It should come as no surprise that in a place nicknamed Music City, you’ll find plenty of spots to catch amazing live music. Not only can you sit and enjoy tunes from independent songwriters and musicians in smaller Nashville bars and clubs, you can catch shows from the biggest names in music at one of these concert venues. All of these places will give you a top notch musical experience.
What started as the Union Gospel Tabernacle under the direction of Nashville businessman Thomas G. Ryman is now a live music venue that was named to honor its founder. In 1943, the Grand Ole Opry found a home at the Ryman, where it took residence for nearly 31 years. The live radio and television show featured guests and performers like Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Ryman is known as the “Mother Church” of country music and continues to host legendary musical performances by artists across several genres.
Not only is the Wildhorse one of the best places to hear live music in Nashville, it’s also a great place to sign up for free line-dancing lessons. With 66,000 square feet and three stories of seating and entertainment, you won’t be bored at The Wildhorse. The venue hosts events large and small, showcasing a range of local artists and national touring ones. Inside is a gift shop, as well as a bar and restaurant; and, for extra kicks, you can snap a photo with one of the many horse statues while you wait for the biggest names in music to hit the stage.
Marathon Music Works in Nashville | (c) Alexandra Justice
There’s more than just music here. An hour before doors open, the bar and lounge serves food and drinks. Those 21 and over with access to Tito’s Lounge can also enjoy table beverage service and a side stage view from the elevated platform. William Collier’s is also open an hour prior, providing guests with cozy couches and entry to the back patio. This area is available to rent for private events. Both of these spaces are connected to the venue, allowing for an open and welcoming atmosphere.
The world-famous Opry started as a radio broadcast in 1925. Once housed at the Ryman Auditorium, it took up residence at the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974. Some of the Opry’s first performers were Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl and Ernest Tubb, who helped the venue earn the name of the “country’s most famous stage.” It currently hosts shows featuring country music legends, as well as contemporary artists; they are all broadcast on Nashville’s 650 AM WSM, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and on opry.com.
Built in 1925, you’ll find the multi-purpose auditorium directly in front of the Tennessee State Capitol. It functions as a concert hall, wedding venue, filming location and graduation commencement site. Several live albums have been recorded here on the crescent-shaped stage.
A band rocking out at Rocketown | (c) Austin Fuller/Rocketown
Christian music artist Michael W. Smith founded the venue in 1994 as a faith-based youth outreach facility. There is the live music stage, as well as the Sixth Avenue Skatepark, a coffee and snack bar and after school enrichment programs. These programs take a holistic approach to working with young people, focused on nurturing the mind, body and spirit.
Enjoy outdoor concerts at this venue located right on the Cumberland Riverfront downtown. Various performances by regional and world-renowned artists are held all year. Lawn seating is available with the purchase of general admission tickets and is first come, first served. Reserved seating is on the floor in certain sections and VIP box seating is located between the lawn and reserved seating areas. The venue can also be rented for special and private events.
The same couple that owns Dolan’s Bar & Grill also owns Nashville’s newest outdoor concert venue. In addition to hosting live music on two stages, there will be eight concession stands, four patios and a picnic area for guests to enjoy food and drinks all week. The farm, also known as Arrington Venue, will be available to rent for special events and will feature activities like cornhole, mini-golf and horseshoes.