If you are one who likes music and all that goes into music, Tennessee is a great place to visit. Celebrate music history in Tennessee by visiting the state’s most iconic destinations for music lovers.
While Tennessee is known as the home of country music, fans of all genres can appreciate the musical significance and contributions from the many legendary artists, songwriters, and musicians that have called this state home. You can experience iconic musical landmarks, learn more about the history of your favorite genres, and connect with the stories of some music’s most legendary artists. Read on to plan your ultimate trip to celebrate music history in Tennessee.
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Where to Start
Tennessee is an amazing place to visit in general, but if it’s the music history you go there for it might be overwhelming as to where one starts or what you put on your to do list. Read on as I show you some of the highlights and places you should make sure to hit. Give yourself time at each place so you can celebrate music history in Tennessee to it’s fullest.
Start Here: Tennessee Music Pathway
Nearly all of Tennessee’s famous musical landmarks can be found on the “Tennessee Music Pathway.” The pathway winds through all 95 counties of the state and helps to connect you to the places and events that have made Tennessee the musical destination it is today. Take a trip down the pathway to see legendary artists’ hometowns, historic music venues, and fantastic museums dedicated to music. If you’re looking for a musical pilgrimage, look no further! You can find each of the following tours and destinations along the pathway.
Take A Walking Tour of Music History
Historic Music Row Walking Tour – Nashville
Take in 15 historic sites with a stroll down Music Row in Nashville, a one-mile stretch that features significant sites to music history (like the famous RCA Studio A & B)! Nashville is a popular destination in Tennessee and you’ll see why as you experience the sites, sounds, and destinations that earned Nashville the nickname “Music City.” Find more information here.
Cradle Of Country Music Walking Tour – Knoxville
While Nashville is a fantastic destination for appreciating music history, don’t miss out on Knoxville! Knoxville played an integral role in the development of country, blues, and jazz music and on this Knoxville walking tour, you can get a taste of its rich history. Explore the stories of Dolly Parton, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, and more on this self-guided tour of 15 destinations.
Visit Musical Royalty
Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
Graceland is undeniably one of the most iconic destinations for music lovers. Tour the lavish mansion where the King of Rock’N’Roll lived, including the famous Jungle Room and other glamorous rooms. Afterwards, venture over to Elvis Presley’s Memphis Experience for an even deeper look at the singer’s life. Immerse yourself in Elvis’ incredible career through hundreds of artifacts including stage costumes, cars, and military uniforms. No trip to Tennessee is complete without a stop at Graceland!
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
800 Highway 13 South, Hurricane Mills, TN 37078
Pay homage to the Queen of Country herself with a visit to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. You’ll find 3,000 acres of musical attractions and a backdrop of natural beauty. Try a tour of the ranch and then walk through the charming Western Town. You can also camp or stay in one of the on-site cabins like we did. Don’t forget to visit the Grist Mill Museum and Loretta’s Frontier Homestead!
Tina Turner Museum
121 Sunny Hill Cove, Brownsville, TN 38012
Tina Turner, the Queen of Rock’N’Roll, grew up in rural Tennessee and consequently, the museum in her tribute is a must-see. You can visit the one-room schoolhouse she attended as a young girl, which has been converted to a museum full of stage costumes, awards, and mementos from her life and career.
Explore Musical Legends
Dolly’s Chasing Rainbows Museum
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Dolly Parton is a beloved figure in Tennessee’s rich history and you can take a step into her world at the Chasing Rainbows museum. The museum is based around her life and career and features interactive behind-the-scenes collections, stories and memorabilia. Additionally, give yourself some time to kick back at the Dollywood Amusement Park where the museum is housed.
The Johnny Cash Museum
119 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201
If you are a fan of “The Man In Black,” you won’t want to miss the Johnny Cash Museum. In fact, this museum is ranked the #1 music museum by Forbes and Conde Nast. It features the largest and most complete collection of Johnny Cash artifacts in the world!
Legends Of Tennessee Music Museum
305 E College Street, Jackson, TN 38301
The Legends of Tennessee Music Museum is housed at the first-ever Hard Rock Cafe, so it’s the perfect home for learning more about Tennessee’s musical icons! Among the museum’s highlights: the largest collection of Carl Perkins’ memorabilia (Carl Perkins famously recorded at Sun Studios and you’ve probably heard his song, “Blue Suede Shoes”), including his first electric guitar, albums, signed records, and costumes. You can also learn about other notable artists like Tina Turner, Sonny Boy Williamson, W.S. Holland, and many other legends of music history in Tennessee.
Memphis Music Hall Of Fame
126 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103
If you love the blues, a visit to Memphis and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame is a must. At this museum, you can immerse yourself in the lives and stories of your favorite notable blues musicians. These artists shaped both their own genre and modern music, so you’re in for a treat as you explore interactive exhibits, legendary instruments, and rare memorabilia.
Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum
222 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN 37203
Where can you see more than two million musical artifacts? The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville! Among the artifacts at the museum are 500 musical instruments and nearly 2,000 pieces of clothing, accessories, and stage wear.
National African American Music Museum
510 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
After visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, head over to celebrate the vast contributions of African American musicians with a stop at the National African American Music Museum. This is your chance to pay tribute to the likes of Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and Beyonce (among many others!). Learn more about how African American artists shaped music history and enjoy paying tribute to your favorite artists.
Visit iconic venues
116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
Another Nashville destination: the hallowed ground of the Ryman Auditorium. When you visit Ryman Auditorium, you’re at the exact spot where bluegrass music was born! The Ryman Auditorium is the original locale for the Grand Ole Opry in 1943. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, and more performed their legendary music at the Ryman. While the Opry changed venues in the 1970’s, the Ryman Auditorium remains one of the premier music venues in the country and attracts music lovers from all corners of the globe.
The Grand Ole Opry House & Museum
2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214
A musical adventure in Nashville would be incomplete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, the country music institution that showcases the past, present, and future of country music. If you’d like to connect with the artists you love, visit the Opry House and feel like you are walking amongst the legends of country music who have told their stories on this stage. Or take in a show and experience the magic of live music at the Opry! This is a must-visit for celebrating music history in Tennessee.
Final Thoughts on Celebrating Music History in Tennessee
Calling all music lovers! Pay tribute to the icons of music history with a trip through Tennessee. These places will help to introduce you to the legends and sounds that changed the world forever.
If you find you have fallen in love with Tennessee here is a Tennessee Travel Guide you should enjoy.