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The Parthenon

Just a short ride from Nashville’s downtown honky-tonks, a much-loved replica of Greece's most famous temple serves as the high altar to the city's cultural life.

A full-sized replica of one of Classical Greece’s most treasured buildings is an unlikely Nashville landmark, but surprisingly, it works. The Parthenon is the centerpiece of Nashville’s Centennial Park, and houses an art museum and a 42-foot (13-meter) high statue of the Greek goddess Athena.

Long before Nashville was dubbed "Music City USA" it was known as the "Athens of the South." This nickname took physical form during Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, which featured many recreations of ancient buildings. The Greek Parthenon was the centerpiece, and the only exact reproduction built to scale. Replicas of the Parthenon Marbles are direct casts taken from the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Those buildings for the exposition were erected as temporary structures. The Parthenon, however, proved so popular with locals and visitors that it was saved from demolition.  

Originally constructed from timber, plaster and brick, The Parthenon was entirely rebuilt in the 1920s and ’30s from concrete. The Parthenon now serves as Nashville's art museum. Step through the enormous Doric columns and gaze up at the statue of Athena, one of the largest indoor sculptures in the Western world. Then explore the collection of 63 paintings from 19th- and 20th-century American artists.

In summertime the building serves as a spectacular backdrop for theater productions, so be sure to check the local press for performance times. The Parthenon is a highlight of the Nashville Nights and Lights Tour, during which you may be lucky enough to catch the surreal sight of a toga party in full swing.

While you’re at The Parthenon, take advantage of Centennial Park’s many attractions. Bring some bread to feed the ducks at the nearby lake, explore the gardens, and admire the decommissioned saber jet airplane and locomotive. It's not uncommon to find a market or fair set up on the lawns as well.

The Parthenon is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and takes about two hours to properly explore. Centennial Park is approximately two miles (three kilometers) west of downtown Nashville. City buses stop nearby and parking is free.


Guide to Exploring around Parthenon


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Lodging Near Parthenon

See all 709 Hotels near Parthenon
22nd Avenue Apartment by Stay Alfred

22nd Avenue Apartment by Stay Alfred

301 22nd Avenue North, Nashville
4.5
of 5, from 2 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in West End, this apartment is within 1 mi (2 km) of Local Color Gallery, Parthenon, and Vanderbilt University. Tennessee State Capitol and Ryman Auditorium are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$127
Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University

Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University

2555 West End Ave, Nashville
4.2
of 5, from 462 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

The 11-story hotel is located along the West End corridor, across from Centennial Park; Vanderbilt University is next door, and the Parthenon is two blocks away.

$139
The Hayes Street Hotel

The Hayes Street Hotel

1909 Hayes Street, Nashville
4.3
of 5, from 284 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in West End, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Local Color Gallery, Parthenon, and Vanderbilt University. Ryman Auditorium and Tennessee State Capitol are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$131
Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, TN

Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, TN

2400 West End Avenue, Nashville
4.7
of 5, from 1,426 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in West End, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Parthenon and Vanderbilt University. Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$122
Holiday Inn Nashville - Vanderbilt - Dwtn

Holiday Inn Nashville - Vanderbilt - Dwtn

2613 W End Ave, Nashville
4.2
of 5, from 1,302 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the center of Nashville, this family-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Parthenon and Vanderbilt University. Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$148
Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

2100 W End Ave, Nashville
4.3
of 5, from 1,139 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located across the street from Vanderbilt University, this hotel in Nashville's West End district is one mile from downtown attractions, the Parthenon and Music Row.

$120
Hampton Inn & Suites Vanderbilt Elliston Place

Hampton Inn & Suites Vanderbilt Elliston Place

2330 Elliston Pl, Nashville
4.5
of 5, from 919 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Less than a mile from Vanderbilt University and Centennial Park, the hotel is 2 miles from Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and honky tonk venues.

Ultra Chic Nashville Townhouse by RedAwning

Ultra Chic Nashville Townhouse by RedAwning

119B 30th Ave S, Nashville
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Midtown, this condo is within a 15-minute walk of Parthenon and Vanderbilt University. Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).