The Best Nashville Spots for the Perfect Instagram Backdrop

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Filet mignon | Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash
Kathryn Beeson

Beautiful old buildings, retro shop signage, a stunning skyline and the clash of old-world Southern streets with shiny modern skyscrapers – there are many photo opps in Nashville, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you’re a pro with all the gear or after snaps to post on Instagram, you’re going to have to be selective. We’ve asked our local insiders to share their most photogenic, Instagrammable spots in and around Nashville to help point you in the right direction.

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Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

The Cheekwood Estate and Gardens are a popular local retreat from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Nashville. One of the finest examples of the American Country Place-era estates, the surroundings are incredibly scenic and you won’t be able to resist a snap or two. The gardens are lovely all year round, but a visit to Cheekwood Harvest, the estate’s fall festival, is a must between September and November – think all-American pumpkin houses, scarecrows and local floral displays that let those fall colors shine. Oh, and a mouthwatering selection of local food trucks and craft beers for sustenance. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Percy Warner Park

Immerse yourself in Tennessee’s great outdoors with a spot of hiking or biking in Percy Warner Park, just outside Nashville. Take a picnic and spend the day here for an affordable, refreshing break from city life. Do read the signs and take a map, though – Percy Warner is fairly expansive, and it’s easy to get lost. Instead, lose yourself figuratively in the gorgeous woodlands and ridges, pausing to enjoy the views and snap that dappled Insta shot of your dreams. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Downtown Broadway

Between the honky-tonks, colorful signs, and streets lined with old buildings, you won’t even need an Instagram filter when you take a photo on Broadway. On any given day, the bustling street is full of cowboy-boot wearing tourists, galloping, carriage-pulling horses, and the sounds of live music blasting from the many bars and restaurants.

Picnic wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards

Just 25 minutes outside Nashville, nestled among the scenic, rolling hills of Arrington, Tennessee, lies Arrington Vineyards. The location is Insta-worthy on its own, but you can take it up a notch with a secluded, picnic wine tasting. Rather than the guided note-taking of more traditional wine tastings, Arrington’s picnic option lets guests taste four wines at their leisure in secluded spots across the vineyard. You’re provided with tasting notes and plenty of time – an incredibly relaxing experience as well as a thoroughly Instagrammable one. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

Vanderbilt University Campus

One of the most prestigious private universities in the South, Vanderbilt University sits in its own, scenic little bubble in the middle of Nashville. The campus is set in plenty of green space to wander around, and it’s worth taking a look at the historic university buildings as well. Vanderbilt was founded in 1873, so there’s that Ivy League redbrick-and-columns look to it that’s so evocative of the US college experience. Come here for a relaxing walk, and snap that all-American Instagram background as an added bonus. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Radnor Lake State Park

Spot wildlife, relax and engage in some gentle hiking along the shores of the beautiful Radnor Lake, situated a 20-minute drive from the city center. Set your alarm early to catch the morning mist rising off the water (it’s worth it, trust us). The magnificent reflections on a clear, still day make for unrivaled photo opportunities. If you’re keen-eyed, you may be able to snap river otters, beavers, mink, bobcats, coyotes or white-tailed deer as you explore. Recommended by local insider Juliette Lefaivre

Opryland Hotel

You haven’t seen grandeur until you’ve laid eyes on the Opryland Hotel. With 9 acres (3.6ha) of indoor gardens and waterfalls, people from all across the world make sure to check out the hotel and convention center when they visit Nashville. During the holidays, the hotel displays exquisite seasonal decor that includes over 2m Christmas lights. No matter what time of year you come to see the hotel, the background is a stunning sight.

I Believe In Nashville Mural

Whether you’re a Nashville native or just passing through, the I Believe in Nashville mural, located in the 12 South neighborhood, is well worth snapping. With classic American colors and the Tennessee flag logo, this symbol is the perfect backdrop to any photograph. There are now three official versions of this iconic painting. As well as the original 12 South location, you’ll find it painted on the shutters at Marathon Music Works and, fittingly for a tribute to unity and perseverance, the only remaining wall of Basement East, the rest of which was destroyed by a tornado.

Ryman Auditorium

A trip to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without live music, and where better to experience this than the mother church of country music – the Ryman Auditorium. Up-and-coming country musicians dream of gracing this stage, and it’s a real “I’ve made it” milestone when they do. The structure of the building lends a pleasant echo to acoustic sets and country harmonies, and makes audience singalongs into something special indeed. The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most picturesque and historically interesting in Nashville – so a quick pic outside its iconic, red-brick facade is a must for your souvenir scrapbook or social-media accounts. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

The Parthenon at Centennial Park

That’s right – a full-scale model of the Parthenon, right in the middle of the city. Nashville’s own Greek monument is housed in Centennial Park (it was constructed as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897) and is open for guests to walk around and explore. Needless to say, the Instagram potential of a full replica of the world’s most famous ancient temple is pretty significant. Follow the walking trail around it for different views, and keep an eye out for night-time photo ops, when the columns are tastefully backlit. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

Draper James Building

Located in the trendy 12 South neighborhood, Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James boutique is a great place to take photos. The store even encourages shoppers to take a photograph in front of the powder blue and white striped building and tag @draperjames in your Instagram post. The window is just as charming, and a white bench under the awning provides seating so that your snap shows off the pretty background in full.

John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge

Take two bites of the Ista-apple with a visit to the Pedestrian Bridge downtown. Spanning the Cumberland River, it’s one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and its criss-crossing metal beams make for an interesting urban backdrop. What you’re really here for, however, are the views over the Nashville skyline, which make this one of the most Instagrammable spots in town. There are four dedicated viewing platforms to help you get the perfect shot – come at night and gaze out over the city lights. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

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