Beginning in 1925 as a "barn dance," the Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio show in American history. The two-hour program is broadcast live on Friday and Saturday nights, and on Tuesday nights March through December. Each show features a number of artists, from country music legends to budding artists, performing bluegrass, gospel, folk and country.
To be part of the Opry audience, head to the Grand Ole Opry House, nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from downtown Nashville. Here, near the banks of the Cumberland River, stands “America’s most famous stage.” Legends such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline all made their mark on the Grand Ole Opry stage. The tradition continues with contemporary artists like Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.
The Grand Ole Opry relocated at various times over the decades before settling into its latest home in 1974. Once inside, look center stage for the well-worn, dark oak circle, cut from the original stage at the Ryman Auditorium. Take a backstage tour for the chance to step onto this sacred piece of Americana. Every winter, the show returns to Ryman Auditorium, a converted tabernacle known as the "Mother Church of Country Music."
Beer, wine and snacks are available from concession stands at the venues. You are not allowed to bring in outside food. If you are after a sit-down meal, you should dine before your visit.
Backstage tours of the Grand Ole Opry House are available throughout the week and range from daytime backstage tours to post-show and VIP tours. The Grand Ole Opry Museum is located next door, so arrive an hour before showtime to explore the costumes, guitars and furniture of country music greats such as Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins and Hank Snow. Tickets are sold through the box office or on the official website.