Nashville businessman Thomas G. Ryman found inspiration for Ryman Auditorium during a tent revival led by evangelist Sam Jones in 1885. He built and opened the doors to his Union Gospel Tabernacle a few years later. In the 1920s, the theater began attracting a different kind of congregation; country music replaced biblical sermons, music fans filled its pews, and the former church became known as the Carnegie of the South.
The Ryman became home to the highly influential Grand Ole Opry in 1945. After the Opry moved to a new location in the early 1970s, the Ryman went through a period of dormancy, only to return to its prominence with a renovation and revitalization project in the 1990s.
The Ryman stage has played host to some of music’s greatest performers over the years. Johnny and June Carter Cash were staples at the venerable venue, and contemporary artists including Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon and Jason Isbell have taken its stage. Whether witnessing country greats, comedic acts or family shows, the Ryman promises visitors an intimate experience in an historic setting with impeccable sound.
Ryman Auditorium is located just off Broadway. It doesn’t have its own parking lot, although parking options are nearby. Valet parking is also offered for a fee. Accommodations are available within a few blocks, some of which offer shuttle service to and from the venue. For preshow eats, Café Lula is just outside the Ryman’s doors and captures the spirit of Music City. There are several other local eateries for those looking to experience Nashville-centric dining options. Aisle seats in sections 2-7, rows M-Z, may have an obstructed view.