tel. 615/254-5715. www.jacksbarbque.com.

5. Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Drive a few blocks west on Broadway to this outstanding museum, housed in a historic post-office building. First-rate exhibitions from throughout the world are shown here. The permanent ArtQuest Gallery is a wondrous, hands-on creativity center where children and adults alike can experiment with their own artwork.

6. Barhopping in the District

After a bit of rest and a bite to eat, browse the bars and colorful nightlife along Broadway and the surrounding area. You can hear live music most anywhere, from Tootsie's Orchid Lounge to B.B. King's Blues Club.

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.