Nashville has an amazing music scene. The number of fantastic artists that call Nashville home or play concerts there frequently is mind boggling. Nashville is home to some of the best concert venues in the world. Check out our favorite Nashville concert venues. They are listed in no particular order, as each of these venues has unique features that set them apart and it would be impossible to compare them. Go see them all!
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The Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium is the Mother Church of Country Music. When it comes to Nashville concert venues the Ryman is the top of almost every list. Country music grew up here and now it is a top notch venue that hosts artists of all genres. Consequence of Sound ranked it in the top 10 in the US (I would have ranked it higher, but I’m probably a little biased). Originally opened in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, this venue hosted people like Harry Houdini and Charlie Chaplin before it became the home to the Grand Ole Opry Radio Show in the 40’s. It eventually fell into disrepair before a restoration in the 1990’s that brought this legendary venue back to its former glory. Now the venue hosts artists ranging from Sturgill Simpson to Bonnie Raitt to Cherub. The acoustics inside the venue are world class; if you get a chance to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium, go!
You ever been to a concert in a cave? Well you should, and Bluegrass Underground in McMinnville, TN makes it possible. A short drive from Nashville takes you to another world. Cave concerts started in Cumberland Caverns in 2008 with the Bluegrass Underground Concert Series for PBS. 333 feet blow ground, the Volcano room provides the perfect intimate setting for seeing some of the finest Bluegrass and Roots artists around. Bluegrass Underground books amazing artists (just this year they have had Allen Stone, Keller Williams, Del McCoury and David Grisman, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and a lot other great acts) and puts them in an otherworldly venue. This place is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues not just in Tennessee, but anywhere. Don’t miss your chance to see a concert in this one of a kind setting!
The Bluebird Cafe doesn’t seem like a legendary concert venue at first glance, but it has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in country music like Garth Brooks. This 90 seat venue has been around since 1982 and is an incredible place to hear acoustic music. Their “In the Round” shows are not to be missed events. You never know who will show up. Leann Rimes, John Prine, Phil Vasssar, Jojo Herman have all played sets at the Bluebird Cafe. There aren’t many other places you can see artists of this caliber in such an intimate setting.
Great Stage Park (Bonnaroo)
There isn’t much better in life than a sunset show at Bonnaroo. Great Stage Park is located in Manchester, Tennessee on a 500+ acre farm. This farm has been the home to Bonnaroo since 2002. A little over an hour away from Nashville, this venue has hosted legends like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and so many more. Before Bonnaroo, it hosted Itchycoo in 1999 which turned out to be a financial bust, but it did plant the seeds for Bonnaroo though, which just finished its 15th year. I have been to 5 Roo’s, and each one has been a great. I recommend everyone go to Bonnaroo at least once!
3rd and Lindsley
Located downtown, 3rd and Lindsley has been hosting some of the best local and national artists for 30 years. The great sound, comfortable seating, and unobstructed view from just about anywhere in the venue make 3rd and Lindsley a favorite of many Nashville natives. The food is really good here too! Artists like Indigo Girls, Dr. Dog, Lucinda Williams, and Gary Clark Jr. , have all been featured at this venue. Get there early for the best seats!
Other Great Nashville Concert Venues
The venues above are my absolute favorites, but hardly a complete list of Nashville concert venues. There are so many good concert venues in Middle Tennessee. Nashville is home to fantastic outdoor venues like Fontanel and the Ascend Amphitheater, large venues like Bridgestone and Nissan Stadium, and some of the best small venues in the world like The 5 Spot and The Basement East. With this abundance of great concert venues and amazing musicians (both local and touring), Nashville is the place to go to a concert.
What is your favorite venue near Nashville? How bad do you miss Starwood Amphitheater? Let us know in the comments.