Situated in Nashville’s Riverfront Park, Fort Nashborough was where James Robertson and his band of settlers founded the city back in 1780. While the original fort—built to defend the first families from Native American attacks—is gone, the site currently has a smaller replica of what the original might have looked like.
A visit to Fort Nashborough uncovers one of Nashville’s earliest and most historically significant periods, giving insight into what life was like in this frontier outpost in Tennessee. The park is free and open for self-guided tours, and many guided city tours make a stop at the site, including historical walking tours and Nashville trolley tours, along with other popular points of interest like Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Honky Tonk Row, and a full-scale replica of Athens’ Parthenon in Centennial Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Fort Nashborough is a must-see for history buffs.
- Those interested in Native American history shouldn’t miss the interpretive plaza on the south end of the property that includes an 8-foot-tall (2.4-meter-tall) feather sculpture and information about the tribes that lived here in frontier days.
- Allow at least 30 minutes for your visit (or a bit longer if traveling with kids who might want to play in the park).
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
How to Get There
Fort Nashborough is located on the edge of Riverfront Park between Church and Commerce along the banks of the Cumberland River. It’s within easy walking distance of Downtown Nashville.
When to Get There
The fort grounds are open daily from 9am to 4pm. During the summer months, plan to visit first thing in the morning when temperatures are still relatively cool.
What’s Inside the Fort
While significantly smaller than the original, the recreation of the fort still includes about a half-dozen log cabins, each offering a different look into the lives of early settlers. One is outfitted as a typical bedroom, another as a kitchen, and yet another as a room where female settlers would weave.