One of the most unique experiences I did during the last months was definitely visiting the Tennessee State Capitol. On the sixth day of my trip supporting the Pittsburgh Penguins in March 2022, I had the opportunity to visit the Tennessee Parliament building. Not during a recess period, but under full operation. Enjoy the trip with me to Capitol Hill in Nashville.
Tennessee State Capitol – Location & Admission
The Tennessee State Capitol is located in the heart of the city. Located on Capitol Hill, it is a 15 to 20 minute walk away from Broadway. The building has been built between 1845 and 1859, designed by architect William Strickland. You can walk to the Capitol or take an Uber. I would generally not move my car in Nashville from one parking lot to another, this may lead to massive costs. If you want to use local transport, there are, for example, several bus connections (3, 7, 8, 17, 50, 88) to Charlotte Ave & 7th Ave N on the Eastbound branch (Westbound 17, 50, 88 only).
There are guided tours, but as you get a very comprehensive leaflet, it is absolutely fine to do a self-guided tour. You can have a look between 9:00 and 16:00 hrs on Mondays to Fridays. The admission to the State Capitol is free. You, of course, need to pass an airport style security check, the staff at the visitor entrance located on the West side of the building were very friendly. If you are around in the morning hours, I suggest you to have a look into the free Tennessee Judiciary Museum as well.
Tennessee State Capitol – The Visit
In general, you can move freely through the Tennessee State Capitol – some office areas are of course closed for visitors. The guide leaflet is suggesting you a nice walk through the building. The instructions and maps given are very precise and give you a lot of information. There are a lot of interesting paintings right across the visitor entrance at the information desk. The lower level of your visit also takes you to the former Supreme Court, which is now located is a neighboring building.
Visiting the Tennessee Parliaments
You move up to the upper level through a very representative staircase. The highlight of my visit was definitely to be able to have (a few) steps into the House of Representatives, which you can also watch from one of the galleries. The galleries option is also available during running debates – the floor level is of course not possible in that case. This has really been an outstanding experience to me.
I also felt very honored that I, as a foreign visitor, have been able to visit the Tennessee Senate. Equivalently, this is only possible if there is no running session. You may also run into Tennessee politicians – excuse my lack of knowledge that I cannot tell you whom I met on the floor. I also went out on one of the balconies and enjoyed the beautiful views of Music City. By the way, one hand of the building features the tomb of the architect Strickland, who died before completion of the building. On the opposite site, the Chairman of the Capitol Building Commission, Samuel Morgan,
Tennessee State Capitol – Services
I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the Tennessee State Capitol. People were very friendly to visitors, which helped me a lot as I felt very gifted and respectful to be able to have this look into US politics. On a sunny day, you should also have a look into the Capitol Grounds. The gardens feature a couple of interesting statues and objects.
Tennessee State Capitol – My View
Being able to visit the Tennessee State Capital and stepping foot into both houses of the state’s parliament was definitely one of the most remarkable experiences I did in recent times. Everything is very welcoming and well organized, the self-guided tour leaflet is on point – easy to understand with a good level of information. I absolutely recommend the visit.
Here are all my travel postings related to Nashville:
Free Entry Locations (USA)
Here are all my free admission reviews, which are related to the USA: