City Orientation Walk II, Nashville (Self Guided)

Nashville has always been about country music. Places like the Grand Old Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame are among the city's main landmarks. Still, other than country music, there's more to Nashville than one can imagine. Find out yourself by taking this orientation walk and explore these and other top attractions of Nashville.
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City Orientation Walk II Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk II
Guide Location: USA » Nashville (See other walking tours in Nashville)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Author: anna
Tennessee State Capitol

1) Tennessee State Capitol (must see)

Designed by architect William Strickland (1788–1854) of Philadelphia and Nashville, who is buried within the walls, the Tennessee State Capitol was built between 1845 and 1859 and is one of Nashville's most prominent examples of Greek Revival architecture. The building, one of 12 state capitols that does not have a dome, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and named a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

Monuments on the Capitol grounds include statues of two of the three Tennessee residents who served as President of the United States: Andrew Jackson by Clark Mills and Andrew Johnson by Jim Gray. The second President from Tennessee, James K. Polk, is buried in a tomb on the grounds, together with his wife, Sarah Childress Polk. Other monuments on the grounds include the Sgt. Alvin C. York Memorial by Felix de Weldon, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission Memorial, the Sam Davis Memorial, the Sen. Edward Ward Carmack Memorial, and the Memorial to Africans during the Middle Passage. The Charles Warterfield Reliquary is a group of broken limestone columns and fragments removed and saved from the State Capitol during the mid-1950s restoration, located near the northern belvedere on Capitol Drive.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place for a quick rest and sightseeing. The major rooms are open if not in session. The building sits on top of a hill which allows for very pretty views of downtown.

Be prepared to go through a metal detector and security before entering but once inside you can wander around on your own.
There is a brochure for self-guided tours, but going with a guide is also an option and is definitely the way to see this beautiful, historic building.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm
Free guided tours: 9-11am / 1-3pm (every hour, on the hour)
Tennessee State Museum

2) Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee State Museum is a large museum in Nashville depicting the history of the U.S. state of Tennessee. Starting from pre-colonization and going all the way to the 20th century, the museum describes the American Civil War, the Frontier, and the age of President Andrew Jackson. The museum includes an area of more than 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of permanent exhibits and a hall with changing exhibitions covering 10,000 feet (3,000 m). The total ground area of the museum is 120,000 feet (37,000 m) spread over three floors. The museum's collection of uniforms, weapons, and battle flags from the Civil War is one of the largest in the nation.

The museum is situated in the bottom floors of the James K. Polk building in downtown Nashville, a building shared with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The museum also has a military museum describing the country's military conflicts. This exhibition goes from the early battles of the Spanish-American War all the way to World War II. The earliest recordings of the museum go back to 1817 when a portrait artist, Ralph E. W. Earl opened a museum at the public square of Nashville. The first larger state museum opened in 1937, when the General Assembly decided that the state needed a museum to deal with various collections from the state and mementos from World War I. The museum remained at the War Memorial Building until it moved to its current location in 1981.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm; Sunday: 1 am - 5 pm

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Nashville Convention Center

3) Nashville Convention Center

The Nashville Convention Center is located in the central downtown area of the city. It is a spacious center equipped with modern communications technology to cater to its events. It has 25 meeting rooms, a ballroom, an outdoor terrace and a 118,000-square foot exhibition hall.
Ryman Auditorium

4) Ryman Auditorium (must see)

The Ryman Auditorium (formerly Grand Ole Opry House and Union Gospel Tabernacle) is a 2,362-seat live performance venue, located at 116 5th Avenue North. In 2018, the Ryman was named the most iconic structure in Tennessee by Architectural Digest.

The auditorium first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. It was built by Thomas Ryman (1843–1904), a riverboat captain and Nashville businessman who owned several saloons. Ryman conceived of the auditorium as a tabernacle for the influential revivalist Samuel Porter Jones. After Ryman's death, the Tabernacle was renamed Ryman Auditorium in his honor. Architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson designed the structure. It was used for Grand Ole Opry broadcasts from 1943 until 1974 when the Opry built a larger venue just outside Nashville at the Opryland USA theme park. The Ryman Auditorium was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and was further designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001.

The renovation of the Ryman, combined with the construction of other attractions such as Bridgestone Arena and Wildhorse Saloon, helped revitalize Nashville's downtown district into a destination for tourists and locals alike in the mid-1990s. Since then, the Ryman has become one of the most venerable performance venues in Nashville. Experts have praised Ryman Auditorium's acoustics, calling them among the best in the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Fantastic acoustics, historic site and a cozy/intimate setting. No matter who you see here, you'll have a great time.

If you're not the biggest Country Music fan, there are two options on tours; self-guided and guided. With the guided tour you get to go into the dressing rooms and hear about how they got named, and who uses them at present day. You also get to go onto the stage a bit.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-4pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Frist Center for the Visual Arts

5) Frist Center for the Visual Arts

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is housed in what used to be the main post office designed by Marr & Holman Architects for the city of Nashville, which had been built in 1933-34 near Union Station, since most mail at that time was moved by train. As the city grew, the need for a more up-to-date main facility was obvious. When a new main post office was built in 1986, the historic old facility became a downtown branch using only a small portion of one floor.

In the early 1990s Thomas F. Frist, Jr., and his family, through the charitable Frist Foundation, took up the task of converting the old post office into an art museum. They implemented an interesting public/private venture between the Frist Foundation, the U.S. Postal Service, and the city of Nashville. The museum opened in April 2001. In 1999 the City of Nashville took ownership of the building from the U.S. Postal Service for the purpose of creating the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. A renovated post office branch was opened in the basement in 1999.

The art center consists of approximately 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) of gallery space, used to present visual art from local, state and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions. As a non-collecting museum, the Frist Center does not have a permanent collection in the truest sense; rather, the museum focuses on creating exhibitions as well securing traveling exhibitions from around the country and the world.

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sunday: 1:00–5:30 p.m.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Union Station - A Wyndham Historic Hotel

6) Union Station - A Wyndham Historic Hotel

This building was originally the main train station in Nashville, opened in 1900, and was a hub of several railroads. In 1986, Union Station was reconstructed and became a hotel. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Music City Center

7) Music City Center

The Music City Center is a convention complex located in downtown Nashville. Opened in May 2013, it covers an area of 1.2 million square feet and was built at a cost of about $623 million.

The new Convention Center is not only a gathering spot for hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to see the city for the first time, but also serves as a central meeting point for Nashville’s residents.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

8) Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (must see)

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum identifies and preserves the evolving history and traditions of country music and serves visiting and non-visiting audiences including fans, students, scholars, members of the music industry, and the general public.

The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened on Music Row (Music Square East and Division Street) on April 1, 1967. On May 17, 2001, the CMF held the grand opening of its new $37,000,000 facility ten blocks away in downtown Nashville. Inside, the museum presents its collection to illustrate country music's story as told through the turns of two centuries. Included are historic country video clips and recorded music, as well as a regular menu of live performances and public programs, a museum store, and on-site dining.

In addition to the galleries, the museum has the 776-seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Education Center, and multi-purpose event rental spaces. Other historic properties of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum include the letterpress operation Hatch Show Print (located inside the museum) and Historic RCA Studio B (located on Music Row), Nashville's oldest surviving recording studio, where recordings by Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and many others were made.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautifully laid out for fans & non-fans of country music and situated in a great part of town close to live music, fun restaurants, the Predators Arena & Broadway honky-tonks – just a lot of fun.

Be sure to check the museum website for live music options.
Consider getting the RCA Studio B tour combo ticket – well worth it and they take you in a bus to the RCA studio.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Schermerhorn Symphony Center

9) Schermerhorn Symphony Center (must see)

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville formally opened on September 9, 2006, with a gala concert conducted by Leonard Slatkin and broadcast by PBS affiliates throughout the state. The center is named in honor of Kenneth Schermerhorn, who was the music director and conductor of the Nashville Symphony from 1983 until his death in 2005.

At the heart of Schermerhorn Symphony Center is the 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2), 1,844-seat Laura Turner Concert Hall, which is home to the Nashville Symphony. The hall is of the shoebox style. It features natural lighting, which streams in through 30 soundproof, double-paned clerestory windows. Schermerhorn Symphony Center also houses the Mike Curb Family Music Education Hall, a 2,438-square-foot (226.5 m2) space that hosts smaller performances and also serves as a venue for the symphony’s ongoing music-education initiative, Music Education City.

David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc., of Washington, D.C., designed the center, with Earl Swensson Associates of Nashville as architect of record. Paul Scarbrough of Akustiks was responsible for the acoustic design of the hall. In 2009, Schermerhorn Symphony Center was recognized as one of 25 North and South American finalists in the Urban Land Institute's (ULI) Awards for Excellence. Presented annually, these awards honor building projects for superior design, for sound building practices and for making meaningful contributions to their communities.

Why You Should Visit:
Great acoustics, great elegance, many seating/price options (even on the day of the show), multiple bars, a gift shop...
You can't go wrong seeing a show here, and you may get to enjoy the award-winning Nashville Symphony (& Chorus).

If you attend a symphony performance, don't miss the post-concert talk with the conductor. It is intimate and a wonderful end to a great time.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm; Sat: 12-4pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
The District

10) The District

The District encompasses an area of renovated warehouses and old bars. Two historic streets merge to form a vibrant focal point within the heart of the city: Lower Broadway and Second Avenue North. These streets feature an array of honky tonk clubs and bars.

Walking Tours in Nashville, Tennessee

Create Your Own Walk in Nashville

Create Your Own Walk in Nashville

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nashville is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Religious Sites of Nashville

Religious Sites of Nashville

Being at the heart of Tennessee, Nashville features a great number of churches, cathedrals and other places of worship. Take the following walking tour to discover the most beautiful and interesting religious buildings in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Nashville's Skyscrapers Walking Tour

Nashville's Skyscrapers Walking Tour

Alongside different antique style buildings, Nashville's skyscrapers fit in well with the city's architectural landscape. The best evidence of this is the breathtaking view from the top floor of a skyscraper. This tour highlights some of the most interesting buildings in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Jewels of African American Education in Nashville

Jewels of African American Education in Nashville

As a part of its great history, Tennessee is proud of its institutions of higher education for African Americans. This sightseeing tour will guide you to Nashville's famous Fisk University and its legendary Jubilee Hall, Tennessee State University and its glorious Gentry Complex. Take this tour to discover some of the most significant pages in American history.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km
Music City Landmarks

Music City Landmarks

Due to its legendary sites, Nashville is well-known all over the world as Music City, USA. This is a tour guide of the historic places where many music hits were born, including RCA Studio B on Music Row, the Exit/In club, the Sommet Center and many others.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Vanderbilt Neighborhood Walk

Vanderbilt Neighborhood Walk

In this area you will find Vanderbilt University, Peabody College and Belmont University. Visit the neighborhood of National Historic Landmarks and learn about the history of the state's educational system. Enjoy a game with the Vanderbilt Commodores at the university's stadium!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Nashville, Tennessee, listed among the top 10 Places to Live and Work in the U.S, is the city of epic concert venues and countless music clubs which have largely contributed to its nickname, “Music City, USA”. Adding to the city's appeal further is the number of museums, theaters, art galleries and other cultural sights. Take this orientation walk to discover some of the most popular...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Nashville for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Nashville has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Nashville, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.