Taylor Swift: Here are the 13 must-see Nashville sights – Tennessean

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Taylor Swift has been singing about Nashville since she moved here with her family in 2004.
She described “A Place In This World” from her debut album in a 2007 iTunes performance.
“I wrote this when I was like 13 years old and had just moved to Nashville,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to end up making music and on a record label, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there. And I wrote this song about it.”
Ever since, the city has served as a backdrop for the 12-time Grammy winner. If you’re planning on visiting the Country Music Capital of the World and you’re a fan of Swift, here are 13 stops to add to your itinerary.
“Green was the color of the grass where I used to read at Centennial Park,” Swift sings in her “Folklore” track “Invisible String.” At the heart of Nashville, near West End Avenue and 25th Avenue North, is a 132-acre park complete with an iconic Parthenon replica, a one-mile walking trail, Lake Watauga and a reading bench dedicated to the singer.
“Welcome home, @taylorswift13,” former Nashville Mayor John Cooper tweeted on May 4, ahead of her Eras Tour concert in Nashville. “As of today, you now have the perfect place to read at Centennial Park. Nashville is READY for this weekend.”
The green plaque on the bench reads, “A bench for you to read on at Centennial Park. Welcome home, Nashville.”
On Oct. 21, 2012, Swift tweeted, “This is my last day of life before #RED. Midnight. Tonight.” from the top of the landmark stairs at Percy Warner Park, found near 1300 Page Road in Nashville. Walking up the stone steps produces a steady burn workout, and fans can even re-create her photo looking out over Belle Meade Boulevard.
Swift has been known, in the past, to jog along the trails at the top of the rocky stairway. In November 2014, she photobombed two photo shoots. Photographer Sarah Bailey tweeted, “Thx @taylorswift13 @taylornation13 for being in my client’s photoshoot yesterday. You made her YEAR #TaylorSwift.”
In September 2018, Swift posted a video with her close friend Ed Sheeran hiking near, you guessed it, the Percy Warner steps. The two discussed the American Music Awards nominations before agreeing they were both going to lose to Drake.
On a Tuesday night in November 2017, Swift appeared at the Target located at 26 White Bridge Pike in Nashville. “Reputation” had only been out for a few days.
“We always have this tradition of going to Target to go buy the album, and so we’re going to go do that,” she said on Instagram as she surprised unsuspecting fans and shoppers. Swift took photos, appeared on FaceTime calls and signed albums.
She hasn’t continued the tradition since.
In 2014, international muralist Kelsey Montague painted the city’s famous angel wings in the Gulch neighborhood at 302 11th Ave. S. in Nashville. Swift took a photo in front of the “What Lifts You” art and posted it on social media. (You won’t find the post if you search for it. This was prior to the release of “Reputation” when Swift erased all of her social media posts to make way for the new era).
“I love when I get to cross paths with other creatives in different fields,” Montague says over Zoom. In conjunction with the release of Swift’s “Lover” album in April 2019, Montague was hired to paint a second mural across the street of vibrantly colored butterfly wings.
“I didn’t know she commissioned the piece,” Montague says about Swift. “I thought it was being commissioned by ABC. It was all hush-hush.”
A crowd gathered around the mural with an ABC television crew. Swift emerged from a car and fans went wild. Montague said she and Swift had a neat moment after.
“I had to remind myself this is Taylor, because she’s like the friend you go have coffee with,” Montague says. “She’s so cool and so real. She’s just a good person.”
Although the “ME!” mural is no longer in the Gulch, Montague’s “What Lifts You” art is synonymous with the superstar and with Tennessee’s capital.
In East Nashville, a vintage guitar store exuding girl power has been a Swift favorite for more than a decade. Posters highlight female artists inside Fanny’s House of Music at 1101 Holly St., including an autographed Rolling Stone magazine cover of Swift.
“There are only women playing instruments on the walls, because representation is important and for young girls especially,” says Pamela Cole, owner of Fanny’s. She and her business partner, Leigh Maples, opened the shop in 2008. “When she came in, I asked if she would mind signing a poster. At that time, we had it in our lesson room and when the kids would walk in, they loved her so much, they would hug the poster.”
Cole says that Fanny’s is raising money to build a nonprofit school to make music lessons more accessible and that the “Teardrops On My Guitar” singer made a donation. During the Eras Tour’s Nashville stop, Swift encouraged opening act Gracie Abrams to stop by Fanny’s. Abrams bought a guitar.
In December 2012, Swift told Nashville Lifestyles Magazine she loved Fido cafe, located at 1812 21st Ave. S. in Nashville. “I like it for its atmosphere and energy,” she said. “Everybody’s always hanging out there, having lattes in mugs with cute little swirl designs on top. My friends and I like it because it’s open late.”
If you visit, say hi to manager Abbie Larsen, who is a singer and songwriter. Larsen can tell you why her favorite album is “Evermore” and show you which table is Swift’s favorite.
Hop in the car and drive 20 minutes south from downtown to find Radnor Lake State Park at 1160 Otter Creek Road in Nashville. Swift told Time magazine in 2014 that she enjoyed the 2.7-mile loop.
“I absolutely love the parks and trails,” she said. “There’s a park called Radnor Lake that’s gorgeous on a fall day. I’ve had some of my best days walking there with my dad, talking about life.”
Trails snake through the 1,368-acre area with beautiful forest and lake views. Keep in mind parking is limited and hard to find on busy days.
Adjacent to Taylor Swift’s high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee, is a children’s playground that locals have dubbed “Taylor Swift Park.” Pennant banners featuring her signature stand on top of the Kid Kingdom while a sign out front explains her tie to the jungle gym at 151 E. Main St. After the 2010 Nashville flood, Swift made a $100,000 donation to pay for more than half of the rebuild.
That was in addition to the half a million dollars the megastar donated during a local flood-relief telethon hosted by country singer Vince Gill.
Taylor Swift played the iconic Bluebird Cafe when she was in eighth grade. You read that correctly! Big Machine Records’ Scott Borchetta saw her performance and signed her.
“Hearing songs and stories at their very raw level is the best part of the Bluebird and best way to experience music,” said Erika Wollam-Nichols, chief operating officer at the cafe at 4104 Hillsboro Pike. Headshots of famous artists blanket the robin’s egg blue walls. If you look above the pews, you’ll see a young Swift with blond curls.
But you can’t miss the matted photo by the front door. Under a “Jack Daniel’s Rd” street sign is a photo of Swift playing in April 2018 next to songwriter Craig Wiseman. Her unannounced appearance left the crowd in awe.
“We have people come in and look at that picture and cry,” Wollam-Nichols said. “We had three open houses the weekend that Taylor played here and we had hundreds of people. The line stretched all the way to the back parking lot and around the building. And that is such a testament to a person who has touched so many in so many ways.”
You can’t miss the bold white letters “Taylor Swift Education Center” outside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville at 222 Rep. John Lewis Way S.
“The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a global museum,” says Lisa Purcell, the executive vice president of external affairs. “We will see 1.6 million visitors every year, and we offer education programs that will emanate out of the Taylor Swift Education Center. Last year this included more than 200,000 people.”
The Taylor Swift Education Center houses three classroom and an interactive gallery. It offers art installations, programs for school groups and after-school workshops for teens. There is a Swift scavenger hunt and Swift artifacts that are changed out annually. Currently the center is in its “Midnights” era with the hooded robe and famous elevator buttons from the “Bejeweled” music video. Last year, 200,000 people used the center.
“The flagship education program is called ‘Words & Music,'” says spokesperson Lisa Purcell. “The core of the program is third to 12th grade reading skills, literacy skills, language arts skills and songwriting. And we’re able to use some of her lyrics as examples to teach students how to song write.”
Throughout the museum, many Swift items are on display, including a replica of her handwritten “Tim McGraw” lyrics and a red guitar she took on tour.
Swift made her Grand Ole Opry debut Sept. 1, 2006. The teen performed on the hallowed wooden stage at 600 Opry Mills Drive for several years until she expanded into pop music with the release of her album “1989.”
Swift returned to the country stage in 2020 for an ACM Awards performance of “Betty” from “Folklore.”
“He’s got my heartbeat skipping down 16th Avenue,” is a lyric from “I Think He Knows,” referencing Music Row. The hub of Nashville’s entertainment industry stretches south of downtown and includes recording studios, publishing houses and music-licensing firms. Swift got her big break after signing with Big Machine Records in 2005 at the age of 15.
There is a trolley tour that will fill you in as you explore the different genres that make up Music City, U.S.A.
The ubiquitous singer made a rare appearance at the historic Ryman Auditorium for the 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards. After being named the “Songwriter-Artist of the Decade,” Swift performed “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” acoustically.
“A good song transports you to your truest feelings and translates those feelings for you,” Swift told the room of songwriters. On what she learned over her career: “You have to be grateful for people who want to listen to you.”
Her sparkly black dress and diamond sequined shoes are on display on the first floor of the auditorium at 116 Fifth Ave. N.
Follow Bryan West, the USA TODAY Network’s Taylor Swift reporter, on InstagramTikTok and X as @BryanWestTV.

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