Live Music Venues in Nashville

If there’s one thing Nashville is famous for, it’s live music. From Hall-of-Famers to up-and-comers, here’s where to groove to live tunes in Music City.

Bonus: Until it’s safe to gather in venues again, we’ve noted where venues are doing virtual events, streaming concerts, and more.

The Country Music Hall of Fame hosts concerts, readings, and musical discussions regularly in an auditorium located inside the hall. These daytime events are often aimed at highlighting one type of country music or another, often in conjunction with a themed exhibit. The Hall of Fame is well respected, and often you’ll find big names playing. Admission is free with your paid admission to the hall, so it is a good idea to plan your trip to the hall on a day when there’s a concert scheduled (separate admission to concerts is not available). Check the website for a listing of upcoming events. Museum members get access to small concerts as well.

Covid Information: While the Museum is open again at a limited, ticketed capacity, they’re also offering virtual events including songwriting sessions, shows, and more. Click here for more information.

The Bluebird Cafe is where Nashville’s real music magic happens. It’s an unassuming room, small and, depending on the night, a bit cramped, but when people talk about how they heard so-and-so play in Nashville, odds are pretty good that it was here. The Bluebird is famous for its songwriters’ nights, open mics, and performances in the round. Musicians aren’t up on a stage, they are right there, with you. Since it is a small room, reservations are required, and this is not the place to plan to talk to your neighbor while the music plays. You will be shushed. Not every performer on the calendar is someone recognizable, but odds are, they’ve written something that is. It’s worth the risk to find out.

Covid Information: The Bluebird Cafe is hosting some online events (including virtual karaoke!), but you should also check out the awesome documentary Bluebird (linked here) to help support the venue until it can reopen safely.

Photograph of an exhibit piece with a ticket reading Admit One WSM Grand Ole Opry.
‘Admit One’ © Ron Cogswell, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

If there’s any one thing you really must do while in Nashville, it’s go to see the Grand Ole Opry. Really. Even if you think you don’t like country music. For more than 80 years this weekly radio showcase of country music has drawn crowds to Nashville. Every show at the Opry is still broadcast live on WSM, a Nashville AM radio station. Shows are also streamed online, and some are televised on cable. But nothing beats the experience of being there. Often there is an additional Tuesday evening show. Since this is a radio broadcast, shows start and end right on time. Every Opry show is divided into 30-minute segments, each of which is hosted by a different member of the Opry. This elite country music fraternity includes dozens of stars that you’ve heard of and others you haven’t. The host performs two songs; one at the beginning of their half-hour segment and one at the end. In between they will introduce two or three other performers, each of whom will sing about two songs. In between segments, the announcers read radio commercials and stagehands change around the stage set.

Covid Information: The Opry is streaming live concerts every Saturday night—get your country fix from home!

Housed in the revitalized Marathon Village, the home of the former Marathon Motor Works, Marathon Music Works (1402 Clinton St., 615/891-1781, show times vary; box office Mon.-Fri. noon-1pm, prices vary based on event) brings a modern take to an old space. This brick-lined warehouse has two bars, a fun loft-like VIP space, and plenty of room to cut a rug when the acts warrant it. An eclectic cross section of acts are booked here; this is definitely not a country music only club. There’s a parking lot in the back, and sometimes there is available free parking on the street.

Covid Information: Marathon Music Works is open at a limited, ticketed capacity. Check their website for more information.

The most famous music venue in Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium continues to book some of the best acts in town, of just about every genre you can imagine. On the good side, the hall still boasts some of the best acoustics around. On the bad, the pew-style bench seats aren’t all that comfortable. But seeing the reverence performers have for this venue makes it hard to notice anything else. Musicians love to show off the acoustics here, often playing a song or two without a mic.

Covid Information: The Ryman is open for daytime, self-guided tours (wear a mask and practice social distancing!), but concerts are on hold for now.

Adjacent to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the Texas Troubadour Theatre (2416 Music Valley Dr., 615/859-1001, hours vary by performance, prices vary based on event) is home to a number of classic events, including the weekly Midnite Jamboree and Cowboy Church, as well as other events. The theatre is nicer than you might expect, being in a strip mall, with roomy pew seating, good views of the stage, and a fun concessions stand. The record shop is open late after Midnite Jamboree, so you can buy the works of the stars you’ve just heard. Every Sunday morning at 10am, locals and tourists dressed in anything from shorts to Stetsons gather here for a lively praise-and-worship country gospel church.

Covid Information: They’re doing live broadcasted concerts most nights—check out the website and tune in from home.