Nashville is easily one of the most pet-friendly cities in the United States. Back in 2004, Nashville was rated one of the “top places to retire with your dog” by Huffington Post, and since 2004 the city has more than doubled in size and gained hundreds more dog-friendly organizations and businesses.
During your trip to Nashville, you can’t possibly run out of new places to walk or hike with your dog, and there are plenty of restaurants with dog-friendly patios to take your pup to. There are a solid number of pet-friendly hotels, and when in doubt, there are countless Airbnb’s that allow dogs. The next time you’re looking for a great vacation but can’t find a dog-sitter, consider Nashville!
***Don’t forget that whenever you bring your dog to a private establishment, especially restaurants and stores, you must keep your dog on a six-foot maximum (non-retractable) leash at all times, no matter how well your dog is trained. This is not only for you and your dog’s safety, but also for the safety and happiness of others who may be scared, allergic, or just not a dog fan! Part of being a great dog owner is understanding that not everyone is a dog fan like you. The same applies to parks and public areas. Keep your dog close! Additionally, private establishments have the right to ask you and your dog to leave if your dog causes a problem.
First things first, if you’re coming in from out of town you will need a place to stay. Those with larger dogs will probably find most comfort in one of the fabulous Airbnb’s listed below, but the hotels are perfectly suitable for most people.
Lowe’s Vanderbilt: Though on the pricer side of metro Nashville hotels, Lowe’s Vanderbilt is a beautiful choice for your stay. There is a Southern restaurant, steakhouse, and cocktail bar inside, and free WiFi. The pet fee is only $50 per stay!
Hutton Hotel: This four-star boutique hotel allows guests with pets to stay on a unique pet-friendly floor with a cleaning fee of $75 per stay.
The Hermitage Hotel: Not only is The Hermitage one of the most beautiful hotels in Nashville, if not the most beautiful, but they actually have a pet pampering service! Their turndown service includes a mat, water, and treats for your dog, there is a dog room service menu, and there are pet walking services and an on-call dog masseuse! Make this a vacation for you AND your pet!
Goodlettsville Cabin: If you’re willing to stay a bit further out from the city, this Airbnb is a fantastic, cozy, welcoming space for you and your dog.
Cozy East Nashville Home: This townhome in the trendy neighborhood of East Nashville includes three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths and a quaint little yard for your dog to run circles in!
Hillsboro Village Home: From this cute little home, you can walk to great shops and restaurants (some of which are dog-friendly), and an Uber can get you to Broadway in less than ten minutes.
There is no shame in setting your dog up for a fun day running around with other dogs so you can experience the less dog-friendly side of Nashville. Places like the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Hermitage, and bar-hopping on Broadway are hard to miss experiences, but you can’t bring your dog. These are the most highly-rated places where you can bring your dog that provide more than just a crate and some food.
Camp Bow Wow: Conveniently located downtown, Camp Bow Wow charges $30 for daycare. You will have to bring your pup in for an “interview” before he can join the other pups for health and safety purposes.
Pampered Pets: For just $15 per day, you can drop your pup off with Pampered Pets, where he will have lots of room to play.
As you probably know, FDA rules and regulations prevent restaurants from allowing dogs inside their buildings, even if they would love to have your furry friend inside. However, Nashville has tons of beautiful coffee shops, bars, and restaurants with great patios so you can sit outside with your dog when the weather calls for it.
Fido: In the adorable Hillsboro Village, you’ll find this large-and-in-charge pet store converted into a coffee shop. You’ll find a water bowl just outside the front door for your pup and little tables outside so you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a pastry, and/or a hearty brunch with your dog. Don’t be fooled by the coffee shop appearance…the food here is just as fantastic as the coffee!
Frothy Monkey: The Frothy Monkey coffeehouse on 12 South (the original location) has a sweet little patio where you can sit with your dog while you sip your coffee or have lunch.
Bongo Java: On Belmont Blvd, located directly across the street from Belmont University’s Curb Event Center, is my personal favorite coffee shop. The coffee is so good that you’ll notice other restaurants and cafes around Nashville offering Bongo Java roast coffee (including Fido)! It’s a great place to drop in for a quick breakfast or bring a laptop and get some work done. The front patio is a hot spot in the warmer months, so go during off-peak hours (between meals) to secure a spot for you and your pup.
12 South Taproom: Well-mannered, leashed dogs are allowed at the 12 South Taproom patio. Take your pick from their extensive beer list and split some apps or order a heaping plate of smoked gouda and chicken mac and cheese.
Village Pub and Beer Garden: Half off mules on Mondays, scrumptious soft pretzels, and a water bowl for your dog on the patio – how can you possible go wrong?
TailGate Brewery: Grab a brew and hang out with your dog out on the patio. Ask for a water bowl and the special dog menu for home-made dog treats. Plus, for social dogs, you can join “Yappy Hour” from 5-9 every Wednesday!
Smith & Lentz Brewing Company: Smith & Lentz is a vibey, small brewery with a “BYOF” (bring your own food) policy. Bring some sandwiches and sit out back with your pup while you enjoy a local brew.
The Old School: I heard through the grapevine (the event planner at The Old School) that they are planning on putting a dog park right outside the restaurant! This place is literally a schoolhouse that was turned into a restaurant. They hire people with special needs to work on the farm and then the harvest goes right to the tables!
Edley’s BBQ: Head to the Murphy Rd location for the best patio and get the mac and cheese and banana pudding for your two sides.
Drifters: Enjoy some real Tennessee BBQ in the trendy neighborhood of East Nashville out on the front patio.
Cori’s Dog House: Housed in the Providence shopping area of Mt. Juliet, TN as well as on 29 South (near Vanderbilt University), you’ll find 38 different signature hot dogs and dog-friendly patios. Personally, I recommend the “Hawaii” (pineapple/mango relish) for you, and a plain, bun-less dog for your pup.
PM: This asian-fusion hot spot in the historic Belmont neighborhood has a small patio out front where you can sit and enjoy everything from solid sushi to what I think is the best burger in Nashville (The PM Burger).
Nashville is FULL of dog parks and fun activities for you and your pup! Just remember to abide by the dog park rules. Only dogs who are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations (and sometimes other vaccines as well) and who have proper identification are permitted to run off leash in Nashville dog parks. If your dog has a history of aggression, please be smart and don’t allow your dog to play off-leash with other dogs.
Two Rivers Dog Park: You can find this off-leash dog park by heading to Percy Priest Dam. The park is also just outside some beautiful walking trails, so you can take advantage of both! The dog park includes a water fountain as well as picnic tables and benches for the “hoomans”. The best part about Two Rivers is that it’s not usually very crowded, so there is less concern about your dog not getting along with other dogs in the park.
Centennial Dog Park: Centennial is fun for you because these is a “life-size” replica of The Parthenon and a large grassy area that’s great for picnics and laying out in the sun. There are often food trucks and events near Centennial Park. Regardless of what’s happening nearby, you can always set your dog free at Centennial Dog Park.
Edwin Warner Dog Park: Within Percy Warner Park is the Edwin Warner Dog Park! You can take advantage of the Percy Warner trails or let your dog let out his energy with other dogs at the dog park.
Radnor Lake State Park: Though dogs are only allowed on the Otter Creek Road trail, you’ll love soaking in the natural beauty of this local park. Wild turkeys, owls, mink, and even otter can be spotted at Radnor!
Stones River Greenway: There are over 190 miles of walking/hiking trails in Nashville, but the Stones River Greenway (almost ten miles long) is one of my favorites. I like to to park at Percy Priest Dam, let my dog release some energy at the Two Rivers Dog Park, and then walk the Stones River Greenway trail. There are often a mix of families, bikers, and other dog walkers there but the trail is very wide so you can stick to your own comfortable pace. It’s beautiful at any time of year, but especially in the spring and fall months. I usually walk one or two miles and then turn around. Be forewarned – there are no waste disposal stations on this trail, so try to convince your dog to relieve himself at the dog park before you start walking! We’ve made the mistake of having to carry a bag of poop with us.
Percy Warner Parks: The Percy Warner parks include 3,100 acres of picnic shelters, a Nature Center, scenic overlooks, walking and biking trails, running courses, golf courses, athletic fields, and even an equestrian center and horse trails! Similar to the Greenway, you can let your pup get his energy out at the dog park before you take him on a walk through one of the trails (if you have an extra energetic pup, this is a fantastic perk).
The Trails at Fontanel: Fontanel has over three miles of maintained, but not paved, walking trails. It’s one of the largest privately owned parks in the state! If you don’t have your pup with you*, the Fontanel property is also a great place to go for a wine tasting, dinner, or a show.
*Prichard’s Distillery at Fontanel does allow leashed dogs!
If you’re like most people, you like to do a bit of local shopping while you’re on vacation. Nashville is a GREAT place to do that. With neighborhoods like 12 South and Downtown Franklin, there are too many homegrown boutiques for you to skip that part of your trip just because Fido is with you! The good news is that the best boutique store owners understand that and will not only allow your dog to come in the store with you, but will provide fresh water (and maybe a treat if you’re lucky).
12 South, “White’s Mercantile:” 12 South is an adorable neighborhood full of restaurants, bakeries (and a popsicle shop), coffee shops, and shopping. Aside from the actual pet store, Wags and Whiskers (see below), you can take your dog inside White’s Mercantile. The adorable store with an inspiring backstory sells artsy home goods, accessories, unique gifts, and even pet items. Plus, you can do your shopping here while you wait for a patio table at BarTaco.
Franklin, “It’s Vintage, Baby:” As the name suggests, this store sells baby clothes, items, and gifts. Everything in the story is classy and unique. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, looking for a gift, or just looking for an excuse to bring your dog in a store, take a walk through “It’s Vintage, Baby” with your pup.
Three Dog Bakery: Three Dog Bakery has locations all across the country, but if you do not have one near you we recommend stopping in one of the Nashville area locations. The bakery can provide anything from a quick treat to a full, customized birthday cake!
Wags and Whiskers: You can find this homegrown pet shop in the 12 South neighborhood, East Nashville, or West Nashville. They sell large bags of holistic food (as well as a selection of toys and other products), and the West Nashville location includes a self-service dog wash!
Baxter Bailey & Company / Mutts & Meows: Pick up some fresh baked goods for your dog at Baxter Bailey & Company over in the East Nashville area, then head a quarter mile over to Mutts & Meows to purchase holistic foods or use the DIY dog wash!
Nashville Pet Products: This small, local shop carries a variety of healthy foods, treats, toys, and more for your dogs and cats. You’ll find unique foods that PetCo and PetSmart don’t carry! Visit the Hermitage location to hang out with two chonky orange tabbies!
Live on the Green: This fun, FREE local music festival is one of the most popular annual events in Nashville. It usually runs for a few weekends in late summer/early fall. Past headliners have included Jimmy Eat World, X Ambassadors, Sheryl Crow, Young the Giant, Passion Pit, Ben Folds, and many more. Bring a blanket or some folding chairs and grab your pup and your friends! Just keep in mind that dogs who do not perform will in crowded and loud environments should probably stay at home.
Dog Day Festival Nashville: One day in early fall, the front lawn at Centennial Park (the one with the model of the Parthenon) goes to the dogs! Dress up your pooch for the costume contest and the “pupper parade,” take part in training class demonstrations and contests, get a portrait of your pet made, or just come for the food trucks and pets. Your $5 donation for this event benefits the Nashville Humane Association.
Mutt Strutt 5k: Every spring, for just a $15 donation, you and your “mutt” (purebreds also welcome) can run or walk a 5k for the local Humane Association. There is a “shortcut” option for those who only want to tackle half of the race. Once you cross the finish line, there is a pool for the doggies and water and snacks for you. You’ll also find water stations throughout the course for both you and your dog.