About Shelby Park

Shelby Park and Bottoms encompass nearly 1300 acres of bluffs, rolling hills and floodplain bordering the Cumberland River in East Nashville. Now the third largest park in Nashville, Shelby was originally opened as a private amusement park designed to attract residents to the growing Nashville suburbs. On July 4th, 1912 the park was dedicated to the city and opened to the public.

Map of Shelby Park and Bottoms


Cornelia Fort
Pickin' Party

Cumberland River
Pedestrian Bridge

Volunteers at
Historic Cave Spring

Lake Sevier

Features and Facilities

The Park and Bottoms feature a variety of natural and manmade resources – streams, archaeological and environmental preserves, two golf courses, four playgrounds, football and baseball fields, tennis and ball courts, Sevier Lake (a favorite spot for fishing), a riverside boat ramp, community and nature centers, 7 picnic shelters, paved multi-use paths and primitive trails – that provide a broad range of educational and recreational opportunities for a diverse group of users.

Shelby Park and Bottoms attract approximately 300,000 visitors per year including

  • 26,000 participants in league sports
  • 19,000 participants in special events
  • 28,000 rounds at the Shelby Golf Course
  • 46,000 visits to the community center
  • 26,000 visitors and program participants at the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center
  • 39,000 trips to the dog park
  • 10,000 rounds of golf at the Vinny Links
  • 14,000 attendees at family reunions, birthday parties and outings at Shelby’s 7 picnic shelters

Regional Connector

Park and Bottoms also serve as a vital segment in the regional system of greenways intended to link all of Davidson County by means of a recreational and alternative transportation corridor. Shelby is at the heart of the Music City Bikeway, a 26 mile route connecting the Warner Parks to the Percy Priest Dam.

The Community

The Shelby Parks are both a local resource for the 18 neighborhoods within 1 mile of the park, and a regional resource drawing people from around the county.

Shelby Park has always been a unique place in Nashville because of the diversity of the facilities and features and because of the diversity of the community.  In the 37206 and 37216 zip codes, the parks serve nearly 20,000 households and 19 schools with over 10,000 students  - 62% black, 19% Hispanic, 16% white and 3% other. A large portion – 46%  – of those youth are economically disadvantaged

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.  The Friends of Shelby are excited to be involved in this transformational effort. Find out more about the Shelby Park Master Plan here.