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This park was strategically placed in its location and designed/constructed with purpose. (One of them being to preserve the northern view of the State Capitol Building).
There are so many reasons to visit this beautiful park, but here are my top 5:
- It’s a history lover’s paradise.
The entire reason this park was created, in the first place, was to celebrate 200 years of statehood. Tennessee became a state on June 1, 1796 and was the 16th state to join the Union. The park offers a 1,400-foot Pathway of History. This is a long wall engraved with significant historical events that occurred from 1796 to 1996. Each 10-year time period is marked with a granite pylon. There is a “break” in the wall to represent the Civil War and how divided the state was during that time. There is also a World War II Memorial featuring an 18,000-pound granite globe floating on 1/8-inch of water, a Civilian Conservation Corps Memorial, and the Walkway of Counties. (Time capsules from each county were buried in 1996 and will be opened in 2096.)
- There are some really unique wedding / engagement photo spots.
The Carillons and the Court of 3 Stars is a really awesome spot! There is a large, round stone court. In the middle of the court are 3 large stars which are cut/stamped into the stone. These stars represent East, Middle and West Tennessee — better known as the 3 “Grand Divisions” of the state. The court is gorgeous by itself, but then it is partially surrounded by pillars with bell towers in them (otherwise known as Carillons). These Carillons are located on the east & west side of the court and they hold 95 bells in the towers. The bells represent the 95 different counties that make up Tennessee. The Carillons play Tennessee-themed songs at the top of the hour, every hour. There is also a 96th bell, but that one is located on the grounds of the State Capitol Building and represents the government answering to the people. These Carillons are gorgeous and are a must see when visiting the park!
- You get a stunning view of the State Capitol Building.
This could be another unique photo spot — especially if you are a history or political buff. In the 1950’s and 60’s there was a huge urban boom in downtown Nashville. During this boom, large buildings and skyscrapers went up along the east, west and south sides of the State Capitol Building. Buildings were not erected on the north side because that area was not conducive for urban development. (It was swampy.) The park was strategically located and designed to save the one remaining view of the capitol… and it is a very pretty view. If you drive (or walk) to the northern most tip of the park and look south, you will see the most stunning view. What I love about this view is that the whole park is laid out before you, and you can see all of the precise design and work that went into it!
- There’s an awesome outdoor amphitheater.
The outdoor amphitheater is the coolest one I have ever seen! I knew that it was patterned after Greek architecture the moment I walked into it. It was actually designed after the Epidaurus Amphitheater in Greece (on a much smaller scale). The Epidaurus holds 15,000 spectators. The Bicentennial Capitol Mall can hold up to 2,000 people. The Bicentennial amphitheater features a center stage semi-surrounded by rows of stone steps combined with “terraced lawns”. What I mean by that is you sit on the stone part and your feet will rest on real grass. (There is row after row of stone and grass.) Normally when you enter a stadium or amphitheater, it might be all stone, or if there is a ball field it is in the middle of the stadium. To see grass and stone making up a row of seats and those rows continuing upwards like a stadium is really awesome! (It makes for a great workout too. There were a few people running up and down the amphitheater steps while I was sitting there soaking in the beauty of it.)
- It’s the perfect location for a picnic.
In fact, many people were doing just that on the day I visited the park. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park has a very large lawn area that is perfect for picnics and outdoor activities — like Frisbee — that require an open area to play.
I highly recommend making your way to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park as soon as you get a chance.
Enjoy not only the beauty of the park but also the historical information it has to offer.
Then, when you become tired & hungry, grab your picnic basket, cop-a-squat, relax and take it all in!
Good To Know Before You Go…
- There is plenty of FREE parking all around the park.
- The Nashville Farmers Market is right next to the park. You can enjoy both in one day, and you can even walk from the Farmers Market to the park (or vice versa) — it’s that close.
- The park closes at sunset.
- Restrooms are located under the train trestle.
- Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was ranked as Nashville’s #1 Tourist Attraction and named by Great Places in America as one of the greatest “Public Spaces” in 2011.
- It’s stroller-friendly with plenty of room for kids to walk and play.
- There are so many great photo ops, especially during the fall when the leaves are changing colors in Nashville!
- Check the Bicentennial Mall website often for special events.
- Bicentennial Capitol Mall is located at 600 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville TN 37243. Questions? Phone (615) 741-5280.
The Fountains At Bicentennial Mall
Unfortunately, the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains were not operable when I explored the park.
The fountains are currently in the process of being repaired & brought up to code. Hopefully, they will reopen soon. When they reopen, I plan on taking my kids back to the park because I hear those fountains are FUN! (By the way, here are some other Nashville spray parks.)
Fun Things To Do Near Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall Park
- Tours & Tips For Visiting The Tennessee State Capitol
- Fun Things To Do With Kids In South Nashville
- PHOTOS: Bicentennial Park Walking Tour
- Tips For Visiting Nashville With Kids
- Bicentennial Capitol Mall Attractions
- Tennessee History For Kids: Bicentennial Mall State Park
I'm a happily married mom to 3 wonderful children: Taylor (13), Gavin (10) and Garrett (8). We recently relocated to the Nashville area from Florida and we're enjoying exploring Middle Tennessee and all it has to offer. My hobbies are: writing, photography, digital scrapbooking, cooking, and all things parenting.