When it comes to tourist traps, we've seen (and done) it all. Visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame? Check. Photos taken in front of RCA Studio B. Check. Hours spent on Lower Broadway, hopping between honky-tonks? You bet! When the urge strikes to visit something new and different, though, we've found it's best to avoid the familiar land-marks and see what else Music City has to offer.
No wonder they call Nashville "the Athens of the South." Originally built in 1897, this replica of the real Grecian Parthenon is the centerpiece of Centennial Park. Grab a to-go lunch from the surrounding restaurants and have a picnic beneath the columns, or fork over the entrance fee and stroll inside the Parthenon, which doubles as an art museum. Its most impressive exhibit? A 42-foot statue of Athena, gilded with more than eight pounds of gold leaf. (She’s so fancy)
100 years ago, this massive complex on the west bank of the Cumberland River was quite the meatpacking plant. The plant shut down in the '70s, kick-starting several dec-ades of decay and disuse. These days, though, the Neuhoff Building is a picturesque restoration-in-progress that houses Peter Nappi's shoe showroom, the Nashville Jazz Workshop and other local businesses. Sure, half of the place is still in shambles, but that's part of the Neuhoff's charm.
Tennessee State Prison
Built in 1898 and closed in 1992, this creepy, castle-like structure is worth a drive out to Cockrill Bend Boulevard in West Nashville. You can't get into the building — it's closed to everyone except the movie crews that've used the former prison for films like The Green Mile and Earnest Goes to Jail — but you can get close. Just make sure to visit during the daytime, because this fortress is downright spooky at night. (Es-pecially if you’ve seen the Ernest flick.)
This roadside diner opened more than 50 years ago, and the place hasn't changed since. The Loveless is a restaurant untouched by time, a retro eatery that serves old-school Southern food — fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, pies— at prices that (thankfully) don't seem to be adjusted for inflation. The biscuits are free, too… and they're unlimited… so show up with a big appetite, and be prepared to wait in line for as long as 90 minutes. (It's worth it.)
The Tennessee State Museum
This ain't your normal middle-school field trip, y'all. Items in this underrated museum in-clude a piano that was once owned and played by President Andrew Jackson, a 3,500-year old Egyptian mummy that was brought to Nashville in the 1860s, and a musket that belonged to Daniel Boone. If you're thirsting for more history, walk several blocks and visit the Tennessee State Capitol, a building that hasn't changed much since it was built in 1859.