3 Great Nashville Music Venues Off the Beaten PathAlmost everybody who comes to Nashville is familiar with the Grand Ole Opry. Many might also know about the Ryman Auditorium. And nobody leaves town without a jaunt down Lower Broad. While these are all great Nashville pastimes, visitors and locals alike are missing out on some great live music just off the beaten path.
That's why we've put together this list of great Nashville music venues for you to check out. If you're visiting for a weekend, peruse the artists playing at any of these three venues for someone you like or just take a chance on a random act. If you live in Nashville and haven't checked out all three of these places, quit making excuses and get to it. You'll be so so glad you did.
3rd & Lindsley
We'll kick the list off with the venue whose location is the easiest in Nashville to remember. That's right, Nashville staple 3rd & Lindsley sits just north of I-40 at the corner of 3rd Ave. and Lindsley Ave. It's a convenient 15-20 minute walk or 5 minute Uber or Lyft from the heart of Lower Broad.
The venue, just "3rd" to anybody "in the know," plays host to a wide-range of acts. Past acts include widely popular bands such as Wilco, Son Volt, O.A.R., and the New Orleans-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Solo artists who've played at 3rd include Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks, and Patty Griffin. Award-winning Nashville-based Western swing troupe The Time Jumpers grace the stage weekly with their Monday night residency. As you can see, the list of artist that come through 3rd is as wide as it is eclectic.
If you're going to check out 3rd, buy your tickets in advance and get there early. They've done their stage so that there's standing room in a quasi-pit area. This is a fine spot to be, but even better is one of the tables right on the edge of the balcony overlooking the stage. Getting a table means you have a waitress, so you won't have to fight the crowd to get in front of one of 3rd's great bartenders. No matter your location though, just make sure you check out a show here.
The Station Inn
Let's move a little west and to the other side of I-40 to the Glutch. Although this area has become a trendy place to grab overpriced drinks and food, a shining beacon resides here that has been in existence long before "the Glutch" was ever "the Glutch." This shining light is The Station Inn.
The Station Inn has been open over 40 years and has been managed by the same owner, J.T. Gray, since 1981. Originally, the Station Inn located by Vanderbilt and Centennial Park and served as a bluegrass venue and coffee shop. It was moved to it's current location in what is now the Glutch in 1978.
Any day of the week, you can find some of Nashville's best live music, let alone best bluegrass , being played at the Station Inn. Bill Monroe actually played to a packed Station Inn in 1985. So you know if the Father of Bluegrass graced the stage, it must be the real deal.
It's a really special place to see a musician or band that you love here. But you'll be just fine if you stop in randomly for a show.
Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor
The final venue of the beaten path isn't even technically in Nashville. Kimbro's Pickin' Parlor is located just off of the historic Franklin Square and is housed in an old historic Franklin cottage and corner store. The building has been turned into a venue/bar/restaurant dedicated to sharing quality music and good vibes.
In just over 10 years in existence, Kimbro's has amassed quite the collection of acts. These include John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Rodney Crowell, and Pokey LaFarge, just to name a few. Kimbro's is a great escape from the newfound hustle and bustle of midtown and downtown Nashville. Make an evening out of it and you won't be disappointed.
Ben Guinn grew up in Nashville and has embedded himself in everything his hometown has to offer in terms of live music, great food, and delicious craft beers.