Now that spring has arrived, you probably want to get the heck out of the house after a long winter’s hibernation, but don’t forget to take your friends along with you. No, we’re not talking about Doug who won’t stop going on and on about you joining him for Crossfit training. You can take your four-legged buddies along for an excursion to all sorts of entertaining spots around Nashville.
Here’s a guide to some dog-friendly destinations in Music City.
If you’re visiting from out of town and seeking accommodations, consider the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Midtown. The entire national Loews chain is exceptionally pet-friendly, allowing pets in guest rooms for a nominal fee and offering special room service menus for dogs and cats. Lobby areas and outdoor patios are also open to dog traffic, and they’ll be happy to point you to appropriate nearby areas for Rufus to do his business. Hotel guests and locals alike can take advantage of special programming associated with the Mason Bar in the Loews lobby. Regular special events called “Paws on the Patio” offer dedicated buffets for dogs, pet treats and live music and cocktail specials for their owners.
It’s no surprise that a coffee house named “Fido” would welcome your pooch on their patio, but this Hillsboro Village cafe is actually located in the former home of a neighborhood pet shop. In fact, the sign for Jones Pet Shop still hangs above the entrance. One caveat here, though. You’ll have to take another friend along since you have to stand in a line inside to order food and drinks, so somebody will have to stay outdoors with your pup while you order for both of you. No worries, the people watching in the Village is top-notch, and they usually set bowls of water out to keep your own Fido hydrated.
Another entry in the “no surprise” department is across the street from Fido at Double Dogs, a lively sports bar with dozens of televisions broadcasting games and a menu of upscale bar food. Human patrons enjoy nachos served out of dog bowls at Double Dogs, and the staff is always quick to offer bowls of water and treats to pets sitting on the patio with their owners.
On the west side of town, Coco’s Italian Market is a hidden gem. This venerable pasta and pizza emporium offers some fantastic happy hour deals plus a large outdoor area where you can lounge around with your dog or take a more active path with a rousing game of bocce. (OK, any game you can play with a glass of Chianti in your hand isn’t that rousing, but it’s still fun!)
Many of Nashville’s excellent craft breweries offer some sort of dog-friendly patio area outside of their taprooms, but none of them are more dramatic than the modern Tennessee Brew Works in the Pie Town neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown. Accessible from the new pedestrian bridge along Division St. on the edge of the Gulch, Tennessee Brew Works is a popular gathering point for craft beer fans. The spacious indoor area offers views of their high-tech brewing system, but the large covered patio outside the front door is pretty entertaining as well thanks to dogs and people interacting over a couple of pints.
With plenty of sidewalks and access to Sevier Park, the hot 12 South neighborhood is a fine locale to take your dog for a walk. In addition to some excellent window shopping along the avenue, you can actually take your pup inside at White’s Mercantile where they welcome well-behaved dogs. There you’ll find all sorts of fun gift ideas and locally crafted items, including high-end pet accessories. They’re also happy to give a treat to a good dog!
If you or your dog are more of the outdoorsy types, check out Cumberland Transit on West End across from Centennial Park. They love dogs at this outfitter so much that they maintain a special Instagram account just to showcase their favorite canine guests at @Cumberlandtransitdogs. You can even buy a backpack for your dog to carry your beer for you on the trail.
While you’re in the neighborhood, head over to Centennial Park where they maintain one of the biggest and best dog parks in town high atop Flag Pole Hill overlooking the Parthenon. Offering sweeping views of the park and parts of downtown plus plenty of seating areas for owners to sit a spell while the pooches play, this is a great spot to make friends. Separate spaces for small and large dogs ensure that your little buddy won’t be bullied by a bulldog.
For a more rigorous outdoor experience with your dog, head out west of town to Warner Parks, where in addition to another nice dog park, they offer miles and miles of wooded trails for hiking with your active pet. Make a plan and take a map, though, because it’s easy to make a wrong turn and stretch your 2-mile jaunt into a half-day hike. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
For a more luxe dog park experience, BarkPark in East Nashville is the spot. Closed seasonally during the winter, this membership-based canine gathering space bills itself as “an outdoor clubhouse for dogs and their people.” With a square block of green space smack in the middle of an urban environment, BarkPark is an oasis for pets in the crowded neighborhood. In addition to fun weekly programming for members to encourage mixing and mingling, there’s also a full coffee bar in the park just for members. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, BarkPark maintains a BYOB policy (and we’re not just talking about Bring Your Own Balls,) so feel free to pack in whatever you’d like to consume. You can also buy a day pass to experience the fun before you decide whether you want to join long-term.