Nashville is now the fastest growing city in America, attracting not just music lovers, but a diverse population from many other walks of life. The city is known by many flattering nicknames (in a recent blog we discussed one as the “Athens of the South”). But one cannot ignore Nashville’s reputation and heritage for music—hence “Music City, USA.” That immediately brings to mind such renowned attractions as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Grand Ole Opry that draw in plenty of tourists as the must-see sights in Nashville. In that previous blog we presented the Parthenon. Here is the rundown of the other five must-see attractions perfectly suited as event venues.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Music and history lovers can mix and mingle over the exhibits found at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. As an event venue, your guests can peruse the plaques dedicated to country music's best-known names and walk among artifacts like Jimmie Rodgers' guitar and Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac limo. Cocktails in hand, your group can admire browse the two-story wall plastered with every gold and platinum country record produced, and then head to Studio B. One of the world's most influential recording studios and a Music Row Landmark, Studio B produced more than 35,000 songs by legends like Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. For a history lesson on the roots and evolution of country music, your group can walk through the "Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music" exhibit, which spans two floors of the museum.
Grand Ole Opry
It was this radio show, which began broadcasting in the 1920s, that put Nashville on the map as the "Country Music Capital of the World." Although its venue has changed over the years, the Grand Ole Opry continues to host top country performers. And a trip to Nashville isn't complete without stopping by the Grand Ole Opry House for a tour to look back through the ages. Your guests will get a behind-the-scenes look with a daytime backstage tour or a post-show VIP tour.
There's no better place to start absorbing Nashville's musical heritage than the Ryman Auditorium. It's no longer home to the Grand Ole Opry, but the auditorium continues to host well-known contemporary acts. GMS can arrange for a private tour to show your group behind-the-scenes glimpse of the legendary music venue. Sit in on the "Soul of Nashville" screening for a multidimensional experience that uses archival images and footage of performers from the Ryman's past to illustrate its role in music history. Plus, the group can learn about the auditorium's backstory with its "Workin' on a Building" exhibit, which displays artifacts from the Ryman's construction. What's more, your participants can test out their own pipes at the Ryman's recording studio and record a CD to take home as a souvenir.
While a tour of the Ryman Auditorium is informative, your group may find it more enlightening by enjoying a concert there (that can be organized exclusively for your group).
The Johnny Cash Museum
Uncover the enigma behind The Man in Black with a visit to The Johnny Cash Museum. The museum, which opened in April 2013, boasts the world's largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia, including films, handwritten notes and letters penned by Cash himself along with more than 25 costumes made famous during the music legend's career. Exhibits spotlight different periods in Cash's life, including his years in the Air Force, his marriage to June Carter and his famous prison concert tour. And because the museum is officially endorsed by the Cash family, the group is bound to stumble across other personal mementos not available to the public anywhere else, like a stone wall excavated from Johnny and June's Hendersonville Lake House that's been repurposed into one of the exhibits. The museum makes a perfect venue for a cocktail party even if some participants may not be Johnny Cash fans.
Belle Meade Plantation
Constructed in 1853 in a breathtaking Greek Revival style, the Belle Meade Plantation is known as the "Queen of the Tennessee Plantations." At the center of the plantation is the mansion (its columns are peppered with bullet holes from the Civil War). Your group can just have a tour of the mansion's antebellum-style interior or have a cocktail party or dinner there. Your guests are invited to explore the grounds, which are home to the country's first and best thoroughbred breeding farms as well as the renowned Iroquois Steeplechase, the oldest in the United States, or we could arrange for a picnic for the group on the grounds.
Whether or not your group is a music fan, Nashville now has a wealth of venues for that memorable incentive program. Let GMS put together a custom-tailored program for your next incentive trip.