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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Honky Tonk Highway: The Heartbeat of Nashville’s Music Scene

Honky Tonk Highway, located along Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is a vibrant strip that epitomizes the city's rich musical heritage. Known for its lively atmosphere and an endless array of bars and music venues, Honky Tonk Highway offers an authentic Nashville experience where live music pours out of every door, day and night. Nashville, TN can be seen here.

Historical Background

The history of Honky Tonk Highway dates back to the early 20th century when Broadway became a hub for the city's burgeoning music scene. Initially, the area was a mix of retail shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, but it quickly evolved into a focal point for live country music. By the mid-20th century, many honky-tonk bars emerged, providing a platform for both aspiring and established musicians. Click here to read about Cheekwood Estate & Gardens: A Nashville Treasure.

The Venues

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge

One of the most iconic venues on Honky Tonk Highway is Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Opened in 1960, Tootsie's has a history of nurturing legendary talents, including Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, and Kris Kristofferson. The bar is renowned for its purple exterior, eclectic decor, and rich history that is palpable the moment you walk through the door.

The Stage on Broadway

Another staple of the strip is The Stage on Broadway, known for its spacious dance floor and impressive live performances. The Stage offers a mix of traditional and contemporary country music, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists seeking an authentic Nashville night out.

Legends Corner

Legends Corner, with its walls adorned with memorabilia and records, provides a nostalgic atmosphere that celebrates country music's golden era. This venue is a favorite among those looking to experience classic country tunes performed by some of Nashville's most talented musicians.

The Music

Live music is the lifeblood of Honky Tonk Highway. The strip is famous for its open-door policy, where no cover charge is required to enjoy performances. Musicians play from morning until the early hours of the next day, offering a mix of country, rock, blues, and more. This constant stream of music creates an electric atmosphere unique to Nashville.

Cultural Impact

Honky Tonk Highway is not just a tourist attraction; it is a significant part of Nashville's cultural fabric. The area has played a crucial role in the careers of countless musicians who have performed there before gaining national recognition. It also attracts millions of visitors each year, contributing significantly to the local economy.

The highway's influence extends beyond music. It has become a symbol of Nashville's identity as "Music City," embodying the city's spirit of creativity, perseverance, and celebration. Events like the annual CMA Fest and Fourth of July celebrations often feature performances on Broadway, showcasing the strip's cultural importance.


Honky Tonk Highway is more than just a street; it is a dynamic and enduring symbol of Nashville's musical legacy. With its rich history, vibrant venues, and continuous live music, it offers an unparalleled experience for music lovers. Whether you're an aspiring musician, a die-hard country fan, or a visitor looking to soak in the local culture, Honky Tonk Highway provides a quintessential Nashville experience that captures the heart and soul of Music City.


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