Nashville's Outdoor Fun
This is Music City, if it feels good outside, then we are playing outside. Mark your calendars for the big music festivals happening each month, find out what the many Nashville attractions are doing outside, play at any of our bountiful parks, enjoy the weather while discovering the past, come ride Music City's Greenways, or enjoy a sporting event right here in Nashville.
There is A LOT to do in Music City, so you can either follow along, or click on the links below to jump around.
Outdoor Attractions & Activities
Enjoy the outdoors at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, and see over 350 different species including clouded leopards, red pandas, giraffes, and more. Check out the Zoo from up high with Soaring Eagle which takes you 110 ft. in the air to overlook the African Savannah, Historic Home, Festival Field, and Gibbon Islands. Then, witness the 55 acres of beautiful splendor at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. You can always journey to Tennessee's largest petting farm, Lucky Ladd Farms, featuring over 100 friendly animals and exotic livestock. This 60-acre farm park offers attractions which appeal to all ages, acres of playgrounds, exciting hands-on animal encounters, pony rides, nature trails, and more to satisfy the whole family. Everyone loves miniature golf, and go-karts! Grand Old Golf & GoKarts holds three award winning miniature golf courses and an outdoor go-kart track that equals fun for the whole family. Cumberland Caverns is open year round, seven days a week with daily scenic walking tours, daytime adventure trips, and overnight spelunking with camping in the cave just 2 hours outside downtown Nashville. Lost River Cave & Zipline is Kentucky's only underground boat tour just one hour north of Nashville. The tour begins with a walk along the river's edge, and then arrive at the massive cave entrance where you will board a boat and glide along the river into enormous cathedral-like passages.
Make sure to check out our amazing zip lines, too. Treetop Adventure Park at Nashville Shores is an aerial adventure through the woods. After you are done flying on their zip lines, enjoy the 100 different obstacles which is great for families to come together. Make sure to check out Adventureworks, an amazing zip line experience with over 40 acres of forest. Music City Ziplines at Fontanel is another great zip line adventure as they offer eight different zip lines, up to 85 feet high, and ranging from 200-700 feet in length. OH! And SOAR Adventure Tower is a perfect destination for your next family outing. This beast of a tower holds 4 levels and over 110 climbing elements that will challenge kids and adults mentally and physically. We can't forget about the water parks! Check out the Nashville Shores, a 385-acre water-filled play area for the entire family. Water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, OH MY! The little ones will LOVE Kowabunga Beach, a massive water treehouse and spray ground, multiple water slides, three pools, and so much more! Have fun at Wave Country where you can ride the waves and relax in the sun. Looking for a more relaxing outdoor adventure? Take a trip on the Pontoon Saloon, Nashville's Honky Tonk on water which offers private and public cruises down the Cumberland River. Feel free to browse through all of Music City's great attractions here: www.visitmusiccity.com/attractions.
Have an Adventure
Music City has plenty for those who enjoy exercising and exploring. Groups will love to pedal around Nashville and see the sights on the Nashville Pedal Tavern. This awesome tour is a party on wheels. Perfect for having fun in the sun and stopping at various locations around Music City. Families and friends will love Sprocket Rocket Tours. It's like riding around in your own personal night club. It fits 16 people, pedal-powered, and has neon lights! A great way to tour historic downtown Nashville. Pioneer the trails with Bike the Greenway. They operate from Two Rivers Park, and will actually provide transportation for those in need. Enjoy a guided tour of the city with Green Fleet Bicycle Tours. Make your own special day and borrow a Nashville B-cycle. This gives you the chance to go at your own pace and explore each corner of the city. Another option is Surge Nashville, LLC which offers eBicycles. Each bike is cruiser-styled and equipped with powerful electric motors that combine comfort and innovation making your ride a breeze. You could always go for an amazing walking tour with Echoes of Nashville. They have a great 90-minute tour through the historic streets of downtown Nashville. Discover what has just won best little Southern town by Garden and Gun with Franklin on Foot, just south of downtown Nashville.
StyleBlueprint created a great article on How to Use B-Cycle, Nashville's Bike-Sharing Program.
Music City's Parks
We are proud of our open spaced parks so people can appreciate all the beautiful weather Music City has to offer. The Warner Parks (Edwin and Percy), in West Nashville, combine to make 2,684 acres to include picnic areas, hiking trails, running courses, and so much more. Talk a walk on Nashville's Greenways which connects neighborhoods to schools, shopping areas, downtown, recreation areas, open spaces, and other points of activity. Centennial Park is 132 acres and features The Parthenon, a full scale replica of the Athenian original. Inside the Greek temple is a 42-foot statue of Athena just like the Parthenon in ancient Greece. Centennial Park also has a one-mile walking trail, and many other historic shrines to see. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, in downtown, is a great area to enjoy the outdoors and discover Tennessee's rich history with the numerous monuments around the park. Eastland Park, in East Nashville, is an awesome patch of land with plenty of playgrounds and hosts a lot of special events throughout the year. East Nashville visitors will also want to check out Shelby Bottoms Park filled with 5 miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, running, and wildlife watching. Fannie Mae Dees Park, or Dragon Park, located in Hillsboro Village, is beloved by locals. It is called Dragon Park because of the large mosaic serpent sculpture that slithers through the landscape. Children love it, and adults relish in its beauty. Children love to spend time at Cumberland Park, in Downtown Nashville, a one-of-a-kind nature and play area that includes a sand play, stepping-stone path with mist, stone climbing ropes, climbing nets, exploration trail, and a fountain to cool you off during those extra hot days. Take a walk through Music City Walk of Fame Park to see the stars from different genres who have contributed to the world through the music industry, and hold a special connection with Nashville. Inductees include Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Reba McEntire, Emmylou Harris, Little Richard, Hank Williams, Vince Gill, The Crickets, Kings of Leon, Barbara Mandrell, Wynonna Judd, Roy Orbison and more. Not too far away is Riverfront Park which includes East Riverfront Park overlooking the Cumberland River, and The Green at Riverfront Park located behind Ascend Amphitheater. We have not forgotten about our four legged friends. Warner, Shelby, and Centennial Parks all welcome dogs. Please visit www.nashville.gov/Dog-Parks for more information on rules and policies.
Make sure to check out StyleBlueprint's 8 Best Local Day Hikes (besides Radnor and Percy Warner!).
Radnor Lake is a 1,200-acre lake and perfect for observing wildlife in their natural habitat including river otters, beavers, mink, muskrats, bobcats, coyote, and the white-tailed deer. Percy Priest Lake is a 42-mile long 14,000-acre lake and just a short 15-minute drive from downtown Nashville. Percy Priest Lake offers a wide range of recreation activities for locals and for those just visiting Music City. Old Hickory Lake, just north of Nashville, offers a variety of outdoor fun including camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, and water skiing. Don't forget about the adventures to be had on the Harpeth River. Paddle, swim, or float the day away on the historic Harpeth River which offers canoe rentals from March to October. Exploring Music City's waterways has never been so easy with the Nashville Paddle Co. They offer short and long term rentals for stand up paddleboards so you can cruise along Nashville's rivers and lakes. And just in case you don't know how, don't worry, they offer how-to-classes, intermediate technique instructions, and more to show you the ropes. Another great option for stand up paddle boarding is Paddle Up Nashville. They have a full service pro-shop, rentals, lessons, guided tours, and group events on the beautiful Cumberland River. River Queen Voyages is Nashville's first kayak rental company on the Cumberland River. They provide a beginner level tour-guided kayak route that goes from Shelby Park to Downtown Riverfront Park and an intermediate level self guided kayak route from Lock Two Park to Shelby Park. Get a deal on your River Queen Voyages trip! Make sure to check out Defiance Flyboard. Those crafty folks allow you to soar above the water using the propulsion of a jet ski. Water pushes down, and you go up in the sky like a spaceman with a jet pack. You could also check out Nashville Flyboard, the ultimate adventure in water sports. They offer master and certified Flyboard professionals to show you the ropes and have you surfing the skies in no time. Also, you can explore Old Hickory Lake and the Cumberland River like never before with Duckwing Triking, LLC. They have several different flights available including both sunrise and sunset which offer spectacular views.
Music City also holds some amazing waterfalls to experience. Take a look at 8 Stunning Waterfalls Within a Short Drive of Nashville via StyleBlueprint.
Into the Past
The spring and summer months are a perfect time to explore Nashville's many outdoor historical sites. Check out the beautifully preserved grounds and home of our nation's 7th president at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage: Home of the People's President. Enjoy the 1,100 acres of the original farm owned by Andrew Jackson and learn about life during the 19th century. The Belle Meade Plantation is a 19th century historic Greek Revival mansion commissioned by John Harding in 1845. Guests are welcome to explore the 30 acres of the Belle Meade Plantation which includes the dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens, and a log cabin. Learn about Nashville's role during the Civil War at The Battle of Franklin Trust as you explore the Carter House and Historic Carnton Plantation. Next, immerse yourself into the past at Historic Travellers Rest Plantation the home of John Overton, one of Nashville's first political leaders. Make sure to browse through the other great historical sites and museums Nashville has to offer here: www.visitmusiccity.com/nashvillehistory.
There's nothing better than getting together with hundreds of friends and listening to some great live music in Music City. Plenty of major music festivals happening during the summer months starting with CMA Music Festival. The music is played outside including the free live music at Riverfront Park and the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium. Next, join the 80,000 fans during Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Then mark your calendars for the biggest party of the year, Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th. This year's lineup includes Lady Antebellum, Chris Janson, Lucie Silvas, Shannon Sanders, and the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony. Finish the summer with free concerts every Thursday evening starting in August, and a three day festival in September during Live on the Green.
Outdoor concert series are happening throughout Nashville. Head over to Centennial Park for Musicians Corner presenting free family friendly live music on Fridays and Saturdays in May and June. Then check out Bluebird on the Mountain, an annual summer concert series presented by The Bluebird Cafe featuring hit songwriters playing their best songs on the portico of the Dyer Observatory. Bluebird on the Mountain is each month starting in May and ending October. The Nashville Symphony presents Free Community Concerts at parks around town on select days in June. June also begins the annual Frist Fridays as patrons are invited to enjoy an evening of live music every last Friday of June, July, and August behind the Frist Art Museum. The Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel opens when the air starts getting warmer and always offers a great line up to see. And don't forget to stop by Nashville's state-of-the-art outdoor venue, the Ascend Amphitheater, to see an awesome show under the stars in Music City. The beautiful Arrington Vineyard hosts Music in the Vines, a free live concert event every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from April through October. Make sure to check out some of the other concerts going on in Music City by visiting: visitmusiccity.com/upcomingconcerts.
Enjoy the thrill of baseball with the Nashville Sounds. Peanuts, home runs, Cracker Jacks, and a game almost every single day. Or, catch a soccer game at First Tennessee Park, featuring the Nashville Soccer Club. Golf lovers will need to check out the Hermitage Golf Course, voted #1 Rated Public Course in the State by Golf Digest, or Gaylord Springs Golf Links, named Middle Tennessee's Top Public Course by GolfWeek Magazine.