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Guide to the Grand Ole Opry House

A cowboy hat on top of a coil of rope with a guitar in background representing country music and the Grand Ole Opry. City & Venue Guides

Nestled in Nashville, Tenn., is the Grand Ole Opry House, a historic landmark and famous music venue that is home to one of the world’s longest-running radio shows, the Grand Ole Opry. For close to 100 years, the Opry has aided in the evolution of country music. While its locations may have changed over the years, the Opry House has become an official home for the show. Discover the origins and legacy of this infamous music venue with our Grand Ole Opry House guide. 

What Is The Grand Ole Opry?

In 1925, George D. Hay introduced a weekly radio broadcast of an hour-long “barn dance.” The radio show was dubbed the WSM Barn Dance and quickly gained popularity, before rebranding as the Grand Ole Opry. As the radio show expanded its networks and resided in different locations in Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, or the Opry, became a mainstay of the country music industry and the entertainment world. Fans will travel across the world to catch a show live at the Opry House.

With more than 5,000 episodes produced since 1925, it became a paragon for country music and other types of entertainment like stand-up comedy. During the shows, country music stars and newcomers to the industry are featured. Shows are never rehearsed and never repeated, providing a unique, one-of-a-kind experience for audiences. 

Why Is It Called The Grand Ole Opry?

During a broadcast for the former WSM Barn Dance, the host announced that “For the past hour, we have been listening to music largely from Grand Opera, but from now on, we will present ‘The Grand Ole Opry’.” After that, the name stuck. 

When Does The Opry House Open?

The doors at the Opry House are open to the public by 10 a.m., with evening hours extended depending on the schedule of events. The Opry puts on a live radio broadcast on WSM-AM at 7 p.m. CT every Saturday night. There are renditions of this late-night broadcast with Friday Night Opry and Tuesday Night Opry running through February to December. 

Where Is The Grand Ole Opry?

The Grand Ole Opry House is located at 600 Opry Mills Dr. in Nashville, Tenn. When the broadcast program first got started, the radio studio was in a building of offices for the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. By 1934, thanks to its rapid growth and popularity, the radio’s studio was moved to Hillsboro Theatre to accommodate a growing cast, crew and audience members. Throughout WWII, the Opry was housed in Dixie Tabernacle in Nashville in 1936 and later in the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, from 1939 to 1943. 

Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Opry from 1943 to 1974. The concert hall was one of the Opry’s largest spaces with a seating capacity of 2,362. It later became a winter venue for the show from 1999 to 2020. The Grand Ole Opry left Ryman Auditorium for the newly constructed Opry House in 1974. The new live music venue is able to hold 4,400 guests in the main theater.

Following a period of heavy flooding in 2010 in Nashville, the Opry House had to undergo several repairs. The Opry House’s relic from Ryman Auditorium, a six-foot circle of wood, was recovered and set in the center of the theater’s stage. In 2023, a new stage was unveiled, equipped with advanced tech and lighting systems.

Why Is The Opry Famous?

The Grand Ole Opry has been dubbed the “Mother Church of Country Music” for its work in advancing the popularity and appreciation for country music’s past while focusing on developing country music’s future. Every radio show has a different lineup, so no one night is the same. The constant changes and exploration of music led to the Opry’s success. It has been a part of the evolution of the country genre for nearly 100 years.

One of the honors that the Opry has earned was a Peabody Award in 1983. Years later, the Grand Ole Opry was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. The Opry makes sure to not only celebrate and remember past and present performers but also puts in the effort to showcase newer talents and continue to help the Opry grow. In 2023, the Opry began a program that focuses on diverse, young musicians that are wanting to make their mark as well as up-and-coming figures in country and other genres like bluegrass, gospel, blues, southern rock and folk music. 

Who Are Grand Ole Opry Members?

Being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry membership is a great honor for artists in the country genre. There have been more than 228 guest acts that have become Grand Ole Opry members. There are 70 active members, however, some of the members have retired and can no longer perform. Notable members include Carrie UnderwoodKeith Urban, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts and Lauren Alaina

Invited by Opry management, inductees are more than just popular country stars. Members must be prominent figures who develop meaningful relationships with country music fans and make a significant impact or contribution to the genre. The Opry membership is for passionate country artists that are committed persons and have the right combo of accomplishment and commitment in their career. With new members, the future of the Opry is guaranteed. 

Members can perform at any Opry show of their choosing, which can feature around five to seven members for each show. They are also expected to make around 12 regular appearances on the show during the year. Any members that neglect this obligation or violate Opry rules have their membership revoked. Dismissed members include Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. 

Visit the Grand Ole Opry House

Do not miss out on seeing a memorable performance live and get your Grand Ole Opry tickets with TicketSmarter today. The Opry House is a must-see destination for any travelers to Music City. Make sure to browse these exclusive Nashville travel deals with HotelPlanner and make the most of your trip.