We consider our dog Dancer a member of our family, and take her with us on our travels whenever possible. She’s a great traveler and is usually perfectly content to snooze in the hotel room while we go out and do stuff, but it’s important to us that she gets to have some fun on vacation too. So in between meals and concerts in Nashville, we made it a point to do dog-friendly things. Fortunately, we were blessed with beautiful spring-like weather – sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s – so spending time outside was enjoyable for all of us, and with all the eating we were doing, the walking was extremely necessary.
Our first full day in town, we hit up Sevier Park, a nice little park in the adorable 12 South neighborhood. The park is not huge, but it has a nice trail winding through it that Dancer loved. Parking is challenging in that neighborhood, but we had no problem parking in the park’s lot, which is only about a half a mile from most of the shops and restaurants we wanted to visit.
The 12 South neighborhood is super dog-friendly; we saw more dogs on the streets there than anywhere else in Nashville. It’s also home to a lot of cute shops and restaurants, including The Frothy Monkey, a coffee shop with great iced coffee and a dog-friendly patio, Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s charming, if extremely overpriced, clothing boutique), and Five Daughters Bakery, which sells “100 layer donuts,” Nashville’s answer to the cronut. I tried one with chocolate and sea salt and thought it was tasty but not worth the $4.50 price.
12 South is also home to a Sprinkles Cupcakes, the national chain’s newest location. Because I am physically incapable of going to a city with a Sprinkles and not eating there, we obviously paid this place a visit and redeemed the free cupcake coupons we got for signing up for their new Perks program. Dancer got in on the action too with her first Sprinkles cupcake (they sell dog cupcakes made of flour, vanilla, honey and yogurt). She loved it. What can I say? Like mother, like daughter.
12 South is also home to the “I Believe in Nashville” mural, which is a fun place to take a photo.
The next day, we walked from our hotel on Music Row to Centennial Park, a sprawling park near the Vanderbilt campus.
Yes, that’s a full-size replica of the Parthenon in the middle of the park! And unlike the real one, this one has no scaffolding ;-) The inside is apparently an art museum, but we didn’t go inside because we had Dancer with us.
Unsurprisingly there were lots of people in the park enjoying the beautiful day with their dogs, but we also spied two girls hanging out with a pet… baby goat (!?)
Centennial Park has a lake in it, with a nice walking trail around it that we all enjoyed, and ducks that some of us (I won’t say who) enjoyed chasing.
On the way home we strolled through the beautiful Vanderbilt campus. I love checking out college campuses in general, but it’s especially fun with a dog, since most college students don’t get to have pets and tend to get really excited when they have the chance to interact with one.
I didn’t put much effort into finding dog-friendly dining in Nashville, because I figured that in February the weather would be too poor to sit outside. By the time we realized the weather would be nice, we already had a solid food plan in place and I am nothing if not someone who hates deviating from a plan (in addition, while 60 degrees is absolutely lovely for us humans, it’s still a bit nippy for our perpetually-cold chihuahua mix). We did, however, walk by a few restaurants and coffee shops that clearly had dog-friendly outdoor seating, including The Frothy Monkey, Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Bartaco, Crema, Slider House, and (appropriately enough) Fido. (Note that this is by no means a complete list of dog-friendly restaurants in Nashville, just a few places where I happened to observe dogs dining with their people.)
Fellow pup parents, what are your favorite places to explore with your dog? I’m always looking for new dog-friendly cities to add to my list!