Nashville Parks You Need To Explore
Now that it is officially spring and warmer weather is upon us, I find myself wondering how to get outside. Yes, I know places to grab a bite to eat and shop, but there are only so many options to get some Vitamin D. After looking back at the places I have visited over the past four years and revisiting a few, I have my official list of the perfect parks to tan and play in Nashville.
The park is so great, it almost feels wrong. A park this gorgeous shouldn’t be related to the civil war. Despite its gruesome past, the park is a beautiful place to stop for a picnic or walk.
Love Circle is well known for its skyline views. Although with a name like that I’m pretty sure there are some other reasons it is so popular with Belmont students. Either way, Love Circle doesn’t even come close to Fort Negley whose cityscape views are unparalleled. The original purpose for this land was to look out over the city and the views are still unobstructed. There is no better place to view the skyline (or the highway). Although it is closed after four, I can only imagine how beautiful it would be with the city lights at night.
Walking through the park is kind of like walking through a maze, it spirals and winds inwards. First, you walk the perimeter, then the second defenses until you are at the top of the hill in the center. Every twenty to thirty feet you will find a sign explaining the historical significance. Between this park, the science center below and now writing this post it is beginning to feel like I am back in elementary school. I have done my social studies, science, and English homework, all I need is math and I’ve had an educational day.
Although you aren’t allowed on the stone structures, there are plenty of places to get a snap for your new profile pic. Might I suggest dressing in traditional clothing from that time? If we can bring back the nineties, then we can make it our goal to go a little further back and revive the fashion of the 1860s.
This is a classic so it didn’t feel right excluding it from my list. The first time I came to visit Nashville, we followed the signs to the Parthenon. Now whenever I have nowhere else to go, I go to Centennial. On a sunny day, there is always plenty of excitement. Whether it is a man spinning cotton candy the size of a child, a rugby game, pickup volleyball, Pokémon Go exploring or just walking around the building, there is always something to do.
The grounds are gorgeous in the springtime. Centennial transforms once the trees blossom, leaving flower petals floating in the pond. But I will warn you, these waters are the very definition of “Sweet but Psycho.” Walking around the pond will send you back to the time as a child when you were attacked by an angry goose. These fearless feathered devils surround the pond. In moments of tranquility, you almost forget their cruel nature as they add to the serene garden atmosphere.
I know that this is a post to find places to get outdoors, but have you checked out the museum indoors? It is fun to visit at least once to learn about the history of the Parthenon and view the 42-foot statue of Athena. It only costs $6.50 for adults to visit and the museum doubles as an art museum, showing 63 paintings and photographs.
This is a busy park, but it is much more relaxing than Centennial. The park is hilly so not many people run around or play sports on the grass. There is a playground downhill for the kids to play at, but this park is perfect for all ages. The ideal location to throw down a blanket and sit with friends is uphill and closer to White’s Mercantile. It is calmer on this side so you can relish in the sunshine and appreciate the beautiful day (without listening to the screaming children).
To fully enjoy the park, you must appreciate the location. It is right at the end of the 12 South strip, so spend the day exploring the area. Pick up a tapestry or blanket from one of the vendor tents that line the street. Then pop into each shop, buy some tacos, cookies, and lattes from all the restaurants. Stock up on supplies so by the time you reach the park, you have everything you need for a picnic.
If you like more structured activities, the park hosts events throughout the summer. The 12 South Farmer’s Market is one of my favorites and runs every Tuesday from May to October. Be sure to mark your calendars for the opening day on May 7. There is also a community center on the back corner by Lealand Lane that offers group fitness classes and events. Just in front of the center are basketball and tennis courts for any athletes out there.
Nashville Public Square Park
This is the smallest park on my list, but don’t let that fool you. This is a hidden oasis, tucked between buildings downtown. I never thought much about it until my roommate had a photoshoot there. If you have only been there for Live On The Green, I highly suggest revisiting the area. It is a completely different experience visiting during the day versus at night. Without the crowds, tents, and drunks, it is very relaxed. The square has large sculptures, fountains and running water that make it picturesque, but the tables and chairs make it the perfect place to take a lunch break.
The center of the park is a large grass circle surrounded by chairs, tables, fountains, lights, and other decorations. The grassy circle is perfect if you’re planning to throw a Frisbee, but may not be big enough to really run around. This is the perfect place to go just to sit back and enjoy the sunshine. It is the perfect stop if you’re spending the day downtown and need a break from the excitement. On your walk to the park, stop at Mike’s Ice Cream for a snack. But eat it quickly, it may melt by the time you get to the park!