Nashville, Destination guide, country music

The best places for live music in Nashville

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by Hertz - 29 January 2020

From huge, iconic sites like the Ryman Auditorium to small, intimate venues like the Bluebird Café, Nashville has a live music scene on almost every street, living up to the self-professed label of ‘Music City’.

With every street dancing to its own beat and restaurants serving up the very best in local music talent, there’s never a dull moment in Nashville. Travel through the city in your hire car

To help you choose where to stop on your journey, here’s our pick of the best live music venues in Nashville. And if you’re looking for more southern music inspiration, make sure you tune in to our Sounds of the South road trip using our US road trip planner.

The Bluebird Café: The place for up-and-coming stars

Make a stop at the Bluebird Café to spend an evening listening to the music industry’s next big star.

The Bluebird Café is a historic spot in the Nashville music scene, with many big-name artists having taken to its stage before making it big. American country singer Garth Brooks was a regular Bluebird performer before he released his first record, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is still a frequent visitor.

Stop by and you could enjoy one of the first shows of those hoping to be the next LeAnn Rimes.

Ryman Auditorium: The place for big country music names
Ryman Auditorium Nashville

Ryman Auditorium is often called the ‘Mother Church of Country Music’ and has hosted big-name acts including Hank Williams, Dolly Parton and Keith Urban.

More recently, the Foo Fighters and Harry Styles have both taken to the stage to entertain the people of Nashville, with Styles saying the chance to perform in the auditorium was part of the reason for taking his world tour to Nashville.

Offering a dazzling concert experience with amazing acoustics and space for 2,300 people, Ryman Auditorium is one of the biggest and most recognisable concert venues in Nashville.

Exit/In: The place to rock and roll

Exit/In has a punk-rock vibe and regularly hosts acts performing rock, punk, rap and heavy metal music.

The family-run and owned venue has seen performances from some of the biggest names in music including The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kings of Leon and REM to name but a few.

The owners pride themselves on nurturing the local artists, and since opening in 1971, Exit/In has cultivated a reputation as the place for aspiring rock acts to play.

Robert’s Western World: The place for boot-stompin’ country music

Head to Lower Broadway to visit Robert’s Western World – the undisputed home of traditional country music in Nashville. If you’re looking for a typical honky-tonk experience, Robert’s is the pace to go.

Showcasing bright, neon lights and boot-stompin’ country tunes, Robert’s Western World is one of the stalwarts of Nashville’s music scene.

Plus, the building has country music running through its core, as it was originally a warehouse used by Sho-Bud to manufacture their pedal steel guitars. The Monkees’ custom-made guitars were made in this very building.

Rudy’s Jazz Room: The place for laid-back jazz

Celebrating the New Orleans roots of its owners, Rudy’s Jazz Room is the place to go for authentic mellow jazz.  As a 21+ venue, Rudy’s has a more mature feel that reflects its smooth jazz soundtrack.

Entering Rudy’s Jazz Room is like stepping back in time and rediscovering the thriving era of jazz. As one of the few jazz-focussed venues in town, Rudy’s is one of a kind. It’s laid back vibe is perfect for kicking back and chilling out after a long day of sightseeing and driving.

Station Inn: The place for a lively community atmosphere

If you want to get involved in the music, Station Inn on 12th is the place to go. They run cover jam sessions every Saturday night where everyone is invited to get together and pay tribute to the legends on country music.

Station Inn is a typical Nashville hound-dog with a fun and lively community feel that brings people of all kinds together to bond over their love of music. Back in the 1980s, Alison Kraus regularly hung out at Station Inn, so you’ll truly be following in the footsteps of music royalty.

3rd & Lindsley: The place to eat and drink while you listen

The southern states are almost as famous for their tasty grills as they are their music. 3rd and Lindsley is a venue that combines both into an all-round venue to suit everyone. A bar and grill by trade, 3rd and Lindsley has live music every night covering country, rock, pop and more.

A small and intimate venue, it’s hosted world-famous artists including Ed Sheeran and Sheryl Crow.

Nashville bursts with venues showcasing the very best in local and global musical talent. Hire a car in Nashville to discover the sweetest sounds of the south.