14 Can’t-Miss Dolly Parton Landmarks

  • 14 Can’t-Miss Dolly Parton Landmarks

    You’re not a true fan of the Queen of Country Music until you’ve seen these Music City landmarks where she made her name.

    It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t heard of Dolly Parton, the country music legend and movie star who has her own theme park, and who, through her Imagination Library, has donated over 100 million books to kids in five countries. Though Dolly is from the Great Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee, she made her name in Nashville. Here are the important Dolly Parton landmarks in Music City you can still visit—or at least see from the outside.

    Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

  • Country Music Hall of Fame

    A tribute to the roots of country music and its biggest stars, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see attraction in Nashville. A poster of Dolly Parton hangs in the museum’s rotunda with the other 138 members of the Hall of Fame (Dolly was inducted in 1999), and she’s featured in the 2020 American Currents exhibit at the museum alongside contemporary British singer Yola, whose music is influenced by Dolly.

    Dove Wedding Photography

  • RCA Studio B

    This famed recording studio is known as the place that gave birth to the “Nashville sound,” characterized by its use of string instruments and background vocals. Elvis Presley recorded some of his biggest hits at Studio B, as did Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Charlie Daniels, and Connie Smith. Dolly Parton recorded some of her most famous songs there, as well, like Coat of Many Colors and I Will Always Love You . Though Studio B is part of the Country Music Hall of Fame, it’s a separate place with its own tour.

    Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

  • Music City Walk of Fame

    Located directly across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame in Music City Park, the Walk of Fame commemorates Nashville’s biggest country music stars, including, of course, Dolly Parton. The park is also home to the Nashville Music Garden, a public garden in which all the flowers are named after the city’s country music stars. Dolly’s rose is “the color of her lipstick,” according to breeder Joe Winchel, who also praised the plant’s “big blooms.”

    Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

  • Printers Alley

    What was once the center of Nashville’s printing industry—the city’s two largest newspapers were once based here—is now a collection of nightclubs showcasing some of Music City’s best up-and-coming musical acts. Jimi Hendrix, Barbara Mandrell, Hank Williams, and, of course, Dolly Parton all cut their teeth in Printers Alley.

    Julie Tremaine

  • Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

    A famous music landmark in Nashville, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge came about by mistake. When owner Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess purchased the bar in 1960, she reportedly asked for a painter to touch up the place, only to have him paint the entire space light purple—and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge was born. When Dolly Parton moved to Nashville on the day after her high school graduation in 1964, Tootsie’s was one of the first places she performed. This 1988 episode of The Dolly Show has Parton going back to her roots at Tootsie’s; it’s also where Willie Nelson got his first songwriting gig after a performance there.

    Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

  • Inca Hoots Productions

    Dolly’s star has risen so high that now, instead of recording in other people’s studios, she has her own. Inca Hoots Productions, an unassuming Mission-style compound on 12th Street, is Dolly’s production studio and management office. It’s closed to the public, but you can tell if she’s there because her massive tour bus will be in the gated courtyard out front. The name itself is a bit of her famous sense of humor: split up the letters differently and you’ll get the real meaning of the company name.

    Julie Tremaine

  • Grand Ole Opry

    A rite of passage for any burgeoning country musician, the Grand Ole Opry has been showcasing new and established talent since 1925, and it broadcasts its Saturday night performances all over the world. Dolly Parton made her first appearance on the Opry stage at age 13, in 1959, and she was inducted as a member in 1969. Dolly celebrated her 50th anniversary of membership with a huge gala performance in 2019 at the Opry’s new location, and there was an accompanying exhibit of her glitzy costumes.

    Chris Hollo

  • Ryman Auditorium

    The Ryman Auditorium is known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” because it was first a church and the seats are still pews. The Ryman was an early location of the Grand Ole Opry, housing the show from 1945-1974, until the Opry moved to its new home at the Opryland Hotel. The Ryman is where Johnny Cash first saw his future wife June Carter—when they met there in 1956 he said he’d marry her someday. It’s also where Dolly Parton made her Opry debut, and where she was inducted into the fold.

    Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

  • Brentwood, Tennessee

    This affluent suburb, just south of Nashville, is where musical luminaries like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Jack White, and Amy Grant and Vince Gill live. From the street, all you can see of the home Dolly Parton shares with famously reclusive husband Carl Dean is the front gate, some landscaping, and red roofs. But the house is more than just a home—it’s a compound. There, she has her own chapel, a pool and a tennis court, some smaller buildings, and several barns. Some are for farm equipment and her tour buses, but rumor has it that one of the buildings is just for her wigs, and a family member lives on the property to care for them.

    Julie Tremaine

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