Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park, known collectively as Warner Parks, protect more than 3,100 acres of forests and fields, creating prime wildlife habitats nine miles from downtown Nashville. The Warner Park Nature Center has birdwatching sites overlooking wetlands, reptile and mammal exhibits, a natural history museum, a working organic garden, 12 miles of hiking trails, and the Milbrey Warner Waller Library filled with natural history titles.
Located two hours southeast of Nashville near Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is the nation's tallest natural underground waterfall at 145 feet high. An elevator takes visitors 1,120 feet beneath Lookout Mountain into the cave that was discovered in 1928 by Leo Lambert, who named the falls for his wife. From here, guided tours take groups through narrow passages filled with cave features. The almost mile-long, paved path descends gradually through the cave to the falls.
Stones River National Battlefield, 28 miles southeast of Nashville, protects the site of the Battle of Stones River, fought during the Civil War from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863. Today, Stones River National Battlefield has ranger-led tours detailing the battle, as well as special tours of the cemetery here and historic re-enactments throughout the year.
Built in 1897 for Tennessee's Centennial Exposition, Nashville's Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original as it appeared in ancient Athens, down to its plaster casts made from the real Parthenon's marble statues. The building serves as Nashville's art museum with both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Best Day Trip
Visitors to the Jack Daniels Distillery, an hour and a half south of Nashville in Lynchburg, learn the story of how Nearest Green—a slave later hired as Jack Daniels' first stiller—taught a young Daniels the art of making whiskey. Daily tours end with tastings.
Off the Beaten Path
The Carl Van Vechten Gallery on the campus of Fisk University displays paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe and photographs by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, in addition to traveling exhibits on loan from other institutions such as Arkansas' Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. O'Keeffe gifted the artwork to Fisk in 1949 to support the African-American school that was founded in 1865 to educate newly freed slaves.
Most Iconic Place
Even those with just a passing interest in country music can appreciate the history and artifacts amassed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum's permanent collection displays in its galleries thousands of stage costumes, instruments, and personal items of performers, such as Elvis's golden Cadillac, complete with record player.
The Broadway Historic District, better known as the Honky Tonk Highway, is an (almost) nonstop party that rivals any late-night district in the nation. Between the 300 to 500 blocks of lower Broadway, live music fills the bars from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Neighborhood to Explore
The 12 South neighborhood is a favorite of young families and creatives who fill the coffee shops, taprooms, and local restaurants and boutiques found along 12th Avenue. Barbecue, gourmet burgers, tacos, and even vending machine cupcakes are just some of the fare served in the many new restaurants here, many housed in the older brick buildings of this attractive area.
Since 1879, Hatch Show Print has been creating hand-printed posters that have advertised everything from traveling preachers to some of the biggest names in music. Shoppers can watch as printmakers set type and crank out posters by hand, as it's been done for more than a century.