Much of the southeast US is home to phenomenal music, but Tennessee holds a central role in the country’s musical history. Blues, bluegrass, classic country, country pop, rock ‘n’ roll, and southern gospel all have roots that sprouted right here! Today, Tennessee is 1st in the nation for employment in music publishing, and third for employment in musical instrument manufacturing, sound recording, record production, integrated record production and distribution, and numbers of musical artists and groups.
Clearly, Tennessee and music are inseparable. In honor of our region’s love of music, we’re proud to share Parks Realty’s picks for the Best Music Venues in Middle TN! You can’t help but have the time of your life when you’re enjoying a truly great concert, and that’s never more true than right here in Middle TN. Choose your venue, choose your act, and get back out there this spring and summer!
LiveNation’s Ascend Amphitheater is located within beautiful Cumberland Riverfront Park. The 6,800-capacity amphitheater offers patrons a stunning view of the cityscape. Surrounding buildings completely prevent sunlight from blinding guests, ensuring that all have great views of the stage - rain or shine.
Please note that Ascend Amphitheater no longer permits patrons to bring personal lawn chairs. Blankets are permitted, and lawn chairs are available for rent. Aerosols aren’t allowed, so if you’re staying after dusk, bring a bug spray that operates with a pump sprayer.
FirstBank Amphitheater is a unique escape from the city. Situated at the back of 140 acres of woods, ponds, and meadows, the venue itself was created within a reclaimed rock quarry. The design itself mimics the natural stone surroundings, ensuring that despite the high-tech features, you’ll enjoy the rejuvenation of the great outdoors.
When no one’s here, the wild landscape is home to herons, foxes, raccoons, deer, groundhogs, turkey, fish, and bald eagles.
When you arrive, you’ll park in a meadow. Wear your hiking shoes, because there’s a short (but sometimes muddy) walk to the main gates. Once inside, you’ll walk ¼ mile up a gentle incline to the amphitheater’s seating.
The Ryman Auditorium is Nashville’s most treasured music venue, and its fame stretches around the world. The history of this spot is astounding. Though it began as an evangelist’s congregational hall, the real story begins with music. Bluegrass debuted here, June Carter met Johnny Cash here, and every country musician for 100 years has dreamed of performing on this hallowed stage.
The Ryman’s unique acoustics are due to the hall’s gentle curves. Until you’ve sat in the wooden pews and heard the warm, clear sound yourself, you haven’t heard Nashville’s music in its native environment.
Though it was once a venue for mainly country music, today the Ryman Auditorium welcomes all genres and all people. Now, you’ll find that a diverse community of artists and patrons orbit this historic theater. No matter your musical tastes, an artist you love is sure to be performing at the Ryman soon.
Tennessee’s extensive cave systems are a beloved source of adventure, beauty, and natural wonder. In Grundy County, The Caverns blends our enthusiasm for live music and our love for our cave systems into two magnificent, unique venues. Directly above Big Mouth Cave, The Caverns Above Ground Amphitheater is nestled into the hillside. Below ground, The Caverns subterranean music venue will transport you with its ageless acoustics and ethereal beauty.
The technical aspects of this venue are anything but prehistoric; you’ll experience state-of-the-art sound systems, delicious concessions, and an ADA-accessible gentle slope to The Caverns. Plan for high humidity and slightly cool temperatures.
If you want more time to explore the caves, stop by for daytime guided tours, available 7 days a week. Tour the underground cavern that is three football fields long on your way to the venue’s famous stage.
Bridgestone Arena is one of the world’s busiest venues, and with a capacity of 20,000 patrons, the biggest concerts in the area happen here. The Bridgestone Arena has hosted the Country Music Awards since 2006, becomes Music City Theater to perform Broadway shows and other musicals, and is the home stadium of the Nashville Predators. When a musical act is so popular that only a massive stadium can host their throngs of fans, you can bet they’re coming to the Bridgestone!
Mercy Lounge has been open for nearly 20 years, which makes it quite young in terms of historic Nashville. However, this cozy club has garnered accolades both locally and nationally for presenting up-and-coming acts and beloved national stars while maintaining a laid-back atmosphere and excellent libations at The Cannery Ballroom.
The venue’s capacity is 500 in the standing room area, though the back bar offers both pool tables and booth seating, both of which will offer you a social environment while preserving your view of the show.
The New York Times calls this venue “ultra-cool,” and the Chicago Tribune says it’s “one of, if not the best, live music bars in Nashville.”
The Grand Ole Opry’s first home was the Opry House, which is how this venue gained accolades from around the globe. Most of the year, the Opry House is the showcase for the Grand Ole Opry show, though other acts are occasionally featured. If you want to partake in a renowned ritual of Nashville’s musical history, have a seat in the famous cushioned church pews and bask in the glory of the longest-running radio broadcast in our nation’s history!
For over 50 years, Exit/In has been the reason why this section of Elliston Place is called The Rock Block. This family-owned-and-operated venue has hosted nearly every major and minor music groups in our state’s history, as well as nationally-adored solo musicians and comedians. Visit the Wall of Fame to appreciate the full breadth of Exit/In’s role in the history of performing arts and support our local music culture by staying for a show.
Michael W. Smith’s Rocketown is intended to offer the youth of Nashville a Christ-centered entertainment space free from drugs, alcohol, profanity, and the pressures of the world. Teens are invited to skate, stop by the coffee shop, play video games, attend after-school classes, and enjoy concerts.
Concerts at Rocketown are open for all ages, so alcohol is served, but the environment is still kept safe for children and teens. Nearly half a million visitors have stopped by Rocketown since it opened, and you are invited to do the same.
Marathon Music Works is a versatile venue that offers formal banquet configurations, theater arrangements, and cocktail events. The open-floor hall features textural exposed brick, a soaring steel-beam ceiling, industrial-influenced chandeliers, and gleaming polished concrete bars, all within a warehouse that showcases historic machinery and vehicles.
In addition to the live music venue, Marathon Music Works offers extensive boutique shopping that can’t be experienced anywhere else in Nashville. You’ll be able to wander through this gorgeous destination for hours, so we recommend making a day of it before your show begins!