Nashville is a city like no other and a place where you can find both business and pleasure. With Broadway in Nashville, it's always been a town that understands the importance of songs and its rich music scene is something that brings the community and the city together, which is why it's been nicknamed Music City. Although the countless famous singers, songwriters and records that have come from Nashville are what it's best known for there have also been presidents, athletes and many other talented citizens who represent the city across the world.
Nashville is a beautiful place with an agreeable climate that offers warm summers and cool winters. It's the type of place where you can find something to do outside at any time of year, and some of the most popular spots to enjoy the fresh air are in the numerous green spaces around the city. Below we'll introduce you to some of our favorite parks in Nashville and why you should visit each one. If you're a Nashville local then you might recognize some of them, and if you're visiting for the first time you'll find plenty of new spots for an outdoor adventure.
Whether meandering through a park in downtown Nashville or trekking a wooded trail outside of the city, Nashville parks have just what you need for an afternoon in the great outdoors. Store your heavy items with us at a luggage storage location in Nashville and explore the city's natural beauty, found in its many green spaces.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
The first park on our list can be found in Downtown Nashville and holds a lot of Tennessee history on its grounds. While exploring the area, you'll come across landmarks including a World War II memorial and the park itself was created as a monument to the Bicentennial Celebration of 1996. Another landmark to look out for is the granite map of Tennessee which is 200 feet in size. The park is a place that brings the community together with regular festivals, musical performances and activities for everyone to enjoy.
If you're stopping by on a hot summer day you'll want to check out the 31 vertical fountains in the park. They're made to represent the different rivers throughout the state and kids love to play in them to cool off. From here, you can also enjoy a great view of the Tennessee State Capitol Building and the city skyline. For those who are visiting the park for the first time, a walk down the Pathway of History is a must.
Of course, this wouldn't be a Music City park without some music. The Bell Carillon, a favorite landmark for many who visit the park, plays a chime every 15 minutes and performs a song each hour. There's also an outdoor amphitheater that can seat up to 2,000 people on the grounds. Once you've seen enough of the 19-acre park, make your way to the Tennessee State Museum which is situated right across from the green space. It's free to enter and has some good exhibits.
Two Rivers Park
Two Rivers is one of the city's best parks because it offers so much. The entire space encompasses 375 acres and is separated into different areas with various uses including the Two Rivers Golf Courses, the Two Rivers State Park, the Two Rivers Mansion and the Two Rivers Dog Park. The latter is a favorite among all dog owners, although you can stop by even if you don't have a dog and just want to watch cute pups run around. The space is 7 acres in size and is a fenced in off-leash dog park with a walking track.
Although it's easy to get distracted by adorable dogs, you should also check out everything else that the park has to offer. This includes a skate park where you can practice your tricks as well as an excellent golf course and disc golf course.
Another reason that this is one of the top Nashville parks is that it's connected to other parks and green spaces as well, like the Stones River Greenway and the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. There, you'll find 10 miles of trails and if you follow them to the end you'll eventually find yourself at the Percy Priest Lake, passing by this park and Heartland Park on the way.
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks
The Warner Parks area is made up of two parklands, Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park. Together they create an incredible 3,100-acre space of sprawling fields and lush forests. You'll find scenic pathways winding throughout the area, providing everyone in the city with a beautiful place to go on a walk. As you explore the walking trails, you'll discover outlooks where you can stop and take in all of the nature around you. It's also where the Iroquois Steeplechase is held.
If you don't feel like going by foot, you can find plenty of other ways to traverse the trails. Take one of the roadways by car, bring your bike on the mountain bike trails, or hop in a saddle and go horseback riding on the equestrian trails instead. As you navigate the park, keep an eye out for the different kinds of trees and plants like beech-maple, oak-hickory and cedar. Other landscapes provide perfect examples of natural beauty like the wetlands, creeks and springs hidden throughout the forest. If you want to give yourself a workout, try running up the Belle Mead steps, one of the park's best-known landmarks.
The Warner Parks are always a nice spot to escape from city life for a while. Once you've finished your trek you can explore all of the other park features like the various sports fields and two golf courses found on site. There's even a model airplane field and a cross-country running course. You'll probably be hungry after your hike so be sure to pack some food and have a meal in one of the picnic shelters, or plan to dine later in a top restaurant nearby. You'll also be interested in everything offered at the nature center and if you've brought a furry friend with you it's worth it to check out the dog park, too.
Lots of people have heard of this park which covers 132 acres and is situated right in the heart of the city. It's surrounded by office buildings and restaurants, making it a local favorite for citizens working nearby to go on their lunch break. Thanks to its central location it's also a popular venue for events and celebrations with different festivals, fairs and music performances at the Musicians Corner or Big Band Dances happening throughout the year. Centennial Park is also where Shakespeare in the Park performances happen. It's always full of people enjoying the fresh air so it's not a quiet place, but it's great for meeting up with friends.
You might recognize one of the park's most popular historical monuments, the Parthenon replica. It was built during the centennial celebration and is complete with a statue of Athena inside as well as sculptures and other masterpieces made by artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the other notable features include a dog park, playground, volleyball courts and the pretty sunken gardens. You'll also find lots of space for throwing a frisbee or playing soccer. Visitors should plan for time to check out the Centennial Art Center as well.
After you've seen everything there is at the park, it's time to find a spot to have a picnic or relax. One of the best places to go is the beautiful Lake Watauga. To see the best areas of the park go for a stroll down the one-mile walking trail.
Although it's a small park, this green space on the edge of the bustling neighborhood of Sylvan Park is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon and has quite a lot to offer for its size. This is where you'll find the Richland Park Farmer's Market. We recommend you visit to browse and it happens every Saturday morning.
Visitors at Richland Park will also get to take advantage of a picnic pavilion and a playground, and there are also tennis courts and a small field that can be used for sports on site. Its close proximity to Richmond Library is a bonus as well, and you'll also find lots of eateries and stores just across the street from the green space. It's a nice place to relax before shopping or to enjoy lunch outside.
There are plenty of bike lanes and sidewalks around the limits of the park so you can get here easily without a car. If you just want somewhere to go on a walk, the gardens at Richmond Park are a great choice.
Radnor Lake State Park
Nature lovers unite at Radnor Lake State Park situated in Davidson County, a place that aims to preserve nature and protect wildlife. You aren't allowed to go running, biking or dog walking here so that the animals aren't disturbed, although there's a paved path around the lake where you can do these activities. It's the type of place that you can go to just immerse yourself in nature and possibly spot some cute fauna. Some of the wildlife that you might see include deer, turtles, owls, otters, birds and beavers.
You can walk around the hiking trails, which are all well maintained and clearly marked, and when you reach the lake you'll find benches overlooking the water which is a picturesque place to stop and take it all in. In total, there are 6 different trails spanning a bit under 8 miles that you can explore. There are some interesting environmental education programs offered here. To test your abilities, see if you can identify the different kinds of ferns, vines, fungi, mosses and wildflowers around the area.
Try your hand at nature photography and birdwatching around the grounds. Close to 240 bird species call the park home, and if you want to see some up close, plan a visit to the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center. This is one of the best state parks and covers about 1,300 acres of land. To learn about the park and its history you can go to the Walter Criley Visitors Center.
Cumberland Park, located on the banks of the Cumberland River, is a recently renovated 6.5-acre park the locals of Nashville love. You can bring the whole family here for an afternoon of fun with wide open green spaces for running and playing, plus many other exciting features.
Cumberland Park has a small rock climbing wall called The Gorge for the young and adventurous to test their abilities and a splash pad called The Hallow and The Scoops which comes in handy on hot days. If you want to feel like you're at the beach all you have to do is head to the sandy play area, and the maze is always a fun activity to test your navigational skills.
During the summertime, the outdoor amphitheater with 1,200 seats is used as a venue for celebrations and performances, including live music concerts. The Explorer Trail is another popular place for all age groups, it will take you through meadows and areas with plenty of plants that attract colorful butterflies.
The best outdoor spaces in Nashville, TN
Flying into Nashville Airport and excited to get moving? Whether you want to have fun as a family on the playground, see amazing wildlife in the forests, attend an outdoor performance in an amphitheater or even hop into the saddle and explore horse trails, the parks in Nashville have everything that you could ever need for an outdoor adventure.
If you want to explore even more than the parks mentioned above you can also take a look at Riverfront Park, Shelby Park, Beaman Park, Sevier Park, Long Hunter State Park, or McCabe Park which is connected to the Richland Creek Greenway.
When the weather is nice and the sun is out, nothing beats spending time in the great outdoors. Why not plan a day at a sandy beach? These Best Beaches Near Nashville are perfect for an afternoon of swimming. If you want to get more adventurous the Best Hikes in Nashville will do the trick.