Things to Do at Music Valley in Nashville

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, will impress you
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, will impress you | © Randy Duchaine / Alamy Stock Photo
Nick Dauk

Whether you spend a night at the palatial Gaylord Opryland Resort or just stop by for a show at the Grand Ole Opry, any time spent in Nashville would be incomplete without a trip to the legendary Music Valley in Tennessee. You can always rock out in Downtown Nashville, but tune your ear a little to the east, and you might hear a different sound coming from Music Valley. 10mi (16km) from the center of the city, the Cumberland River winds its way around Opryland, embracing the flow of soundwaves coming from the best country music acts on the planet. Bring your boots over to this iconic neighborhood, and fall into step with the locals at these chart-topping attractions.

Sip syrah at Amber Falls Winery

Tennessee may be famous for its whiskey, but we guarantee you’ll remember the area for its vino after a stop at Amber Falls Winery. Noticing a faint resemblance of a Bordeaux in every sip? That’s because the vineyard’s geography in nearby Hampshire is very similar to the famed region in France. No need to venture all the way out to Hampshire for a taste, though: the Amber Falls Winery is right inside the Opry Mills Mall.

Stop by Cooter’s from The Dukes of Hazzard

Cooter’s Place on Music Valley Drive, Tennessee, USA.

See what trouble the Duke Brothers are getting into now at Cooter’s. Owned by Cooter himself, this museum pays homage to the classic TV show with a trunk full of memorabilia, props and more. The General Lee sits parked next to Rosco’s Patrol Car and Cooter’s Tow Truck, giving you a few awesome photo ops (Daisy Duke’s optional). You won’t spend a cent entering this museum, though we have a feeling you might lay down a few dimes for collectibles from the gift shop.

Grab a burger and loaded tots from Semper Sliders

Let’s talk about tots, specifically the loaded tots at Semper Sliders. Served up with everything from pulled pork to grilled chicken and blue-cheese dressing, one order of these tots is enough to turn you into a couch potato for the rest of the day. Before you polish off those potatoes, save a little room for a Semper Slider or two. The vegetarian-friendly Hippy Tripster and the savory Swiss Army Cow will convince you to fall back into formation for seconds.

Watch the Delta Fountain Show

Rain, sleet or snow, the dazzling Delta Fountain Shows run every evening like clockwork. Wade into the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, and settle in for two wet and wondrous performances. The Aqua Fountain Show’s commanding features will flood you with amazement, while the International Waters Fountain Show dances to the beat of global music. These performances occur on the hour between 6pm and 9pm inside the Delta Atrium, within walking distance of all the attractions in Music Valley.

Catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is not just a venue; it’s a living piece of United States history. Beyond the legendary musicians that come to mind, presidents, actors, athletes and more have performed on this stage over the last century. No matter which shows you arrive for, you’re in for a history-making night. Don’t just settle for spectating either; take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, and snap a showstopping photo standing in the stage’s famous circle.

Marvel at the towering indoor waterfall

At the world-famous Gaylord Opryland Resort, waterfalls are not an exclusively outdoor phenomenon. In fact, right inside the hotel at the Cascades Atrium, you will find a 44ft-tall (13m) waterfall that will make you wonder why you ever considered hiking over hills to find an outdoor cascade. Spend a few moments taking in this truly unique indoor attraction.

Browse the shops at Opry Mills

Roughly half a mile (0.8km) away from the Opryland is the largest outlet mall in the Tennessee area: Opry Mills. This massive indoor shopping mall, located on the grounds of the former Opryland USA amusement park, is home to over 200 different stores, an impressive food court and a Regal IMAX movie theater. Fuel up at Mission BBQ, as you’ll need the energy to pace through this enormous complex. Bored of shopping? Head to Madame Tussauds, and snap a selfie with Jonny Cash (the wax version, sorry).

Watch a live broadcast of the Midnite Jamboree

The second-longest running broadcast in history is the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree, which is hosted at the Texas Troubadour Theatre. If you happen to find yourself in Music Valley at 10pm on a Saturday, you can be a part of the live audience. Attending the live tapings – and watching history unfold before you – is free of charge and well worth the late-night start time. Be sure to check out the show’s website for the list of artists scheduled to perform each week.

Take a ride on the General Jackson Showboat

The General Jackson showboat berthed on the Cumberland River and Nissan Stadium in the background Nashville Tennessee USA.

Rock and roll down the Cumberland River with General Jackson Showboat cruises. Hop aboard right outside of the Opry Mills Mall, and spend the night singing along to the iconic songs written by Tennessee’s country music legends. You can book an afternoon or evening cruise on a whim, but we encourage you to set a course for a special holiday sailing. The boat gets rocking even harder on New Year’s Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July.

Visit the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs

Right across the street from Opryland sits the largest (and perhaps most interesting) souvenir store in Nashville. Doubling as a museum, the Willie Nelson and Friends is devoted to honoring the legacy of the great artist, along with the companions who helped this megastar turn country music into its modern form. Take a tour through the museum, or browse the enormous selection of Willie Nelson, Nashville and country music souvenirs at the general store.

Katie Miller contributed additional reporting to this article.

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