The so-called 'Mother Church of Country Music' has hosted a laundry list of performers, from Martha Graham to Elvis, and from Katharine Hepburn to Bob Dylan. The Ryman's excellent acoustics, historic charm and large seating capacity have kept it the premier venue in town, with big names frequently passing through. The Grand Ole Opry country music stage show returns here for winter runs.
The soaring brick tabernacle (1892) was built by wealthy riverboat captain Thomas Ryman to house religious revivals, and watching a show from one of its 2362 seats can certainly be described as a spiritual experience. The Grand Ole Opry took place here for 31 years, until it moved out to the Grand Ole Opry House in Music Valley in 1974. In 2015, a $14 million visitor-experience renovation installed a new lobby, cafe, gift shop and the excellent state-of-the-art Soul of Nashville theater experience.