Nashville, Tennessee (NAPSI) - Long beforeNashville,Tenn. became an “it” city noted as a top world travel destination by both Forbes and The New York Times, the city welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors annually with a single purpose in mind: seeing the show that made country music famous, the Grand Ole Opry.

Today, the Opry is home to some of country music’s most popular stars while continuing to attract fans to its shows every Friday and Saturday night in addition to seasonal Tuesday−Thursday performances. Opry General Manager Pete Fisher says, “When guests visit, they’ll experience music from different generations, including up-and-coming stars, current hit makers and enduring legends.”

“Pilgrims travel to Jerusalem to see the Holy Land and the foundations of their faith,” says Opry member Brad Paisley. “People go to Washington, D.C. to see the workings of government and the foundation of our country. And fans flock to Nashville to see the foundation of country music, the Grand Ole Opry.”

In addition to witnessing country music history made on stage, Nashville visitors can go behind the curtain on Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tours.

This House Is Home

“I always say backstage at the Opry is like your living room, only with famous people,” says Paisley’s fellow Opry member and Grammy-winning superstar Carrie Underwood, nodding to the Opry’s informal and highly approachable nature, both on stage and behind the scenes. Tours trace the steps of Paisley, Underwood and others. Visitors are guided past themed dressing rooms and are led onto the 6-ft. wooden circle on the Opry House stage, cut from the stage of the Ryman when the show moved to the Opry House in 1974. When standing on the circle, fans stand on the same spot where legends such as Patsy Cline and Hank Williams once stood, as well as where stars such as Keith Urban and Martina McBride perform today. Video commentary from Opry members including Blake Shelton and Darius Rucker on the backstage tours complement the stories shared by tour guides, many of whom personally witnessed several of the magical Opry stage moments they describe to guests.

Every Show Is Different

With no less than eight acts and 50 musicians at any one show, the possibilities for artists joining forces on a song—either planned or spontaneous—and creating another “Opry moment” on any given night are endless.

With the world tuned in to the popular network drama “Nashville” each week and the city welcoming more than 1,000 nonstop flights from 40+ locations around the country, plus the destination’s convenient location for road-trippers, Nashville thrives today as a go-to spot for great food, great times and great music—including the Grand Ole Opry.

At A Glance

• The show that started it all, the Grand Ole Opry, continues to feature country music’s most exciting acts. Among the artists who’ve played the Opry in recent months: Eric Church, Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood.

• Home to the Opry 1943−1974, the historic Ryman Auditorium today features tours by day and concerts featuring an eclectic mix of music by night.

• The Bluebird Café, often featured in the hit series “Nashville,” continues to host Music City tunesmiths nightly. Among the Bluebird’s claims to fame: helping “discover” superstars Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.

Plan Your Trip

Learn more about Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry at www.opry.com or by calling (800) SEE-OPRY.