623 7th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Third Man Records, the Nashville outpost of musician Jack White’s record label and store, is hard to define. It’s both a retail outlet for vinyl and offices for his label, sure, but it also includes a “novelty lounge” with coin-operated video jukeboxes and whimsical contraptions. What draws the crowds, though, is Third Man’s music venue (decked out with curved blue walls adorned with taxidermy), which regularly holds live performances, shows movies, and hosts record-release events. Visitors also can step into the tiny Record Booth, a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine, to record up to two minutes of audio that they can take home on a 6-inch phonograph disc.
2120 8th Avenue South
This famed guitar shop opened in 1970 and recently relocated from downtown to this space on 8th Ave. It’s where you’ll find an enormous range of equipment from starter guitars to a 1940 Stromberg Master 400 owned by Freddie Green in the Count Basie Orchestra and still strung with Freddie strings. Even if you don’t play, this place is worth a visit.
116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219, USA
After the Grand Ole Opry left the Ryman Auditorium, country legend Roy Acuff said the redbrick building with its Gothic arches and stained glass windows might as well be torn down. The Ryman had been home to performances and broadcasts since the 1940s, but it was in poor condition and lacked air-conditioning and proper dressing rooms. Fortunately, its legacy as “The Mother Church of Country Music” prevailed and, after years of sitting practically empty, the auditorium was renovated and began hosting shows once again. Originally built as a church, the grand hall has spectacular acoustics and a lingering magic in its pews from all those years spent witnessing country music history. A trip here is practically obligatory when visiting the Music City.
2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA
The radio show that made country music famous, the Grand Ole Opry aired its first broadcast in 1925 and continues to entertain music lovers to this day. Held weekly, the show involves a fast-moving, rotating cast of musicians performing onstage, with past guests including legends like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. It moved from the Ryman Auditorium downtown to this eponymous, purpose-built theater in 1974, and while you won’t find much else in the area, a trek to the Opry is a Nashville tradition worth indulging.