nashvilleBefore the summer officially ends, why not squeeze in a long weekend or week-day family trip to visit one (or more) of Nashville’s colleges or university campuses?
With all that Music City has to offer, what you can study is as vast a subject as what there is to do when you visit!

Long before Nancy Berk became the Empty Nest Traveling Mom, she was a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University. Her recommendations for family fun in Nashville include a walk along music row, a stay at Opryland Hotel in a room that overlooks their famous botanical gardens, and a stop by Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (where so many famous peeps got their feet wet singing) or a trip down the river on the General Jackson Riverboat Cruise at Opryland.

Check out the Attractions section below for other places to explore after your campus visit after visiting one or more of these fine colleges and universities:

Nashville Colleges & Universities (a partial list)


1. 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.

2. Hatch Show Print – Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Hatch is one of America’s oldest letter-press poster print shops and has printed concert posters for such artists as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Coldplay and many more.

3. Ryman Auditorium – Regarded as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman is a National Historic Landmark renown 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.

4. Gruhn GuitarWhere some of music’s greatest guitar artists shop for instruments, it is known for its collection of vintage guitars. Be sure to take a peek upstairs in the “invite only” room, where serious shoppers and collectors can indulge.

5. 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. College students can immerse themselves in live music and art every Thursday and Friday nights from 5pm to 9pm for free.

6. Hillsboro Village – Known as “The Village,” this is one of Nashville’s few remaining collections of neighborhood merchants. The Village offers a complete line of neighborhood services, retail stores, and entertainment. Specialty stores, some of the best restaurants in town and the historic Belcourt Theatre make Hillsboro Village a destination point for all Nashvillians.

7. Nashville Farmer’s Market – This indoor and outdoor public market, features locally grown produce, ethnic food, restaurants, specialty items and live music ranging from bluegrass to jazz and country.

8. The Parthenon – The world’s only full-sized reproduction of the Greek Parthenon that houses Athena, the tallest indoor structure in the Western world, and fine art galleries, including a rotating gallery featuring the museum’s collection of American art. The Parthenon can be toured for around $6 per adult, or take a free drive through the 90+ acre park and lake which surrounds the structure. On most summer weekends, free musical concerts are held in Centennial Park, and free crafts shows are held there twice per year.

For additional help touring Nashville and its nearby attractions, Nashville Traveling Mom, Jamie Reeves, recommends a mobile app. She reviewed several useful travel apps in her post: 3 iPhone Apps With A Tennessee Twist. For more tips related to college visits, check out Why You Should Talk to Strangers.