When you think of Nashville, Tennessee, you probably think of country music, honkytonks, and bachelorette parties, right?
Well, while it’s true Nashville, TN, may be known for these things, there’s something else worth visiting Nashville for that often flies under the radar—the best museums in Nashville! Nashville is filled with history, art, and cultural museums that span various interests—from the Civil War to Johnny Cash.
While you can visit dozens of fabulous museums in Music City, these are a few of the best museums in Nashville that you can’t leave without checking out.
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You may think the Parthenon is in Athens, Greece (which, by the way, you’d be right!). However, you can visit a life-sized replica of the Parthenon right here in Nashville, Tennessee! The Parthenon was built in 1931, and it’s stayed open to the public since.
Visiting the museum inside the Parthenon is one of the best things to do in Centennial Park in Nashville. Inside, you’ll find a 42-foot statue of the Greek goddess, Athena, created by local artist Alan LeQuire.
Athena is the largest indoor sculpture in the Western Hemisphere! You will also find permanent and rotating exhibits inside, including replicas of the Parthenon Marbles.
Address: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is undoubtedly one of the best museums in Nashville, and for a good reason. After all, you are in Music City!
While you’re at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, you’ll be able to see on-property exhibits about musical icons dating back to country music’s roots in the early 1900s to today’s modern stars.
You’ll also be able to visit the dome featuring the plaques of the inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, including Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and more.
Address: 222 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN 37203
Franklin, Tennessee, is a charming town that’s a short 15-minute drive from Nashville. While you’re visiting, one of the best things to do in Franklin, TN, is taking a guided tour of the Battle of Franklin Museum to learn about this well-known Civil War battle.
The Battle of Franklin Museum is home to three historic buildings: Carter House, Carnton, and Rippa Villa.
It’s ideal if you have time to tour all three, but if you have time for just one tour, the Carter House is a must-visit destination.
The Battle of Franklin took place in this home’s backyard (with the family hiding in the basement), and you can even see the bullet holes through the walls.
The guided tour is a great way to learn more about the home, family, and battle while getting to take a peek inside the home.
Address: 1140 Columbia Ave, Franklin, TN 37064
If you'd like to dive into some state history, head to the Tennessee State Museum—one of the best museums in Nashville.
The museum’s mission is to procure, preserve, interpret, and exhibit objects that are related to Tennessee’s social, political, economic, and cultural history. And the best part? This museum is free and open to the public!
Some permanent exhibits at the Tennessee State Museum include First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, and Tennessee Transforms.
The museum also features temporary and rotating exhibits, like Painting the Smokies: Art, Community, and the Making of a National Park.
Address: 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37208
The Frist Art Museum, located in the heart of Nashville, is one of the best museums to visit in Nashville if you love high-quality art exhibitions.
The First Art Museum is a non-collecting art museum, so you’ll see new exhibits every time you visit. The museum typically houses 12–15 exhibits at a time, and the displays rotate every two to three months. They also host award-winning art shows.
Address: 919 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Nashville
There’s no question that Johnny Cash is one of the greatest country music artists of all time. If you’re a Johnny Cash fan or want to learn more about this iconic musician, head to the Johnny Cash Museum while in Nashville.
The Johnny Cash Museum is home to the most extensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.
It is consistently ranked one of the top music museums by Forbes, Conde' Naste, and National Geographic Traveler. After touring the Johnny Cash Museum, you can head next door to Johnny Cash’s Bar & BBQ for lunch.
Address: 119 3rd Ave S., Nashville, TN 37201
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is a historic house, farm, and property that was home to the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. This museum is frequently ranked one of the top Presidential Sites in the nation.
At Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, you can choose from dozens of guided and independent tours that allow you to learn more about the history of the property and the life of President Jackson, including a VIP Tour, Grounds Pass, and Mansion Tour.
While you’re on the property, pay a visit to the Natchez Hills Winery and Vineyard and FKS Kitchen at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.
Address: 4580 Rachel's Lane, Nashville, TN 37076
The Lane Motor Museum is a nonprofit organization committed to collecting, preserving, documenting, and interpreting interesting vehicles to educate others about the history of transportation. The museum was established by Jeff Lane in 2002 and started with his own collection of cars.
When you visit the Lane Motor Museum, you’ll see 150+ unique vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and devices for “flying” and “floating.” In fact, the Lane Motor Museum is home to the largest collection of European cars in the US.
Address: 702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, TN, 37210
Nashville isn't only home to the Country Music Hall of Fame but also to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. The Musicians Hall of Fame has inducted accomplished musicians from all genres, including Chet Atkins, Barbara Mandrell, Roy Orbison, and Garth Brooks.
While you’re exploring the Musician’s Hall of Fame, you’ll see fascinating exhibits, instruments, and memorabilia, including Elvis Presley's recording studio, Glen Campbell’s guitars, and instruments used by Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Elton John, and others.
Address: 401 Gay St, Nashville, TN 37219
If you're more of a sports fan than a history, art, or music aficionado, you may appreciate visiting the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. This organization honors athletes, coaches, teams, and sports executives who have contributed to the sports culture in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is sponsored by several sports teams in Tennessee, including the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators, Vanderbilt Athletics, University of Tennessee Athletics, and others.
Address: 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Chances are, you’ve heard of The Dukes of Hazzard—a popular action-comedy TV series that aired in the 1980s. If you’re a fan, you have to visit Cooter’s Place during your time in the city. It’s one of the best Nashville museums for fans of the show.
Cooter’s Place is owned and operated by Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport) and features photos, props, costumes, and memorabilia from the show, including Cooter’s Tow Truck, Daisy’s Jeep, and General Lee. Cooter’s Place is also free to visit, so it’s an inexpensive way to spend the day in Nashville.
Address: 2613B McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37214
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is one of the nation's most spectacular American Country Place Era estates.
Once a private residence, the estate is now a public attraction, featuring a botanical garden, arboretum, and museum, showcasing historic rooms, art galleries, and 7,000+ works in a permanent collection.
Cheekwood’s gorgeous gardens are one of the biggest draws to the museum. The property features eleven distinct gardens with different plants, flowers, and hardscape features to enjoy.
If you want to skip the mansion, you can purchase a ticket to explore the gardens for just $20 per adult.
Address: 1200 Forrest Park Drive Nashville, TN 37205
As you can see, the best museums in Nashville span every topic, including art, music, history, and sports. One day, you can learn about the most extraordinary acts in country music, and the next day, you can learn about the Battle of Franklin or take a deep dive into the life of President Andrew Jackson.
One thing is for sure—regardless of your interests, you’re sure to find a museum you’ll love to visit in Nashville, Tennessee!