“Nashville” Self-Guided Tour
“Nashville” certainly stayed true to its name by doing a large majority of its filming in and around Nashville. Anyone who knows the city well liked to play the game of “where are they” when watching the show, and the cool thing is that minus a few sets that have been built, the cast filmed at locations that anyone can visit, tour, dine at or have their picture taken in front of. So grab some comfy shoes because the first part of your self-guided tour will be on foot.
Downtown Walking Tour
Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel
231 6th Avenue North
Start your day off with a hearty breakfast at the Capitol Grille inside the luxurious Hermitage Hotel on the corner of Union and 6th Avenue. Many of the items on the menu of upscale southern foods are grown at the Farm at Glen Leven just a few miles away.
You’ll recognize Capitol Grille as the restaurant where Lamar Wyatt first approaches Teddy about the idea of running for mayor in the premiere episode.
Tennessee State Capitol
600 Charlotte Avenue
Next, walk just a block up to the Tennessee State Capitol Building. The building was designed by renowned architect William Strickland who modeled it after a Greek temple. Strickland died before the building’s completion and is entombed in its northeast wall.
The State Capitol building is seen in the first episode when Lamar is honored by the current mayor of Nashville and Rayna begrudgingly makes an appearance.
Public Square Park
3rd Avenue and Union Street
Just a few blocks east you’ll come to Public Square Park, located on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Union Street. Public Square Park houses the Metro Courthouse where the office of Nashville’s real mayor is located. The park is also used for local concert series and festivals.
Public Square Park has been used for filming throughout the show. Teddy and Lamar have been filmed walking through here on their way to Teddy’s office as mayor. This is also where Juliette bailed Deacon out of jail in Episode 5.
116 5th Avenue North
Walk up a few blocks to the Ryman Auditorium located at 116 5th Avenue North (however the entrance is on 4th Avenue between Commerce and Broadway.) The Ryman was originally built as a church and was called the Union Gospel Tabernacle. The Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974. Today it is used as a music venue and hosts countless concerts throughout the year. Visitors can take a backstage tour of the Ryman and hear stories about the musicians who have performed on the Ryman stage from Hank Williams and Elvis Presley to Coldplay and Mumford & Sons.
The Ryman stage is where Rayna and Juliette perform their duet “Wrong Song” during the record label’s 25th anniversary concert in Episode 7.
Lower Broadway a.k.a. Honky Tonk Highway
Walk South on 4th Avenue where you’ll run into Lower Broadway. When you see the neon lights, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the world famous Honky Tonk Highway. The honky tonks that line Lower Broadway have free live music every day starting at 10 a.m. that goes late into the night. Bands there play for tips so be sure to have some cash on you to show them some love.
Layla’s Bluegrass Inn (418 Broadway) is where Gunnar takes Scarlett to drink away her blues over breaking up with Avery, and where she ends up singing on stage with the band.
You’ll recognize Tequila Cowboy (305 Broadway) as the location of Avery’s gig set up by his then-manager Marilyn.
Perhaps the most famous honky tonk, Tootsie’s (422 Broadway) is where artists like Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson used to perform for tips. You can’t miss it, it’s the purple building living up to its name, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Look closely and you’ll recognize that Tootsie’s was the backdrop of the scene where Gunnar and Will performed for an “Open Mic Night” and Gunnar draws attention from a local music exec.
To feel like a real Nashvillian, grab a long neck and ‘holler and swaller’ before heading to your next stop.
Walk up 5th Avenue and pass the Bridgestone Arena (where Deacon performed a concert scene with the Revel Kings, only in the show they were set in another city) and you’ll hit the Country Music Hall of Fame on the corner of 5th and Demonbreun.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 5th Avenue South
A Nashville institution, the Country Music Hall of Fame has more than 40,000 square feet of country music artifacts, archives and theater space that tell the story of country music’s history all the way up to its present. The rotunda honors all of those who have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Only one small scene has been filmed here so far. It was in Episode 1 when Rayna walks through the kitchen to meet her husband at the mayoral candidacy announcement party. While the scene didn’t show the beauty of the museum, it’s more than worth a walk through to brush up on your country music knowledge.
Next, head next door to the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center on the corner of 4th and Demonbreun.
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center was built in 2006 and is home to the Grammy-award-winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Free tours of the beautiful neo-classical style building are offered most Wednesdays and Saturdays at Noon.
The show has filmed a few different scenes at the Schermerhorn including Teddy’s mayoral announcement and a press conference held by Teddy. It has also plans to film there in Season 2.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
From there walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to get a breathtaking view of the city skyline. You can enter the bridge from the front side of the Schermerhorn.
The bridge offers a walkway to LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, as well as concerts throughout the year including country music’s biggest party, CMA Fest held in Nashville in early June.
You may recognize the Shelby Street Bridge from the scene where Rayna and Deacon discuss her upcoming tour in the show’s premiere episode.
You must be getting hungry by now so head back up to Broadway for some good ole southern barbecue from Jack’s Bar-B-Que, just look for the neon sign with the flying pigs. Jack’s is a favorite among locals and visitors. With a menu of brisket, ribs and of course, Tennessee pork shoulder, what’s not to love?
Walk in the door and you might recognize this as the location where Deacon met with his niece, Scarlett, to have a heart to heart about her love life and singing career in the 4th episode.
By now you must be tired of walking. It’s time to get in the car and play a little game of ‘choose your own adventure.’ You can either head East, West or South.
If you chose East:
First, you’ll be heading to East Nashville just across the Cumberland River from downtown. This creative community is home to a lot of artists and musicians in real life. In not-real life, it is home to Deacon, Scarlett, Gunnar and Avery.
(Intersection of Woodland Street and Main Street)
Head to Five Points area (literally an intersection of five cross points). You can hit some of the local vintage shops, including Art & Invention, Wonders on Woodland or the gallery of shops that make up the Idea Hatchery. Grab a coffee at Bongo Java or a slice of pizza from Five Points Pizza and then head to Avery’s favorite music venue.
The Five Spot
1006 Forrest Avenue
The Five Spot offers live music throughout the week. In addition to its lineup of great local and national acts they have their Wednesday night ‘Old Time Jam’ and Monday night ‘Keep on Movin Dance Party.’
The Five Spot has been featured on the show many times. Avery’s band performed there early on in Season One. It is where Marilyn approached him about signing a solo deal and also where Scarlett performed with Avery’s band after he had left them to pursue a solo career.
Sky Blue Café
700 Fatherland Avenue
Getting hungry? Head to a homey little restaurant, Sky Blue Café, which serves an amazing breakfast and lunch.
It is also where Juliette begrudgingly went on her first date with football star, Sean Butler.
Grand Ole Opry
2804 Opryland Drive
Finally, head out to the Opry House for a backstage tour and performance of the world famous Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry, which is the longest running radio show, got its start in 1925 and has shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night. You can also take a backstage tour every day of the week.
The Grand Ole Opry made its debut on the show in the premiere episode when Juliette and Rayna are both scheduled to perform on the same night and where they meet for the first time. You can expect the Opry to have a recurring role throughout the series.
If you chose West:
Head down Demonbreun, away from downtown and into Midtown. Go through the Music Row Roundabout where you’ll see a familiar sight, the sculpture, Musica.
Music Row Roundabout (connecting Demonbreun to 16th and 17th Avenues) Created by local sculptor, Alan LeQuire, Musica was unveiled in 2003 and features nine nude dancing figures in a circle. Alan says of his piece “the sculpture conveys the importance of music to Nashville’s past, present and future, and represents all forms of music without reference to any one form or style.”
Alan also sculpted Athena, the largest indoor statue in the western hemisphere, which his located in the Parthenon. His gallery and studio is open to visitors and is located at 4304 Charlotte Avenue.
Musica was used as the backdrop for Juliette’s music video “Telescope” in Episode 2.
16th and 17th Avenues
Head down 16th and 17th Avenue to get a glimpse of Nashville’s famed Music Row. Music Row is where the music business is headquartered in Nashville. Countless record labels, publishing companies and recording studios line these streets. Located on Music Row is RCA Studio A, a recording studio owned by Ben Folds.
This is where Scarlett and Gunnar went to record their demo for Waddy White in Episode 3 and where Scarlett’s nerves almost get the better of her.
Next head West on West End Avenue to Centennial Park.
2500 West End Avenue
Centennial Park is a favorite spot for many Nashvillians. It was the site of Tennessee’s centennial celebration in 1797 (hence its name) and is home to the Parthenon, an exact replica of the Greek Parthenon. Originally built as a temporary structure for the Centennial Celebration (Nashville’s contribution, playing on its nickname of “Athens of the South”) it was so well received that it was rebuilt as a permanent structure.
In the Season 2 premiere, Juliette performs a massive concert on the lawn of Centennial Park with the Parthenon lit up in the background.
Head further west along West End (which turns into Harding and then splits to become Hwy 100) and then turn left on Cheek Rd. towards Cheekwood.
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
1200 Forrest Park Drive
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is the former private estate of the Cheek family, of Maxwell House coffee fame. Cheekwood is now home to 55 acres of beautiful botanical gardens, a sculpture trail, museum of art and more.
Cheekwood appeared in Episode 6, but you could have easily missed it. It was actually playing the part of the Nashville Zoo where Juliette and football player Sean were part of a fundraising event.
If you chose South:
From downtown’s Broadway Avenue turn left on 12th Avenue where you’ll drive through a neighborhood called The Gulch. Several scenes have been shot in and around the Gulch.
Two Old Hippies
401 12th Avenue South
This funky store is filled with collections of rock n’ roll memorabilia, unique apparel collections, accessories, fun novelty and gift items, a "Magic Bus" located right in the center of the store, and an 8,000-square-foot stage ready for local performances.
Two Old Hippies is where Juliette held an in-store performance for an over-capacity crowd which included Rayna’s oldest daughter, Lennon.
1201 Villa Place
Continue driving South on 12th Avenue, then take a right on Edgehill Avenue where you’ll run straight into Edgehill Village.
This funky neighborhood includes great boutique stores and restaurants. One local favorite is Legato Gelato.
It was here that Hailey ended her short-lived relationship with Gunnar once she realized he had feelings for Scarlett.
Continue South to Green Hills neighborhood and the famed Bluebird Cafe.
4104 Hillsboro Pike
Bluebird Cafe could be considered one of the main characters in the show. In the real Nashville it plays just as big of a role. It is here that songwriters play their original songs ‘in the round’ meaning they are typically set up in a circle in the middle of the small 100-seat room. They go around telling the stories behind their songs and performing them to a hushed crowd.
The real Bluebird Cafe was used in the show’s pilot episode, but so many scenes are filmed there that they have since built an exact replica on a soundstage outside of town.