No trip to Nashville is complete without a stop at this museum and its accompanying gift shop. You can order a custom CD of your favorite country music songs played in the museum and have it waiting for you when you leave ($22 to $24 for 12 tracks).
Nashville suffers from no lack of antiques, and a fair percentage of the city's selection is on the affordable side. This mall, located in an old warehouse, has the added bonus of being near railroad tracks: Listening to the rattle of trains while browsing is surprisingly relaxing.
Decades ago, this shop played home to the Midnight Jamboree, a wildly popular Saturday-night jam session attended by many country stars who'd walk over after they finished their shows at the nearby Grand Ole Opry. The Jamboree has relocated, but this spot is still one of the best places in town to load up on all types of Southern music, from bluegrass to banjo plucking.
Even if you have zero musical talent, it's still an unofficial rite of passage for any Nashville visitor to stop by a guitar store. This long-standing shop has seen nearly every country music star (or any music star, for that matter) as a customer, from Metallica to Dolly Parton.
One of our favorite spots in town, this old-school print shop was an early original producer of the much-copied Opry posters. Today, Hatch has rereleased some of the posters—most cost between $5 and $15—and added many new designs in its signature country-meets-Old-West style (each poster is printed by hand on century-old presses).
There's no lack of tourist shops hawking raunchy tees and unsettling redneck memorabilia in the downtown area. Legends Gift Shop is one of the few locations that makes the effort to raise the bar with its mix of unexpected and amusing trinkets.
At this shop you'll see tons of heavily embroidered, rhinestone-encrusted suits crafted by the store's owner, who, for the past 60 years, has created similarly elaborate garments for musicians the likes of the Beatles and Elvis (he made every single one of the King's glitzy ensembles). Manuel also designs many pieces for women.
Expect a mother lode of shoes at up to 75 percent off in this footwear warehouse. Most of the stock is from the current season, but shoppers can also find some past-season styles. Kenneth Cole, BCBG Max Azria, and Steve Madden are a few of the labels we spotted—and a pair of slide-on sneakers by DKNY ($50) caught our eyes.
These two vintage shops (Venus & Mars, Silvery Moon) have combined. Many well-known musicians, both those living in Nashville and those in town recording, are customers of this vintage store. A sampling of who's stopped by: Gillian Welch, Matchbox Twenty, and Ryan Adams.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH, BUT NOT TO BE MISSED IF YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM STRIP MALLS AND CHECK OUT SOME GREAT LOCALLY OWNED SHOPS, STOP HERE FIRST.