Discover Nashville's 10 Best Museums

From music to sports, you're sure to find a museum that piques your interest

If you're making a list of things to see while in Nashville, be sure to include some of these top museums. In addition to the well-known Parthenon, you can also explore museums specializing in visual arts, trains and Tennessee state history. There are also several ​hall of fame museums that honor musicians and sports figures.

  • 01 of 10
    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is a 55-acre cultural attraction completed in 1932 by the Cheek family. It is located eight miles from downtown Nashville. The estate features 11 specialty gardens, paintings and sculptures. Come in spring when more than 100,000 tulips are in bloom. Cheekwood plans many classes, workshops and festivals appealing to all ages. 

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    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of Nashville's most famous museums. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville's entertainment district, the museum is 40,000 square feet of pure country music history and memorabilia, right down to Webb Pierce's Silver Dollar Cadillac.

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    Photo Credit: Frist Center for the Visual Arts

    Located downtown on Broadway in Nashville's historic Art Deco post office building, the popular ​Frist Center is a cultural hub of the community. The Frist Center features some of the world's greatest art, plus an array of films, lectures, music events and family activities. Visitors age 18 and younger get in free.

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    Photo courtesy of Grant Faint/Getty Images

    The Lane Motor Museum displays 150 cars and motorcycles not typically seen in the United States. In fact, it houses the country's largest collection of European vehicles. Discover amphibious vehicles, competition cars, alternative fuel vehicles, microcars, military vehicles, motorcycles and prototypes.  This is not your typical car museum

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  • 05 of 10
    Courtesy Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum

    The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum covers all genres of music including country, rhythm and blues, soul, funk, jazz, rock and pop. It provides an inside look at the musicians and instruments that helped produce some of the greatest recordings of all time. It's located on the first floor of the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

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    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    The Tennessee Central Railway Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee's railroad heritage. TCRM is home to a unique collection of historic equipment such as passenger cars, cabooses and freight cars. The museum also operates passenger excursions in Middle Tennessee, providing a unique opportunity for everyone to experience the joys of rail travel.

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    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a 7,200-square foot facility located in the Bridgestone Arena. Honorees include athletes, coaches and sports writers who have made a mark in Tennessee sports history. It also features interactive games such as a virtual reality, one-on-one basketball, a strength-training apparatus used by Olympic swimmers, college football and basketball exhibits, NASCAR video games and more.

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    © Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    This Nashville museum is one of the largest state museums in the nation. The Tennessee State Museum features exhibits with Native American artifacts dating back 15,000 years as well as more modern state history. Located in downtown's James K. Polk Cultural Center, the museum offers free admission to all permanent exhibits.

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  • 09 of 10
    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    Built in 1897, The Parthenon is a full-size replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and like the original structure also centers around a large statue of the goddess Athena. Its impressive art collection contains paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists. Read more about the history of Nashville's Parthenon.

     

     

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    Copyright Jan Duke
    ••• © Jan Duke

    The Upper Room Chapel hosts more than 25,000 visitors each year. The focal point is a woodcarving of Leonardo da Vinci's painting “The Last Supper”, sculpted by Ernest Pellegrini. Visitors also enjoy the Upper Room Museum, whose permanent collection reflects an international, interracial and interdenominational nature.