Good news for Nashville fans across the country: The hit ABC show has officially been renewed for a third season, and thanks to an $8 million incentive package, the production will continue to be filmed in Tennessee. And while the city is great on screen, it looks, sounds and tastes even better in real life. So forget Rayna, Juliette and Deacon (OK, maybe don’t forget Deacon) — here’s how to experience Nashville like you’re part of the cast.
See the up-and-coming stars
While the Bluebird Cafe is a romantic setting for a television show, the hidden talent doesn’t frequent Green Hills as often as you might think (or ever). Instead, venture downtown to the historic Station Inn or make the 20-minute drive to the original Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant in Leiper’s Fork on a Thursday for open mic night. Even if the music is a miss, Puckett’s turnip greens and housemade cobbler make the trek worth every mile.
Stay in a glamorous hotel
For star-worthy accommodations, make Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Hermitage Hotel your base. There are plenty of draws: a genuine, friendly staff; luxurious marble guest room bathrooms where you can soak in a tub and watch a flat-screen TV; and striking Beaux-Arts architecture (check out the lobby’s glass ceiling painted with muses). But the downtown hotel also hosted many real-life country singers (Gene Autry, Waylon Jennings, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker), and it’s home to Four-Star Capitol Grille, which had its own cameo on the TV show.
Sip your cortado in peace
Nashvillians pride themselves on letting the famous go about their business relatively undisturbed. And though the cast of Nashville rarely spends screen time sipping, the actors, actresses and musicians have been known to pop in Nashville’s best coffee shops for a midday caffeine boost. Crema, located within walking distance of the city’s pedestrian bridge, has the best coffee in town. Order a cortado (it’s about equal parts espresso and warm milk) or the much-loved coffee-soda (a cold, carbonated beverage with the slightest hint of orange). If you have the time, it’s worth it to sign up for a class with the Crema baristas so you can make the same concoctions once you get home.
Reserve a table at Rolf and Daughters
If you like good food, Germantown’s revered brasserie Rolf and Daughters, helmed by chef Philip Krajeck, is non-negotiable. It’s where Rayna would eat, if she wasn’t spending so much time fretting over which guitar-wielding heartthrob she should marry. The garganelli verde with pork ragout is so good you’ll want to order it all over again once you’ve cleared the bowl of each small, handmade twist of pasta and scraped every last ounce of savory sauce. If you don’t order a bottle of wine from the restaurant’s sizable collection, try the Buon Appetito cocktail (Campari, Cocchi Americano, grapefruit, lemon, soda) — it’s as refreshing as it is simple.
Pick out some tunes to take home
The cast of Nashville does its fair share of country-royalty name-dropping on the show. And even if you’re not a long-time Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard fan, there’s no better souvenir from Nashville than a vintage record full of the sounds that put the city on the map. Grimey’s in midtown offers a wide selection of “new and pre-loved” music. If you’re looking for a record store in East Nashville, try The Groove. There’s no telling whom you might see flipping through records next to you.
Photos Courtesy of iStock and The Hermitage