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Journal / Nashville Guide

Nashville Sacred Spaces

Tap into your inner zen.

No matter what holidays—if any—you observe, this time of year is one that makes us reflect. Whether it is gratitude at Thanksgiving, religious holidays in December or resolution for the new year, this time of year is perfect for introspection.

Nashville provides plenty of opportunity for that. Not that you need a special place to do it, but Nashville is replete with sacred spaces of different magnitude. Here are five top places for tapping into your inner zen.

Scarritt Bennett Center

A non-profit center that focuses on social justice and spiritual growth, Scarritt Bennett hosts conferences, Christmas concerts and other events. An on-campus, seven-layer labyrinth is open to the public from dusk to dawn for walking meditation.

Downtown Presbyterian Church

Downtown Presbyterian Church—designed by William Strickland, the same architect who designed the state capitol building—is a striking, solemn place of worship year-round. For 99 years, it also has been the site of Waffle Shop, an early December breakfast which is a fundraiser for the church’s Fishes and Loaves ministry. If you aren’t in town for the delicious waffle event, it is still worth it to stop by and see the Egyptian Revival architecture.

Nashville City Cemetery

Strolling through a cemetery isn’t for everyone. But if it is a place you find solace, this is a good place to go. It opened in 1822 and since then has been the final resting place of many Nashvillians. The Master Gardeners of Davidson County help maintain the cemetery’s green spaces.

Fort Negley

Near the Nashville City Cemetery, Fort Negley was a military fort built largely by enslaved and freed Black men to protect the city from a battle that never came. Today it’s an outdoor historical monument, with walking trails, native plantings and one of the city’s best views.

Ryman Auditorium

Okay, this one is a little louder than the others. The world-famous Ryman Auditorium started its life in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Folks still refer to it as “the Mother Church of Country Music.” There are few things as reverential as being in the pews with a crowd who goes silent to listen to the space’s exceptional acoustics. You can get the vibe and the back story by taking a tour.