The summer months in Nashville can get quite sweltering, but this city doesn’t shut down. Quite the contrary, there’s plenty to do if you’re ready to get outside! What are some great outdoor summer date ideas around Nashville?
Here are our top outdoor Nashville summer date ideas:
- Picnic at Centennial Park
- Stroll through Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
- Visit Nashville Shores
- Paddle on the Cumberland River
- See the Nashville Zoo
- Bike on the Greenway system
- Play at SoundWaves at Gaylord
Whether you’re looking for something relaxing to do on a temperate afternoon, you’re eager to beat the heat, or you want to eat the best of Nashville, this list has something for every type of date!
1. Picnic at Centennial Park
One of the premier parks in Nashville is undoubtedly Centennial Park.
Only two miles from Downtown Nashville, Centennial Park is the home of the Parthenon, which is Nashville’s recreation of the famous Greek building.
While you can check out the historical and artistic exhibits at the Parthenon if you really wanted, since you’re looking for outdoor date ideas, we’d much more recommend picnicking at the park.
The park is a whopping 132 acres, and while some of that includes the Centennial Art Center, Lake Watauga, a walking trail, courts, an exercise trail, a dog park, a garden, a band trail, and historical monuments, there is no shortage of greenery here for a sit-down lunch.
If the day is warm but not overly hot, you can pack a picnic lunch and find a spot to unfurl your blanket and eat. Perhaps your views will overlook the Parthenon or the picturesque, serene Lake Watauga.
Centennial Park is open until 8 p.m., so you could have an early picnic dinner here if you wanted. The day will be cooler but still sunny, although with less daylight so maybe you can light a candle and create a more romantic atmosphere.
2. Stroll Through Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a wonderful attraction for appreciating Nashville’s stunning outdoors all year long.
The 55-acre botanical garden with an onsite museum also famously features the Cheek estate where Mabel and Leslie Cheek lived in the late 1920s.
In the summer, the greenery here is much more vibrant and the sculptures that line the park come alive.
The Carell Trail Garden is the home of the Limestone Quarry, Cedar Glade, Woodland Edge, Wild Tennessee, Trillium Cove, and the Julie & Bob Gordon Stream Garden.
The West Gardens include the Martin Boxwood Garden, Wills Perennial Garden, Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden, Robinson Family Water Garden, Blevins Japanese Garden, Bradford Robertson Color Garden, and the Rose Study Garden.
More wonders are awaiting you at the East Gardens, including the Howe Garden, the Burr Terrace Garden, the Carell Dogwood Garden, the Herb Study Garden, and the Turner Seasons Garden.
The last part of the Cheekwood campus is the Anne & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture trail with all the sculptures from such talented artists as Sophie Ryder, Jenny Holzer, Frank Fleming, John T. Scott, and Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Since we’re sure you and your sweetie worked up quite an appetite strolling through the gardens, make sure to check out Café 29 before you go. This is Cheekwood’s own cozy restaurant located in the Frist Learning Center Courtyard.
The made-to-order meals include alcoholic beverages, snacks, baked goods, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and soups.
3. Shop the Nashville Farmers’ Market
For a quaint summer date on a sunny, bright Sunday afternoon, a visit to the Nashville Farmers’ Market is perfect.
The market is open all year, so if you and your date have a fun time, you could always return later in the summer or even in the autumn!
The artisanal food and produce available here is largely sold at farm sheds, but the Market House is one of many restaurants that’s whipping up fresh Nashville eats as only Music City can.
If you’d prefer to stock up on some plants and other greenery, the farmers’ market also has a garden center full of flowers, palms, and perennials.
4. Visit Nashville Shores
Imagine this. You had an outdoor date planned but the summer weather got way hotter than you anticipated. You definitely don’t want to cancel, and you’d prefer not to move things indoors, although you will if you have to.
Well, you don’t have to. In a situation like that, a trip to Nashville Shores is just the daytime date activity you’re looking for.
Nashville Shores is an outdoor water park on J. Percy Priest Lake. A whopping 385 acres, the park offers endless water fun that will put a huge smile on your and your date’s faces.
The Breaker Bay Wave Pool is a great place to refresh and cool down while the Castaway Creek Lazy River is for chilling out.
If you and your sweetie are risk-takers, the slides at Nashville Shores will not disappoint.
Your options include the Mega Mayhem giant slide, the enclosed Twin Cyclones slides that descend three stories, the body slide known as Tennessee Twisters, the dual slides Thunder & Lightning, and the three-story aptly-named Big Scream.
For when you want to dry off and catch up, rentable cabanas are available.
Nashville Shores is also the home of the Treetop Adventure Park, which has more than 100 obstacles such as Tarzan swings, cargo nets, oversized zip lines, and suspension bridges
You can also rent jet skis or pontoon boats for a more intimate afternoon on the J. Percy Priest River.
5. Paddle on the Cumberland River
If a water park is a little too crowded for your tastes, then take your date paddling on the Cumberland River through Cumberland Kayak, a waterfall adventures and paddling company.
The Nashville Skyline is the most popular package. For under $50 per person, you and your date will venture from Shelby Park to paddle along the Cumberland River for about an hour.
The route will afford you clear views of the Nashville city skyline as well as bridges.
If you’re into wildlife, you might spot kingfishers, turtles, and blue herons while paddling!
Cumberland Kayak recommends that you and our date bring your phone (with some sort of waterproofing measure) for snapping photos, waterproof clothing and shoes, a face mask, a water bottle, sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen!
6. See the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
You and your date will feel like kids again after spending a summer afternoon at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
This historic plantation and zoological garden is only six miles from Downtown Nashville.
The zoo has nearly 340 unique species spaced out across 188 acres, with 6,230 animals in total. The animals run the gamut, from fish to birds, amphibians, arthropods, reptiles, and mammals.
Although a lot of the attractions outside of visiting the animals are catered towards kids, not all by far!
The Adventure 4D Theater will let you sit beside your sweetie as you watch a film with multi-sensory effects such as wind, scents, bubbles, snow, and mist.
The Soaring Eagle Zip Line is 110 feet up and speeds riders along at 28 miles per hour for a show-stopping ride!
You and your date can pay extra for an up-close animal experience such as the Kangaroo Kickabout, Lorikeet Landing, or Critter Encounter with a bird, alpaca, goat, or Galapagos turtle.
You can also sign up for a Backstage Pass where a guide will lead you through one of many behind-the-scenes exclusives.
The options include Rise & Shine with Rhinos, This Is How We Zoo, and Getting to Know You tours with aardvarks, clouded leopards, and sloths.
These up-close and backstage animal experiences are available on a limited basis and might not be offered all year long.
While you’re here, end your day by seeing the Grassmere Historic Home, which is part of the National Register of Historic Homes.
The Grassmere Historic Home has stood since 1810 and welcomes visitors on guided tours available seasonally.
The Morton Family Exhibit, family cemetery, and heirloom garden on the Historic Farm grounds are available all year long.
7. Visit Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
Doesn’t a nice spirit taste even better on a hot summer’s day? If you think so too, then plan a date with your special someone at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery.
The distillery specializes in rustic corn whiskey moonshine brewed authentically in copper stills.
You can choose from three Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery locations.
The Holler in nearby Gatlinburg is, where Ole Smoky says, it all started for them. Take a behind-the-stills tour to learn about how moonshine is produced, with plenty of product samples to wrap up your tour, of course.
The Barrelhouse, also in Gatlinburg, is the home of Tennessee-made whiskey and is worth scheduling a tour just so you can taste some.
If you’d rather stay within Nashville’s city confines, the 6th & Peabody location is a partnership between Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery and YeeHaw Brewing Company.
You and your date can sit and drink in the atmosphere at the outdoor beer garden, play a competitive game of cornhole, enjoy entertainment on large-screen televisions, listen to live music, and–of course–drink!
Your options are YeeHaw Beer flights, Ole Smoky Moonshine tastings, and distillery tours.
8. See a Concert at Nissan Stadium
Nashvillians are no strangers to Nissan Stadium, a multi-purpose city stadium that’s one of the biggest and most beloved landmarks around.
If you read our article on outdoor wintertime date ideas around Nashville, then you’ll recall how football dominates the stadium’s schedule for most of the coldest months of the year.
By February, football is over, and now it’s time for all sorts of other entertainment that will delight you and your sweetie all summer long.
You can see concerts, soccer games, and more. The food options across the three levels of the stadium are sure to appeal to all sorts of tastes and budgets.
You will need a ticket for any event before being granted entry into Nissan Stadium. We recommend looking for an event well in advance and purchasing your tickets as early as you can, as Nissan Stadium can sell out incredibly fast!
9. Bike on the Greenway System
Nashville has a series of greenways throughout the city.
For those not in the know, greenways are linear trails and parks linking workplaces, shopping, transportation options, parks, and schools to Nashville’s most beloved neighborhoods.
The greenways are strategically placed to be as appealing as they are functional. As you traverse the greenways, you can see scenic highways, railroad corridors, ridges, rivers, streams, and other natural landscaping.
If you and your date already have bikes, then hit one of the greenways closest to you and see where it takes you!
You can always rent bikes, especially through the Bike the Greenway company, which has bikes for just the occasion you’re looking for.
10. Ride Horses at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in nearby Hurricane Mills offers an assortment of charming activities for getting away to a rustic location with your date.
We most recommend the horseback riding! With a guide on horseback, you and your sweetie will wander part of the 3,000-acre estate and see the beauty of rural Tennessee.
These horseback tours are only offered periodically throughout the year and last for upwards of a week. You also need your own horse.
At the very least, you can take a tour of the ranch by foot on your date. Guided tours are available every day of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays.
11. Play at SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland
If you’re still searching for outdoor dates around Nashville in the summer, then have we got the idea for you! Take your date to SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort.
This outdoor and indoor water park is brand-spankin’-new.
The indoor attractions and rides are available all year long while the outdoor ones are only offered from late May until late September.
The Diamond Pool is only for adults and is a zone for floating the day away. The Tidal Track Wave Pool features new waves every 15 seconds across a six-foot expanse of water with LED screens.
Rock’N Racer is a four-lane slide with 360-degree loops. Race to the finish!
Bass Drop and Beat Drop are two plummeting thrill rides. On Bass Drop, you descend down an open-flume slide six stories, and on Beat Drop, you ride a tunnel that’s practically a straight shot down.
Private cabana rentals are available.
Since SoundWaves is part of a resort, you can bet there are high-class dining opportunities at every turn. Seasonal outdoor food trucks are also available.
In Nashville, there are countless activities and entertainment options for an outdoor date during the summertime. Whether you and your sweetie are more active, or you like relaxing activities, unforgettable experiences await you in Music City!
Click here for some Nashville Outdoor Winter Dates.