If there’s a single place that had the most significant impact on the evolution of country music in the United States, it’d be the historic Ryman Auditorium.
From its unique architecture to its vast size and rich history, the Ryman is more than just an auditorium for hosting concerts; it’s part of the city’s identity. People come to visit from all over the country and even the world.
It’s also worth noting that the Ryman Auditorium is widely considered to be the birthplace of bluegrass, a country music genre that heavily relies on acoustic stringed instruments.
So, what makes this auditorium so special? And how can you visit it for a tour or a show? That’s exactly what we’re going to find out in our ultimate Ryman Auditorium FAQ, so stick around.
The Ryman Auditorium is 129 years old, dating back to the 90s of the 19th century. However, construction began in 1885; about 7 years before its official opening.
Thomas Ryman, a wealthy Nashville riverboat captain who used to own a fleet of riverboats and some saloons, built the Ryman Auditorium, while the architect who made the project come true is Hugh Cathcart Thompson.
The Ryman Auditorium is currently owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, a real estate investment trust. The company owns five of the largest non-gaming convention centers in the United States, in addition to two ancillary hotels and some other attractions.
The Ryman Auditorium used to be called the Mother Church of Country Music. Since its opening, the auditorium started as the Union Gospel Tabernacle.
In other words, it was originally intended to be a place for tent revival-style gospel meetings. The Auditorium is designed like a church, and it has maintained its unique style until now.
The Ryman Auditorium was renovated multiple times throughout its history, specifically in the years 1901, 1952, 1989, 1994, and 2010. It was also expanded three times, specifically in 1897, 1994, and 2015. The 1994 renovation was by far the most major and most expensive one.
The Ryman Auditorium looks like a church because it actually started out as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, a place for revival-style gospel meetings. The Ryman was, for a long time, nicknamed the Mother Church of Country Music, and the name is still currently used by locals.
The Ryman Auditorium was once nicknamed “Grand Ole Opry House” in the years from 1943 to 1974 when it was used to host the American country music concert of the same name.
However, they’re not really the same; it just happens that the auditorium used to host the shows for a certain period. View the schedule for the Grand Ole Orpy.
The Grand Ole Opry left the Ryman Auditorium in 1974 when it got its own custom-built Grand Ole Opry House (Opry seating chart).
The Grand Ole Opry was very closely related to the Ryman Auditorium to the point that many people thought they’re just two names for the same thing.
The Opry Country Classics includes performances from some of the best country music artists, as well as rising talents looking for an opportunity to prove themselves.
The shows are usually held during Springs and Falls, in the periods between March to May and September to October. You can check Ryman’s website for more information about specific event dates.
Opry At The Ryman is a live performance show that includes a changing list of superstars, rising talents, and country legends. The show is hosted regularly every week at the Ryman Auditorium.
Despite moving to their custom-built home, the Grand Ole Opry has made sure to maintain its presence at the Ryman Auditorium. There are no repeated shows; you can attend the show every single week, and you’ll still be entertained and satisfied!
The Ryman Auditorium is located at 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, Tennessee, United States. It’s a half-block away from Broadway, right between the 4th and 5th Avenues. The exact coordinates are 36°9′40.6″N 86°46′42.6″W.
The Ryman Auditorium is located in Downtown Nashville, specifically between the 4th and 5th Avenues.
The Ryman Auditorium is pretty close to the Grand Ole Opry House, where the Grand Ole Opry currently performs its live concerts. The distance between the two places is just 11 miles.
The Grand Ole Opry currently hosts most of its shows at its own custom-built Grand Ole Opry House, which opened its doors in 1974 when the broadcast moved from the Ryman.
The place is about 11 miles away from the Ryman Auditorium. It’s a 13-minute drive in the usual traffic conditions.
The official opening hours of the Ryman Auditorium are 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, and it’s open every day unless stated otherwise. It may close earlier than usual on certain days, too.
The shows at the Ryman Auditorium typically last around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Some shows may last a bit more or less, though. It’s also worth noting that there’s usually a 15-minute intermission if there’s only one show.
Here are some of the recent & upcoming performers at the Ryman Auditorium: Alan Parsons Project, Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas at the Ryman, Andrew Peterson, Bert Kreischer, Beth Hart, Boz Scaggs, Brian Regan, Chase Rice, Clint Black, Coin, Dailey and Vincent, Dan Tyminski, Drive By Truckers, Happy Together Tour, Iliza Shlesinger, Jeanne Robertson, Jo Koy, Julie Andrews, Kaleo, Kathleen Madigan, Louis Tomlinson, Laura Pergolizzi, Lucero, Maks & Val, Mandolin Orange, Mitchell Tenpenny, Nate Bargatze, Randy Rogers Band, Rickey Smiley, Ricky Skaggs, Rival Sons, Sarah Brightman, Squeeze, Styx, The Cadillac Three, The Del McCoury Band, The Lone Bellow, The Steeldrivers, The Temptations, Tommy Emmanuel, Tyler Henry, Vince Gill, Whiskey Myers and Yola.
Well, it depends on the show that you want to attend, as well as the seat you pick. Here are the ticket prices for some of the most anticipated shows at the Ryman:
You can buy tickets for the Ryman Auditorium here on CheapoTicketing.com. We offer affordable tickets to all Ryman events, and picking your seats on our website is as easy as it gets.
Oh, and in case you’re concerned about buying tickets online, worry not, because we offer a 100% money-back guarantee, which ensures that your tickets will arrive before the event and be valid for entry.
You can buy tickets for upcoming Ryman shows online.
Order tickets for the Ryman Auditorium on this page, You can see check the schedule of the upcoming shows, choose a particular event, pick the seat(s), and proceed with the checkout process.
You can buy as many tickets as you want, but only if there are available seats. It’d be best to book as early as possible to have more options when selecting the seats.
The acoustics at the Ryman Auditorium are nothing short of impressive, especially after the 1994 renovations when JBL took over the sound reinforcement of the theater.
What’s more, the under-balcony area, which is the hardest part to optimize for acoustics, was upgraded recently.
According to several sound engineering experts, the Ryman Auditorium’s acoustics are some of the best in the world.
The Ryman Auditorium has 2,362 seats. The auditorium’s capacity exceeded 6,000 until the stage was added, which cut the capacity to half. Later on, the number of seats has decreased gradually due to renovations.
The best seats in the Ryman Auditorium are located in sections 3-6 on the main floor and sections 11-14 on the balcony.
However, since the Ryman is a pretty small venue, the difference between seats isn’t that huge, even if you get seats at the very side. View the seating chart for the Ryman to see the complete seating arrangement.
Quite fascinating, to say the least. The first few rows of the balcony actually contain some of the best seats in the auditorium. You get to enjoy an outstanding panoramic view of the whole auditorium.
Most of the seats at the Ryman are pretty good, with the exception of a few seats that are blocked by the balcony’s posts. Also, keep in mind that the seats to the far left or right may not give you the best view of the stage.
There are very few seats at the Ryman that have obstructed views because of the balcony posts. However, you can still enjoy the show even from these seats.
Nevertheless, the staff will inform you if the seats you picked have obstructed views or not, so no worries about that.
The reserved seats in the Ryman Auditorium are for guests with special needs. The chairs are accessible for them, and with each chair, the guest can optionally purchase an additional companion chair.
The seats are exclusive for guests with special needs, and no one else can use them, even if they’re empty during the shows.
A companion seat is simply a wheelchair seat that the Ryman Auditorium provides for guests with special needs.
An escort helps the guest enter the auditorium and takes them to their ticketed seat using the wheelchair. Once the show is over, the escort will come back to the guest and help them exit the auditorium.
There’s no official dress code for attending shows at the Ryman Auditorium. You’re free to wear whatever you want as long as it looks appropriate.
Generally speaking, most people wear boots with a pair of jeans and a casual polo or button-down shirt. Maybe also bring a jacket if you’re attending a show during the colder months.
The Ryman Auditorium serves a good variety of Nashville-styled foods and drinks. The prices are quite reasonable, too.
Cafe Lulu serves chicken, pork, and turkey, along with other picks, like sauces, side dishes, dressings, and mustards. It’s also famous for its signature 1982 burger sandwiches.
The Ryman Auditorium has a full bar that serves alcohol. Keep in mind that bringing your own drinks into the auditorium is prohibited, so the in-house bar is your only option.
The Ryman Auditorium offers valet parking for guests at $20 per car. If you want to take advantage of the service, drive into the Ryman from 5th Avenue and leave your car at the valet stand.
On a side note, if you own a Nissan, you can park at the Ryman free of charge.
To park at the Ryman, you can either use the auditorium’s valet parking service ($20/car) or park in a garage or off-street lot at $5/hour.
Some of the garages within the Ryman’s proximity include SunTrust Plaza, 333 Commerce St., 5th Avenue of the Arts, and McKendree.
You’ll have to walk a small distance to reach the auditorium if you park in one of these garages, though.
The Ryman is open for tours every day from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. However, it’s not uncommon for the auditorium to close its doors on some days or close earlier than usual.
It’d be best to check the hours on the website or Google Maps before planning for a tour just to be on the safe side.
Most of the time, the Ryman Auditorium is open for tours every day from 9:00 AM till 4:00 PM, except if it’s closed for some reason. You can check the auditorium’s opening hours on its website before going just to be sure.
And since the auditorium closes its doors at 4:00 PM, it’d be best if you book a tour early in the morning so you can spend as much time inside as you want.
The self-guided tours at the Ryman Auditorium are all the same, and they’re available all year round. Your second option is the Post Show Backstage Tour, but this one is available between November and January only.
The backstage tour is definitely a remarkable experience, but that doesn’t mean the self-guided tour is any less impressive. However, if you’ve already done a self-guided tour before, the backstage tour would be your best bet.
The self-guided tour in the Ryman Auditorium is undoubtedly a must-have experience for those who appreciate country music and extraordinary architectural beauty. At the beginning of the tour, you get to watch a short film that summarizes the history of the Mother Church of country music: the Ryman Auditorium.
Another interesting part of the tour is the exhibitions, which are narrated by the country music artists themselves. You’ll also get to take a picture on the stage with the mic in front of you; how cool is that!
A tour at the Ryman will likely last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Usually, the busier the place is, the longer your tour will take.
It also depends on how fascinated you are with what you’re seeing; most people spend a long time on the tour just to admire the aesthetics of the place and its historical value.
Touring the Ryman costs $25.95 for self-guided tours. However, children aged 4-11 years old can get discounted tickets at just $16.95. Oh, and if you want a guided backstage tour, you’ll have to pay a little bit more.
It’s also worth noting that you can find some promo codes here and there that can get you a good discount on the tickets.
If you’re a risking talent in the world of country music, you can contact the auditorium’s management, and maybe you'd get a shot to perform there. In some cases, you might be required to perform an audition.
However, if you’re already starting to gain some recognition, you might get a chance to perform at the Ryman Auditorium without even asking for it!
Some of the most widely acclaimed artists that have performed at the Ryman Auditorium include:
Johnny Cash’s last performance at the Ryman Auditorium was in the early 70s. The exact date isn’t really known.
Kirk Franklin performed at the Ryman Auditorium in 2016.
Here’s a list of the best hotels near the Ryman Auditorium:
The Gaylord Opryland is 10.5 miles away from the Ryman Auditorium. The fastest way to get there is by driving via US-31E N, which will take you about 17 minutes in regular traffic conditions.
The Ryman is around 400 feet away from the Omni Nashville Hotel. The fastest way to get there is through Rep. John Lewis Way S, and it’ll take you less than 5 minutes in regular traffic conditions.
You can also walk all the way there if you feel like it; it’ll take you less than 10 minutes.
Club Wyndham Nashville is 10.5 miles away from the Ryman. You can get there quickly by taking the I-65 N road, and you should reach the hotel within 18-20 minutes in regular traffic conditions.
Brentwood Suites is about 11.7 miles away from the Ryman Auditorium. The fastest route between the two locations is through the I-65 route. You should reach there in around 23 minutes in regular traffic conditions.
Sheraton Grand Nashville is just 0.4 miles away from the Ryman. You can walk your way in only 9 minutes through Rep. John Lewis Way N and Church St. Alternatively, you can reach the hotel by car in 4 minutes via the same route in regular traffic conditions.
Renaissance Nashville is only 0.2 miles away from the Ryman Auditorium. The fastest way to get there on foot is through Opry Pl/Rep. John Lewis Way N and Commerce St. It’ll take you just 4 minutes.
The Inn At Fontanel is a 17-minute drive from the Ryman Auditorium, for a total distance of 11.5 miles. The fastest route is via I-65 N road.
The Ryman Auditorium is just 7 minutes away from the Ryman Auditorium via 4th Ave N if you go there on foot.
The Courtyard by Marriott Nashville is a 5-minute walk from the Ryman Auditorium via 4th Ave N.
There are dozens of restaurants from different cuisines within the Ryman Auditorium’s proximity. Some of them include:
Out of these restaurants, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge claims the crown as the best (and most popular) restaurant near the Ryman Auditorium. Robert’s Western World is highly rated, too. Both restaurants serve American burgers and sandwiches.
Alternatively, you can eat at Lulu’s Cafe inside the Ryman Auditorium.
FGL House is a 5-minute walk from the Ryman Auditorium through Broadway and 3rd Ave S. You can also drive there via Commerce St and 3rd Ave N.
The Kid Rock’s Bar is just 0.2 miles away from the Ryman Auditorium. It’s a 4-minute walk via 4th Ave N and Broadway. You can also drive there through the same route.
The Tootsies Orchid Lounge is a 2-minute walk from the Ryman Auditorium through Opry Pl/Rep. John Lewis Way N and Broadway. It’s one of the closest attractions to the Ryman.
There are several landmarks around the Ryman Auditorium, and many of them are just a few minutes away. If you’re planning a trip to Nashville, you can visit more places on your Ryman tour day without having to waste time commuting.
Here are some of the most popular attractions near the Ryman Auditorium:
This is one of the world’s biggest museums and research centers dedicated to maintaining American country music. It was opened in 1964.
The museum's huge collection includes Bob Pinson’s 250,000 Recorded Sound Collection, 500,000 photographic prints, digital images, transparencies and negatives, over 900 musical instruments, and many more artifacts and recordings.
Carrying the legacy of one of the most influential country music artists of all time, the Johnny Cash Museum and Cafe is a must-visit. The museum contains a wide variety of memorabilia and pictures that narrate the life of Johnny Cash.
If you’re into greek art, then you’d definitely fall in love with The Parthenon, a full-size replica of the ancient Greek temple of the same name.
Tootsies Orchid Lounge is a historic country music saloon popularly recognized for being an integral part of the state’s musical heritage. Both locals and visitors like to spend time there. It serves delicious food, too!
Along with the attractions mentioned above, other landmarks near the Ryman Auditorium include:
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is a 4-minute drive from the Ryman Auditorium via Rep. John Lewis Way N. You can also take an alternative route through Commerce St and 7th Ave N.
If you want to walk your way there, it’ll take you 9 minutes via Rep. John Lewis Way N.
The Nissan Stadium is a 19-minute walk from the Ryman Theater. You can get there by walking through 4th Ave N, Union St, and Woodland St.
The Ryman Auditorium a 5-minute walk from Woolworths if you take the Rep. John Lewis Way N road. You can also get there by car through 7th Ave N and Broadway.
The historical and cultural significance of the Ryman Auditorium has made it one of the most popular attractions in Tennessee for visitors and locals alike.
Whether you’re planning to visit the Ryman Auditorium for a self-guided tour or to attend a show, the experience is definitely going to be remarkable.
It’d be a good idea to do both, especially if you don’t live in Nashville. You can even visit more nearby attractions on the same day.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, and enjoy the beauty of the Ryman Auditorium and country music like never before!