Music Valley Walking Tour, Nashville

Music Valley Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nashville

Ten miles from the center of Nashville, Tennessee, the Cumberland River winds its way around Opryland, embracing the flow of sound waves coming from the best country music acts on the planet. Music Valley, a vibrant neighborhood in the eastern part of the city, is centered around the famous Music Valley Drive and is known for its deep connection to Nashville's rich musical heritage.

One of, if not the key local attraction is the palatial Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, a massive hotel and entertainment complex. The Grand Ole Opry, one of the most iconic music venues in the United States, is also found within the area. Operating since 1925, it continues to be a major draw for country music lovers.

Another notable site in Music Valley is the Opry Mills shopping mall with a wide array of retail stores, dining options, and entertainment venues under one roof. The General Jackson showboat, which operates on the Cumberland River, is docked just outside Opry Mills.

Music Valley is home to several music-themed attractions that pay homage to Nashville's musical roots. The Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and General Store showcases memorabilia from the country music legend.

"Nashville isn't just a city; it's a sound," they say. Therefore, any time spent in the "Music City" (note: for Nashville, it's more than just a nickname, but a way of life!) would be incomplete without a trip to the legendary Music Valley. This vibrant destination captures the essence of Nashville's music scene and, whether you're a fan of country music or simply interested in exploring Nashville's unique cultural heritage, Music Valley provides a delightful and immersive experience.
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Music Valley Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Music Valley Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Nashville (See other walking tours in Nashville)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: mary
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Opry Mills
  • Grand Ole Opry House
  • General Jackson Riverboat
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
  • Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs
  • Cooter's Place
  • Caney Fork River Valley Grille
Opry Mills

1) Opry Mills

Opry Mills stands as a super-regional shopping mall that offers an unparalleled retail experience. The mall, which opened on May 12, 2000, is located on the former site of Opryland Themepark, adding an extra layer of history and charm to the destination. Owned by Simon Property Group, Opry Mills is adjacent to two iconic landmarks: the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

As visitors step into Opry Mills, they are greeted by a vast array of shopping options, catering to every style and preference. With over 178 stores, the mall provides a diverse mix of retailers, ensuring that shoppers can find everything they need and more. From well-known brands like Ralph Lauren, Nike Outlet, H&M, Old Navy, and Forever 21 to specialized stores like Sun & Ski Sports, Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, and Bass Pro Shops, there's something for every shopper to enjoy. Additionally, the presence of Regal Cinemas, Madame Tussauds, and Dave & Buster's adds entertainment options to enhance the overall experience.

For those seeking a culinary break during their shopping spree, Opry Mills offers a large food court with an extensive selection of dining options. Visitors can indulge in a variety of cuisines and flavors, ranging from fast food favorites to more eclectic choices. Additionally, numerous restaurants are scattered throughout the mall, providing a range of dining experiences to suit any palate.

Adjacent to Opry Mills, guests will find the General Jackson showboat, an iconic attraction that operates on the Cumberland River. The showboat offers a unique entertainment experience with its cruises along the river, showcasing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The proximity of the General Jackson further enhances the appeal of Opry Mills as a comprehensive destination for entertainment, shopping, and dining.
Grand Ole Opry House

2) Grand Ole Opry House (must see)

The Grand Ole Opry, located in Nashville, is a true American icon and a cornerstone of country music. Founded in 1925, the Opry is the United States' longest-running radio broadcast and is renowned for introducing a wealth of talent to the national stage, including legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash.

Starting as a simple radio program named the "WSM Barn Dance," the Opry quickly grew in popularity, becoming a Nashville institution and helping to earn the city its nickname as "Music City, USA." Its weekly Saturday night shows have become a beloved tradition, bringing together fans from around the world to celebrate the best of country music.

Housed in the Grand Ole Opry House since 1974, the Opry offers a unique live music experience that blends a mix of new stars, superstars, and legends of country music. Unlike a typical concert, the Opry presents eight or more artists on each show, giving the audience a sample of each artist’s musical style.

The Grand Ole Opry also holds the distinction of being a live radio program. Listeners can still tune in on the Opry's home radio station, 650 AM WSM, to hear live performances, just as they did when the show began a century ago.

Visitors to the Opry House can take a backstage tour and get a behind-the-scenes look at the world's most famous country music venue. The tour guides visitors through the artists' entrance, the dressing rooms, and onto the stage itself, all while sharing stories from the Opry's rich history.

Whether you're a diehard country music fan or a casual listener, a visit to the Grand Ole Opry is a must when in Nashville. It's more than just a music venue; it's a piece of living history, carrying on the traditions of the past while showcasing the country music stars of today and tomorrow.

If you take a tour, try to take the last one on the night of a show because then you can see the tour bus pull in, artists check in and go into their dressing rooms and warm up on stage.
General Jackson Riverboat

3) General Jackson Riverboat

The General Jackson Riverboat offers a unique and nostalgic experience that harks back to the golden age of showboats on American rivers. Named after the historic riverboat built in 1817, which itself was named in honor of Andrew Jackson, the modern General Jackson serves as a captivating attraction on the Cumberland River.

Originally part of the Opryland USA theme park, the General Jackson found new life when the park closed its doors in 1997. It continues to operate as a showboat, docking at Pennington Bend near the Opry Mills shopping center. This location places it in close proximity to the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, further enhancing its appeal as a must-visit destination for visitors to Nashville.

The General Jackson Riverboat faithfully recreates the grandeur and charm of 19th-century showboats. It serves as a venue for various shows and cruises throughout the primary season, which typically runs from March to December. Guests can enjoy a range of performances, with country music taking center stage—reflecting the renowned musical tradition of the Opry. However, the entertainment offerings go beyond country music, featuring variety musicals and gospel performances as well.

While the General Jackson Riverboat is based in Nashville, it occasionally ventures beyond its home port. In October 2006, the riverboat participated in the Tall Stacks riverboat heritage festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, showcasing its cultural significance and adding to its storied history.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

4) Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville is a renowned destination that offers a luxurious and captivating experience for visitors. Originally opened on November 24, 1977, the resort was built to support the nearby Grand Ole Opry, an iconic Nashville country-music institution.

Over the years, the Gaylord Opryland Resort has undergone several expansions and enhancements, transforming it into a world-class destination. The original hotel boasted 580 guest rooms and a magnificent ballroom. The Magnolia Lobby, designed to resemble a grand Southern mansion, welcomed guests with its impressive staircase and a stunning Tiffany-style chandelier, creating an ambiance of elegance and sophistication.

The resort expanded between 1983 and 1984 and a Garden Conservatory was introduced, reminiscent of a Victorian garden. This enchanting atrium, maintained at a constant temperature of 71 degrees, became home to more than 10,000 plants, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere.

In 1988, another expansion took place. The highlight of this expansion was the creation of the Cascades Atrium, featuring a breathtaking 3.5-story waterfall and over 8,000 tropical plants. The cascading waters and lush greenery transported guests into a tranquil oasis, offering a refreshing and immersive experience.

One of the most distinctive features of the Gaylord Opryland Resort is the Cajun-themed Delta Atrium. This atrium houses a quarter-mile-long indoor river, which guests can explore on flatboats. As they traverse the river, they pass by a mesmerizing water feature with choreographed jets that dance to music. The Delta Atrium's captivating atmosphere, along with the enchanting Delta Fountain Shows, which run every evening between 6 pm and 9 pm, captivate visitors with their stunning displays of water and music. These performances are a testament to the resort's commitment to providing unique and unforgettable experiences for guests.
Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs

5) Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs

Located conveniently across the street from Opryland, the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs stands as a prominent and captivating destination for visitors to Music City. Combining the allure of a souvenir store with the intrigue of a museum, this establishment pays homage to the iconic artist Willie Nelson while also celebrating the companions who played pivotal roles in shaping the modern form of country music.

As you step inside, you'll find yourself immersed in a world of music history and memorabilia. The museum section offers a captivating tour through the life and career of Willie Nelson, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of his immense impact on the genre. Exhibits are carefully curated, showcasing a wide range of artifacts, including personal items, stage costumes, instruments, photographs, and awards. The museum doesn't limit itself to solely showcasing Willie Nelson's legacy; it also celebrates the artists and friends who influenced and collaborated with him throughout his career.

However, the experience doesn't end with the museum tour. Adjacent to the exhibition area, you'll discover the general store, which boasts an extensive selection of souvenirs and merchandise. Whether you're a die-hard Willie Nelson fan, a lover of country music, or simply seeking a unique keepsake from your time in Nashville, the store has something to offer everyone. From t-shirts and hats adorned with Willie Nelson's likeness to CDs, vinyl records, posters, and more, you'll find a treasure trove of memorabilia that embodies the spirit of Nashville and country music.

The Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs provides a one-of-a-kind experience that seamlessly blends education, entertainment, and the opportunity to bring home a piece of music history.
Cooter's Place

6) Cooter's Place

Cooter's Place, affectionately known as Cooter's, is a collection of three museums in the United States dedicated to showcasing memorabilia from the beloved American action comedy TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard. These museums are named after Cooter Davenport, a prominent character from the show, and are operated by none other than Ben Jones, who portrayed Cooter.

Located in Nashville, one of the Cooter's Place museums offers fans and visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the world of The Dukes of Hazzard. This Nashville location houses a remarkable array of iconic vehicles from the show. Among the featured attractions are Cooter's tow truck, affectionately referred to as "the wrecker," Daisy's Jeep, Rosco's patrol car, and yet another replica of the famous General Lee car that became an iconic symbol of the series.

Stepping into Cooter's Place in Nashville is like taking a nostalgic trip back to Hazzard County. Fans of The Dukes of Hazzard can admire these legendary vehicles up close and personal, experiencing the excitement and charm of the show firsthand. The museum not only pays homage to the beloved series but also celebrates the enduring cultural impact it has had on audiences around the world.

Operated by Ben Jones, who is known for his role as Cooter in The Dukes of Hazzard, Cooter's Place in Nashville provides an authentic and immersive experience for fans of the show. Visitors can explore the exhibits, marvel at the vehicles, and soak in the atmosphere of Hazzard County. The museum serves as a tribute to the show's rich history and the characters that captured the hearts of millions.

Whether you're a longtime fan of The Dukes of Hazzard or simply curious about this iconic TV series, Cooter's Place in Nashville offers an opportunity to indulge in nostalgia and celebrate the enduring spirit of the show.
Caney Fork River Valley Grille

7) Caney Fork River Valley Grille

The Caney Fork River Valley Grille stands as the premier restaurant attraction in Nashville, offering a one-of-a-kind Southern camp-style barbecue experience. Renowned for its mouthwatering ribs, exceptional service, captivating decor, and lively atmosphere, it has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

As you step into the Caney Fork River Valley Grille, you'll be greeted by a vibrant and fun ambiance. The restaurant's interesting decor adds a unique touch to the dining experience, immersing guests in a lively and spirited atmosphere that perfectly complements the Southern camp-style concept.

The menu at Caney Fork is a haven for food enthusiasts, particularly those with a penchant for barbecue. The restaurant takes pride in serving the best ribs in Nashville, which are renowned for their succulent, fall-off-the-bone tenderness. However, the culinary offerings go beyond ribs, featuring an array of unique dishes that cater to a variety of taste preferences. Sink your teeth into their jumbo fried catfish, indulge in thick, juicy burgers, savor the flavorful chicken wings, or satisfy your sweet tooth with the amazing fried Twinkie dessert. Moreover, Caney Fork has recently earned the distinction of being the #1 restaurant for Wild Game in Tennessee, showcasing their commitment to offering a diverse and exciting dining experience.

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