One of the many benefits of living in or visiting Nashville is the lush temperature average that blesses The Music City. It’s almost always warm enough to have a wide assortment of exciting outdoor activities to choose from, and even in the winter, there are still plenty of things to do outside.
Nashville’s unique landscape also offers many opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as the Cumberland River, the many stone bluffs, and the abundance of State Parks and recreation areas.
Starting with our top five favorite outdoor activities, here are some of the best ways to spend your time outdoors in Nashville:
Our Top 5 Picks
1. See a show at Live on the Green. Every Thursday night in August there is a free music event happening at Public Square Park, followed by a three-day music festival on Labor day weekend.
2. Kayak the Cumberland River. The Cumberland River is almost always warm enough to kayak on, whether you choose to go solo, or go with a guide!
3. Play a round of golf. There are so many amazing public golf courses and country clubs available in the Nashville area, typically open from early spring to late fall. When they're not open, check out Top Golf!
4. See a Titans home game. The Titans home games are played from early September to early January, and provide an unforgettable experience for football fans located in or traveling to Nashville.
5. Go camping or backpacking. There are many fantastic places to go camping or backpacking in the Nashville area. Typically, camping spots are open to the public during times when the weather is above freezing to prevent trail erosion.
Other Exciting Activities To Do Outside In The Nashville Area
Go for a hike
When people think of fun and engaging times they’ve spent in the woods, hiking is usually involved in some capacity.
There are so many places in the Nashville area to choose from for the ideal hiking experience, but one local favorite is Radnor State Park, which is located just outside the city limits. It’s especially well-known for its abundance of wildlife and lush forests and roaring waterfalls. The park is open year-round from 6:00 am to sunset.
Play a round of tennis at Spherical Yellow
One of the more popular summer sports is tennis and there are no better courts to play on than the ones down at Spherical Yellow.
New to tennis? You’ll fit right in! One of the missions of Spherical Yellow is to create an inclusive tennis experience for everyone. There are tennis classes available to those who are just starting out, as well as those seasoned tennis players that what to improve their game!
Go for a bike ride
Nashville is one of the most biker-friendly cities in the entire country, and you’ll soon find out why — there is a massive network of greenways that connects every part of the city and surrounding areas. When the greenways are free of ice and snow (which is pretty much year-round in Nashville) it’s the perfect time to go for a nice long bike ride through town.
Spend a day fishing at the lake
There’s something so pure and nostalgic about the simple act of fishing. Nothing high-tech about it — just a line and a pole, and maybe a couple of bites if you’re lucky.
The list of perfect fishing spots around Nashville is too long to print here, but one fishing spot that many locals like to go to is Percy Priest Lake. The scenery is gorgeous, and you’ll be surrounded by lush forests, as well as hiking trails and swimming areas.
Play a game of football with some friends
While football season is technically from fall through winter, a game of touch, tackle, or flag football with friends and family can happen anytime!
You can also play anywhere where there’s a wide-open grassy field, but if you’re serious about your game, and have lots of players, here is a list of official football fields (and other types of fields) you can reserve.
Practice your tossing arm with some frisbee golf
Frisbee golf has had a moment in the past few years! The reason behind the rising popularity of this fun activity is pretty easy to see once you play.
If you don’t know what frisbee golf is, it’s exactly what it sounds like — it’s a large open golf course for frisbees. Get your frisbee in the “hole” (usually called the basket or pin) in fewer throws and you’ll get a better score.
There are many frisbee golf courses to choose from, here is a list of all of the courses in the Nashville area.
Practice your aim at the Nashville Gun Club
Shooting ranges aren’t for everyone, but if you were to try out your shooting aim in the Nashville area, this is the place to do it. This location features ten individual ranges alongside the bank of the river.
You’ll be given all of the necessary safety and shooting equipment and you’ll be looked after at all times to ensure a fun and safe experience! The Nashville Gun Club is open year-round!
Shoot some hoops
Whether you’re just going to practice your trick shot, or showing up with a group of friends to play a friendly game, basketball is a classic outdoor activity that can be played in the warmer months of the year.
There are great basketball courts all over the city, but a notable one is E.S. Rose Athletic Complex. It’s free and accessible from dawn until dusk, and the facilities are well-kept.
Go for a dip at Machine Falls
This little-known swimming hole is absolutely a must-see if you’re in the Nashville area for the summertime.
Not only is the water warm and clean, but there is also a breathtaking waterfall that feeds into the swimming area. You won’t believe that this special place is right outside of the Nashville city limits, and is only a short walk from the trailhead. Bring a cooler and some snacks and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Spend a day at the park
There’s no reason that you can’t simply be in the great outdoors! If hiking or sports isn’t your thing, maybe just bring a picnic and a good book to one of Nashville’s legendary parks.
One special place that is a must-see for out-of-towners is Centennial Park. It’s located right downtown, is open year-round, and has a massive grassy area to toss a frisbee, take a nap, or just relax! If you’re looking to balance out your outdoor time with some indoor time afterward, one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, The Parthenon, is located in the park.
Go birdwatching at Shelby Park
The birdwatching community is super viable in Music City, and for a pretty simple reason — the landscape and climate contribute to the migratory patterns converging in the Nashville area, allowing you to see many species of birds that you normally wouldn’t be able to spot elsewhere.
Shelby Park is within the metro area, so it’s very accessible from downtown, but also is incredibly expansive with over 336 acres of land, including marshy areas and wooded trails.
Join a community garden
Community gardens are a blessing to any community. They provide a space for those who may not have the opportunity to plant a garden on their own property to grow good food and be a part of a warm and wholesome local community.
There are over 80 community gardens in Nashville to choose from, each with its own guidelines for getting involved. There will likely be an application process, which you can find more information about here.
Go on a mural tour
Have you ever stopped to consider how much murals contribute to the culture of a city? The largest art installations you will likely see that month and they’re completely free to access all year round.
There are nearly 80 registered murals in the city of Nashville, many of which were painted by world reneowned artists and feature some of Nashville’s most iconic pieces of history and culture.
Go rock climbing
There are plenty of rock climbing gyms available in Nashville, but if you want to experience some outdoor climbing or bouldering there are two good options just outside of Nashville — Sheep’s Bluff and Short Mountain.
Both places are in the heart of the Tennessee wilderness, surrounded by lush forests, beautiful rivers, and geological majesty. Be sure to bring all necessary safety equipment and friends to spot you!
Go foraging for wild plants for eating and medicine
The unique biodiversity and climate in the Nashville area both contribute to the epic wild plant harvesting opportunities in this special area.
If you know what you’re doing, there isn’t much else you need to get started, but for those who would feel better about going with a group, there is a community of gatherers called the Nature Explorers of Nashville. They offer classes to those who are interested in learning about wild food and holistic medicine, and exploring the beautiful natural areas of Tennessee.
Participate in a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are making a comeback, and believe us, it’s a good thing!
There are various groups that have regularly scheduled scavenger hunts, but all of the same old rules apply! You split up into teams with a list of clues. Together, you and your teammates will explore the city looking for the items on the list. If you find them all before the other teams, you can win cash prizes!
Play a game of soccer
There has been increased interest in soccer amongst Americans in the last few years, and this increased interest hasn’t been lost on Nashville locals. A new soccer stadium was recently opened, but for soccer athletes, there is a long list of fields to play on, whether it’s one on one or with a whole team of your friends.
Enjoy a walk at Cheekwood Estates and Gardens
Cheekwood Estates and Gardens is really a spectacular option for those who want to experience more than one outdoor activity in a single day.
This massive property has a beautifully manicured botanical garden, a breathtaking sculpture garden, and a historical landmark with tours available for those who are interested. Cheekwood is open year-round, but hours may be reduced in the winter months.
Go for a hot air balloon ride
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is perfect for thrill-seekers and families of three to six people.
There is one pilot (yes hot air balloon operators are called pilots) who operates in the Nashville area named Bob Grimes who has thousands of flights under his belt. If you’d like to charter one of his balloons, it’s as simple as reaching out to his company, Nashville Balloon, whose services are available year-round.
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere has a spectacular array of exhibits and petting zoos available for kids and adults of all ages, including 325 different species of reptiles, mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish!
But not only are there animal exhibits, there is also a historical exhibit of the original plantation home that once stood on the property where the zoo is today. There is also a movie theater that shows animal documentaries, exciting rides, and a jungle gym for your own little animals.
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is open all year-round.