10 of the best places in Nashville to get outdoors after dark
Nashville is amazing even after the sun goes down! It offers a lot of outdoor venues and green spaces that are at their best after dark. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or fun with friends or family, Nashville has something for you. These are 10 of the best places to visit after dark.
Nashville from atop Love Circle — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
Ever wanted to visit a romantic city overlook in your car just like in the movies? Well, in Nashville, you can. Love Circle, as it’s known, is a high point overlooking the city that is accessible by car.
There is a grassy field on top called Love Park where you can walk or lounge and enjoy the cityscape. Or stay in your car and park around the loop road that circles Love Park. It is situated on the west side of the city and is a great place to watch the sunset, enjoy the nighttime lights or watch the sun rise over Music City.
Acme Feed and Seed
Acme Feed & Seed Rooftop at night — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
Acme Feed and Seed is a restaurant and bar in downtown Nashville that offers rooftop dining. It has multiple levels, including a rooftop patio and bar overlooking the city and Cumberland River. The view is especially grand at night.
This fantastic eatery offers something for everyone including vegan and gluten-free menu items. They also frequently have live music on the first level, so watch their calendar for upcoming guests.
Radnor Lake State Park
Stargazing hike — Photo courtesy of Brennon Garner
Radnor Lake State Park in south Nashville is one of the top parks near the city. It boasts fantastic hiking trails, a beautiful lake and lots of wildlife that will walk right up to you. One of the less known opportunities at Radnor Lake are ranger-led after-dark astronomy hikes that are available year-round.
This is a great park for viewing the night sky as it’s far enough from the city to avoid too much city light, but close enough to get to in a short drive. Check out their event calendar for the next after-dark hike.
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks
Night hiking in Nashville — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
If you enjoy hiking, then you’ll also want to check out Edwin and Percy Warner Parks. They offer around 10 miles of hiking trails, which are great for enjoying a nighttime hike or trail run as the parks are open until 11 pm. There are some great views of the city to be found along some of the trails, as well.
Even though these parks are surrounded by urban sprawl, once you step on the trail, you will feel miles from the city.
John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Enjoy views of the glittering Nashville skyline from the bridge — Photo courtesy of iStock / Susanne Neumann
The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge over the Cumberland River is a fantastic place to see the city alight at night without traveling far from the lively downtown atmosphere. Because it’s a pedestrian bridge, you don’t have to worry about any cars or vehicle traffic.
Additionally, it’s a historic structure that is over 100 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers an amazing venue for walks and makes a great backdrop for photos of you and friends – or a romantic someone.
Bells Bend Park
Bells Bend star party — Photo courtesy of Theo Wellington / Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society
Looking at celestial bodies like stars and planets is something everyone can enjoy. But many people don’t know how to tell them apart or simply don’t have the equipment to get a closer look.
At Bells Bend Park, stargazing events are made available to the public where you can check out the stars with an astronomer and telescope. These events are scheduled intermittently, so watch their online calendar for the next one.
Percy Priest Lake
Percy Priest Lake in Nashville — Photo courtesy of iStock / FilzFotoz
Visit Percy Priest Lake for moonlight paddling. Hamilton Creek Recreation Area is an especially popular put-in for after-dark paddles. During the summer months, some local rental companies such as Nashville Paddle Company put on moonlight paddle events.
Just be sure to wear a life jacket and mount a light on the front and back of your watercraft. Check out the Nashville Paddle Company schedule here.
Montgomery Bell State Park
Enjoy an evening cookout – much cooler! — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
Have an evening or after-dark cookout at Montgomery Bell State Park, which offers several picnic tables and grills as well as a pavilion with a fireplace. You can cook here until quiet time, which begins at 10 pm.
Percy Warner Park is also open late (11 pm) and offers several picnic shelters or pavilions with fireplaces, as well as various open picnic tables with permanent grills. To reserve a pavilion at Montgomery Bell State Park, click here. To reserve one at Percy Warner Park, click here.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and Centennial Park
Parthenon at night — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
Two fantastic places to visit in downtown Nashville after dark are Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and Centennial Park. At both you can see the various memorials brightly lit in all their grandeur. See the Tennessee State Capitol building at Bicentennial, and walk around the Parthenon and Lake Watauga at Centennial.
Or, if you prefer, enjoy a nighttime bicycle ride from one park to the other. B-Cycle rental stations are located at both parks. Just follow Charlotte Avenue, which has a bike lane. The parks are just 2.5 miles apart and are open until 10 pm.
If you prefer a longer ride (or walk), head over to Riverfront Park then south and cross the Cumberland River on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to Cumberland Park. Both of these parks are open until 11 pm nightly. This is a fantastic way to see the city lights and nightlife.
Nashville Zoo at night — Photo courtesy of David F. Garner
Looking for an after-dark adventure with the kids? Check out the Nashville Zoo; they offer regular evening and nighttime events. During the regularly scheduled member night, you and your family can see the animals and exhibits after dark. During summer months, they offer frequent movie nights under the stars and overnight camps where you and the kids can sleep within ear-shot of the animals! Check out their upcoming events here.