Nashville is known for its deep musical heritage, which spans all genres of music from gospel to pop to country. Holding tight to dreams of becoming a star, artists – musicians, singers and songwriters – from around the world make their journey to the Music City every day. Some rise to fame while others return home with empty pockets and broken dreams.

While every artist has his or her own story, Nashville has contributed to the stories of such greats as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks. The list is long and continues to grow.

Do you ever wonder what sights, sounds and experiences these hopeful artists seek out on their Nashville journey to fame? While we are often given a glimpse through song lyrics or interviews on TV and radio, walking in the shoes of some of the greatest musicians in history is the only way to experience their journey.

Put on your cowboy boots and get ready to go in search of the dream to become a country music star! The Essential Guide to Finding Your Inner Nashville Star will lead the way!


microphoneStep Up to the Iconic Microphone and Perform at the Grand Ole Opry

2804 Opryland Drive

From roots that span a live radio show broadcast over 650 WSM-AM to the original WSM Barn Dance, the Grand Ole Opry has been an artist’s dream destination for over 90 years. Most artists believe that they haven’t ‘made it’ until they perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Over time, the Opry has been housed in different locations; however, the spirit of the show remains strong to it’s country music roots.  The Grand Ole Opry, which connects generations of performers and fans, is a staple of the Nashville music scene.

Get the Experience:

  • Attend a live performance of legendary and up-and-coming stars
  • Go on a backstage tour
  • Take a selfie with the iconic Opry microphone
  • Soak in 90 years of music history


country bandWin CMA ‘Entertainer of the Year’ at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

222 5th Avenue, South



In an effort to promote and preserve the genre, the Country Music Association (CMA) began inducting members in 1958. Each year, the organization hosts a nationally-televised award show to recognize top leaders, artists and contributors in the field of country music. Every artist dreams of being recognized as the ‘CMA Entertainer of the Year.’

CMA leaders recognized the need to preserve history, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was chartered by the Country Music Foundation in 1964. The goal of the museum is to collect and preserve artifacts and document country music history through interactive exhibits and displays.

The Country Music Association is a family of collective talent and the best that country music has to offer. Membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame is considered the highest honor an artist can receive.

Get the Experience:

  • Tour interactive exhibits and displays
  • Eat lunch (variety of options and price ranges available)
  • Shop for books, music and local goods
  • Visit the Hall of Fame Rotunda to view the names of all inductees


Young Woman Singing in Studio Cut a Record at the Ryman Auditorium

Known as the ‘Mother Church of Country Music,’ the Ryman originally opened in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. In 1904, the structure was renamed the Ryman Auditorium after Nashville businessman, Thomas Ryman. Although the Ryman was built to be a house of worship, debt plagued the property, so the space was rented out for local events. In 1943, it became home to the Grand Ole Opry.

Some of the biggest stars in country music have graced the stage of the Ryman, and the Grand Ole Opry radio show was heard from the Ryman until 1974. Minnie Pearl, a favorite of the times, cried on stage during the final show.

The auditorium has been the set for several motion pictures and television shows, including Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), Sweet Dreams (1985), and the hit TV series, Nashville.

Get the Experience:

  • Tour the Ryman Auditorium
  • Eat lunch
  • Visit the recording studio and cut your own record
  • Shop for fashion looks of the stars of the hit television show, Nashville


honkytonkhighwayPlay Music Under the Bright Lights of Honky Tonk Highway!

300 – 500 Broadway



Located in the Broadway Historic District, the Honky Tonk Highway is home to historic clubs such as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Stage and Legends Corner. Many legendary country music stars got their start in the bars and clubs in this area, which makes it a destination stop for all artists rolling into Nashville. On any given night, the clubs and bars are filled with artists hoping to be discovered.

Several movies have filmed scenes on Honky Tonk Highway including Country Strong (2010), and Honkytonk Man (1982).

Live music is available daily in over a dozen establishments. There is no cover charge; however, the bands welcome tips. The ‘over-21 rule’ is enforced after 9 pm. Photo credit:

Get the Experience:

  • Tour the famous Honky Tonk Row on Broadway
  • Visit a legendary nightclub
  • Take a selfie on stage
  • Listen to up-and-coming artists
  • Eat dinner


bluebirdShowcase Your Song Writing Talent at the Bluebird Café

4104 Hillsboro Pike

If you’re a songwriter, your Nashville goal is to play The Bird! The Bluebird Café features a songwriter’s showcase in an intimate setting. The venue, which holds 90 people, has been part of the music scene since 1982. In 2008, the establishment was purchased by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, which is a not-for-profit organization. To ensure quality in the performances, musicians are invited to quarterly auditions. Musicians set up in ‘the round’ and perform within an arms-length of the audience.

All genres are covered at the Bluebird, including country, pop, rock and contemporary Christian. Some of country music’s biggest names also got their start at the Bluebird Café, including Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kathy Mattea and Kenny Chesney. Sometimes, stars will show up to play with the artists. If you get lucky, you might catch one of these performances!

Note: No reservations needed for Sunday and Monday nights – first-come, first-serve. Reservations should be made online ( one week in advance for the remaining nights of the week. Photo credit:

Get the Experience:

  • Listen to songwriters perform their original songs
  • Eat dinner (appetizers and sandwiches – $10-$20)
  • Take a notebook and write your own song lyrics
  • Shop for Bluebird gifts

The collaboration and friendship opportunities built through these experiences are vital to the career of a rising star. Now that you’ve experienced them for yourself, you can say that you’ve found your inner Nashville star!

If you haven’t registered for #SCTF2016, click here! We look forward to meeting you in Nashville!