We visited Nashville for the first time as a family last week. We really wanted to do some of the super touristy stuff in Nashville so on our next visit, we would have the opportunity to dig a little deeper and get a feel for the real heart and soul of Nashville. Because of that we really felt we should get a visit to “Opreyland” out of the way and started looking into Grand Ole Opry tickets and taking Grand Ole Opry Tour.
Neither of us is huge into country music, although I did grow up listening to the classics. Reid was definitely not as excited for our visit to the Grand Ole Opry as I was, but I knew if I could just get him through the doors he would enjoy his time. What we found was a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry is most definitely part of the heart and soul of Nashville.
Of course, we brought our three little lovely ladies with us for the tour. We were a little nervous because our last tour did not go well with our youngest and we knew yet again she wouldn’t have a nap before the tour, but we were relieved to see other small children in the group. Our group size was about 20 other people and after a quick hello, they ushered us into a room where we watched a short video about the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, its roots, history, the flood that threatened ruin back in 2010. To be expected in Nashville, the video is narrated by famous country music singer Blake Shelton.
After the informative and entertaining video, we headed past the concessions and guest areas. We were ushered through doors marked private towards the back of the auditorium and the artist’s entrance. Our guide talked a bit about what the process of checking in would be like for those performing at the Grand Ole Opry, going through security, checking their mailboxes and being assigned a dressing room. We then walked down the hall and peeked in some of the open dressing rooms and the green room. It was easy to picture some of the artists getting ready in those rooms- relaxing before shows or interacting with others.
Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry has an intimate feel and the tour guide kept stressing how it’s set up to encourage a family dynamic. The dressing rooms have no bathrooms, there is a shared one in the hall and there is a locker room to lock up belongings. And while every artist is special in their own right, no one is above any other. It was so cool to see that being established in the music industry. All of the dressing rooms were themed.
After the green rooms and dressing room tours, you will be shown the main auditorium. Soak it in as you’re allowed to walk onstage and step into the famed wooden circle. The same circle, originally from Ryman Auditorium, that country legends throughout the decades have stood upon to perform. Everyone gets a turn on stage and will receive a professional photo opp. It comes with the option to purchase at the end of the tour. It’s hard not to get goosebumps while standing on that stage. History has been made in that spot. It will definitely be the highlight of the tour for you as it was for us.
About the Tour
The Grand Ole Opry Tour length is about 45 minutes to an hour for the daytime tour. The tour starts in the lobby and concludes at the gift shop. The tour schedule can vary with performances so plan in advance. VIP tours and packages are also available.
All in all I would say the tour is a must-see for families visiting Nashville. While Reid wasn’t particularly looking forward to it in the beginning, he changed his tune. In the end, he wanted to stay and purchase tickets for that night’s show. Speaking of which, you can get your Grand Ole Opry tickets online or at the box office. If you have any appreciation for the art of music you’ll appreciate the sentiment and importance of the Opry. Even if you aren’t a country music lover, the backstage Grand Ole Opry tour experience is not to be missed.