Ryman Auditorium – 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
I’m so excited to share this explore post with you because this is a place to which I have a personal connection. The historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee is known to most as the soul of Nashville, the “Mother Church of Country Music,” and it has played host to Presidents, activists, and countless entertainers for over 100 years, but for those of us who live nearby, we know it as one of our favorite music venues because of the incredible acoustics and close seating, and also (for me), the place where my bestie/sister is the best museum tour guide Nashville has to offer! 😉
I’ve been to shows at the Ryman since my 13th birthday where I saw… and get ready for me to age myself… N’SYNC (Justin Timberlake) with Britney Spears opening for them (her first tour, I might add – long before anyone knew she was Britney, B****).
Last week I went to take a backstage tour from my favorite tour guide and got a new perspective of just how cool the Ryman really is. I will be the first to admit that I have a very limited interest in country music, but the story of how the Ryman came to be (back in 1890’s) and the history of the incredibly talented people who have set foot on that stage just makes you in awe of the place.
The backstage tour is an add on to a self-guided auditorium and museum tour, but you get to sit in many of the backstage dressing rooms, hear the history of the place and people, and walk out on the stage to see it from the perspective of legends.
One of the most interesting features is that the seats are actually pews – it was, after all, a church, but it can make for interesting shows when you are jockeying with strangers for space to sit pre-show or if you’re in a really lame crowd who won’t stand, so you’re stuck sitting on hardwood pews for 2+ hours and your back aches. However, the closeness of the seats to the stage and the incredible acoustics more than make up for the seats. The best shows I’ve seen have, hands-down, always been at the Ryman.
A last little thing about the Ryman is that when you see a show there, the “thing to do” is to make sure you buy your Hatch print to commemorate the night. Hatch Show Print is another historic Nashville place where they’ve been making letterpress prints and posters since 1879. They make limited edition posters for most of the shows and we collect them to show off and decorate our houses. The Ryman has a great gallery that they display some of the prints in that you can see on your tour.
If ever you find yourself in Nashville, make sure to try and catch a show or take a tour at the Ryman – I promise it will be worth it!