Nashville, Tennessee is known as Music City. It’s the home of country music and remains the center of that industry. It’s where many of country’s biggest names got their start, and where they often live as well.
Additionally, Nashville has a nice, temperate climate most of the year, although it can get hot in the summer.
There are many great Nashville restaurants and attractions like a replica of the Greek Parthenon.
While there’s plenty to do outside of music, Nashville really is a city that’s all about the music. So where should you go for live music while you’re there?
The Grand Ole Opry
When you think of Nashville if you’re like most people you might inherently think about The Grand Ole Opry. The Grande Ole Opry is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, and hundreds of thousands of people come through the doors each year.
This venue has 4400 seats and a broadcasting studio. The history of the Grande Ole Opry dates back to 1925, with a radio show called WSM Barn Dance.
One of the best ways to experience the Grand Ole Opry is to buy seats to a live show. There are almost always live performances scheduled every night of the week. In addition to live performances, you can also take a tour of the facility, including VIP tours that guide you through a real show and how it works.
The Basement East
The Basement East is something different from the Grand Ole Opry in pretty much every way. The Basement East is a live music venue,especially for local and newer bands.
As a bonus, this venue is in the ultra-hip East Nashville neighborhood, which is across the Cumberland River from downtown. It’s a very unique, eclectic up-and-coming neighborhood with vintage stores, bars, coffee shops and more so if you’re going for live music make sure to explore the local area as well.
There is also a sister venue, which is The Basement. The Basement is located behind Grimey’s record store, and Tuesday is the most popular night when you’ll see the biggest crowds.
The Bluebird Café
The Bluebird Cafe is somewhere you can’t miss if you love live music and you’re in Nashville. Located in a strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, the Bluebird Café is small with only 90 seats. This venue is a listening room for acoustic music, and patrons are told to keep their talking and noise to a minimum in the intimate space. The Bluebird performers include everyone from new songwriters to well-known songwriters who already have big hits.
Garth Brooks played Open Mic night at the Bluebird many years ago and was discovered there and signed to Capitol Records.
Ascend Amphitheatre is a much large Nashville live music venue, and it attracts big–name artists. This outdoor venue always has a full schedule of touring performers, and it’s scenically beautiful as well, located on the edge of the river and offering unique downtown green space.
The Listening Room Café
The Listening Room Cafe was established in 2006, and it’s located south of Broadway—also known as SoBro. The Café is inside the historic Cummins Station building, and it attracts some of the biggest songwriters. Many of the best songwriters will go to the Listening Room Café and play their music before they sell it to well-known artists.
There’s also a popular brunch and a terrace with views of downtown Nashville.
Puckett’s is located on Church Street in downtown Nashville. It started as a grocery store in the 1950s, but now you’ll find great, classic comfort food such as meat-and-three options and BBQ as well as a lineup of live music from local performers.
The Ryman Auditorium is a piece of Nashville and country music history. This historic Auditorium has hosted some of the most famous country artists including Johnny Cash and June Carter. In fact, this is where they met. The Grand Ole Opry was housed in the Ryman where performers including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline, to name a few.
The Grand Ole Opry moved venues in the 70s, and the Ryman was neglected for years until a renovation took place in the 1990s. Now, it’s one of the best places to hear live music in downtown Nashville. It’s often named theater of the year.
You’ll find live performances from both new talent and well-known singers most nights of the week at the Ryman.