Contact the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-657-6910 or visit
A truly inspired project, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall, went up in 1996 near the Capitol to celebrate 200 years of Tennessee’s statehood. It features a walkway stretching 1,440 feet and bordered by a low granite wall on which are inscribed high points of the state’s history. Here and there are quotes from people who made that history: writers, politicians, and ordinary citizens. A parallel path is devoted to Tennessee’s natural history: rivers represented by fountains, mountains made of piles of rocks and softened by native plantings common to various sections of the state. The mall was almost empty the morning I was there; granted it was a cloudy late-November day, but I’d like to think this wonderful place is often thronged.
We mustn’t forget the Grand Ole Opry. Having departed the Ryman Auditorium in 1974, it is now the central focus of Opryland, a mall and hotel sprawl of surpassing glitz. But the theater itself is lit by the devotion of its audience in the way of any great church.