‘Music City’ Comes Out
Nashville becomes premier LGBT destination
Creative, diverse, friendly, unpretentious and welcoming are words often used to describe Nashville. It has long been a destination rich in cultural, musical and entertainment options that appeal to everyone, including the LGBT traveler.
As the largest city in Tennessee, Nashville is home to dozens of arts organizations, historical landmarks, James Beard award-winning restaurants and fabulous entertainment and nightlife venues.
“’Music City’ has so much to offer the LGBT traveler. It is an open-minded city that has always been a welcoming place for anyone looking for great entertainment options. The creative spirit is what drives Nashville, so it goes without saying that we want to encourage everyone to visit our beautiful city,” says Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In addition to the attractions noted in the supporting documents, Nashville is home to the state’s largest HIV/AIDS organization, Nashville CARES, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce and the Oasis Center, an organization designed to support and educate LGBT youth.
Nashville is headquarters to dozens of national and international corporations including Bridgestone, Cracker Barrel, Hospital Corporation of America and Country Music Television, all of whom have made efforts to support the LGBT community through sponsorship in various organizations or employee diversity programs.
While in Nashville be sure to visit some of the city’s premier LGBT-friendly cultural attractions:
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC): Consisting of four performance venues, TPAC presents a series of off Broadway shows and dozens of concerts throughout the year. It is also home to three resident performing arts organizations: Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera and Tennessee Repertory Theatre. This year, TPAC will host a variety of musicals including Titanic, Little Shop of Horrors and Rain. www.tpac.org
Schermerhorn Symphony Center: Home to the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony, the Neo-classical revivalist concert hall first opened its doors in September 2006 making it one of “Music City’s” newest musical gems and one of the only major concert halls in North America to utilize natural light. The Schermerhorn hosts a wide range of musical events, including classical, pops, jazz and world music. www.nashvillesymphony.org
Nashville Ballet: Since its founding in 1986, Nashville Ballet has grown to become the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee, presenting a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works. The company is comprised of 22 professional dancers from around the world. The ballet also offers young dancers the chance to hone their technique and artistry in preparation for a dance career with intensive training and performance opportunities. www.nashvilleballet.com
Frist Center for the Visual Arts: A 24,000-square foot visual art exhibition center and educational facility located downtown in Nashville’s art-deco, former U.S. Post Office building has an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions from local, regional, national and international sources. In the past year, the Frist has welcomed the engaging Warhol Live exhibit as well as To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum. The center also features the interactive ArtQuest gallery, a delicious café and various educational programs. www.fristcenter.org
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens & Museum: Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek Estate. Cheekwood exists to celebrate and preserve its landscape, buildings, art and botanical collections and provide an inspiring place for visitors to explore their connections with art, nature and the environment. www.cheekwood.org
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Located downtown, this $37 million, state-of-the-art facility features more than 40,000 square feet of country music artifacts, archives, theater space, a full service restaurant and much more. The Hall of Fame tells the story of the stars, sidemen and songwriters who created and popularized a new kind of country music in mid-20th century America in The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country, a more than 5,000-square-foot exhibition that opened on March 23. The museum will undergo a major expansion, which will double its size by 2014. www.countrymusichalloffame.org
Ryman Auditorium: Regarded as the “mother church of country music,” the Ryman is a national historic landmark renowned for its exceptional acoustics that has hosted musicians from Chris Isaak and James Brown to Patsy Cline and Bruce Springsteen, as well as current and rising stars of all musical genres. The Ryman has recently received Pollstar Magazine’s coveted “Theater of the Year” award for the fourth time in the past decade. www.ryman.com
The Parthenon: Located in Centennial Park, it might not be the city’s most original building, since it’s an exact replica of the Athens original but the building, as well as the statue of goddess Athena, the tallest indoor statue in the Western Hemisphere, have become recognizable landmarks. The Parthenon was constructed during the centennial celebration honoring Nashville as the “Athens of the South.” www.nashville.gov/parks/locations/centennial
The Hermitage: The home of President Andrew Jackson, is the place to learn about the dramatic life of the seventh U.S. president. It has authentic 1800s-era furnishings, which are more than 95 percent original to the family. Visitors will see the general’s writing table, the exact wallpaper First Lady Rachel Jackson selected for the foyer, and the bed in which the President lay dying. Take the wagon tour of slave quarters, which have been reconstructed just as the Jackson farmhouse will be over the next few years. www.thehermitage.com
Belmont Mansion: Built in the 1850s and once considered one of the finest private residences in the United States, this 19th-century Italian villa-style mansion has original marble statues, Venetian glass, paintings and 15 rooms open for public tours. www.belmontmansion.com