When planning a trip to Music City, there are a few sights and attractions that automatically come to mind, but there are also many exciting hidden locations known almost exclusively to locals.
Whether you came for the historic landmarks, music-themed attractions, or unique monuments located off the beaten path, here’s a comprehensive list of Nashville’s most recognizable landmarks and monuments, as well as some of the lesser-known points of interest worth mentioning.
Our Top 5 Picks For Must-See Landmarks
Country Music Hall Of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame offers a look at the country's most iconic artists and features exhibits detailing their lives.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
The Hermitage is the site of Andrew Jackson’s, and his family’s home prior to and after Jackson’s presidency, and now serves a memorial, resting place, winery, and historical landmark.
Tennessee Capitol Building
Built in 1858, the capitol building is named on both the National Register of Historic Places and serves as an educational resource on Tennessee’s government and history.
Unlike The Parthenon in Athens, you can tour the outside and inside of its counterpart in Nashville, where you’ll find a statue of Athena and a gallery of 18th-20th century art.
During what many people call the Golden Age of Country Music, The Grand Ole Opry took place on the Ryman Auditorium’s stage.
Now, here are some other Nashville landmarks and monuments you may not have heard of ...
Downtown Presbyterian Church
We’ve mentioned Greek Revival a few times in this article, but have you ever heard of Egyptian Revival? This Presbyterian church and National Historic Landmark is located in the heart of downtown and is a monument to some of the strangest fusions of architectural styles ever created.
You don’t need to be a practicing Presbyterian or dedicate time to a service to witness the uniqueness of this incredible building either, simply visit the website for guided tour times. If you’re a fan of unusual architecture, this needs to be your first stop in Nashville.
Hatch Show Print
This one’s a local favorite. Ever see those old-school, iconic, colorful concert posters like these ones? This is the design that historic letterpress printshop, Hatch Show Print, revolutionized for nearly 150 years.
Today, Hatch Show Print is open to the public, offers exciting guided tours, maintains a working letterpress and store, and can custom design pieces for you to take home. This is a unique opportunity for a wide variety of sight-seekers, including history buffs, artists, designers, and music lovers.
Belle Meade Plantation
The Belle Meade Plantation is a historical landmark that offers a window into the Civil War era of United States history.
The plantation home was built in 1807 and served largely as a dairy farm and horse breeding operation, but currently operates functionally as a winery where you can taste and purchase unique blends such as muscadine and blackberries.
Two main guided tours are offered at Belle Mead Plantation, The Mansion Tour, which focuses on the history of the plantation, structures, and business operations, and The Journey to Jubilee Tour which focuses on the lives of slaves at the plantation and their struggle to emancipation.
The Nashville Zoo At Grassmere
This is more than just a typical zoo. The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, located approximately six miles outside Nashville proper, offers an immersive experience including exciting exhibits that allow you to get close and interact with the animals who live there, such as kangaroos, tortoises, and goats.
The park also has an aviary, a massive jungle gym, and a carousel.
If you’re looking for a historical experience, the zoo has kept the property’s previous inhabitants’ antebellum plantation home completely intact and offers guided tours of the house, gardens, and cemetery.
RCA Studio B
This is the place to go for an understanding of how Nashville became established as “Music City”.
Though tour sign-ups are exclusively through The Country Music Hall of Fame, this National Historic Landmark is not just for country music fans.
RCA Studio B was a recording studio leased to a wide variety of the country’s most popular musicians, including Elvis Pressley, Roy Orbison, and The Strokes, and still records popular artists to this day. Sign up for a tour and learn this famous landmark’s fascinating history.
Looking for a memorable, but affordable activity for your vacation to Nashville? Dutchman’s Curve is a completely free, self-guided, historical sight in the heart of downtown, located off of the Richland Creek Greenway.
Get some exercise by biking, or walking the expansive, greenway, and then explore the tragic sight of Tennesse’s most infamous trainwreck, and the lives of those whom it affected. Directions and more information can be found here.
Cheekwood Estate And Gardens
You won’t find a more inclusive activity than visiting Cheekwood Estate and Gardens.
There’s an endless array of activities available for all ages and interests, including breathtaking botanical gardens, a unique sculpture garden, an impressive art gallery, a massive model train display, and seasonal events such as music festivals, summer day camps for kids, Day of the Dead celebrations and so much more.
Additionally, the Cheekwood Estate offers a wide range of immersive tours, including guided, self-guided, group, and audio, many of which even include meals.
Johnny Cash Museum
When most people think of Nashville, they think of country music. When most people think of country music, they think of Johnny Cash.
Therefore, visiting The Johnny Cash Museum is essential for a truly authentic Nashville experience. But you don’t have to take our word on that, just ask National Geographic Traveler, and Forbes’ who called The Johnny Cash Museum the #1 music museum in the world.
When you book a tour, you will be immersed in the world of Johnny Cash, his life, and his music, through artifacts and special events. To top it all off, The Johnny Cash Museum is accessibly located in Nashville’s historic downtown.
Nashville Farmer’s Market
Why is a farmer’s market listed alongside historic and cultural landmarks? Because the Nashville Farmer’s Market is one of the oldest, same-location, open markets in the country, dating back to 1801.
It offers over 20 different vendors, shops, and restaurants, is open daily, and is conveniently located downtown. As an added bonus, the Nashville Farmer’s Market operates mostly indoors, so it’s the perfect addition to your morning downtown, even a rainy one.
The Grand Ole Opry
Earlier in the article, we mentioned The Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry, but the current location of The Grand Ole Opry is worth a visit too!
Like the Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Ole Opry offers guided tours, shows, events, and a gift shop.
Because this is the current home of The Grande Ole Opry, events and live performances by the country’s most popular artists are running almost daily. We suggest taking a look at the calendar online to plan accordingly so you can experience this iconic American cultural establishment to the fullest.
The Belmont Mansion in historic downtown Nashville offers a wide variety of activities for the history lover. This beautifully architected mansion built in 1817 offers a look at the Antebellum era of American history.
Take an educational guided tour or plan to attend one of the many yearly events on the mansion’s calendar. After the tour, visit the gift shop, offering souvenirs, wines, and other treats, or take a stroll through the mansion’s beautiful tulip gardens.
Peace Sign Geoglyph
For over fourteen years, a giant peace sign has been maintained near the Nashville Airport.
For many years, little was known about this bizarre geoglyph, but recently more information became available when reporters interviewed Nashville Airport employee, Earl Tuggle, who admitted sole responsibility for this impressive monument to peace.
Though you won’t be able to view it at ground level, you can view the peace sign by drone (if current regulations allow it) or by plane on your flight as you enter or leave Nashville airspace.
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian bridges are a fun addition to any vacation. They allow you to get a true feel for a city by seeing the people who live there up close, and by the bridge’s unique ability to provide a useful vantage point to the city skyline.
You are also able to traverse the bridge by biking, rollerskating, running, or walking, allowing you to get some needed exercise.
What makes The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge notable is its musical appeal. While exploring this special landmark, you’ll pass by many local street musicians, and you’ll be rewarded with the unique experience of viewing Nashville’s music scene in an up-close, personal, setting.
Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum offers an expansive view of the diverse, and turbulent history of Tennessee as a state.
Within the museum halls, you’ll be taken on a journey through Tennesee’s history from its initiation as the Southwest Territory to Statehood in 1796 through the Civil War era and present-day, by way of its exhibits, tours, and events.
If you need to stop halfway through this journey for a bite to eat, you can make that happen at the dining hall. As an added bonus, admission to the Tennessee State Museum is absolutely free. Stop at the gift shop to buy your loved ones a souvenir.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
This historic venue is located in the alleyway behind the Ryman Auditorium and has hosted many iconic artists such as Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Roger Miller, as well as current popular artists like Taylor Swift.
Stop and see a show, get a drink, and view the wall of fame of countless beloved artists — you never know who you’ll run into.
Nashville Public Library
The cultural heartbeat of any city, the library can be an endless resource for travelers to learn something new, see an event, or take advantage of the various public services offered.
At the Nashville Public Library, you can access these activities, and provide an all-inclusive experience for yourself and your family members, regardless of age. Take a look at the Nashville Public Library website, view the calendar, and see what events are happening this year.
Nashville’s Riverfront Park is a perfect merging of recreation and education. Next to the Cumberland river, across from First Avenue, is a grassy park where you, your loved ones, or even the dog can relax, throw the frisbee around, or walk along the trail that runs along the water.
While you’re there, you can take advantage of an exact replica of Nashville’s historic Fort Nashborough, or view various sculptures and monuments along the trail, created by Nashville’s local artists.
Robert’s Western World
Where can you buy a pair of boots, get some BBQ, and see a live country music performance all at the same location? At Robert’s Western World of course!
This Nashville landmark began as a warehouse and office space for merchants during the Civil War. Later it became the Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company, supplying steel guitars to musicians around the world.
In the 1990s, the founder of Robert’s Western World, purchased the building to make way for his Western wear clothing store, eventually expanding it to sell beer and food, and erecting a stage for Nashville’s musicians to perform on. Conveniently located on Lower Broadway, near the Opry and the Johnny Cash Museum.
Visiting a cemetery on vacation isn’t a typical activity. But Nashville isn’t a typical city. Woodlawn Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Nashville’s most famous residents including Miles Davis, Herman Mellville, George Jones, Irving Berlin, and Robert Moses.
Come take a guided tour, and pay your respects to some of the most iconic, groundbreaking figures in world history.
Timothy Demonbreun’s Cave
If you’re local to the Nashville area, you might have already noticed this little hole on the side of the river’s bluff. But did you know that this seemingly unremarkable hole was home to Nashville’s first settler?
Timothy Demonbreun was a French fur trader from Canada who set up his modest home on the Cumberland river to trade furs with the local indigenous population. Later in life, he established some of Nashville’s first taverns and shops downtown.
Though the inside of this historic landmark is closed off to the public, you can still view the opening of the cave from the Cumberland river bank, one mile upstream from downtown Nashville.