I’m interrupting my series of posts about eating in Nashville to tell you about some good spots to visit while you’re in town.

Nashville’s a great city for visitors because so many destinations are within walking distance of each other. You’ll have an even more carefree tourist experience if you register for one of the ASAE tours on Saturday afternoon, August 9, or Tuesday afternoon, August 12. I’m signed up for the “Behind the Music City: Be a Star for a Day” tour on Tuesday. Here’s where we’re going if you want to plan a copycat itinerary.

Some of the biggest names in country have recorded their hits at the Historic RCA Studio B on Music Row. When I was in Nashville in May, we drove down Music Row on our way to or from somewhere. Even though I knew Nashville was Music City, it really hits home when you see all the offices for labels, publishers and other music industry businesses.

I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on that trip but I’m glad I’m going again. As my friend (and Nashville resident) Teri Carden of ReviewMyAMS.com says, “It’s better than it sounds.” She’s right. The museum is packed full of cool stuff – instruments, stage costumes and personal belongings along with video and audio clips and a “well-tuned look-back on country stars’ musical, social, and political impact on America and the world.”

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The Ryman
(photo by Cliff/Flickr CC license)

Nearby is the mother church of country music, the Ryman Auditorium, or as they call it around here, the Ryman. This National Historic Landmark opened in 1892. With its wooden pews and stained-glass windows, you may recognize it as the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Don’t miss the collection of Hatch Show Print posters in the corridor at the back side of the auditorium. Your can take a backstage tour and even record your own hit in the recording studio.

I’m looking most forward to visiting the Johnny Cash Museum. Sue Holzer, executive director of the Society of Interventional Radiology, visited the museum after the digitalNow conference.

“I had a two hour window before my flight and was walking by the Country Music Hall of Fame when I opted to follow the signpost to the Johnny Cash Museum. It did not disappoint. Much like the man in black, it’s located behind an unassuming store front. The museum showcases both his life and music. Displays range from school report cards, to show outfits, and even a few guitars; plus, you get a good fix of audio and video footage throughout the years.

“It can take you anywhere between 30-60 minutes to tour the entire museum, and it’s easy to go at your own pace. I’m a big fan, so I can’t say I learned anything I didn’t already know. But it was the perfect history break I wanted. And I did bring home the perfect souvenirs.”

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Photo by John Fischer/Flickr CC license

If you haven’t yet had your fill of music history, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is located on the first floor of the Historic Nashville Municipal Auditorium. It celebrates the musicians and session players who played with famous rock, country and Motown artists.

Another intriguing spot is the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and General Store – “the oldest, continuously operated country music artist museum and souvenir shop in Nashville.”

If you ever dreamed of seeing the Parthenon, you don’t have to go to Greece, you can visit a full-scale reproduction in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Once the centerpiece for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, it now houses an art museum and a 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena, the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world.

Teri recommends chilling on Bicentennial Mall with its “very well done Tennessee history wall, bigger than life granite map of the state, fountains and ahhhhmazing view of the capitol.” She suggests going first to the nearby Nashville Farmers Market to “grab fresh sushi, a gyro or the best best cheesecake in the world from the small vendor, Charlie’s Mini Cheesecakes.”

If you’re bringing your family, she says, “The Nashville Zoo is a little trek from downtown but it has the best playground I’ve ever experienced. The science center is well done too. My kids love it over and over again.”

For baseball fans, Teri says, “This may be one of your last chances to see the stadium where the minor league team, The Sounds, plays. A new stadium is going in downtown in the next couple years. The games are fun despite the low attendance. You’re sure to catch a fly ball–we caught three at one game!”

If you’ve been to Nashville, which touristy spots do you recommend?

Next up — craft cocktails in Nashville!

This is the third in a series of posts about Nashville for ASAE Annual Meeting attendees. Thanks to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, I received complimentary registration and accommodations during the 2014 digitalNow conference – giving me an excuse to spend more of my money on Southern food and craft cocktails.