When I was little, my dream job was to become a photographer. At that time, my only camera was the little point-and-shoot I had gotten for Christmas, but that didn’t matter to me. I was eager to take photos anywhere and everywhere I went.
Flash forward many years later, and although though my dream job has changed, one thing hasn’t: my passion for photography. Granted it’s improved a lot over the years, especially since becoming a blogger and a social media manager, but it has remained one of my favorite past-times.
So when it was announced that my family would be moving our annual camping trip from western Kentucky to Nashville, I was more than eager to take over the planning and begin scoping out the best photo spots around town. And let me tell you what, there are a TON. Even after doing an abundance of research, I still saw tons of amazing spots that I had never read about, and it was all I could do to not stay in Nashville an extra week and explore each and every one of them. (As if that would even be enough time!)
So to help you find some amazing photo spots as well, I have created this guide to help you break down where to find some of Nashville’s coolest photo opportunities, as well as how to find more yourself!
Photo Spot #1: The Perimeter of the Parthenon
I first learned about Nashville’s full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon back when Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief came out in theaters during my awkward middle school years. Being the nerd that I am, I knew hands-down that I wanted visit it one day, and that dream finally came true during my trip to Nashville!
Although the inside wasn’t quite the same as it is in the movie (*sigh*), the outside is, and it has some AMAZING photo spots.
The first spot worth noting is in the space between the outer wall and the columns that line the perimeter of the Parthenon. It offers a ton of symmetry, warm colors, and (at least from what I experienced) people usually aren’t hanging out in this area. I mean, I went in the middle of the day in mid-June and I think there was only one person who passed through this area as my sister and I did our photo shoot. Score! Because let’s admit it: editing people out of photos is a headache waiting to happen.
This is what this area looks like:
For my photos at the Parthenon, I found that my yellow dress went perfectly with the warm tones of the Parthenon. However, if you’re wanting to stand out in the photos, try using colors such as red or black to stand out!
Photo Spot #2: The South Side of the Parthenon
While there are plenty of different angles around the outside of the Parthenon that provide great photos, the best spot that I found was along the sidewalk on the South side, the same side as the museum entrance to the Parthenon. Although this would first seem like a bad idea (after all, wouldn’t there be tons of people coming in and out of the museum doors?), if you take the photo from the right angle there’s a hill that hides the door and the people. Plus, it makes the Parthenon look like it’s perched at the top of a hill, when it’s actually on a piece of flat land!
Photo Spot #3: “What Lifts You” Wings
This mural is probably the most famous photo spot in Nashville, and for a good reason! Not only is it a beautiful message, but the artistry is absolutely incredible. Plus, there’s a pair of large AND small wings. This is perfect for standing and sitting photos, plus if you want a photo of your little one or even your dog!
The wings are so popular that they can be found simply by typing “Nashville WhatLiftsYou Wings” into Google maps…which means that you can add them as the location for Instagram, too! But don’t be surprised if there’s a line for the photo op. When we went it was only a few people long, so about 5 minutes. Although waiting in line may seem like a bit of a hassle, it’s actually great in case you need someone to take your picture.
When taking your photo with the wings, I recommend doing one where you’re standing against the wall, as well as a photo where you’re standing a bit farther away, which can give the illusion that the wings are a bit bigger on you!
When posting your photos with the mural on Instagram, be sure to tag the artist! You can visit her profile by clicking here. She has some AMAZING murals across the United States and the rest of the world, which can be located by visiting her website!
Photo Spot #4: 11th Street Murals
11th Street must be super popular when it comes to murals, because not only does it have the WhatLiftYou mural, but it’s home to a couple other murals, as well! There’s the colorful mural shown above, and on the building next to it there’s a green, leafy mural. (I didn’t get a picture of that one though.)
If you’re wanting to visit these murals, I suggest parking in the same parking lot that they’re located in (which is across the street from Potbelly Sandwich Shop and the Juice Bar). Just be aware that Google Maps hasn’t been updated to show these murals yet if you’re trying to look at them on street view there.
Also, you can get free parking for an hour in this parking lot, perfect for snatching pictures of these two murals. Plus, the WhatLiftsYou mural is just across the street…less than a 2 minute walk!
According to the Facebook page “Nashville Walls Project“, the two murals located here were created by Ian Ross and Jason Woodside.
Photo Spot #5: Five Daughters Bakery
When I first learned about Five Daughters Bakery, I knew hands-down that I wanted to visit. It wasn’t just for the pictures though (even though it is most Instagrammable place I’ve ever seen), it was for the food. According to their website, Five Daughters Bakery uses organic, locally-sourced ingredients as much as possible, in addition to no artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, and more. Plus, they’re home to the 100 layer doughnut AND a variety of vegan doughnuts. Need I say more?
Five Daughters Bakery has several locations, but the one I visited is on 12th Street. I’m not sure whether the other locations will have the same photo opportunities, but the 12th Street location has an “I <3 Donuts” mural (which you can see in the photo above), as well as a fence in the kids play area that has it “raining” donuts, complete with a little umbrella.
In addition, there is also a set of 3 donuts painted on the fence where you and your friends/family can stick your heads in!
Photo Spots #6 + #7: I Believe in Nashville and the Draper James Murals
Why did I put these two murals in the same category? It’s easy…they’re in the same alley! I quite literally took my photo with the “I Believe in Nashville” mural, walked 15 steps, and then took my photo with the Draper James mural. They’re also along the same street as Five Daughters Bakery (just a five-minute walk between them!) so you can visit the murals right after stuffing yourself with doughnuts. It’s a win-win!
It’s important to note that there are actually two “I Believe in Nashville” murals (find the photo and location of the other by clicking here), but I believe the one on 12th South Street is the best because you get the opportunity to do the Draper James mural too. (Plus, it’s in closer vicinity to donuts, duh!)
Photo Spot #8: Grand Ole Opry
Okay, I’m going to tell you all a secret. Do y’all think you can handle it?
*takes deep breath*
I’m not a country music fan.
I know, the horror! A non-country music fan visiting Nashville. What has this world come to?
But since we arrived in Nashville about 4 hours before we could check-in to our cabin (we were staying at a campground), we had some time to kill and decided to visit the Grand Ole Opry. Although we didn’t see any of the shows/do the tour, walking around and seeing everything was pretty cool, even for a non-country music fan like me. 😉
Outside the Grand Ole Opry are 2 huge guitars that you can take your picture with. (One of which is pictured above.)
What I also thought was pretty neat is that there are designated selfie spots around the property! (Although I did a shoefie instead. Rebel.)
When I visited (June 2018) there was some construction going on, and they had a large area blocked off with these wooden walls. However, they made the perfect opportunity for a photo spot!
Photo Spot #9: Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Opryland Resort is probably the most AMAZING resort I’ve ever been in (outside of Disney, of course), and when it comes to photography, it’s an absolute gold mine. I describe the resort in more detail in my post about planning the perfect trip to Nashville, but for the context of this post, just know that it: (1) is absolutely ginormous and I have no clue how the staff doesn’t get lost, (2) has a giant atrium with plants, a river with a boat ride (?!?!), tons of fountains, an abundance of shops, etc., and (3) has shopping, dining, and more all set up to feel like you’re walking through an actual street or something.
My best advice for finding the photo spots? Just go in and wander! There’s something new around every corner, and I quite honestly could have spent a week in there just trying to check everything out. I actually might have spent a week in there if I hadn’t found my way out after getting lost and wandering around for quite a while.
Where to Find More Instagram Spots:
There are hundreds of Instagram spots around Nashville, and this post only covers the tip of the iceberg. So how do you find the rest? It’s easy!
The first method is to check out Pinterest. Pinterest is the holy grail of finding travel blog posts (and I’m betting that’s actually how you found this one 😉 ). Just type in “Nashville photo spots” and you’re on your way to finding Nashville’s most Instagram-worthy locations!
The second method? Instagram. Whether you’re using the location feature or searching photos up by a specific tag, this is one of the fastest ways to find a new photo spot, especially if they haven’t even made it into blog posts yet!
And the third? Just driving around town. When driving to places like the zoo and bakery, I saw so many amazing photo spots and murals that hadn’t even shown up in blog posts or even Instagram yet. All you have to do is keep yours eyes open for them because they are EVERYWHERE in Nashville.
When visiting Nashville, just remember that it’s not all about getting pictures for the ‘gram. Traveling is about the experience, and while taking photos is fun, getting new photo content shouldn’t be the sole focus of your visit. That’s why I’ve also put together a post on how to plan the perfect trip to Nashville, which goes hand-in-hand with this one! (Plus, it maybe-kinda-sorta has an extra mural that I didn’t put in this blog post. 😉 ) From where I stayed, my recommendations on where to eat, and what to do, this blog post breaks down all my recommendations and gives you some great tips on how to plan the best Nashville trip ever.
Want to check it out? Just click here.
Nashville has become one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to, and not just when it comes to taking photos. (Although it’s easy to catch the photo bug when traveling around town.) There’s so much to see and do that it seems like there’s never enough time…but I will say that the number of photo locations is an added bonus.
Let me know if you’ve been to any of these photo spots, if you have any questions about them, or if you have any suggestions of places I should visit on my next Nashville trip! And be sure to follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.