How to explore Nashville City Cemetery

Learn more about this historic cemetery south of downtown through public tours.

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Nashville City Cemetery is located at 1001 4th Ave. S. | Photo via Metro Nashville

Nestled south of downtown near Fort Negley is the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Music City — the Nashville City Cemetery.

The four-acre cemetery opened on January 1, 1822 and had expanded to 27 acres by 1856. Nashville City Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

Today, the cemetery marks the final resting place for ~22,000 people — including James and Charlotte Robertson, many former mayors, Mabel Lewis Imes and Ella Sheppard Moore (Fisk Jubilee Singers), William Driver (the man who named the American flag “Old Glory”), and other Nashvillians.

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October is the busiest month for tours at the Nashville City Cemetery. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Guided tours

There’s still time to join the Nashville City Cemetery Association for lantern-led tours this month, as well as a cemetery scavenger hunt this weekend. Note: Registration is required for all events.

  • Scavenger Hunt | Saturday, Oct. 21 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Free | Can you find a tombstone made of wood or someone with the same birthday as you? All ages are invited to participate for the chance to win prizes.
  • Lantern Tour with Jim Hoobler | Saturday, Oct. 21 | 5:30 + 6:45 p.m. | $25 | Hoobler previously served as director of the Tennessee Historical Society and the senior curator of art and architecture for the Tennessee State Museum.
  • Lantern Tour: Murder & Mystery | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 5:30 + 6:45 p.m. | $25 | This tour will tell the stories of people who “either met or caused untimely ends.”

Additionally, free tours are offered on the second Saturday of each month covering the cemetery’s history and the people buried there — bookmark the events page + stay tuned for listings beyond October.

Pro tip: Parking is available on Oak Street and in the cemetery at 1001 4th Ave. S.

On your own

The cemetery is open for public visitation daily from dawn to dusk. Download the Nashville City Cemetery Tour app for a self-guided experience with 29 featured stops outlined with directions, historical information, and audio.

You can also access cemetery records + utilize available maps and this arboretum guide to plot your own route.

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