Nashville (Taylor’s Version): A tour of Nashville through Taylor Swift lyrics

From Centennial Park to our very own Central Library, Taylor Swift has made her mark on Music City.


Lexie Perez

Graphic depicting a map with several Nashville locations. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

Jorie Fawcett and Chloe Pryor

There are countless tour buses to take you around Nashville, but as many Taylor Swift stans are aware, Music City is where Taylor was discovered and where she returns to in her lyrics. Follow our map of some favorite Swiftie spots in Nashville, from the gold leaves in Centennial Park to the small cafe where it all started. 

Centennial Park 

What do we have in common with Taylor Swift? We love to read at Centennial Park. The lyrics “green was the color of the grass where I used to read in Centennial Park” are found in the song “invisible string” in her eighth studio album, “folklore.” The song is about the idea of an “invisible string” connecting two soulmates as they move together in life. In the song, she recalls different places and memories, like the yogurt shop at which she worked, different friends in her life and, of course, Centennial Park. As the weather turns to spring, be sure to live your “main character moment” on the green grass at Centennial Park. 

16th Avenue

During a Q&A with Alex Rogers, Swift explained her affinity for Nashville. 

“When I was 11, my mom took my brother and me to Nashville on spring break, and we drove up and down music row,” Swift said.

While driving up and down the street, Swift rushed into record labels submitting her latest demo CD. This trip started her obsession with the eclectic street, which features small houses, businesses and record labels. After several more road trips to Nashville, Taylor got a record deal that finally convinced her family to move from Pennsylvania to Tennessee. 

With Swift having strong ties to the beloved street, it’s not a surprise that it’s gotten a few mentions in her music. “Lover” is her seventh studio album and was released in 2019. “I Think He Knows” is the sixth track on the album and recreates the infatuation and exasperation of young love. Swift nods to Music Row in the song and sings, “He’s got my heartbeat skipping down 16th Avenue.” The next time you take a stroll around the city, add “I Think He Knows” to your playlist as you skip all the way to Broadway and back. 

Central Library

This destination is the most shocking for us because we had no idea the “The Story Of Us” music video was filmed in our very own Central Library. “The Story of Us” was the last song to be put on the track for the album, but it’s a personal favorite of many fans. The music video centers around Swift and her ex-boyfriend attempting to avoid each other in the same library. So next time you are in Central, I highly suggest putting “The Story of Us” in your Spotify queue to get the full experience. 

Bookshelves in Central Library, as photographed on Nov. 16, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)
Bookshelves in Central Library, as photographed on Nov. 16, 2021. (Hustler Multimedia/Miguel Beristain)
(Miguel Beristain)

Hendersonville, Tennessee

This location is the least specific on our list but still took us on a deep dive into her lyrics. Released in 2020 under her ninth studio album “evermore,” “tis the damn season” tells the story of Dorothea, who returns to her hometown and encounters a former lover. Knowing that this rekindled relationship will inevitably end, listeners hear the point of view of the lover in the song “dorothea.” 

The lyrics “I parked my car right between the Methodist and the school that used to be ours” have sent Swifties to Google Maps in a scramble trying to find their origin. Swift attended Hendersonville High School for two years, where a Methodist church is located across the street. Whether the lyrics actually reference Hendersonville or this is an interesting coincidence, Dorothea for sure had an easier time finding parking than you can on Vanderbilt’s campus. 

Screenshot of Google Maps showing Hendersonville High School and First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville, as captured on Feb. 16, 2023. (Hustler Staff/Jorie Fawcett)
Screenshot of Google Maps showing Hendersonville High School and First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville, as captured on Feb. 16, 2023. (Hustler Staff/Jorie Fawcett)
(Jorie Fawcett)

Castle Gwynn

Located in Arrington, Tennessee, just 30 minutes south of Nashville, Castle Gwynn served as the filming location for Swift’s hit song “Love Story.” Released in 2008 (and re-recorded in 2021), “Fearless” is Swift’s second studio album and “Love Story” is the lead single. “Love Story” is the modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” so it only makes sense the set of the music video is reflective of that time period. Castle Gwynn began construction in the 1980s and is a private residence owned by local photographer Mike Freeman. He was inspired by a 12th-century Welsh castle and drew up the design in his high school architecture class. Castle Gwynn serves as a site in the Tennessee Renaissance Festival every year, so stop by and recreate the iconic music video. 

Bluebird Cafe 

Bluebird Cafe is a prominent stop for any country music fanatic. For Taylor Swift, it’s where her career took off. She performed at the venue on Nov. 4, 2004, and while only being 14, she was discovered and signed by Scott Borchetta. He eventually created Big Machine Records, where Taylor recorded her first album “Taylor Swift. Bluebird Cafe is also known for star performances by Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Keith Urban and many more. 

Swift’s original set list in 2004 featured songs “Me and Britney,” “Songs About You” and “Beautiful Eyes.” The cafe has a featured documentary about its legendary performers, with Swift making an appearance for filming on March 31, 2018. The setlist for the 2018 appearance included “Shake It Off,” “Better Man” and “Love Story,” with Swift being joined by Grammy award-winning songwriter Craig Wiseman. Next time you find yourself near Hillsboro Pike, make sure to stop at Bluebird Cafe to hear the both new and old voices of country music.