I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when Stacie and I went to Nashville. I’d never been before but she seemed to really love it. The most surprising thing to me was how small it was. I know Phoenix is one of the larger cities in the US, but it was still a shock to see how different Nashville was. Not that it’s a bad thing, in fact, as a tourist it was amazing! We stayed in East Nashville but it seemed like everywhere we wanted to visit was only about 15 minutes away (although every restaurant in town always had an hour wait… more about that later). Although we were only there for three days, we zig-zagged all over town and got to see everything on our list, without the usual exhaustion that comes with trying to do too much in a day. The first couple of days were chilly and rainy, but the last day was sunny and beautiful. That was when we made the trip to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park (also known as Bicentennial Mall).
Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall is a park at the base of the Tennessee State Capitol building. It was built in 1996 to celebrate Tennessee’s 200th year anniversary of being a state. That was another crazy thing to think about- Arizona only recently celebrated it’s 100th birthday in 2012 but nearly 20 years ago, Tennessee was turning 200! One end of the park has a plaza with plaques commemorating musicians that have made their mark in Nashville. The plaza is surrounded by these pillars that contain bells which play at certain times of the day.
The edge of the park has pillars with dates for each decade since Tennessee became a state. Next to the pillars is a wall that details historical events that happened during those time frames. I thought it was really interesting to read about the history of Tennessee and being able to visualize how much time has passed was pretty cool (and definitely put things into perspective).
The park also contains several memorials, like this one for World War II. I was really surprised by how extensive the park was- definitely not just an open plot of grass, but a place full of history about the state.
The other end of the park has a 2000-seat amphitheater and the Tennessee Map Plaza. The map was fun to see. It is a 200-foot wide granite map of Tennessee and shows all of its cities, roads, and rivers.
I’m really happy we were able to swing by Bicentennial Mall on our trip. We got to do so many fun things in Nashville but learning about Tennessee’s history was really interesting. I was impressed with how nicely done the park was and how much there was to see and learn. We didn’t have much time while we were there but I would definitely go back. And the farmer’s market would be fun to check out!