Experiencing The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN

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As the curtains rise and the first performer comes out, I can’t believe I am sitting The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville.

This iconic music venue is where many big country legends rose to fame, and has well and truly made its mark in Nashville’s rich music history.

In fact, you may even blame The Opry for giving Nashville its nickname, The Music City.

entryway to The Grand Ole Opry House with  music banner out front

But if you’re thinking of visiting The Grand Ole Opry and not sure what it’s like, or what packages are available to you, then keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this iconic show.

Brief History of The Grand Ole Opry Show

family posing in front of guitar
Going to a show at the Grand Ole Opry with my parents

The Grand Ole Opry is one of the most famous and historic venues in Nashville, as well as a weekly live country-music radio broadcast that runs several nights a week.

The show is broadcast from the Opry House, where up to 8 country music artists from the regular Opry lineup take the stage every night for 2 hours to perform in front of a live audience.

It began on November 28th, 1925, evolving from a radio show at WSM in Nashville to a cultural phenomenon. It was originally called the WSM barn dance and was set up by the National Life & Accident Insurance Company.

It had many venues over the years, including The Hillsboro Theatre, the Dixie Tabernacle and the War Memorial Auditorium.

Its move to the Ryman Auditorium in 1943 marked a significant era. It was here that the show’s popularity really took off and gave the venue the nickname “Mother Church of Country Music.”

In 1974, it moved once again to Opry House where it still remains to this day.

After it was televised for the first time in 1978, the Opry gained global recognition and continues to hold a revered place in American musical heritage.

Over the years, The Grand Ole Opry has hosted many big names in country music, including Johnny Cash (who met Patsy Cline backstage here), Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Dusty Slay, Minnie Pearl, Rhonda Vincent, Darius Rucker, Deana Carter, Mark Wills, and many more.

Our Experience Visiting The Grand Ole Opry Show

Family photo in front of giant guitar at grand ole opry
Family photo before the Grand Ole Opry Show

The Grand Ole Opry Show was one that my parent’s adored, and is where their favorite singers were revered and honored.

And now I am finally seeing it for myself alongside my daughters.

I hope the musical stories are being written for them today, and they understand the power of music to transform, to connect you to those you love, and to inspire you to reach for greater heights.

At the Opry, you can listen to the stories of those who have walked down a road to a point where many would say they’ve made it.

person holding Tickets to the Grand Ole Opry Show

They’re gracing the light colored circle where great artists before them have stood and sung, such as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, as well as current stars like Carrie Underwood and our boy Keith Urban.

The Grand Ole Opry Musicians

chris janson on state at the Grand ole opry
Grand Ole Opry Fun

The light colored, six-foot circle of light sits at the center of the Grand Ole Opry stage.

Most artists speak of their nervousness at standing in it, knowing that all the greats have stood there once before.

Just about anybody you can think of who has made country music has been on that stage.

To be invited as a member of the Grand Ole Opry is a great honor. Many artists sing at the Opry as guests, but aren’t invited as members until years later.

On our Opry backstage tour, we learned that to become a member of the Opry the management consider career accomplishment and commitment, but more importantly, the artist’s relationship to their fans, to other country singers, and to the ideals of the Opry.

You can also get kicked out like Johnny Cash did once because he drunkenly bashed out the stage lights with a microphone stand.

I love how the Opry doesn’t tolerate bad behavior, no matter your star quality, and does what it must to protect the honor of the family.

Touring Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry

As we attended as guests of the Opry, we had the pleasure of backstage access while the performances were on.

A backstage tour is something anyone can do at the Grand Ole Opry and we highly recommend it.

family posing in front of entrance to the Backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

We began at the artist’s entrance and into the hall where the member’s plaques hang on the wall and their post office.

Members receive fan mail every day and I have an inkling it might be an easy way for me to get a letter to Keith Urban!!

It was quite a thrill to follow the footsteps of the greats and visit a few of the artist’s waiting rooms – there are 18 in total, an oversized guitar pick inlaid in the floor signaling which room and unique design it is.

woman and daughters posing Backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

The Into the Circle room is where all first-time performers to the Opry anxiously wait for their call to grace the stage with their music.

It Takes Two is the duet room; the Women in Country room celebrates the great female country talent – those who love the show Nashville will recognize as the place where the two strong female leads, Rayna and Juliette first meet in episode one.

girl sitting in Dressing room backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

We were invited into one of the dressing rooms by a beautiful young lady who instantly grabbed Savannah for a cuddle.

She was very sweet and friendly and, we quickly found out, a successful young country singer.

You may know her from season 10 on American Idol where she finished runner-up.

Lauren Alaina.

With Lauren Alaina backstage at the Grand Ole Opry
With Lauren Alaina backstage at the Opry

Lauren’s gone onto much success in the country world and that day had been nominated for three Country music awards and her single, Road Less Traveled, which she sang for us at the Opry, later on, has just hit number one on the country charts.

We’re now big fans!

We finished our backstage tour in the wings of the stage watching one of the performers.

It was so great to look out and see the large crowds staring back and feel the energy of the band and people quietly shuffling around us getting ready for the next performers.

The Grand Ole Opry House can house 3,000 people, so it’s a pretty big crowd but still feels like an intimate concert.

Performers at the Grand Ole Opry Show, Nashville, Tennessee

I would have loved to stay longer, but Savannah dragged us out because she did not want to miss her girl, who she thought was Taylor Swift, aka Lauren Alaina.

It was the cutest hearing her say that. She was absolutely besotted with her and she now calls her my best friend the singer.

Click play to see more of the Grand Ole Opry backstage experience and show:

The Grand Ole Opry Show Experience

As the curtain raised, the room burst into silence and then went quietly to hear the songs and stories of each musician.

The Opry started as a radio broadcast in 1925 and evolved into a live show. Each Opry show is still broadcast live on radio today.

There is a radio announcer who comes on between each set to broadcast the sponsor’s messages.

Performers during the Grand Ole Opry Show in Nashville
Announcer at the Grand Ole Opry Show in Nashville

We saw six performers in total. I loved how each performer told a story or two, many of them quite funny.

We were lucky to see three performers who have had number one hits in the charts. It’s not only country music you hear here, but contemporary chart-toppers too!

I loved the final performance of Chris Janson, an Opry favorite and someone I have never heard of before. He is a hugely energetic performer and killed the harmonica.

Chris Janson performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee
Chris Janson

Lauren Alaina was just like she was backstage, bright, warm, sweet and funny. It was the first time I had heard any of her songs and I really liked them especially her hit single.

Savannah leaped on my lap and craned her neck out like an emu looking for a snack, eyes fixed on Lauren with a huge grin.

Her face lit up in the morning when we showed her the signed poster Lauren Alaina snuck out to her in the audience when she was asleep.

You can also get more signed memorabilia and Grand Ole Opry souvenirs from the gift shop.

I hope that this experience is helping to develop in her a deep love for music in the way my parents did.

Lauren Alaina performing at the Grand Ole Opry
Lauren Alaina

Although both of the girls did fall asleep towards the end of the show, they loved it. It really is a wonderful musical experience for families and we highly recommend it.

Not like the Bluebird Cafe where the kids have to be super quiet, and for some children that may just not be an option, at the Grand Ole Opry, because it’s a loud show, they can get away with quiet talking, and a bit of fidgeting.

Some artists encourage you to get up and dance and sway and clap your hands.

And if it all gets too much, you can easily walk up the aisle to the back of the room or even outside in the hallway for a leg stretch and a break.

Country music stars performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

We loved the Grand Ole Opry experience so much that we returned a week later on a Saturday night.

Chris Carmack, who you might know as Will Lexington on the show Nashville, was playing.

We were keen to experience some Nashville in Nashville! (We did sit only a couple of seats away from Lennon Stella, aka Maddie in a local coffee shop!)

This Opry performance was good if not better.

There were more performers on this evening, although they only played two songs each.

I would have loved to hear just one more from them. Especially the stand out performers of the decade, the duet Striking Matches.

From the first beat of their guitar, they owned the music. I’ve never seen a woman play guitar like her before, possibly a man either.

Their songs so fresh, modern and high energy.

Their sound was so familiar to me and I knew why as soon as they announced that 9 of their songs had starred on Nashville.

That’s what makes the Opry so magical.

You get to see a wide variety of talented musicians and famous artists – new performers and old in one evening.

Country music star performing at the Grand Ole Opry

Even though some of the artists here are Grammy award winning and number one sellers – some multiple times – there’s a sense of humbleness, grace, and service to the family when they take the stage.

I had quite a few people tell me, who’ have experienced the country music scene and the rock scene, that Country singers are so family orientated, warm, humble and lovely to work with, yet the rock stars are a total nightmare.

While rock is at the core of my life for music, I’ve fully embraced the Country way thanks to the spirit of their songs, tradition, and togetherness.

You can tell they love the storytelling and love to welcome and help raise up other storytellers in the fold because the storytelling and the movement of people is what it is about.

Is The Grand Ole Opry Experience For You?

banner of Keith Urban at grand ole opry
We would love to see Keith Urban perform at the Grand Ole Opry

Opening Hours & Entrance Fees

Prices start from $45 and go up from there, depending on the seats you choose.

The show is every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 7.00pm until 9.00pm.

It’s a known fact that there is not a bad seat in the house at the Opry. So if budget is tight, you can get the lower end tickets and be confident in knowing you’ll still see a good show.

Rascal Flatts Grand Ole Opry (1)
Rascal Flatts at the Opry

Our tickets were at the back the second time we visited and although the views weren’t s good as being down the bottom, we still could see fine.

They also have big screens you can look at as well. And the sound is incredible no matter where you sit.

You can’t bring your own snacks or drink, so be aware of that before arriving at the venue.

There are plenty of restaurants nearby you can eat at before the show. Our girls loved eating and spraying the popcorn all over the seats during the show!

Keep an eye out a few weeks before you arrive so you can pick a day with artists you may be interested in seeing in perform.

We were devastated we missed Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne) play at the Opry by two days AND by a few days at the Bluebird Café too!!

The Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour

women in backstage room Grand Ole Opry
Backstage with my mum

The Backstage Tour is available daily at various times and cost from $39 up to $98.90 depending on the tour and package you choose.

There’s also an exclusive Behind the Opry Curtain VIP Tour that takes place a half hour prior to an Opry performance and lets you stand on the back side of the stage to experience the curtain rising from the artist’s perspective and stay there during the first performance.

This tour is for ages 12 and older only, and you must have an Opry ticket in order to purchase the VIP tour. Check rates and availability here.

You can also get your Grand Ole Opry Ticket here. Don’t delay as they can sell out!

Stay and Dine at the Gaylord Opryland Resort

outside dining of Cascades American Restaurant
Cascades American Cafe

Across from the Grand Ole Opry is the Gaylord Opryland Resort, a fantastic place to stay or eat – especially for families.

We enjoyed a delicious pre-show dinner at The Cascades American Cafe in the Opryland Resort. Craig insists his filet mignon is the best steak he’s ever had and Mum and Dad said the same about their salmon.

steak and asparagus on plate
salad bowl with quinoa

My quinoa salad was equally delicious.

Read more reviews about the restaurant on TripAdvisor. 

It’s worth wondering around the Gaylord Resort to check out the decorated atriums, inner gardens with waterfalls and delta river boat cruises.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort is the largest non-gaming hotel in Continental US.

Boat cruise inside the Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee
Waterfall inside the Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tennessee

It’s quite a spectacular resort and restaurant. There is a water park inside the resort as well, which kids will love!

Book your stay at Opryland Resort here.

The Ryman Auditorium

As you are on this musical journey in Nashville, don’t forget to also visit the Ryman Auditorium, which was the iconic venue that housed the Grand Ole Opry for 35 years.

people sitting on pews looking at stage On tour at the Ryman Auditorium
On tour at the Ryman Auditorium

There is a lot of history in this building and it has been recognized for 8 years running as being the best arena in the country for its acoustics.

It’s an honor for any artist to play – Passenger recently played there and cried as it was the fulfillment of his dream.

I’d so love to see Ed Sheeran play there! (He has)

You can also do a backstage tour of the Ryman. Really worth it!

Final Thoughts

Rascal Flatts Grand Ole Opry (1)

We loved our experience at The Grand Ole Opry. It really shows how this city celebrates its musical legacy and cares about caring on the traditions.

If you’re ever in Nashville and not sure how to spend an evening, make sure this is it!

You may want to stay at the Gaylord

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