By Dave Ammenheuser
USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee
With apologies to the many museums and other attractions around Music City, here are a dozen entertainment reasons why you should come to Nashville for the annual Associated Press Sports Editors conference, June 17-21:
Grand Ole Opry
The home of country music is home to the longest continuing live radio music program. WSM broadcasts live from the Opry several times per week as some of the biggest names in country music perform. APSE will have a group trip to the Opry on June 19 (please let Glen Crevier know by May 24 if you plan to attend). If you can’t make the June 19date, there are also live performances on June 16, June 20, June 22 and June 23. Tickets range from $40-99. If you want more details, go toopry.com.
One of the most cherished venues in music history, the Ryman is considered hallowed ground in Nashville. The birthplace of bluegrass music, the place where Johnny Cash met June Carter and the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. It’s right in downtown Nashville, less than a block from Broadway and the honkytonks. Guided and self-guided tours are available throughout the day. Shows are on the menu at night: Stephen Stills and Judy Collins on June 14, Third Day Farewell Tour onJune 18-19, Dailey & Vincent on June 21. Go to ryman.com for details on the tours and the shows.
A visit to Nashville would not be complete without a trip to Lower Broadway for a visit to the honky tonks where the alcohol is plentiful and the musicians are hoping to get noticed. Explore one of them or visit many of them. Many of them have been here for many decades and witnesses the renaissance of the city, others have popped up in recent years (and months) and are named (or owned) by some of country music’s biggest names. Lower Broadway is 20 blocks from our base hotel at the Nashville Vanderbilt Marriott.
This popular music venue is one of Nashville’s iconic locales. It’s known as the songwriter’s performance paradise. Garth Brooks performed here before he was discovered. It’s not uncommon to see established stars attend the sessions and mingle with the song writers and the attendees. Tickets are difficult to obtain since the venue is so small. Tickets are $15 plus a $10 food/drink minimum. Purchase the tickets atbluebirdcafe.com/calendar.
This outdoor venue opened three years ago along the Cumberland River and just a couple of blocks from Lower Broadway. Shows include the Music of Pink Floyd by the Nashville Symphony on June 16, Ray LaMontagne with special guest Neko Case on June 17 and Arctic Monkeys on June 18. More information and tickets are available atascendamphitheater.com.
Home of the Nashville Predators and the site of our opening-night reception, Bridgestone Arena has been named the world’s top music and entertainment venue by several different publications and business groups. Unfortunately, there is only one music show during APSE week: Paul Simon is playing his Farewell Tour on June 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced $45-160 and available at bridgestonearena.com/events.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Home of the Nashville Symphony, the Schermerhorn also hosts other top national music acts. There are no shows scheduled during the APSE conference. However, if you have an opportunity, you should stop and see the magnificent building at 1 Symphony Place.
Tennessee Performing Arts Center
Known around town as TPAC, the performance center has several shows scheduled during APSE week. Love Never Dies (The Phanton Returns) is playing June 19-24; standup comedian Anthony Jeselink performs June 21. Ticket information can be found at tpac.org.
The comedy venue features two shows nightly on June 15-1616 and single shows on June 17 and June 20. The comedy club is closed onJune 18-19. For details on the scheduled performers go tonashville.zanies.com.
House of Cards
Nashville’s newest entertainment venue opened this spring. This venue offers a unique dining and magic show experience. Located at 119 Third Avenue South, it’s a very short walk off Lower Broadway. For details of dinner/show prices, go to hocnashville.com.
The Nashville Sounds
The city’s professional baseball team is the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s and plays in the DIVISION of the Pacific Coast League. The Sounds play in First Tennessee Park. The team is not home during the APS conference dates, but returns home on June 21 when it begins a four-game series against the Round Rock Express. Tickets care $13-36 and available at milb.com/Nashville.
Professional soccer is now in Music City.
Nashville SC is playing its inaugural season in the United Soccer League. Nashville SC is home against North Carolina FC on June 16 at 7:30 p.m. at First Tennessee Park. Tickets range from $15-60 and can be purchased at nashvillesc.com.
Nashville was granted a MLS franchise last December. However, its MLS debut will not be until 2020 at the earliest.
When you arrive to the conference, seek out our conference concierges – Maura Ammenheuser and Julie Anastasi. Maura and Julie are available at the reception desk to give you more helpful hints, directions and maps on Music City.