Within your first hour of being in Nashville you’ll see at least one tour—from the Pedal Tavern to the Honky Tonk Party Express Bus and the Old Town Trolley Tours, and the list goes on and on. There’s just so much to see on nearly every street in the city, whether you’re a tourist or a local.
However, we highly recommend passing up these somewhat tacky tours (yup, we said it), and opt for walking the city instead. You’ll see far more by foot, and you’ll get a workout in without even realizing it! So stretch your legs, and take the most beautiful walks in Nashville.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
While there are numerous places in Nashville to waltz around for free, nothing quite lives up to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Belle Meade. It is worth every penny (20 buckaroos) to walk through the Parisian-like grounds and beautifully selected flowers and art exhibits.
12th South to Sevier Park
Begin at Franklin Juice Co. on 12th South—this acai bowl, juice shop, and coffee house has its finger on the pulse of Nashville. Then, make your way past all of the local boutiques and cafes to Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James. In the alley you’ll find two Nashville murals, and a third across the street (this is the Nashville you see on Instagram). So, take a break for a little photo shoot. After, be on your way to Sevier Park for a quintessential park stroll.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to Music City Walk of Fame Park
Start on the opposite side of the river and cross over to the heart of Downtown Nashville via this scenic pedestrian walkway—great for capturing the perfect skyline pic. When you cross over to the other side, you’ll stroll past the breathtakingly beautiful Nashville Symphony Schermerhorn Center, and you’ll end up in Music City Walk of Fame Park directly across from the Bridgestone Arena. And if that Nashville heat’s got you melting, turn the corner and spend some time in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Easily the best park in the city, Cumberland Park stretches alongside the Cumberland River on the opposite side of Downtown Nashville. From every corner of the park, you can rest your eyes upon a different angle of the city with the river always in sight. If you’re the active/restless type though, sneak off into the staircases that go out over the river and get adventurous on the climbing wall.
This iconic park off of West End is famous for its Parthenon building (maybe you’ve seen it?). And there just so happens to be a trail that loops around the it so it’s always visible, along with fountains, a pond, volleyball courts, and amphitheater. Venture a walk around Centennial Park if you enjoy spending your time petting dogs and bumping into familiar faces.
The Nashville Zoo is just off of Nolensville Pike, but once inside, you’d never believe you were in Nashville. The recently renovated zoo is half African safari, half bamboo forest. The landscaping and architecture is truly larger than life. And the lush forest lining the pathways makes the zoo one of the best places to go on a leisurely stroll.
Radnor Lake State Park
One of the most popular places to meet up with friends, Radnor Lake is a quiet little hideaway in between Nashville and Brentwood. The lake is surrounded by hills of trees to make it a true escape from the city. And there are easily more dogs than people on any given day (that’s #walkgoals right there).
Germantown is a historic neighborhood with sophisticated architecture and charming cafes. Walking through the neighborhood, you’ll see a decent amount of houses and churches built in the 1800s, and you can end your walk in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. History buff/nerd? The park sits below the state capitol building and has its own dose of history sprinkled throughout the park.
It doesn’t matter what genre of music you like or whether you like music at all, Music Row is a must-see if you want to get a real taste of Nashville. Snap your selfies along the way in front of RCA Studio B, Ocean Way Recording Studios, The Country Music Association, and well-known record labels like Warner Music Group and Sony.