Lonely Planet Writer

Nashville’s historic Grand Ole Opry House set for $12 million expansion

The historic Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee is set to undergo an impressive $12 million expansion next year that will see the retail space being expanded, and enhanced food and drink options being added, as well the construction of a VIP Lounge.

An artistic rendering of the expanded exterior of the Grand Ole Opry House.
An artistic rendering of the exterior of the expanded Grand Ole Opry House. Image by Ryman Hospitality Properties

Announced last week by Ryman Hospitality Properties, the work will also include improved parking facilities at the famous site, while the planned expansion is designed to enhance the experience through the introduction of a larger, 5000 sq ft retail space. Plans are also in place for a redesigned and relocated box office, while the VIP lounge area will include a backstage tour theatre experience. The renovation of the retail space is set to begin in January 2018, with the work expected to be completed by October 2018, while the additional parking spaces are scheduled for summer of next year. The VIP lounge and box office area is expected to be finished by January 2019, and the Grand Ole Opry House will continue to host a full calendar of events and daily tours during the ongoing construction.

The Grand Old Opry House welcomes hundreds of thousands of country music fans every year.
The Grand Old Opry House welcomes hundreds of thousands of country music fans every year. Image by Myles New/Lonely Planet

“As country music’s popularity continues to increase worldwide, more people than ever before are making the journey to Nashville to experience the magic of the Grand Ole Opry first-hand. This expansion will allow us to improve our guest experience before and after the shows while also providing us the opportunity to meet growing customer demand for additional Opry-themed experiences,” said Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties. The announcement is part of the company’s ongoing investment in the Nashville area, which includes approximately $130 million in capital projects that are currently in progress.

The Grand Ole Opry began in 1925 as a country music radio showcase that was broadcast from the Ryman Theatre.
The Grand Ole Opry began in 1925 as a country music radio showcase that was broadcast from the Ryman Theatre. Image by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Having been called the “home of American music” and the “country’s most famous stage,” every year hundreds of thousands of people from around the world visit the Grand Ole Opry to see the live show. Started in 1925 as a country music radio showcase broadcasted from the Ryman Theatre, the show moved to the newly built Grand Ole Opry House in 1974. At that time, a six-foot circle of hardwood was taken from the Ryman theatre and placed in the centre stage at the Opry House as a constant reminder of its beginnings.