Located on 122 acres in the buzzing West End neighborhood, Centennial Park is the city’s crown jewel of urban greenery. Once a prime piece of farmland, the park is now home to numerous historical landmarks, an exercise trail, a dog park, sand volleyball courts, and good old fashioned Mother Nature. It’s also home to the iconic Parthenon building, one of the most recognizable structures in the city.
If you’re not of the whole “connect with nature” mentality, have no fear; Centennial Park is truly a park of the 21st century, with free WiFi found throughout the grounds.
Photo: Courtesy of the Conservatory for the Parthenon and Centennial Park
Take in beauty of all kinds at the Cheekwood estate, home to a botanical garden, art museum, and the stately Cheekwood mansion. Featuring numerous styles of gardens from a serene Japanese garden to a literary garden used for poetry readings, the 55-acre grounds are an excellent place to enjoy all four(ish) seasons of Tennessee. The Museum of Art spans the history of American art, including Worcester porcelain and paintings by Andy Warhol. You’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place in all of Nashville than Cheekwood in the spring, when over 100,000 tulips spring from the earth in a resplendent display. We recommend a walk along the 0.9 mile-long sculpture trail anytime of year.
This place is BIG, so allot your time properly. The mansion alone is over 30,000 square feet!
Photo courtesy of the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Explore how the other half lived in the 1800s at this historic mansion and plantation. Originally established by the Harding family, the mansion has hosted many illustrious guests throughout the years, including President Ulysses S. Grant. Today visitors can take tours of the Greek-Revival mansion and the historic outbuildings, including a dairy, a mausoleum, and reconstructed slave quarters. History nerds will love the chance to take an informative and fascinating tour of a mansion found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, while wine connoisseurs can take advantage of the winery’s Tennessee reds and whites made from the natively grown muscadine grape.
Belle Meade’s former owners were one of the largest slaveholding families in Nashville and the reconstructed slave quarters still stand on the grounds today. Be prepared for some serious conversations.
Photo courtesy of the Belle Meade Plantation
Telling someone to "take a hike" is far from an insult at the lush Radnor Lake State Park, a 1,332-acre park in Oak Hill. Beloved by nature enthusiasts for its abundance of wildlife, the park also contains several miles of hiking trails and a visitor center worth visiting for its interpretive exhibits and environmental education programs. Whether a canoe tour floats your boat (sorry) or a birding hike is more your style, Radnor Lake State Park offers plentiful opportunities to get in touch with nature. The park features ten different trails but keep in mind that pets, jogging, and bicycles are only allowed on the Otter Creek Road trail.
Leave your hunting rifles and your sleeping bags at home--the park is for day-use only, and hunting within the park is strictly prohibited.
Celebrating the great outdoors is all about being surrounded by nature while being active—and by being active, we mean lifting a glass of wine and putting it back down. Arrington Vineyards’ 92 acre property is just half an hour south of Nashville, but it sure doesn’t feel like Music City’s backyard as you’re looking over the rolling hills of vineyards and woodland.
Country music artist Kix Brooks is a co-owner, so there are oftentimes bands playing in the vineyards.
With so much happening in Nashville, their sports teams seemed to always get pushed aside. Not anymore! Enjoy Nashville’s typically good weather and catch a Titans NFL game, just outside downtown (perfect for tailgating or going out after). If football’s not your thing, or the season hasn’t started yet, pop into a minor league baseball game at The Nashville Sounds stadium.
Parking is unsurprisingly tough and expensive. Uber.
Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Titans
Once an amusement park, Opryland now plays host to conventions. This massive upscale resort features a glass atrium, indoor gardens, three pools, a spa and a golf course. Gaylord Springs Golf Links is an 18-hole, par-72 course just five minutes away via the complimentary resort shuttle. Eateries on site are convenient, but for the money, you're better off exploring Nashville's food scene. Shop ‘til you drop at the nearby Opry Mills Mall. During the holidays, droves of cars line up to marvel at more than three million holiday lights and acres of magnificent decorations, plus spectacular holiday activities and events.
SoundWaves, Opryland’s latest addition, is the nation’s first upscale indoor and outdoor resort water attraction. SoundWaves blends music and water for four acres of combined indoor rides, relaxing indulgences, and seasonal outdoor water amenities.
Photo courtesy of Gaylord Opryland
The year-round Nashville Farmers' Market, international food hall, and garden center is open seven days a week in the heart of Nashville. The nationally-recognized farmers' market is home to farmers, food artisans, restaurateurs, shop owners, crafters, flea merchants, special events, workshops, classes, and chef demos. Shop seasonal produce in the Farm Sheds, as well as farm-fresh milk, cheese, honey, meat, eggs, and flowers, pie, jams and jellies, salsa, soap, candles, pottery, art, clothing, and more. Visit the Market House throughout the week for coffee or lunch then walk it off by exploring the international food hall featuring 20 restaurants and shops. Enjoy dinner, shopping, and live music during the Night Market on the third Friday of every month from 5-9 pm.
The parking lot is tiny--go during off hours during the week to get a good spot.