Nashville is famous for its nightlife, Southern charm, and lively musical scene.
However, there is way more to Music City beyond cowboy boots and the bars on Broadway! The museums in Nashville offer plenty of opportunities for cultural enjoyment. Keep reading for the thirteen best Nashville museums worth a visit!
1. The Country Music Hall of Fame
A Nashville staple, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is home to more than 2.5 million priceless artifacts related to country music legends. Through in-person exhibits, digital content, publications, and educational initiatives, the museum teaches the enduring beauty and cultural importance of American country music.
Gallery collections include countless recordings, photographs, stage costumes, musical instruments, and more. This is a must-see for any country music lover, whether you’re a fan of the classic artists or the more modern country crowd!
2. Madame Tussauds Nashville
While there are Madame Tussauds galleries all over the globe, the Nashville museum edition focuses solely on singers, songwriters, and other lyrical legends who have helped shape the American musical landscape. Naturally, Music City makes a great home for this wax museum! Museum guests can explore themed rooms and check out the lifelike wax figures of over 50 musical icons!
From Elvis Presley to Katy Perry, you can snap a pic with your favorite celeb!
3. Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum is a world-class art museum located in downtown Nashville. Presenting an extensive collection of exhibits, from both local and international artists, The Frist is a great place for any art appreciator to spend an afternoon!
If you want to do more than look at art, why not create some? Inside The Frist is the award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery, an interactive learning environment with 30 art-making stations. Aspiring artists of all ages can dabble and learn more about drawing, animation, printmaking, and painting.
Make sure to check out the free live music on Thursday and Friday evenings!
4. Johnny Cash Museum
Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, The Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the life and musical career of renowned country star, Johnny Cash.
This museum features the world’s largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia. Items include stage costumes, instruments, personal letters, artwork and handwritten lyrics!
This is definitely an iconic spot for any classic country lovers. The prime downtown location means you can check out the museum, then stop in at a nearby bar for a drink and some live music!
5. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark was once home to President Andrew Jackson and his family. It is now one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States.
The all-encompassing property served as a living space, an office, and a place for entertaining for our former president. Believe it or not, it has actually been restored with most of Jackson’s original belongings. The mansions is also considered to be the most accurately preserved early presidential home in the country!
Guests can take tours through the 30+ historic buildings and flower gardens or take seasonal wagon tours. There are also various events year round, from weddings and wine tastings to book clubs and leadership summits.
6. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
This 1930s estate is favorite locale for Nashville natives and tourists alike. Cheekwood serves as a botanical garden and arboretum, over 55 acres of land. The property includes 12 gardens and a 1.5-mile woodland trail with modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures. Inside the mansion is a museum featuring historic rooms and art galleries, with over 7,000 works in the permanent collection!
7. Adventure Science Center
From outer space to tiny atoms, the Adventure Science Center showcases interactive learning experience and the wonders of science. Guests can experience simulated weightlessness and fly like an astronaut in Space Chase. Or they can check out the Virtual Reality Studio to see dinosaurs that once roamed our planet up close.
The Adventure Science Center is also home to the state-of-the-art Sudekum Planetarium! Guests of all ages can be swept away under the stars and explore landscapes in our galaxy and beyond!
8. Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The Musicians Hall of Fame honors musicians of all instruments and genres who have accomplished notable milestones in the music industry. Located within the museum and included in the admission price is the immersive GRAMMY Museum Gallery. Guests can see for themselves what goes on behind-the-scenes in a recording studio, from songwriting and recording to engineering and producing!
9. Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. If you’re a tri-star state fan, or just a history buff, this is the museum for you!
The museum features a “Tennessee Time Tunnel,” six permanent exhibition, a hands-on Children’s Gallery, and a digital learning center.
Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Museum
10. National Museum of African American Music
There’s no shortage of music museums and memorabilia in Nashville! For more cultural enrichment, check out the National Museum of African American Music. From classical to country, jazz and hip hop, the museum exhibits share the untold story of more than 50 music genres, as well as the role black artists played in shaping American music.
11. Hatch Show Print
Hatch Show Print is one of America’s oldest letterpress poster shops, operating since 1879. The shop produces original art, creating posters for entertainers to sports teams. Check out their stuff and maybe purchase a print of your own! It may be smaller than other Nashville museums, but it’s definitely worth a visit!
12. Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
Established in 1966, The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee’s sports heritage. With vintage uniforms and artifacts, the museum honors athletes, coaches, sportswriters, and administrators who have made an impact on Tennessee sports history. The Hall is located in Bridgestone Arena where the Nashville Predators hockey team plays.
13. The Patsy Cline Museum
Last, but certainly not least, is The Patsy Cline Museum. Though she passed away at 30 years old in 1963, Patsy Cline left a lasting imprint on country history. This Nashville museum celebrates the life of the legendary singer and features hundreds of exclusive artifacts and personal belongings.
As you can see, Nashville has plenty of museums that are worth a visit!
What is the best activity to try next after exploring the city’s history? Playing The Escape Game! There are three different locations, and exclusive games, around Nashville.