The Ryman Auditorium is one of my favorite music venues in the world. There is really nowhere like it to watch a show with your favorite musician. I have been going to the Ryman my entire life but I hadn’t done the formal tour of the iconic building until a recent trip to Nashville. I was pleasantly surprised to see many artifacts that are kept in the building that are covered in cases and not on display during normal stage performances.
Originally a place for religious gatherings, the Ryman Auditorium turned into one of music’s most iconic stages. In its home of Nashville, Tennessee, the Ryman has grown over 130 years and has been called “The Mother Church of Country Music.” The Grand Ole Opry, a weekly live country-music radio broadcast began in the Ryman itself before it moved to its permanent custom-built location in 1974.
The most formative years of the Opry were held at the Ryman. Artists and performers like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Charlie Chaplin, and Harry Houdini have all graced the Ryman’s stage, contributing to its incredible historical value. So many revered superstars have performed here, making it the first home of country music in Nashville.
The Ryman Auditorium offers an array of different tour experiences where guests can explore the auditorium and step into the footsteps of music legends. We decided to go on the Ryman Backstage Tour. This tour highlights what goes on behind the scenes at all points of a performance.
The tour starts in the Soul of Nashville theater with an immersive film featuring music greats, like Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, and The Fisk Jubilee Singers. In the 100-seat auditorium, you’ll witness 125+ years of music history come to life through music, special effects, and even holograms. Then, you can explore the building firsthand.
During the tour, you can walk-through the dressing rooms and the wings of the performance stage itself. You can even stand on the famed stage behind a microphone and get your own souvenir photo. Every space is decorated with local art, vintage photographs, and memorabilia that honors the stars of the Ryman’s past.
On the second floor, you can visit the Hatch Show Print gallery, which has created uniquely designed posters for every Ryman event over the last few decades. There is a full hallway lined with autographed posters from Ryman shows and events over the years. You can buy your own Hatch Print in the Ryman Gift Shop on your way out.
The Ryman is currently in a partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, hosting an exhibit of artists who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and have performed on the Ryman stage. Of the 351 artists who have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, over 100 have also performed on the Ryman’s legendary stage. In early 2022, the Ryman joined 11 other iconic musical venues across the country in becoming a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark.
You can have your own Opry experience at the Ryman Auditorium by taking the following tours:
- Self-Guided Tours: Adults (12+) $25.95 / Child (4-11) $16.95
- Guided Backstage Tours: Adults (12+) $34.95 / Child (4-11) $26.95
- Post-Show Opry at the Ryman Tours: Adults (12+) $29.95 / Child (4-11) $21.95
The Ryman has also recently opened the beautiful Ford VIP Lounge where you can upgrade your ticket to have the following amenities:
- Premium service, a private bar, an exclusive entrance, and dedicated restrooms
- Top shelf drinks (included with your pass)
- Complimentary food from our updated menu
- A commemorative Hatch Print Show Poster
- Early entry into the Ford Lounge (15 minutes before doors open)
The Ford Lounge opens an hour and fifteen minutes prior to showtime and remains open through intermission. Media are also welcome into the Ford VIP during shows.
The Ryman Auditorium is such an important and musically historical venue, and a once-in-a-lifetime place to visit next time you travel to Nashville. This is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss out on!