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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" 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.

Popular Activities at Parthenon

Like to make your time spent at Parthenon even more unique? Remember to try a few of these activities:

Music City Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour is one of the most popular activities on offer here.

If you're looking for even more options, peruse our Nashville things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Parthenon


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Lodging Near Parthenon

See all 1,136 Properties near Parthenon
The Hayes Street Hotel $152
The Hayes Street Hotel

The Hayes Street Hotel

1909 Hayes Street, Nashville
     
    4.3
    of 5, from 754 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

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

    Comfort Inn Downtown Nashville-Vanderbilt $149
    Comfort Inn Downtown Nashville-Vanderbilt

    Comfort Inn Downtown Nashville-Vanderbilt

    1501 Demonbreun St, Nashville
       
      3.5
      of 5, from 3,160 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      This downtown Nashville hotel is one mile from the Country Music Hall of Fame and seven miles from the airport.

      Extended StayAmerica Nashville - Vanderbilt $85
      Extended StayAmerica Nashville - Vanderbilt

      Extended StayAmerica Nashville - Vanderbilt

      3311 West End Ave, Nashville
         
        3.5
        of 5, from 100 reviews
        2.5 out of 5.0

        Located in West End, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Elliston Place and Parthenon. Vanderbilt University and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Holiday Inn Nashville - Vanderbilt - Dwtn $135
        Holiday Inn Nashville - Vanderbilt - Dwtn

        Holiday Inn Nashville - Vanderbilt - Dwtn

        2613 W End Ave, Nashville
           
          4.2
          of 5, from 1,497 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

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

          Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, TN $172
          Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, TN

          Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt, TN

          2400 West End Avenue, Nashville
             
            4.7
            of 5, from 1,580 reviews
            3.0 out of 5.0

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

            Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University $178
            Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University

            Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University

            2555 West End Ave, Nashville
               
              4.2
              of 5, from 567 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.

              Hampton Inn & Suites Vanderbilt Elliston Place $166
              Hampton Inn & Suites Vanderbilt Elliston Place

              Hampton Inn & Suites Vanderbilt Elliston Place

              2330 Elliston Pl, Nashville
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 1,064 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.

                Special THE Nashville Doll House! #2 of 5! Brand NEW in Prime Location!!
                Special THE Nashville Doll House! #2 of 5! Brand NEW in Prime Location!!

                Special THE Nashville Doll House! #2 of 5! Brand NEW in Prime Location!!

                , Nashville
                   
                  5.0
                  of 5, from 17 reviews
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in West End, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Centennial Park, Parthenon, and Vanderbilt University. Tennessee State Capitol and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).