Located about two miles from Downtown Nashville, Tennessee, Centennial Park is perhaps best known for its Parthenon replica. The 132-acre park originally opened in 1903 where the Tennessee Centennial Exposition was held in 1897. The Parthenon replica was built for the Nashville pavilion of the Centennial Exposition, but since it was largely out of plaster and as a temporary exhibit building, the structure was rebuilt in the 1920s. Prior to Centennial Park, the area was a fairgrounds after the Civil War and the home of a race track known as West Side Park from 1884 to 1895.
The Country Music Hall of Fame first museum opened on Music Row in 1967. The current museum — located in downtown Nashville — opened in a $37 million facility in 2001 and features various permanent and temporary exhibits dedicated to telling the history of country music, from its earliest roots to modern-day superstars. No visit to the museum would be complete without purchasing an add-on tour of RCA Studio B. Located a few blocks away from the museum, the historic studio — still in use today — has been used by some of music’s biggest stars, from The Everly Brothers to Roy Orbison to Elvis Presley.
Fort Nashborough is a recreation of a stockade established in early 1779 in the French Lick area of the Cumberland River valley. The stockade was a forerunner to a settlement that would become Nashville, Tennessee. The square-shaped log stockade covered 2 acres and contained 20 log cabins. The reconstructed fortification, which stands near the original location, is maintained by Nashville Parks and Recreation.
The Johnny Cash Tennessee, Museum opened its doors to the public in May 2013. The museum, located in downtown Nashville, features a remarkable collection of Cash artifacts, including the standard concert posters and album covers. But the museum’s collection includes more off the beaten path artifacts such as the first wills of Cash and his first wife, Vivian; an artist royalty check from 1957; tin cups from Folsom Prison given to Cash in 1968, and handwritten lyrics of “Walk the Line” that cash wrote in 1990 for museum founder Bill Miller.
Thomas Ryman was a riverboat captain when he went to see popular revivalist Samuel Porter Jones address a crowd in Nashville. With plans to heckle Jones, Ryman instead emerged a changed man and decided to build a tabernacle where Jones could speak to large crowds. In the ensuing years, dozens of famed musicians, politicians and performers have appeared on the auditorium’s stage – from President Teddy Roosevelt to Harry Houdini to Charlie Chaplin. But, the “Mother Church of Country Music” is perhaps best known for its three-decade run as the host of the Grand Ole Opry. While the auditorium – located in the heart of downtown Nashville – eventually fell into a state of disrepair, this National Historic Landmark has been revitalized and transformed into one of the most famous music venues. The Ryman still regularly hosts concerts and is open during the day as a museum.
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum is named for a railroad that traces its history to 1884 and operated until 1968. At its prime, the Tennessee Central Railway operated trains over a roughly 248-mile stretch of track running from Harriman, Tenn., to Hopkinsville, Ky., passing through cities such as Clarksville, Tenn., along the way.
The Tennessee State Capitol, home of the Tennessee legislature and the governor’s office, is a National Historic Landmark. Designed by architect William Strickland, it is one of Nashville’s most prominent examples of Greek Revival architecture. It is one of only twelve state capitols (along with those of Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia) that does not have a dome.
The Tennessee State Museum highlights the history of Tennessee starting from pre-colonization and into the 20th century. The museum interprets the Frontier, the age of President Andrew Jackson and the American Civil War.
Andrew Jackson built the original Hermitage in 1804, more than a decade before the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and more than 20 years before he was elected the nation’s seventh president. The current mansion was built between 1819 and 1821 and later underwent major renovations in 1831 and after an 1834 fire heavily damaged much of the house. The current Greek revival look of the house dates to 1835. Jackson — nicknamed “Old Hickory” — retired from public life in 1837, and he lived in The Hermitage until his death in 1845. Jackson and his wife, Rachel, who preceded him in death, are buried on the grounds.