Go Tennessee: 3 places to discover cars, music, theater

Lane Motor Museum

Jeff Lane turned his love of European cars into one of the most interesting museums in the state. As curator, he opened the museum to the public with his personal collection in 2003. About 150 vehicles, including air, land and sea varieties, are displayed in about 40,000 square feet of open space that once housed the Sunbeam bread bakery. Motorheads will appreciate that, not only is the Lane one of the few museums in the U.S. that specializes in showcasing European cars, it also has a goal of maintaining all its vehicles in running order. The museum offers special exhibits as well. For instance, to celebrate 100 years of BMW, Lane Motor Museum is showing off nearly a dozen vintage BMWs, including a 1930 Dixi roadster and a 1928 R 52 motorcycle.

702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville. 615-742-7445, lanemotormuseum.org@LaneMotor.

Tour the Ryman

History buffs and music fans alike can immerse themselves in the rich legacy of the Ryman Auditorium with a guided backstage tour. The highlight of the tour is the Soul of Nashville experience, which spotlights more than a century of legendary performances. Once tagged the Carnegie Hall of the South, the Ryman’s stage has been graced by such luminaries as John Philip Sousa, Charlie Chaplin and Ethel Barrymore. Later, the former Union Gospel Tabernacle and Grand Ole Opry became home to more contemporary legends such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Minnie Pearl and James Brown. It continues to present concerts today. Visitors can peek into dressing rooms and, naturally, step out onto that magical stage. Note that tours aren’t available during some concert events, so make sure you call first.

116 Fifth Ave. North, Nashville. 1-800-987-9852, ryman.com, @TheRyman.

Tennessee Theatre

When Knoxville’s Tennessee Theatre opened its grand doors in 1928, it was considered the South’s most beautiful theater. Its Spanish-Moorish interior was lavishly appointed with imported chandeliers, Italian terrazzo flooring and rich fabrics inspired by the Orient. The theater, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as the official state theater of Tennessee, wasn’t always so popular. In fact, it fell into disrepair until a local nonprofit organization saved the day. After a nearly $30 million restoration, which began in 2003, the jewel of Tennessee is back to its original Roaring ’20s glamour, and now is used as a performing arts center.

604 S. Gay St., Knoxville. 865-684-1200, tennesseetheatre.com, @TNTheatre.