Nashville is one of the best places to be, mostly because this city offers a little something for everyone.
Even though it’s home to more than 600,000 people, Nashville is also brimming with outdoor opportunities and chances to get closer to nature. So, what can you do here?
Honestly, the options are endless. Between amusement parks, animal attractions, hiking trails, and more, there is no shortage of outdoor fun that you can have in Nashville, Tennessee. In this article, we’re giving you 7 great outdoor things to do in Nashville to get your adventure started. Click here for even more options for fun in Music City!
7 Outdoor Things to Do in Nashville
With its abundance of parks and other natural attractions, Nashville makes it easy to take off on a spontaneous daytime getaway. It may be the 25th most populated city in the US, but there is no shortage of outdoor fun to be had. Here are some of the best activities for you to explore that will make for an outing you’ll remember forever.
1. Take a Step Back into History
Once the home of President Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage is a wonderful place to begin learning about the history of Nashville. This location features more than 1,000 acres of beautiful scenery, lush garden landscapes, and architecture dating back to the early 1800s. It is unlike anything else you will find in the state!
At The Hermitage, you can explore Jackson’s mansion home, complete with its original wallpaper, and areas of the slave sites. There are farm building remnants, the original church that was built in 1824, and even several original outbuildings. Jackson, his wife, and other family members are also resting in their own private tombs on the property.
2. Go See Something Amazing
Andrew Jackson’s home isn’t the only piece of history you can see in Nashville. The Parthenon is also a must-see attraction that’s been sitting in this city since 1897. The building is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens and also boasts a 42-foot statue of Athena. More than just a really cool building, the Parthenon also acts as Nashville’s art museum. You can find dozens of different paintings and works of art here, with a wide collection of them being completed during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Parthenon doesn’t just sit alone though. The location actually serves as a centerpiece for Centennial Park, a lush green 132-acre park in Nashville. Here, you can find wartime memorabilia, take the Old Town Trolley, and enjoy the sunken garden for quiet meditation. The space is perfect for an afternoon of relaxation and fun.
3. Visit the Zoo
Located just 6 miles southeast of downtown, the Nashville Zoo is a wonderful outdoor activity the entire family will enjoy. Here, you can find alligators, bears, cougars, and all sorts of different lemurs. There’s also a gigantic aquatic section with stingrays, piranhas, and countless examples of fresh- and salt-water fish. Those feeling extra eager can also book backstage passes, animal encounters, and keeper talks, depending on the season. In addition to all of that, there are numerous rides and experiences available at the zoo, including a zip line, carousel, and train.
You don’t even have to worry about packing a lunch because the Nashville Zoo has you covered with tons of different food options. From classics like burgers and pizza to BBQ and seasonal food carts, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone!
4. Relax on the Lake
An outing to some big, public outdoor attraction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay, because Nashville loves solitude, too. Find some peace and quiet somewhere amongst the 1,368-acres of Radnor Lake State Park. Here, you will find an abundance of wildlife, including otters, herons, owls, and reptiles. There are plenty of bird-watching opportunities and more than 7 miles of trails. The rangers at Radnor Lake also offer several events and programs throughout the year to help educate people in the area.
Those looking to learn more about Radnor Lake through interpretive panels and exhibits are encouraged to stop in at the Walter Criley Visitor Center and the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center.
5. Take a Stroll Downtown
It may sound cliche, but one of the most enjoyable pastimes in Nashville is just walking around downtown and soaking it all in. This is the best way to experience the food, people, and environment that Nashville has to offer. For families, Cumberland Park is a great place to begin your adventure. It’s an innovative play space located right on the riverfront and offers free parking, a splash pad, and direct access to the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. Tip: The view of Nashville from the bridge is incredible.
Or, consider beginning at the Riverfront Park, across from First Avenue, where you’ll find a scenic view of the river and access to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.
6. Experience the River Firsthand
Tired of just staring at the Cumberland River all the time? Plenty of opportunities in Nashville are available that allow you to experience it firsthand! Kayaking, for example, is an extremely popular activity on the river. This gives you the ability to experience Nashville like never before. Float by the bridges, sightseers, and businesses as you enjoy the Nashville weather and beauty. And, the great thing about the Cumberland River is that it’s so slow-moving there is no need to concern yourself with rapid waters or falling in the river. You can even paddle your way back to the starting point if you don’t mind a little work. There are lots of companies who offer kayak tours in the area as well.
7. Cool Off in the Water
As mentioned above, the temperatures stay relatively warm in Nashville. Thankfully, there are some great water parks and attractions where you can go cool down. The Brentwood Splash Park is a popular attraction, featuring slides, water sprays, and even a 100-gallon dump bucket. The Wave Country wave pool is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, as it’s one of the only wave pools available in the entire area!
But, if you’re looking for something a little more rustic and natural, then Nashville is ready for you, too. Old Hickory Lake sits just northeast of the city and offers four separate beaches for swimming. Each location includes picnic areas and a few grills to help you enjoy your trip.
Two Extra Experiences You Can’t Miss in Nashville
It’s tough to narrow a city like Nashville down into just seven recommendations. That’s why we couldn’t! Here are two more things you must do if you truly want to enjoy everything about Nashville.
* Book an Escape Room Adventure
If you love adventure, this is the opportunity for you! With three Nashville locations and 10 unique rooms, there’s plenty to keep you engaged!
Some exclusive adventures from The Escape Game to try in Nashville include:
- The Depths: In this interactive experience, you’ve just found yourself deep in the ocean on a submarine lab led by someone named Dr. Leah. As excitable as she seems, the experiments start taking a turn for the worse. And before long, you find yourself in an adrenaline-fueled race against time.
- Nashville: This is The Escape Game’s first ever room and is exclusive to Music City! As a player, you’re part of an up and coming band, and you’ve just been invited into the office of a world-renowned music producer. With just 60-minutes, you have the opportunity to secure a contract that could change your life. Can you do it?
- Ruins: Forbidden Treasure: This escape game starts when your plane crashes over the jungle and you find yourself exploring an ancient abandoned temple. Everything seems crazy and amazing at first, but maybe it’s not abandoned after all. Are you bold enough to grab for the treasure?
* See the Grand Ole Opry
It may not be outside, but we had to add it to the list. The Grand Ole Opry is easily one of the most popular attractions in Nashville. This is the American Country Music stage, where you can watch country music stars and catch iconic skits and performances. The location also offers backstage tours and immersive experiences for those looking for something more. You can also walk around outside the venue and pose for photos with the large custom guitars and sculptures!
The fun doesn’t stop there though! Right next door to the Grand Ole Opry is the Gaylord Opryland Resort, which is so much more than a traditional resort. Here, you can explore the tropical gardens (with their 50,000 different plants), balk at the beautiful indoor waterfalls, and relax on the boat that takes you through the river on the property.
Nashville is the Best City for Outdoor Fun!
There is no city like Nashville, which is why everyone should visit at least once! It’s a fantastic mix of friendly locals, outdoor recreation, and endless adventure.