Things to Do Outside In Nashville - Fresh Air Activities

Discover Nashville's best ways to get outdoors with these activities.

Date Posted: July 1, 2024



Downtown Nashville on a beautiful day

Downtown Nashville on a beautiful day

Nashville encourages outdoor exploration through a variety of activities that cater to all ages and interests. Residents and visitors can embrace the city's natural beauty by hiking along scenic trails, cycling through picturesque neighborhoods, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll in one Music City's many parks. The city's expansive green spaces offer opportunities for picnicking, playing sports, or relaxing under the shade of old trees. Nashville's vibrant waterfront also invites outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or taking a serene boat ride along the Cumberland River. Additionally, the city hosts numerous outdoor events throughout the year, from music festivals to food markets, transforming public spaces into bustling hubs of activity where people can gather, socialize, and celebrate Nashville's unique culture and community spirit. Here's our list of the best ways to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Middle Tennessee in Nashville.

Places displayed in semi-geographic order from west to east

  • 1. Arrington Vineyards
  • 2. Natchez Trace Parkway
  • 3. Warner Parks
  • 4. Radnor Lake
  • 5. Nashville Zoo
  • 6. Belle Meade Historic Site
  • 7. Richland Creek Greenway
  • 8. Cheekwood
  • 9. Centennial Park
  • 10. 12 South
  • 11. The Gulch
  • 12. Bicentennial Park
  • 13. Broadway
  • 14. Ascend Amphitheater
  • 15. The Pedestrian Bridge
  • 16. General Jackson Showboat
  • 17. Nissan Stadium
  • 18. Topgolf/Golfing
  • 19. Shelby Park
  • 20. Adventureworks
  • 21. The Hermitage
  • 22. Cummins Falls
1. Arrington Vineyards

Arrington Vineyards, nestled in the hills of Arrington, Tennessee, just south of Nashville, is a picturesque destination known for its award-winning wines and scenic vineyard views. Founded by country music legend Kix Brooks in 2007, the vineyard spans over 75 acres.

Natchez Trace Parkway in the fall
2. Natchez Trace Parkway
Neighborhood: Bellevue

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history stretching from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. Completed in 1994, the double-arched Trace bridge that spans Birdsong Hollow received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 for its innovative design that rises 155 feet above the valley below. The bridge is just a short drive from downtown Nashville and makes for a cool spot to explore.

The bench overlook at Percy Warner park
3. Warner Parks
Neighborhood: Belle Meade

Percy Warner Park and its brother Edwin Warner are located 9 miles from downtown and cover 3,180 contiguous acres within Nashville's city limits. As one of the largest municipal natural area parks in the country, Warner Parks boasts amenities, historic and natural landmarks, and other features that make it a top outdoor destination in Tennessee. Percy Warner is the larger of the two parks. It contains an extensive network of hiking trails as well as 10 miles of equestrian paths.

Radnor Lake in the fall
4. Radnor Lake
Neighborhood: Brentwood

Radnor Lake is a 1,332-acre state park that is protected as a Class II Natural Area. It's unique due to its abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, environmental education programs, hiking trails and location in the middle of an urban area. Radnor Lake is day-use only and the more than six miles of trails are strictly used for hiking, photography and wildlife observation.

Giraffes and zebras at the zoo
5. Nashville Zoo
Neighborhood: South Nashville

fdsfdsfsdfdfsfVisiting the Nashville Zoo is a fantastic outdoor activity that offers a blend of adventure, education, and wildlife exploration. The zoo features diverse habitats where families can observe animals from around the globe in spacious and naturalistic environments. From playful otters and majestic giraffes to exotic birds and endangered species, every corner of the zoo invites visitors to learn about conservation efforts and animal behavior firsthand.

6. Belle Meade Historic Site
Neighborhood: Belle Meade

Belle Meade Historic Site located in Belle Meade, TN was bought in 1807 by Virginian John Harding. He named the site “Belle Meade”, French for beautiful meadow, and used it, not for farming but instead for a great many things such as a blacksmith shop, cotton gin and most famously boarding horses. Under the Harding family Belle Meade came to be known as the “Queen of the Southern Plantations”. There is much to be researched about the Harding family and the history of the plantation on the mansions grounds which is a beautiful setting to walk around and explore.

7. Cheekwood
Neighborhood: Belle Meade

Cheekwood, which was built in 1929, is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate in Belle Meade. Each year, Cheekwood welcomes over 250,000 annual visitors, making it one of Nashville's top cultural attractions, and it has approximately 13,000 member households. Visitors here enjoy family activities, programming for all ages and year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons. From 150,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one million holiday lights in the winter, there’s always something to see at Cheekwood.

Richland Creek Greenway path
8. Richland Creek Greenway
Neighborhood: Sylvan Park

Richland Creek Greenway offers a serene escape and recreational haven amidst the urban landscape of west Nashville. Spanning from Sylvan Park to White Bridge Road, this greenway stretches along Richland Creek, providing a tranquil pathway for walking, jogging, and biking.

Centennial Park on a beautiful day
9. Centennial Park
Neighborhood: West End

Centennial Park which occupies 132 acres and is located west of downtown is considered Nashville's premier urban park. It hosts the iconic Parthenon, walking trails, a small lake, an art center, gardens, volleyball courts and more.

The 'Looking Pretty Music City' mural
10. Walk 12 South

12 South in Nashville is a charming neighborhood perfect for exploring on foot with its vibrant atmosphere and eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and green spaces. A stroll down its tree-lined streets reveals local boutiques offering unique finds, cozy coffee shops and trendy restaurants serving up delicious bites. The neighborhood's artistic murals add a colorful backdrop to the experience, while Sevier Park provides a peaceful oasis for relaxation or picnicking.

The Gulch from an overlook
11. Walk the Gulch

The Gulch in Nashville is a dynamic urban district that offers an inviting setting for pedestrians to explore. Known for its trendy vibe and modern architecture, the area boasts a mix of upscale boutiques, hip restaurants, and lively bars. Its industrial-chic aesthetic, adorned with colorful murals and unique sculptures, creates a vibrant atmosphere that's perfect for a leisurely walk.

Bicentennial Park
12. Bicentennial Park
Neighborhood: Germantown

Located in the shadow of the Capitol in downtown Nashville, Bicentennial Capitol Mall gives visitors a taste of Tennessee’s history, natural wonders and serves as a lasting monument to Tennessee’s Bicentennial Celebration, which was June 1, 1996. With just a simple walk in the 11-acre park visitors can experience many facets of Tennessee’s history including a 200-foot granite map of the state, a World War II Memorial, a 95-Bell Carillon, a Pathway of History and the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains.

Broadway street in Nashville
13. Walk Broadway
Neighborhood: Downtown

Broadway in downtown Nashville is renowned for its lively atmosphere and energy that makes it an ideal place for a quick walk in Music City and an incredible environment for people watching. Lined with honky-tonks and live music venues showcasing talented musicians throughout the day and night, Broadway offers a constant soundtrack of country tunes and southern hospitality.

14. Ascend Amphitheater
Neighborhood: Downtown

Ascend Amphitheater is an open-air event venue located on the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville. It is set inside the Metro Riverfront Park. The amphitheater seats 2,300 in fixed seating, and 4,500 on the lawn, with a total capacity of 6,800. The venue opened in 2015.

Downtown Nashville on a sunny day
15. The Pedestrian Bridge
Neighborhood: Downtown

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, spanning across the Cumberland River in Nashville, is not only a functional crossing but also a beloved landmark and recreational destination. Offering breathtaking views of the Nashville skyline, the bridge attracts locals and tourists alike who come to walk, jog, or simply enjoy the scenery. Originally built in 1909 as a railroad bridge, it was converted to a pedestrian bridge in 2003 and has since become an iconic part of Nashville's landscape.

16. The General Jackson Showboat

The General Jackson Showboat in Nashville offers a delightful and memorable experience for visitors looking to explore Music City from the Cumberland River. Passengers can enjoy panoramic views of Nashville's skyline while dining on Southern cuisine and experiencing top-notch performances. Whether it's a scenic daytime cruise or an evening under the stars, the General Jackson Boat Ride provides a unique way to appreciate Nashville's riverfront.

17. Nissan Stadium
Neighborhood: Downtown

Nissan Stadium is an open-air, multi-purpose stadium in downtown Nashville that is used for football, large concerts and other events such as CMA Fest. Construction began on the stadium in May of 1997 and was finished in August of 1999. Nissan has a seating capacity of 69,143 and is located right across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville and Broadway.

18. Golfing

Golfing in Nashville is an outdoor activity that combines skill, relaxation, and the beauty of Tennessee's landscapes. Between Topgolf and the numerous courses scattered across the city and its outskirts, golf enthusiasts can enjoy a game amidst rolling hills, lush greens, and scenic views.

The train bridge at Shelby Park
19. Shelby Park
Neighborhood: East Nashville

Shelby Park in Nashville is a retreat for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to connect with nature amidst the urban landscape. Located along the Cumberland River, this expansive 300-acre park offers a diverse range of ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and grasslands, providing habitats for a variety of wildlife. The greenway features over 5 miles of paved trails ideal for walking, running, and biking.

A zipline course in a dense wood
20. Adventureworks Ziplining
Neighborhood: Whites Creek

Adventureworks is a zipline tour located in Whites Creek that takes you up to 80 feet off the ground, reaching speeds of 45+ mph through a 40 acre natural forest. The tour includes eight ziplines, lasts approximately 90 minutes and is a great outdoor activity for couples, kids (8 and up) and families.

21. The Hermitage
Neighborhood: Hermitage

The Hermitage is 7th president Andrew Jackson’s former home and is the best place to learn about the life of one of America’s greatest generals and one of the countries most compelling figures. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the mansion sits on a sprawling 1,120 acre property set just outside of downtown.

The waterfall at Cummins Falls
22. Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls State Park, located near Cookeville, Tennessee, is renowned for its stunning waterfall and rugged natural beauty. The centerpiece of the park is Cummins Falls, a 75-foot waterfall cascading into a scenic gorge and pool below. Visitors can access the waterfall via a moderately challenging hike along the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, which offers opportunities for swimming, wading, and exploring the rocky terrain.

23. Visit a Rooftop Bar

Rooftop bars in Nashville offer a delightful way to enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere while soaking up the sunshine or the twinkling lights of the evening skyline. These elevated spots provide a unique perspective of Music City, allowing patrons to unwind with drinks and appetizers while taking in panoramic views of downtown, historic landmarks, and the Cumberland River.

A colorful mural in Nashville
24. Go On a Mural Hunt

Embarking on a mural hunt in Nashville is a fun and artistic adventure that creative kids will love. Nashville is renowned for its vibrant street art scene, with colorful murals adorning buildings throughout various neighborhoods. Check out our article about Nashville's most iconic murals for more.

Know of a outdoors spot we missed? Email [email protected] and give us a tip! ❤️

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