Dog's Day Out in Nashville, TN
The idea of a dog run is simple: A grassy fenced-in off-leash area where dogs can burn calories, work off spare energy, and make doggy friends. So it’s the details that matter. And Shelby Park’s two-acre enclosure has the features you'd ask for. A meeting spot for friendly east Nashvillians, it attracts many regulars and fosters an atmosphere in which everyone’s encouraged to mind their dog’s manners. It’s right next to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park, along the Cumberland River, with 12 miles of trails. Next door a community center with a playground, so families with kids can have a day out together. And drinks are on the house -- there's even a ground-level water fountain to keep hounds hydrated.
You wouldn’t know it from the front, but on warm nights, much of the action at 3 Crow happens on their back deck—a spacious enclosure with tables and benches, clusters of friendly drinkers, and entertainment options like a horseshoe pit. It’s common to see dogs socializing both inside and outside. The bar is a staple of East Nashville social life, with generous-size drinks and two-for-one specials on Wednesdays and Sundays. Their bar food, like pizza and turkey reubens, is cheap and good. If your canine companion is in the mood for a bar crawl, you can walk a block to Red Door, which also has a porch.
Every day, visitors come to Fort Negly hoping to learn about the South’s turbulent past and imagine the lives of the men who fought here during our nation's bloodiest war. But from a dog’s perspective, it’s just a fun walk around a cool place—and that’s okay too. One of the largest stone forts in Civil War history, Negley was built by the union army after they captured the city in 1862. Visitors will walk up the hill to the large stone structure’s remains, enter through the sally port, and look out from the observation deck. The spiffy (human-only) visitor center lets you watch the film The Fall of Nashville and search an online database for your own Civil War ancestors. But free self-guided tours are the perfect daytime activity for civil war buffs and their dogs to enjoy together. The subject may be somber, but your dog won’t notice.
This consistent winner of Nashville Scene “best coffeehouse” polls is good at more than just coffee. Like delicious, fresh and innovative menu offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (pan-seared shrimp on white beans, Portobello sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes are just a few examples). The multi-room coffee shop has a relaxed vibe and plenty of seating. They’re located in Hillsboro Village, one of the city’s best neighborhoods for browsing and window-shopping -- stop in for artisanal ice cream, in flavors like bourbon pecan, at their sister business Hot & Cold. Fido named for a legendary sixth-century dog who helped his master discover coffee. Okay, I think they made that legend up, but it’s a nice sentiment.
Fine dining with your furry friend along is usually a challenge, unless you’re capable of crafting gourmet meals in your kitchen. Flyte is one exception. At this midtown spot, Ashley Quick, a beloved local chef, presides over a menu that foodies rave about. They specialize in humanely raised, local and organic ingredients. The carefully edited menu varies by season: appetizers like seared scallops and wagyu beef carpaccio, soups like pumpkin apple, salads like candied pecan and chevre, and guinea hen with faro, eggplant and chard. It should go without saying that the desserts are to die for. Their inventiveness falls short of offering canine culinary masterpieces, but your pup is welcome anyway – provided she’s leashed, well-behaved, and presumable, well fed.