Nashville for Music Lovers (Who Don’t Love Country)

by  Teresa Bitler | Jul 21, 2016

Love music but not a big fan of country? That’s not a problem in Nashville. Music City has more than 150 live music venues where, in addition to country, you can hear everything from rock ‘n’ roll to classical. Check out these non-country hot spots and attractions the next time you’re in town.

Exit/In: Off the radar of most tourists, this intimate, dive-like venue is where the locals go when they want to hear live music. Not only does it attract newbie to top non-country acts ranging from Jimmy Buffet to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s smoke-free. Watch from the floor or head to the upstairs balcony for an even better view. Sister venue Marathon Music Works offers a similar country-less line-up.

Grimey’s New and Preloved Music Store: Part vinyl record and CD store, part performance venue, Grimey’s is the epicenter of Nashville’s hipster music scene. Sip a latte from the attached coffee shop as you browse the new releases at Grimey’s and the used ones next door at Grimey’s Too. Indie rock favorites regularly play free in-store concerts (and Grimey’s hands out free beer for anyone who hangs out to listen). Ticketed concerts are held downstairs in The Basement.

Nashville Jazz Workshop: Tucked into the Germantown neighborhood, the Nashville Jazz Workshop can be a little tricky to find, but it’s definitely worth it to hear national acts as well as local talent. Bring your own wine or beer (otherwise, you can sip soda or coffee), and enjoy with the mostly older crowd. Inspired to make a little jazz music of your own? The non-profit Nashville Jazz Workshop holds classes for musicians, singers, and jazz enthusiasts.

Musicians Hall of Fame: Leave the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry to honky tonk fans. The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors the musicians who played on some of the greatest hits of all time and includes displays on performers ranging from Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys. Don’t miss the interactive GRAMMY Museum, located inside the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Third Man Records: Frequented by 20- and 30-somethings hoping for a glimpse of popular musician and owner Jack White, this quirky record store is filled with memorabilia and oddities like coin-operated dancing monkeys, a mold-a-rama machine, and a recording booth where you can record yourself. Surprisingly, though, it has few records for sale.

Live Music Guide: Because there are so many live music venues -- some featuring multiple genres -- we love the Nashville Live Music Guide. The free app lists live music shows by date, genre, venues, and areas of the city. Tip: For a good variety of artists and genres, check local favorites 3rd & Lindsley and The 5 Spot.

Coming soon to Nashville: You can add the National Museum of African American Music to the list of non-country music attractions when it opens in 2018.

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