Sweeping waterfront views, bridge features, character buildings—and the cowboy boots are optional.
There’s so much more to sweet ‘Music City’ Nashville than the TV show and its legendary country roots. This is also a place of architecture, history and beauty. To explore it from all its great angles, here is a quick guide from the vacation photography experts Flytographer on where to take the best photos and see all the most Nashville parts of Nashville.
1. Ryman Auditorium
This Nashville institution is probably best known for being the home of the world-famous ‘Grand Ole Opry’ radio show and live performance venue from 1943 to 1974. It was originally built as a Union Gospel church in 1892, a project spearheaded by Thomas Ryman. Ryman was a local businessman who owned colorful saloons and riverboats, but after attending one of Samuel Porter Jones’s sermons he became a devout Christian and pledged to build this tabernacle so everyone could see Jones’s large-scale revivalist sessions indoors. Despite its intended use, the church later named the Ryman Auditorium after Ryman’s death, had killer acoustics and became one of the premier venues for music in the U.S. All that history and such pretty, colorful arched windows with white trim—it’s a foundational piece of Nashville’s identity and a must-see.
2. John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
This oft-photographed bridge spans the Columbia River and connects downtown Nashville with its east bank. It opened in 1909 to high acclaim because of its unique truss design, but after a couple of rounds of serious repairs, the city had to decide if they would demolish it to build a bigger, sturdier bridge (at that time it was used for auto traffic). Thankfully, Nashville turned it into a pedestrian-only bridge in the late ’90s (at 960-metres, it’s one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world). Now it’s used for fun-loving, view-gazing people traffic only, and has a central lane for cyclists.
Up top visitors will get gorgeous views of the Nashville skyline, the Cumberland River, and get to spot the city’s heritage brick buildings (and the art deco ‘Batman Building’ you can see peeking out just behind this couple on the left). And because it’s a pedestrian bridge there’s plenty of room to take photos, whether it’s just you two or a whole bachelorette crew.
3. East Bank Greenway
This walkway area on Nashville’s East Bank gives you a great view of downtown and the Ghost Ballet sculpture, which looks like twisted red railroad tracks in the background. It was created by artist Alice Aycock and is supposed to represent the transformation of East Bank from an industrial area into a place for play. Just north of this location is Cumberland Park, which is a giant design-forward play park complete with a waterpark, outdoor amphitheater, as well as special features for kids like a splash pad, green maze and cloud bridge.
4. Lower Broad
Also known as Lower Broadway and the Broadway Historical District, Lower Broad is the locus for all the music entertainment in town (it’s right next to the Ryman Auditorium) and packed with honky-tonk bars (these are jovial watering holes that serve beer and play country music). Some highlights of Lower Broad include Ernest Tubb Record Shop, which was the site of the second-longest running radio show in history, the ‘Midnight Jamboree,’ as well as the former Merchants Hotel, a three-story Victorian gem.
5. The Legends Corner Mural
Legends Corner is one of the city’s preeminent honky-tonks, and so it’s fitting that a mural of 14 famous country artists (both old and new) would become a memorialized feature on its outside brick walls. Everyone from Willie Nelson to Taylor Swift to George Strait (and perhaps even you, too).