10 Must-Visit Venues Beyond Broadway

From the Author: I've lived and worked in Nashville for 12+ years. I'm heavily involved with the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, so when you visit, you might find me giving the odd tour or helping out wherever possible. If you have any questions, I respond quickly to comments. Come in and say hi!

Everyone thinks of Broadway for music; for good reason, it's amazing. But this is Music City, and there are more options than just Broadway for a unique Nashville music experience.

These locations are what locals would recommend.

Ryman Auditorium

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium is a must-visit. This historic theater has hosted legends like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley. With its stunning acoustics and intimate atmosphere, the Ryman offers an unmatched concert experience. Even if you can’t catch a show, a tour of this iconic venue is a must to soak in its rich musical history.

Bluebird Café Nashville

The Bluebird Cafe

Tucked away in a Green Hills strip mall, The Bluebird Cafe is a songwriter's haven. This intimate 90-seat venue is where many country stars got their start. Known for its “in the round” performances, where songwriters share their compositions, The Bluebird offers a uniquely Nashville experience. Reservations are a must, as shows sell out quickly.

The Listening Room Cafe

Located in the vibrant SoBro neighborhood, The Listening Room Cafe combines great live music with delicious food and drinks. This venue showcases Nashville’s best singer-songwriters, giving you a chance to hear both established and rising artists. Its excellent sound system and cozy setting create an immersive musical experience.

Photo Credit: Terje Aursand

3rd and Lindsley

A staple of Nashville’s music scene, 3rd and Lindsley hosts a diverse range of acts, from local favorites to national artists. Known for its top-notch sound quality and spacious yet intimate atmosphere, this venue is beloved by musicians and fans alike. Don’t miss their Monday night residency with the Grammy-winning swing band The Time Jumpers.

The Basement

For a gritty, authentic Nashville experience, head to The Basement on 8th Avenue South. This small, cozy club puts you up close with performers, creating an electric atmosphere. Hosting a mix of local and touring acts across genres, The Basement promises an unforgettable night of music.

The Basement East Nashville

The Basement East

The larger sister venue to The Basement, affectionately known as “The Beast,” offers more space while maintaining an intimate feel. Located in East Nashville, this 400-capacity venue features a diverse lineup of local acts, national tours, and popular tribute nights. Its excellent sound system and spacious layout make it a favorite among artists and music lovers.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Morris

The 5 Spot

This East Nashville club gained fame from the TV show “Nashville” and hosting Lady Gaga's dive bar tour. The 5 Spot offers a mix of live performances and popular dance parties. It’s a great place to catch rising local talent and experience the vibrant East Side music scene.

The Station Inn Nashville

Station Inn

For bluegrass and roots music enthusiasts, the Station Inn is a must-visit. Located in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, this no-frills club has showcased top-notch bluegrass, country, and Americana acts since 1974. The intimate setting and exceptional acoustics make it a favorite among musicians and fans alike.

Photo Credit: @mercylounge

Mercy Lounge

Part of a complex including the High Watt and Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge is known for hosting a diverse range of acts. With its industrial chic decor and excellent sound system, it's a great place to catch both up-and-coming bands and established artists. The balcony offers a great stage view, and the attached bars provide ample space to mingle.

Photo Credit: Exit/In


A true Nashville institution, Exit/In has been showcasing live music since 1971. This Rock Block staple has hosted everyone from Jimmy Buffett to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With a capacity of about 500, it's large enough to attract notable acts but small enough to maintain an intimate feel. The diverse lineup spans rock, indie, hip-hop, and more, making it a great spot for music lovers of all tastes.

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