By Victoria Scott
Most people who visit Nashville make sure to trek down Broadway and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. But for those who manage to break away from the quintessential country-themed highlights of Music City, Nashville houses some truly exceptional museums and art galleries:
Built in 2001, The Frist Center is a work of art in itself. Rather than housing permanent galleries, the stunning Art Deco building hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the year, so guests will likely discover something new and exciting with every visit. The galleries house mediums from photography to sculpture, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Even better, the Frist Center has invested in the Nashville art world and is working to awaken new art lovers with their community outreach. The family-friendly museum offers free admission to those under 18, and the in-house café encourages guests to linger and chat after touring the galleries.
But the true star of the show? Frist Fridays, the Frist Center’s annual summer concert series. On the final Friday of June, July, and August, the Center invites Nashville residents to celebrate art and community with an evening concert and opportunity to explore the galleries.
If you really want to experience all the Frist Center has to offer, you can purchase a 12-month membership ($50/adult). Membership ensures free admission to exhibitions, free guest passes, and free admission to Frist Fridays, not to mention access to exclusive, members-only events.
This Nashville treasure seamlessly blends natural and man-made splendor. Stroll through the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail before venturing inside the Museum of Art and the Frist Learning Center & Contemporary Art Galleries. The buildings feature both temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection, curated over the past five decades.
Not to mention, the Cheekwood in Bloom festival (spanning six weeks) will take your breath away. With more than 100,000 tulips and a combination of educational activities and entertainment during the weekends, it attracts Nashville residents and visitors alike.
In chilly winter weather, it’s still worth trekking to Cheekwood to see over 750,000 holiday lights decorating the grounds. During the holiday season, they even host special events with everything from live (yes, you read that right) reindeer to s’mores pits!
A visit is $16 per adult, with an additional $5 parking charge, but it’s well worth the price. Pack a picnic lunch and dine within 55 acres of natural beauty, or venture into the Pineapple Room Restaurant for a truly exceptional Southern meal.
Sure, most people have visited Nashville’s very own full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon at least once. Much like Cheekwood, the Parthenon’s grounds (which host events ranging from Shakespeare in the Park to farmers’ markets) are often filled with people picnicking, throwing Frisbees, and soaking up the Nashville sun. But the Parthenon’s commanding presence shouldn’t overshadow the equally impressive galleries within.
The Parthenon Galleries (which charge $6/person for admission) include an exhibit of the building’s history and a temporary art gallery. If that’s not enough, the Parthenon’s interior includes an immense statue of the goddess Athena, a full-scale replica of the original in Greece.
But if the admission price is not in your budget for now, you should still try to spend an afternoon sitting on the building’s massive steps, embracing a little piece of Greece in Nashville.