Nashville is a great place to live – big and dynamic enough to find plenty to do in, but not big enough to get overwhelmed by. The captivating music industry, world-class cultural offerings, top-tier sports teams, and flourishing business climate are balanced by Southern charm, slower pace, and scenic beauty.
Long known as “The Athens of the South,” Nashville is rightfully proud of its strong and varied cultural life and history. The Parthenon in Centennial Park, a full-scale replica of the original Athenian structure, houses an art and history museum. Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Fine Arts Center, the Hermitage (home of President Andrew Jackson), the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Carter House (at the site of the Civil War Battle of Franklin), the Tennessee State Museum and Archives, and many other museums and historic sites offer the chance for exciting adventures and exploration.
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which opened in Nashville in April, 2001, is a 125,000-square-foot exhibition facility with more than 24,000 square feet of gallery space. The Center is located in Nashville’s historic main post office, a city landmark that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The Frist Center presents outstanding visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) is home to four professional companies – the Nashville Opera Association, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and Nashville Ballet — and a community theatre group. TPAC welcomes a wide variety of touring Broadway productions and artists, and acts as a nexus of performing arts energy in the city.
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, named in honor of the late Maestro Kenneth Schermerhorn who led the Nashville Symphony for 22 years, opened in September of 2006 and is home to the critically acclaimed Nashville Symphony. The Nashville Symphony perform more than 100 classical, pops and special concert events each season and will present recitals, choral concerts, cabaret, jazz and world music events.
Over the last half-century, Nashville has nurtured its identity as “Music City, USA,” a prime tourist destination that welcomes eight million visitors annually. At Opryland USA, you’ll find the Opry House, home of Nashville’s world-famous Grand Ole Opry. Broadcast live every Saturday night for more than 60 years, the Opry sprang from Appalachia’s bluegrass/gospel heritage and grew into a mecca for country-music fans and performers alike. Music Row is home to recording studios, music publishers, and major record labels such as Warner Bros., RCA, Sony, and Arista.
On May 17, 2001, Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame opened in its new location in the heart of downtown Nashville. Originally located on Nashville’s Music Row, the Hall of Fame and Museum has been the home of America’s music since 1967. The colossal new $37 million structure is a world-class facility that honors the cultural significance of the music and the heroic achievements of those who form its membership.
While Nashville is renowned primarily for country and gospel music, the city’s entire music scene is bustling and alive. Whether you prefer acoustic sound in intimate coffee shops or festivals at Riverfront Park, you can satisfy your musical palate somewhere in Nashville. Almost every night, Nashville’s music clubs host nationally known performers, acclaimed local artists, songwriters’ nights, and “open mic” shows for the aspiring artists who gravitate to the city. (Celebrities often drop in to catch each other’s shows.) In addition to country music performers, many jazz, fusion, R&B, rock, and classical artists make their homes and their music in Nashville and often perform at local venues.
In the area surrounding Nashville, opportunities abound for outdoor recreation, from hiking and spelunking to canoeing, sailing, swimming, fishing, golf, tennis, horseback riding and bicycling. Nashville Greenways weave through the entire city with paved trails for running, walking, and biking, including the Richland Creek Greenway that skirts the Aquinas College campus. Just a short drive from campus are the twin Warner Parks that consist of over 2,500 acres of forest, field, hiking trails, and horseback riding trails. Radnor Lake also provides miles of hiking trails and features a scenic lake and a view of Nashville from the highest point in Davidson County. Further afield, the Great Smoky Mountains are only three hours east of Nashville by car; Chattanooga, with Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee Aquarium, is just two hours away.
Nashville is now a major sports city, too. The NFL Tennessee Titans played its first season in its new Nashville stadium in the Fall of 1999, and since the opening of the Bridgestone Arena in 1998, the Nashville Predators have been breaking NHL expansion team attendance records. The Nashville Sounds AAA baseball games are summertime favorites. Nashville is also a stop on the Senior PGA and LPGA tours.
If your interests are shopping and dining, you may wish to take advantage of Nashville’s eclectic restaurants and distinctive retail establishments. You’ll find Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, French, Cajun, German, Mexican, Korean, kosher-style, Italian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern restaurants. Others serve our regional delicacies: barbecue, catfish, and “meat-and-three.” You can plunge into an enormous shopping mall like Opry Mills, an upscale mall like the Mall at Green Hills or poke around intimate specialty shops in one of the many hip enclaves. Antique stores abound, as well as galleries that feature striking works by local artists.