After discovering a Grand Ole Opry backstage tour existed for almost $100 for two people, the first question that came to mind was, “Is the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour worth it?”
We saw a show at the Opry and realized that there was a backstage tour afterward – but it was already sold out! However, we wondered what the tour was. A quick investigation revealed it was a little less than $50 per person to go behind the scenes of the Opry.
Having done the tour, we can say that the answer is yes, it is worth the cost. We’ll share what to expect and shed light on what you see for the entrance fee.
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Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour: Why It’s Worth the Cost
After our tour, Dan and I were discussing the experience and agreed that it was better than the Grand Ole Opry performance evening we attended a few evenings before. But it’s kind of like peanut butter and jelly – they go together. You can’t have one without the other.
The backstage tour was worth the cost because it really put the Grand Old Opry’s “dreams come true” impact and historical significance into perspective.
You get to see the artists’ entrance, where performers enter the building if they’re onstage that night or if they are Grand Ole Opry members. You’re able to see their dressing rooms and assorted memorabilia. Your guide shares stories you wouldn’t have otherwise heard. It’s really moving.
Will I like the backstage tour if I don't like country music?
We say yes, you will. As long as you are someone who appreciates a dream being realized, or a dream come true, or history, or a look behind the curtain that many people do not get to see, you'll enjoy it.
We’re not even huge country music fanatics. Though, of course, we know the words to many, many classic country songs and country hits of the early 21st century. (Hello Martina McBride, Jamie Evans, LeeAnn Rimes, Brooks and Dunn, and more!) And we loved it.
You don’t have to be a super fan to appreciate the tour. You don't even have to like country music to enjoy the backstage Opry tour.
Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour Cost & Tickets
I can’t tell you how much online research I did before I bought tickets for the tour because I really didn’t know if it was worth the cost. Actually, I won't go into detail – it's embarrassing. But even after I did online research, I called the Opry to ask even more questions, pre-purchase.
But now that we’ve established that it was, in fact, worth the cost, how do you get tickets?
Why You Should Buy Tickets Online Ahead of Time
Though you can get tickets in person at the Opry, we don’t recommend it. Here's why:
- Tours usually sell out two days in advance.
- The Grand Ole Opry is really out of the way unless you’re staying at the Gaylord, which is right across the street. But let’s assume you’re not – the Grand Ole Opry is a solid 20-25 minute drive northeast of downtown Nashville. It’s not close. It’s less money to pay for the online cost of the tickets than it would cost you in gas or an Uber/Lyft ride to the Opry. Buy the tickets online.
Why We Recommend Buying Tickets on Viator
We recommend buying the tickets on our favorite, trusted website with great customer service: Viator. Buy tickets here.
There are a few advantages to buying online with Viator. First and foremost, the tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable if you buy them directly from The Grand Ole Opry. But if you buy them on Viator, they are refundable up to 24 hours in advance of the day/time you choose.
Secondly, the Grand Ole Opry's ticket website is really confusing. I tried to use it, and it looked like it wasn't registering the correct tour time, and it just made more work for me. Viator keeps it simple and straightforward.
You also have to sign up for an AXS ticket account with Grand Ole Opry online ticket sales, which is really annoying. Then you have to download the AXS ticket app.
If you already have a Viator account, then no additional account is needed to buy tickets there. And if it's your first time using it and you travel a bit, we can assure you that you'll use Viator more than AXS. We never heard of AXS until Grand Ole Opry's ticket system. But we use Viator all the time.
Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour Tickets
Buy Tickets to the Backstage Tour Online and…
Additional Nashville Attraction Tickets on Viator
If you are going to be in Nashville for a day, two days or more, and plan on touring a few places, it's worth buying all your tickets on Viator so they are all in one place. Here are other area attractions on Viator:
How Does the Grand Ole Opry Tour Compare to Other Nashville Behind-the-Scenes Tours?
We did the backstage tour of the Ryman Auditorium, which is very much linked to the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Then later that night, we saw the Grand Ole Opry stage performance and the famous live radio broadcast.
We also did the Studio B tour, which you sign up for and meet from the Country Music Hall of Fame to be bussed over there. It was good but completely different from the Backstage Grand Ole Opry Tour.
The best ticket in town, in our opinion, was the Grand Ole Opry backstage tour. If we had to pick one backstage tour to do, it would be the Opry tour. So much so, we were moved to write about it.
What You See and Experience During the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
The tour lasts about an hour, and you see various areas backstage.
It starts with a moving 15-minute video presentation, the next 30 minutes or so are backstage, then the last five minutes are in the front area of the Grand Ole Opry auditorium. Lastly, you are directed to the gift shop.
➜ Tour Arrival, Start, and Where to Park
The tour begins at the front of the Grand Ole Opry entrance. Make sure you arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes before your tour to allow time to park and walk to the entrance. It’s a big area! It takes some time to park and walk to the front entrance.
Parking is free in the lot that is shared with Opry Mills Mall and the Grand Ole Opry.
But if you arrive early, leave your gift shop shopping for after the tour because the tour guide provides discount coupons for the shop.
If you are looking at the facade of the Opry building, the Grand Old Opry backstage tour entrance is at the right doors. After you go through security, you'll be led to the area to wait until the tour begins.
Can you bring a camera to the Backstage Tour?
Yes, you can. You cannot take video inside, but you can take all the still photos you want, whether on an iPhone or professional camera.
➜ Beginning Video for the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
You are led into a high-tech theater to begin your tour, where you will spend the next 15 minutes.
This portion is 1/4 of the time you’ll spend on the backstage tour, but it was my favorite part.
The video was so moving – I cried like a baby! Not only is the small theater beautiful, with couches and chairs providing seats-a-plenty, but the “screen” is actually a series of screens, including a fringe curtain and a small stage.
Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks are your narrators and guides during the film as they explain the history of the Grand Ole Opry.
The theater comes to life during the experience! As someone who was an Imagineer and worked at Universal Creative on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I was blown away by the video presentation storyline and creativity. It’s truly awesome.
During the video, you also see various members receive their Grand Ole Opry invitations, further stressing the significance of the Opry areas you are about to tour.
It’s truly moving, and it sets the stage (no pun intended) for why the Opry and its backstage area are really special.
➜ Gibson Guitar Chandelier and the Front Area of the Opry
After the video, you’re taken to the auditorium entrance area, where guests go before a Grand Ole Opry show. While it’s usually where guests buy concessions pre-show, you are taken here as stop two of your backstage tour.
As you stand under a unique “chandelier” of Gibson Guitars, three circular screens play another video to amp up your excitement!
As two tourists who attended the Grand Ole Opry evening show days before we took the backstage tour, we had no idea the guitar fixture was so special until the tour. It is valued at $90K! It was a cool detail that the guide pointed out.
➜ Grand Ole Opry Backstage Artists' Entrance
You’re then led to the backstage area of the Opry. As you pass through the band’s backstage rehearsal area, you see modern portraits of country greats, including Minnie Pearl, Keith Urban, and Dolly Parton, and more.
While you do not walk through the artists’ entrance, you see it right outside the door as you look from inside. The red outdoor overpass covers a brick walkway imprinted with the names of various Grand Ole Opry members. There is a fountain of a young girl along the walkway that was donated to the Grand Ole Opry by Minnie Pearl.
You can only imagine the countless country greats and first-time Grand Ole Opry performers who have walked up that path for the first or 50th time!
➜ Seeing the Hee Haw Soundstage
The Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour includes standing on the soundstage of Hee Haw (it’s really a huge, flat indoor area). Above you are the audience seats.
A video plays on a huge projection screen, hosted by Brad Paisley, to showcase what was filmed there decades ago in the second half of the 20th century.
Dan grew up watching Hee Haw, so it was a cool experience to be there. Maybe you grew up watching it too!
If you go to the Country Music Hall of Fame before or after you go on the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour, you see memorabilia from Hee Haw in one of the glass exhibit cases of the museum.
➜ Country Artist Check-in Reception Area
Another really cool part of the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour is entering the reception area of the Opry’s backstage. This is where performers check-in.
The security guard you meet is likely the same guard we did, who has worked there for many years! If you watch the My Opry Debut on YouTube, you’ll see Mr. Jim Schermerhorn in a bunch of videos welcoming artists to the Opry.
Here, he (or security guard Ron Oniszczak) checks IDs and directs the artists to their dressing rooms. Our guide shared info about the timeline of a typical evening for a Grand Ole Opry performer when we toured this area.
Also in this space are the fan mailboxes of Grand Ole Opry members. Number 143 is Alison Krauss, 192 is Carrie Underwood, 103 is Garth Brooks, 150 is Martine McBride….it's cool to see.
Anyone can send notes they write to Opry members to the Grand Ole Opry. The fan mail is placed in their mailbox until someone from their team picks it up.
In this area is the golden wall of Grand Ole Opry member plaques. Opry members are listed in chronological order, starting from the top left. In the middle of two walls is a glass case – when we were there, a sparkly gold gown from Loretta Lynn was on display.
➜ Seeing the Country Stars’ Themed Dressing Rooms During the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
You then get to view the various dressing rooms that artists get ready in and wait in until their performance.
During the day, the screens inside the dressing rooms count down to the Grand Ole Opry evening showtime. We imagine once the show starts, it plays on the television screens in the dressing rooms until it’s time for the artist to perform.
There are so many dressing rooms! Our guide explained the favorite dressing room of various country stars as we got to peek inside each one and take photos.
We loved the sparkly couch in Little Jimmy Dicken’s dressing room. And the portraits of Women of Country in the dressing room of the same name. There is a Grand Ole Opry dressing room named for Minnie Pearl, another for Country Duos…
You also get to see a little reception area that's adjacent to the dressing rooms where the performer can enjoy some refreshments and such.
A wall in the dressing rooms area showcases who the latest Grand Ole Opry inductees are. There is also a small exhibit case next to it. When we visited, three pairs of Carrie Underwood's high heels were on display, showcasing some high fashion she wore to several Opry performances.
Lastly, you see a metal wall in this backstage area with Grand Ole Opry members’ names engraved. This is where many photo ops take place for tour visitors but, more importantly, for media ops when the stars are there.
➜ Leading Out to the Grand Ole Opry Stage on the Backstage Tour
If you are wondering if you get to stand on the famous Grand Ole Opry stage during the backstage tour, the answer is yes!
You enter the Grand Ole Opry stage from the back, as the artists do, looking out to the thousands of seats across two levels. It’s a very cool feeling!
You can see set lists here, the musicians’ instruments awaiting that evening’s Grand Ole Opry performance, and the curtain cables as you wait to have your photo taken in the famous wooden circle on the stage floor.
The one and only wood circle is one that many country artist hopefuls do not stand in until they are invited to play the Opry. But as tourists who have no chance of ever performing there and no musical talent, Dan and I gladly stepped in!
A staff member takes your photo in the circle with the WSM Grand Ole Opry microphone in front of you. The photo is printed and awaiting your purchase at the end of the tour, which isn’t even ten minutes later.
Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour Photo Purchase
If you would like the photo, it’s an additional $25 charge. It’s not included in the tour, whereas the photo during the tour of the Ryman Auditorium is included.
If you don’t want to purchase the photo or want to opt out of the Grand Ole Opry staff person taking a picture of you, you can do what we did: simply snap a photo from the side while you’re onstage. If you are there solo, ask another person on the tour to help take a photo for you.
➜ The End of the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
After you get your photo on stage, you are led to the front of the theater, where guests sit during the performances.
Your guide leads you to the final stop of the tour, which ends at the gift shop. The guide offers discount coupons to anyone who wants to shop. As you walk into the store, you immediately see the photos of your group on stage that were taken mere minutes before printed with the option to purchase them.
Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour Bonus: Roy Acuff House
After the tour, we had the option for a self-guided walk through the Roy Acuff House as part of our ticket. The home of the “King of Country” is just steps away from the Grand Ole Opry.
It’s worth a visit and takes around 15 to 25 minutes to go through, depending on how much reading you do of all the info next to the memorabilia and artifacts.
Though it was his home beginning in 1984 until he died, it’s been transformed into a museum. Guests only have access to the ground level, which is now a series of exhibits and display cases.
My favorite thing inside was a copy of the timeline of President Ronald Reagan’s visit to the Opry during his presidential term. It shows his minute-by-minute schedule starting in Washington, DC, going to the Opry, and ending back in DC that night.
Another cool piece of memorabilia inside the Roy Acuff house was one of the costumes James Brown wore during one of his Opry performances.
FAQs for the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour
Can you just walk into the Grand Ole Opry?
No, you cannot walk into the auditorium area of the Grand Ole Opry without a ticket for a backstage tour (and even then, it's a guided tour – you cannot walk around as you wish) or a ticket to a performance.
The exterior grounds and the gift shop are open to the public if you want to visit those areas and walk around.
Is the tour good for kids?
Yes, it’s a cool tour, no matter the age. While toddlers may not appreciate the tour like a teenager would, it’s enjoyable for all ages.
How long is the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour?
It’s an hour from start to finish. They are prompt!
How many people are on each tour?
There were around 25 people on the tour, but we didn’t count the exact number.
How many tours are there a day?
Tours run every 15 minutes from morning to late afternoon.
Are Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour tickets refundable?
No. They are non-refundable and non-transferable. This rule is immediate if you purchase the tickets from the Opry directly. This is why we recommend buying tickets on Viator. They are refundable up to 24 hours before your visit.
Is the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour accessible?
Yes. A person using a walker or wheelchair, for example, would be able to access the tour.
Are there restrooms on the tour?
There are no restrooms during the tour that we saw, but there are plenty of restrooms to use before or after the tour at the Grand Ole Opry. And we are certain if there was a restroom emergency, the guide could easily direct you to the closest restroom.
Do you get to sing at the Grand Ole Opry during the Backstage Tour?
No, you don’t get to formally sing on stage during the tour. However, when our guide joyfully recited some song lines at the end of the tour in a playful round of “finish the lyric,” the whole group joined in. David, our tour guide, was great.
That said, we wondered if anyone would try to sing on stage if there were any country hopefuls walking around with us! It’s unlikely that any country execs or scouts or on the tour, though. The group seemed like it was all tourists.
Is there food or drinks on the tour?
No, there is not. If you want a drink before or after, the bar outside the Opry, which is just outside the gift shop, might be open before or after your tour, depending on the time.
The Grand Ole Opry tour was a highlight of our time in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee. In fact, we were cruising on the Tennessee River with American Cruise Lines for a full 7-night itinerary prior to the tour, and it was a highlight of our time in Tennessee, including the river cruise! (The river cruise was great too.)
From the moving video that starts the tour to the backstage access, it's well worth the cost to go behind the scenes at one of the most famous music venues in America.➡︎ Buy Tickets to the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour Here
Don't forget to purchase your additional Nashville tickets on Viator. We've listed the best tickets in the city for you here.Going to Tennessee? check out: