Nashville's Most Legendary Music Venues

Nashville is a dream destination for music lovers who are spoilt for choice when it comes to live gigs.

Date Posted: February 20, 2022



The Ryman stained glass windows

Inside the Ryman Auditorium

From Dolly Parton’s “Down on Music Row”, to Hank Williams “The Nashville Scene” to Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” no city in America or perhaps even the world has inspired more legendary artists to write and record music. The heart of this is, of course, the legendary venues—large and small—where the musicians go to rock. Below find a list of some of our favorites that have stood the test of time. You may even be surprised at what you find.

Places displayed in geographic order

  • 1. Grand Ole Opry House
  • 2. Ryman Auditorium
  • 3. War Memorial Auditorium
  • 4. Station Inn
  • 5. EXIT/IN
  • 6. The Bluebird Cafe
1. Grand Ole Opry House
Neighborhood: Music Valley

In 1974 the Grand Ole Opry radio program moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the newly built Grand Ole Opry House. The Opry House seats 4,372 almost double that of the Ryman and carries on the Ryman’s style of wooden pews and full balcony seating making it seem like a little big sister to the Opry’s former home. The Venue is next to a mall “Opry Mills” and a luxury hotel “Gaylord Opryland” both of which were built because of the Grand Ole Opry’s move.

2. Ryman Auditorium
Neighborhood: Downtown

The Ryman Auditorium also known as “The Mother Church of Country Music” is the original venue of the Grand Ole Opry and since 1892 has been one of Music City’s most iconic places. From Hank Williams to Johnny Cash and beyond anyone whose been anyone over the last century of music has at one time or another performed at this legendary venue. The Ryman is filled with long wooden church-like pews and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Seeing a concert here is basically like having a religious experience.

3. War Memorial Auditorium
Neighborhood: Downtown

War Memorial Auditorium is a beautifully built 2000 sq. foot concert hall in downtown Nashville. Built in 1925, the outside of the Auditorium has large columns and walls which mimic the neo-classical architecture of the Tennessee State Capitol which is right next door. Inside, the venue is just as beautiful as out with high ceilings painted in an art-deco style, a large wooden stage and an open floor area which accommodates guests that want to sit or stand.

4. Station Inn
Neighborhood: The Gulch

Nashville’s famous Station Inn first opened their doors in 1974 and has been many pickers favorite place ever since. This iconic venue doesn’t mess around with expensive furnishings or crazy lights, all there is is a bar, a stage, a bunch of picnic tables and the incredible music which has given Station Inn its reputation for years and years. On Sunday nights, Station Inn hosts a world-famous bluegrass jam which attracts the best musicians in Nashville.

Neighborhood: West End

EXIT/IN on Nashville’s Elliston Place is one of America’s great small music venues. Since 1971 the crowds have packed in year round 5+ days a week and helped build a tradition of crowd surfing and debauchery that the EXIT/IN stakes its name to. Inside, theres a hypnotizing wall which from floor to ceiling displays the names of artists and bands that have played here over the years.

6. Bluebird Cafe
Neighborhood: Green Hills

Opened in 1982 the Bluebird Cafe has quickly risen to become one of the world’s most famous music venues. The Bluebird is where superstars such as Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift were discovered and it’s said that every night talent scouts and industry professionals are in the audience waiting to discover music’s next big thing. The Bluebird is an extremely small and intimate venue which enables the audience to be within feet of the artists while they’re performing.

Know of a legendary venue we missed?
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