5 Best Parks in Nashville That Locals Love

Nashville parks are full of great activities to do like swimming, biking, and picnicking. Visit one of these Nashville parks today to explore everything the outdoors have to offer.

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5 Best Parks in Nashville That Locals Love

Posted by Gary Ashton on Friday, February 16th, 2024 at 10:31am.

Best Parks in Nashville

Nashville has a surprising amount of recreational green space and waterways for a city with nearly 700,000 residents. The Cumberland River winds through northern Nashville, and the large Percy Priest Reservoir is just to the east of town. These waterways and the trees in and around Nashville homes set a very high bar for outdoor activities in Nashville. The city has about 120 parks encompassing more than 12,000 acres of space. Read on to discover some of the best parks in Nashville.

5 Reasons Why Nashville Parks are the Best

  • Diverse Landscapes: From iconic architectural landmarks to natural beauty, offering a variety of outdoor experiences.
  • Cultural and Historical Sites: Parks that double as educational venues, highlighting Tennessee's history.
  • Family-Friendly Amenities: Equipped with playgrounds, splash pads, and areas perfect for picnics and leisure.
  • Active Lifestyle Support: Featuring extensive trails for walking, biking, and running amidst nature.
  • Community Events: Hosting concerts, festivals, and educational programs, enhancing community spirit.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park Amenities

  • Walking trail
  • Lake Watauga
  • Volleyball and tennis courts
  • Dog Park
  • Frequent events

Located in the West End neighborhood, Centennial Park is large, beautiful, and busy. A must-see landmark in this park is the replica of the Greek Parthenon. Nashville's other nickname is "Athens of the South," due to the numerous colleges and universities here, so it seems fitting that the city would have a full-sized copy of the Parthenon. There is also a Civil War memorial on the park's grounds, surrounded by a one-mile walking trail. Lake Watauga is a small body of water in the middle of Centennial Park.

There are volleyball courts on the west side of the park and the Centennial Sportsplex Fitness and Tennis Center to the east. The far west end of the park is a large fenced-in Nashville dog park, with plenty of shade, trees, walking paths, and benches. Its size and central location make Centennial Park the perfect place for events. There are frequent festivals and live music events in the park. Centennial Park tends to draw many people, so it can sometimes be difficult to find a parking spot!

Cumberland Park

Cumberland Park Amenities

  • Fountains
  • Outdoor amphitheater
  • Walking path
  • Play area
  • Splash pads

Cumberland Park is one of the most beautifully designed parks in all of Nashville. It's located in the Downtown Nashville neighborhood on the east side of the Cumberland River. The fountains in this park are often crowded with children as they cool off during the summer heat. The 6.5-acre park has a large outdoor amphitheater that can host up to 1,200 people for events. Although it is smaller than many other parks in Nashville, Cumberland Park is a truly beautiful green space. A walking path through the park attracts butterflies during the summer months.

A play area for children and families at the park is called "The Hollow." It has an area where kids can play in the sand and a "green maze" for kids to find their way through. There are also tandem see-saws for parents and kids and a rock-climbing wall with embedded fossils. There are plenty of watery splashing adventures to be had, with a "cloud bridge," a rainbow area, and designated splash pads. Everything about this park is designed to appeal to all ages and help locals cool off during the Nashville summers.

Fannie Mae Dees Park

Fannie Mae Dees Park Amenities

  • Play area
  • Fountain
  • Tennis courts
  • Picnic areas
  • Gazebos

Fannie Mae Dees Park is located near the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood. The park is named for a Nashville woman who grew flowers to deliver to hospital patients and nursing homes in the community. The park's nickname is "Dragon Park" because of the large and colorful dragon statue that weaves its way through the children's play area. In addition to the dragon and the typical playground equipment, this park has a "fort" for kids to play on. A small dragon fountain also sprays mist on those who want to cool off.

There are tennis courts here for residents who want to exercise, sheltered picnic areas for those who want to enjoy lunch in the shade, and some gazebos at the north end of Fannie Mae Dees Park. The park enjoys a surprising number of residents taking Tai Chi classes regularly. The south end of Vanderbilt University is right across the street from this park, so many students also enjoy this green space.

Shelby Bottoms

Shelby Bottoms Amenities

  • Near Shelby Golf Course
  • Four miles of trails
  • Cumberland River viewing area
  • Nature play area
  • Baseball fields

The Shelby Bottoms Nature Center & Greenway is located near the Porter Heights and Rosebank neighborhoods in east Nashville. This large green space runs alongside the Cumberland River. The Shelby Golf Course is just north of the park, surrounded by lovely Nashville golf course homes. Shelby Bottoms has four miles of paved trails for walking or biking. It provides some great wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. Residents can view chipmunks, squirrels, butterflies, and sometimes deer wandering into the green space. Some raccoons live in the park, but they tend to be more reclusive. The best chance to view wildlife is on the wooded dirt trails that branch off from the paved trails.

Visitors can sit and watch the Cumberland River at the viewing area right at the entrance to the park, and a bridge near mile marker 3 along the paved trails provides an elevated spot to catch a great view of the surrounding area. In addition, there is a nature play area near the west entrance of Shelby Bottoms. There are also several baseball fields near the entrance to the park, as well as public restrooms.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall

Bicentennial Capitol Mall Amenities

  • Views of Downtown and state capitol building
  • Hosts events
  • Amphitheater
  • Granite map of Tennessee

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park offers stunning views of downtown Nashville and the State Capitol building. This park is located in the Germantown neighborhood. It encompasses 19 acres just north of the Capitol building and is surrounded by the Nashville Farmers' Market (Saturdays only), the First Tennessee Park, and the Capitol steps. This park hosts numerous important city events throughout the year, including the annual New Year's Eve celebration. Due to its location, this is another park that tends to be very busy throughout the year.

There is a lot for residents to see and do at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Its main feature is a 2,000-seat amphitheater for major events. At the south end of the park, there is a 200-foot granite map of the state of Tennessee. This incredibly detailed feature includes all the state's roads, rivers, and county lines. Visitors will find the Tennessee World War II Memorial toward the north end of the park, which is well worth seeing. The stone columns at the Bicentennial Carillon at the far north end of the park are also a frequent draw for visitors.

Nashville is Home to Truly Dazzling Parks

The fantastic parks on this list will barely scratch the surface of everything that Nashville's 120 parks offer. Since this is "Music City," it's not uncommon to find live music performances in the parks throughout the year. One notable thing about many parks is that they offer water features for cooling off in the summer. Whether a resident wants to attend local events and festivals or find a quiet spot to walk through the trees, there's a park for everyone near Nashville's most popular neighborhoods.

If the opportunities of Nashville excite you, contact The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage with Nashville's MLS at (615) 603-3602 to get in touch with local real estate agents who can help find the perfect Nashville home for you today.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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