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Parks and Recreation

Shelby Park

Shelby Park is a large, urban multi-use park along the Cumberland River featuring river views; migratory bird and other wildlife viewing opportunities; playgrounds; a fenced off-leash dog park; adult and youth softball fields; the Old Timers adult baseball fields; 9 and 18 hole golf courses; Sevier Lake, popular for casual fishing; a Cumberland River boat launch ramp; several reservable picnic shelters; and the Shelby Park Community Center which offers free programs as well as basketball, tennis and multi-use courts.

Location

Shelby Avenue at S. 20th Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Driving Directions

From North

I-65 south to:
I-24 East (signs for I-40 E/Knoxville/I-24E/Chattanooga)
Take Exit 49 Shelby Avenue
Turn right (away from town) onto Shelby Avenue
Shelby Avenue leads into Shelby Park

From East

I-40 West to:
I-24 West (signs for I-65 N/Louisville/I-24 W/Clarksville)
Take Exit 49 Shelby Avenue
Turn right (away from town) onto Shelby Avenue
Shelby Avenue leads into Shelby Park

From South

I-65 North to:
I-40 East (Exit 82B)
I-24 West (Exit 211B)
Take Exit 49 Shelby Avenue
Turn right (away from town) onto Shelby Avenue
Shelby Avenue leads into Shelby Park

From West

I-40 East to:
65-North to Louisville
I-24 East (signs for I-40 E/Knoxville/I-24E/Chattanooga)
Take Exit 49 Shelby Avenue
Turn right (away from town) onto Shelby Avenue
Shelby Avenue leads into Shelby Park

Public Transportation Route

MTA bus route 4

Hours

Shelby Park is open dawn until 11 p.m. every day.

Other Information

  • Free admission to Shelby Park and Shelby Park Community Center
  • Picnic shelters, athletic fields and golf course
  • Pets allowed; must be on 6 foot or shorter leash (except in leash-free Dog Park)
  • Collecting of plant, fungi, wildlife, or other natural or historic items prohibited without permit from Metro Parks (Contact Shelby Bottoms Nature Center for permit information)
  • 20 MPH vehicle speed limit on park roads
  • Motorized vehicles and bicycles prohibited on primitive trails
  • Camping not permitted
  • Valid Tennessee fishing license required for fishing
  • No hunting or trapping
  • No alcohol, drugs, or firearms allowed in parks at any time

Shelby Park Facilities

Shelby Park Community Center

Shelby Park Golf Course

Vinny Links Golf Course

Baseball and Softball Fields

Picnic Shelters

Dog Park

Costs

About Shelby Park

The land that is now Shelby Park (and a large portion of historic East Nashville) was once owned by James Shaw, who sold the property to David Shelby in 1788. In 1818, David Shelby gave the land to his two sons, Dr. John Shelby and Anthony Shelby as a Christmas gift. Before the day was over Dr. John Shelby purchased his brother’s half for $2,500. Dr. John Shelby became a pillar of the community that was then considered the town of Lockeland Springs (East Nashville). Several locations bear his name such as Shelby Street, Shelby Park, and Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, which is now a part of Metro Parks’ Greenway system.

Around the turn of the century (nearly forty years after Dr. John Shelby’s death) the land that was called “Shelby Park” was owned by a real estate development company that operated an amusement park on it. When the company went bankrupt in 1903, the park board investigated it as a public park, but deferred action as a result of opposition from East Nashvillians.

In 1909 the Park board purchased the first 151 acres of the park from the creditors of the bankrupt land company for $40,000.  Although public support existed for naming the new public space “Riverside Park”, the original name of “Shelby Park” was retained by the board. Shelby Park opened to the public on the 4th of July in 1912.

Today the park includes over 336 acres of land and is celebrating its 100 year anniversary!

In 2009, Metro Parks -- along with hundreds of neighbors, stakeholders and interest groups -- embarked on a first-ever master planning process for Shelby Park. The resulting vision for the park will guide future investments in this important civic space, and maximize the park's potential. Metro Parks looks forward to continuing our partnership with the community on implementation of the master plan.

Please take care of your park and don’t litter! Trash cans are available throughout Shelby Park and Shelby Bottoms and recycling cans are available at the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center.