“Gotta get back to Nashville or my heart will break in two…” 🎶🎵
While the Everly Brothers may have been just a tad bit dramatic with that line, we do understand their longing to go back to Music City. That’s why, to avoid any potential heartbreak on your end, we are taking you on a virtual tour of Nashville and all the fascinating cultural and historical attractions it has to offer.
Known as the country music capital of the world, Nashville is the go-to destination if you’re looking to learn more about the history of the genre and enjoy an ongoing string of incredible live performances at pretty much every bar or venue in town. But there’s a lot more to do and see in Nashville, so if you’re not a country music fan, don’t turn away. It’s actually one of the most popular summer destinations among U.S. travelers, and what it lacks in airport dining, it certainly makes up for in craft beer quality and entertainment options.
So let’s get going! Pick a place from the map below or keep scrolling down for 20 virtual tours that will take you to Nashville’s most exciting points of interest, museums, and music venues. Don’t forget to check out the walking tours at the end of this list for an immersive virtual experience of Nashville.
Points of Interest
Sharon Mollerus / Flickr
Centennial Park is one of the most prominent public parks in Nashville. Located two miles west of Downtown Nashville, this 132-acre green space has been decorated with various permanent and temporary sculptures and structures throughout its history. The most famous structure you will still find at Centennial Park today is the Parthenon replica. Keep scrolling to see some virtual tour options for that.
This video tour will take you on a walk around the park, showcasing some of its most exciting features. Aside from the Parthenon, you will also check out the park’s artificial pond and the various statues spread throughout.
As we mentioned above, the Parthenon is the most prominent feature of Centennial Park and a very popular tourist attraction in Nashville. Built in the 1920s, it’s a replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It moonlights as an art museum, so inside it you can find a variety of statues and other works of art, including the reproduction of the statue of Athena Parthenos.
These virtual tours will allow you to explore both the exterior and interior of the Parthenon. That way, you can see exactly what’s waiting for you when you’re ready for that in-person trip to Nashville.
Downtown Presbyterian Church
Reading Tom / Flickr
The Downtown Presbyterian Church is one of the most prominent churches in the United States. It’s famous for its unique (for the U.S. region at least) Egyptian Revival architecture. In fact, preserving the church’s distinctive architectural features was one of the main reasons it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993. It was designed by William Strickland, the same architect behind the Tennessee State Capitol.
This 360-degree virtual tour will take you inside the church and allow you to explore its interior from a variety of vantage points.
Kevin Oliver / Flickr
Belmont Mansion is a historic mansion located south of Downtown Nashville on the Belmont University’s campus. Built in 1853, the mansion once served as the summer home of cotton heiress and plantation owner Adelicia Acklen and her husband Joseph Acklen. At the time, it was situated outside of Nashville’s city limits and featured elaborate gardens and a zoo.
After it was sold in the 19th century, the mansion has been used for educational purposes. It was once a girls academy until it became the first building of the then-nascent Belmont College, which later developed into Belmont University. Nowadays, it operates as a historic house museum.
On the Belmont Mansion website, you can find a self-guided tour of its sprawling gardens and grounds, accompanied by audio clips explaining the historical significance of the mansion’s various features.
Museums & Zoos
Country Music Hall of Fame Museum
One of the first things on everyone’s mind when they hear Nashville is country music. And for good reason – commonly known as Music City, Nashville is the epicenter of the country music industry in the United States. So, naturally, a tour of Nashville must include a visit of the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
This is one of the largest museums dedicated to the preservation of American country music, featuring one of the most extensive musical collections in the world. On the museum’s website, you can browse through those collections, exploring the history of country music in the form of photographs, moving images, sound recordings, and printed materials. You can also enjoy various historic and current performances by some of country music’s biggest stars.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art
Cheekwood is a historic estate located to the southwest of Downtown Nashville. This 30,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion originally served as the residence of the Cheek family, a famous Nashville clan of local business owners, until it was redesigned as a botanical garden and art museum in 1960.
The art museum features over 600 paintings, as well as more than 5,000 prints, drawings and photographs, spanning the history of American art. Some of the artists whose works are on display here include James Hamilton, William Bradford, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe. The botanical garden encompasses 55 acres and features a rich variety of plant collections, including magnolia, conifer, Japanese maple, and trillium, among many others.
On the museum’s website, you can find eight virtual tours of its marvelous gardens and facilities.
Cooter's Nashville – The Dukes of Hazzard Museum
If you’re a fan of the classic comedy series The Dukes of Hazzard (and not the 2005 film starring Jessica Simpson), this might be your favorite stop on our virtual tour of Nashville. In this free-of-charge museum, you will find a vast collection of pictures, props and costumes from the hit TV show.
More importantly, here you can find some of the show’s iconic automobiles, including Cooter’s Tow Truck, Daisy’s Jeep, Rosco’s Patrol Car, and a General Lee, the 1969 Dodge Charger that the show’s fans will recognize immediately.
Glen Campbell Museum
Located in the heart of Downtown Nashville, the Glen Campbell Museum features over 4,000 square feet of artifacts and memorabilia from the life and career of country music superstar and award-winning actor Glen Campbell.
Here, Glen Campbell fans can learn all about his life, from his early years on the farm in Arkansas to his reign as one of America’s biggest stars. The museum features many of Campbell’s guitars, instruments and iconic stage outfits. There’s also an extensive collection of his golf paraphernalia, as well as intimate family photos.
The Glen Campbell Museum is also famous for its Rhinestone Stage where various national and local performers regularly host intimate concerts.
The Johnny Cash Museum
Located in Downtown Nashville, this museum has the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. As soon as you step inside, you are immersed into Cash’s incredible life and fascinating career through an exciting combination of interactive exhibits, short films and never-before-seen photos.
With this 26-minute comprehensive video tour, you will explore the museum in detail and learn a lot about Cash’s life through every unique piece that is on display.
Lane Motor Museum
David Ellis / Flickr
The Lane Motor Museum has the largest collection of European cars and motorcycles in the United States. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy browsing through the museum’s roster of over 500 automobiles and motorbikes, and related art and memorabilia.
As you will see in this 360-degree interactive virtual tour, the museum boasts an impressive collection of cars of unusual design, including microcars, three-wheeled cars and amphibious vehicles.
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
lukewarmdog / Flickr
Since you’ve already toured the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, let us take you on a slightly different journey. Established in 2006, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors studio musicians who are not well known to the public, but have played on hundreds of iconic records from some of the most prominent music stars in the world like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and The Beach Boys, among many others.
The museum’s vast exhibits feature a huge variety of musical instruments owned and/or played by some key studio musicians across all genres without whom some of our favorite tunes would not have been possible. With this virtual tour available from Google, you can explore the museum’s floor and get a good sense of the unique artifacts you can find there.
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Stephen Yeargin / Flickr
The Nashville Zoo is home to over 6,000 animals of more than 300 different species. While it remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the zoo has taken to social media to bring its eclectic roster of inhabitants to your home. Follow the zoo on Facebook for daily live streams featuring some of the most exciting animals that call the Nashville zoo their home.
You should also check out the zoo’s YouTube channel that is actively updated every day with new footage and cool videos about the various species found there.
Tennessee State Museum
XPLR.NASH / Screenshot from YouTube
Opened in October 2018, the Tennessee State Museum is one of the latest additions to Nashville’s extensive roster of museums. The museum features six permanent exhibits, including one of the largest Civil War collections in the United States.
While it’s free to visit, it remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this quick video tour will give you a good glimpse into what some of the exhibits have to offer, and allow you to check out the beautiful museum grounds and architectural features.
Shane Raynor / Flickr
This outdoor concert venue is located inside the Metro Riverfront Park in Downtown Nashville and it’s one of the more recent additions to Nashville’s rich roster of performance venues. Since it was opened in July 2015, the amphitheater has hosted concerts from numerous world-famous bands and singers, including Janet Jackson, Idina Menzel, Depeche Mode, Bryan Adams, Snoop Dogg and John Legend, to name a few.
While this 360-degree virtual tour doesn’t come with a special performance by one of these artists, it does allow you to explore the Ascend Amphitheater interior and find the best seat in the house, so you’re ready for the next concert you’re going to enjoy there. Fun fact: even though Nashville is the mecca of live music, concert ticket prices here are actually on the cheaper side compared to the rest of the country, so you might as well take advantage of that when you visit in the future.
The Bluebird Cafe
This tiny 90-seat performance venue is an iconic staple of Nashville’s music scene. First opened in 1982, the Bluebird Cafe has played a key role in shaping the country music scene for almost 40 years now. Here, many aspiring singers and songwriters come to perform intimate renditions of their original music or covers of famous songs hoping to be noticed by music executives. In fact, that’s exactly how Taylor Swift got her start that led her to superstardom. At 14, she caught the eye of music producer Scott Borchetta during an acoustic performance at Bluebird Cafe.
The cafe has appeared in various films and TV shows. Most prominently, it was featured in pretty much every episode of ABC’s hit drama Nashville, and it was the main setting for the 1993 comedy-drama The Thing Called Love, starring River Phoenix and Sandra Bullock.
Grand Ole Opry House
Boyd / Flickr
If there was ever a Nashville staple, this is it! Often referred to as “country’s most famous stage,” the Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert. It dates back to 1925 when it started as a one-hour radio barn dance show. Today, it continues the tradition by hosting weekly sessions with a healthy mix of famous singers and local performers.
While the Grand Ole Opry was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it continues to host regular performances (without an audience) and stream them online for free. If you’re in the mood for an authentic country music bash, follow the link below for a collection of the latest Grand Ole Opry performances.
Jim Rhodes / Flickr
This is probably the most famous music venue in Nashville. Located in the heart of Downtown Nashville, Ryman Auditorium has hosted and continues to host some of the biggest stars of country music and beyond. It was one of the original venues for the Grand Ole Opry, having featured performances by Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, and Patsy Cline, among many other country icons. This is where most of the episodes of ABC’s variety series The Johnny Cash Show was recorded. This is the place where the bluegrass genre originated.
In 2001, Ryman Auditorium was designated a National Historic Landmark due to its incredible role in shaping and popularizing country music. Follow the link below for a video tour of Ryman Auditorium with more interesting facts about this historic venue.
As you can see, there are so many museums and attractions worth checking out in Nashville that come with a fascinating cultural and historical background. And while those are certainly worth putting on your Nashville bucket list, sometimes the best way to discover a city and feel its atmosphere is to simply walk around.
That’s why we felt it was important to include some options for virtual walking tours that explore Nashville’s most happening areas. Below you will find videos that will take you for a walk through three key neighborhoods in Nashville – Downtown, Music Row, and East Nashville. While it may not be as exciting as exploring the streets in person, this is the next best thing until you get to visit in person.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to plan that trip to Nashville pretty soon, so you can check out all these awesome places in person. While you’re putting that adventure together, make sure to borrow some ideas from our list of awesome things to do in Nashville in the summer – who knows, maybe that trip will happen sooner than you think.
We hope these virtual tours will help satisfy some of your travel cravings until we are able to wander freely again. And once that happens, Wanderu will be here to help you get to Nashville and thousands of other places around North America and Europe.