This 132-acre park is a relaxing oasis in the heart of the city, with tree-covered walking paths, a tranquil pond, and plenty of lawn space that’s perfect for picnicking on. In nice weather, there are always events going on here, from the city’s Shakespeare in the Park play series to music festivals and movie-in-the-park nights.
The park was created as part of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition in 1897, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Tennessee’s entry into the union. A perfect full-scale replica of the Parthenon was built for the exposition, paying homage to the city’s nickname as “the Athens of the South” (it boasted an immense number of colleges and universities and had a reputation for higher learning). The Parthenon replica still stands in the park today and is now an art museum and visitors center, exhibiting 63 paintings from 19th- and 20th-century American artists.