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